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@Staleek Conventionally raised cattle (ie. those that spend the last 3-5 months of life on a feedlot eating a forage and grain based diet) produce more meat per animal, use less resources (ie. water, land, feed), and produce less waste (ie. greenhouse gases and manure) than grass fed cattle. I can get you a host of actual scientific journal articles to support this.
Also, there is this delightful study by Dr. Hurd in the Journal of Food Protection. He actually determined the likelihood of getting sick due to antibiotic resistant bacteria due to the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The risk is "slightly less than 1 in 10 million for all meat commodities combined. For poultry, beef,and pork, the probabilities were slightly less than 1 in 14 million, 1 in 53 million, and 1 in 236 million, respectively."
But I appreciate that although you don't actually raise cattle, you feel that you know more about it than someone who does raise them and who has multiple degrees in the subject of their nutrition and production.
I am so inspired by you that I think next time I go to the doctor I am going to tell him I know more about medicine because I once put a band-aide on myself.
9 months, 4 weeks ago on Your Steak Is Getting More Antibiotics Than You Are
@amz_md I am a PhD student studying beef cattle nutrition at the University of Minnesota. I work with cattle on a regular basis for work and a lot of my research for my Master's degree related to antibiotics.
@BeanWaxler @leroym @DavidThomasTao I work with cattle every day, and I can tell pretty quickly if they are sick. Then I can treat them with the necessary medication and they recover. It is rare to lose an animal to disease. But thanks for letting me know how farming works. Also livestock were not rampant with disease before antibiotics. If that were the case organic livestock production would not survive.
9 months, 4 weeks ago on What Are the Ethical and Environmental Costs of Healthy Food?
@amz_md No meat at the store will contain antibiotics. When livestock are fed antibiotics, they have a withdrawal period. This is a period of time before harvest that the animal cannot be given antibiotics. This time period varies for each antibiotic, but it does allow enough time for the antibiotics to clear the system. At the packing plant, meat is also regularly checked for any product that might contain antibiotics. If meat is found to contain antibiotics, it thrown out and the producer that provided it is monitored. You should be sure to properly handle meat to prevent food borne illness due to bacteria on the meat. This article is referring to the increased risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria that might end up on meat. You should follow the USDA guidelines to make sure you are not ingesting these bacteria.
10 months ago on Your Steak Is Getting More Antibiotics Than You Are
@leroym @DevanMPC @DavidThomasTao
Antibiotics are used to improve cattle growth efficiency, as well as treat disease. They are used because the consumer wants cheap beef. They are a concern environmentally due to their escape in manure. However, they will continue to be employed until the consumer chooses to pay more for beef from cattle not treated with antibiotics. In the meantime, farmers continue to work with the EPA to strengthen their waste management plans. Their is no concern that meat contains antibiotics because antibiotic use is highly regulated in livestock production.
I agree that cattle would prefer alfalfa, but alfalfa production requires a lot of resources,particularly water. It makes much more sense to utilize feeds that would otherwise be waste. The benefit of ruminants is that they can utilize by-products that are inedible to humans. Cattle are fed mixed diets utilizing a variety of feeds that meet their nutrient needs. I don't see a problem with reducing waste by feeding cattle by-products that they can easily utilize for nutrients.
10 months ago on What Are the Ethical and Environmental Costs of Healthy Food?
Antibiotics are not given to livestock because they are in "overcrowded" and "unsanitary" conditions. Antibiotics are used in order to improve growth. Cattle for instance are ruminants which means that bacteria in the gut alter feed into a form that cattle can use. Antibiotics help to alter the bacterial populations so more desirable bacterial populations exist. They may also be used for to improve animal health when they are sick.
It is very biased and offensive to not only call large scale farms "factory farms", but it is also to assume that large scale farms have overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. In most cases large farms have better conditions than smaller farms since they have the monetary resources to provide their animals with the best facilities and care. Moreover, if animals were in overcrowded or unsanitary conditions, they would not perform well and would not be profitable to raise. Finally, just because a farm is large, does not mean that the farmer cares less about his/her animals.
@DavidThomasTao @DevanMPC Thanks very much! I appreciate your efforts to provide more accurate info to your readers! Also, note that antibiotics in meat are not a concern, but rather antibiotic resistant bacteria are.
10 months, 2 weeks ago on What Are the Ethical and Environmental Costs of Healthy Food?
There are a few flaws with your logic in this article. First, local food isn't necessarily more eco-friendly. You have to consider the amount of gas associated with each pound of food transported. A local source might travel less, but will likely also move less food. On the other hand non-local food might travel further but more will travel per load. So you actually often produce less gas per pound of food that is not local versus local.
Second, the meat concerns are based on very inaccurate data. The study that is cited in this paper is based on poor and outdated science. Researchers have found the greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production to be closer to 18% worldwide (http://www.news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=9336). Moreover, livestock producers in this day and age are very eco-conscious. They employ a wide array of methods to reduce waste and recycle. Finally, although deforestation is a concern, most if not all meat in the USA is not imported from other countries. So if you are consuming US raised meat, you should not be concerned with major environmental impacts. The US is likely the number one country for eco-friendly meat.
One other thing to consider is that livestock are able to utilize plants and waste that humans cannot. For instance, they can consumer corn that is inedible to humans. We can grow it in areas that are not able to produce food for human consumption. Cattle also consume a lot of waste. For instance they can eat cotton seed hulls which would otherwise be waste from cotton production.
Although it is easy to blame livestock production for our problems, it actually plays a small role and it can often be beneficial to the environment.