Sunday, November 15, 2009


Commercialization of meat production and growing demand for more and more meat products have changed the way the meat animals are raised through well designed stall feeding. There is wide spread criticism that the nutritional quality of meat from such commercial farms, fed on corn as the main input, is much inferior to those reared open feeding on grass. Of course it is accepted that milk produced by grass-fed cows is much superior to large dairy farms using formulated feeds in terms of some nutrients like essential fatty acids. Clamor for meat from grass-fed meat is quite natural. To add to this USP, many consumers believe that open grazing is more eco-friendly and therefore desirable.

"Pasture- or grass-fed meat also is growing in popularity, with the perception that it is more eco-friendly than conventionally produced beef. However, the time needed to grow an animal to slaughter weight is nearly double that of animals fed corn. This means that energy use and greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef are increased three-fold in grass-fed beef cattle. In total, finishing the current U.S. population of 9.8 million fed-cattle on pasture would require an extra 60 million acres of land. Again, the intuitively environmentally friendly option has a far higher resource and environmental cost".

It is like advocating converting all of to day's crop production to organic label which is neither economically feasible nor logistically possible. Only a holistic approach like the one above can bring out the true picture of what is practiced to day and provide a clue as to what changes need to be brought about in future. .


No comments: