We are starting with meat and why grass-fed beef is cleaner and healthier for you. Cows, biologically, are created to graze on grass – not feast on nutrient-poor, genetically modified grains. Grain-fed beef is the result of large agribusinesses wanting to fatten up cows as quickly as possible, regardless of the harm it does to their health (not to mention how grain diminishes the nutritional quality of the meat consumers wind up eating!). Another reason I love grass-fed beef is that it’s simply cleaner.
Feedlot cattle stand all day long in dirt and manure. You can imagine how much harder it is to remove all the fecal contamination given that scenario. They are literally hip deep in their own dung until they are taken to slaughter. That is just NOT RIGHT. Pasture-raised animals are much easier to clean because they come from small herds raised in relatively clean pastures.
Then there is the issue of the cattle being given rBST and rBGH shots. The rBGH stand for recombinant growth hormone and causes the cattle to grow quickly, not naturally,,just quickly. The rBST is recombinant bovine somatotropin and is used interchangably with rBGH. Both of these hormones have been found in the end product of meat that you buy at the store and both of these are not healthy for either the cow to be given or us to be eating.
Look closely in the dairy aisle and you will inevitably see cartons of milk labeled “contains no rBGH” or “contains no rBST,” often followed by the disclaimer “no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rBST-supplemented and non-rBST-supplemented cows.” Seems pretty bizarre to market the fact that your milk doesn’t contain rBGH and then go on to state that there’s no empirical difference between it and rBGH treated milk. It may interest you to learn that the latter disclaimer–that there’s no proven difference between rBST and non-rBST treated cow milk–is the result of lawsuits brought by agricultural industry giant Monsanto against dairy farmers who make a point of marketing their non-rBGH treated dairy products as such. So why all the hubbub and litigation?
In 1991, a non-profit farm advocacy group reported that cows treated with rBGH in a Monsanto-commissioned study at the University of Vermont were showing an unusually high rate of birth defects in their calves, as well as an increased incidence of mastitis–a bacterial infection of the udder.
The symptoms of mastitis include inflammation and the secretion of pus and blood into the milk. To avoid contamination and ensure the health of their cows, Monsanto began treating their cows with antibiotics. Antibiotics are also secreted into milk and may pose health risks to humans. FDA regulations rely on pasteurization to remove hormones, antibiotics, and bacteria from milk, but many critics allege that the FDA’s testing standards for hormonal and antibiotic content are inadequate.
To this day, the safety of rBGH in cows and humans remains a controversial matter. However, it has already been banned in every country of the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan–and many major American retailers are heeding consumer concerns as well. Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, and Starbucks have all stopped selling rBGH-treated milk.