Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
Organic Meat Farming
Organic Dairy Farming
Organic meat farming and organic dairy farming have significant advantages over intensive, commercial (or industrial) farming. What is agriculture? How does the definition of agriculture fit with organic methods?
For decades, the meat industry has been producing and processing more meats at an ever quickening pace. This is to meet the high, and ever increasing, demand for the meat we consume each day.
In recent years, these intensive meat farm methods have come under new scrutiny and more people are becoming aware of the unacceptable conditions used to produce the beef, pork, and poultry that have become integral parts of our daily diets.
The Effects of Industrial Meat Farming on Animals
Industrial meat farms can be found around the world, from smelly, overcrowded chicken houses to dirty and cramped cattle facilities.
The conditions within these farms would be considered inhumane and unsanitary under any other circumstance, yet we continue to feed ourselves meat and other animal products raised and processed by intensive farming methods.
- Animals are confined to small spaces and typically spend their entire life in a cramped pen surrounded by other animals.
- With so many animals forced to live in a tiny area, the risks of disease and bacterial contamination are much greater and many animals die under the harsh conditions.
- The stress of confinement and rapid spread of disease from industrial meat farming creates a need for antibiotic and hormonal injections that can cause an onslaught of problems for the animals, as well as ourselves and our planet.
Human Health Risks Posed by Intensive Farming
The antibiotics used in commercial meat farms are one of the biggest food related health threats to humans. Antibiotics are used just as commonly in farms as they are on humans, but many of the injections given in these crowded farm facilities are used to promote growth rather than prevent disease.
Growth injections have created a great deal of concern. The primary reason is because of evidence of resistant bacteria transmitted from animals to humans, including e.coli and salmonella. Because of the potential danger of these bacteria, growth injections are prohibited in Europe.
Antibiotics used for general disease control in place of sanitary living conditions can create the same resistant strains. Unfortunately, this type of injection is permitted in most intensive farms.
Other dangers include:
- Workers in factory farms often suffer from respiratory complications and other infections due to the unclean conditions.
- Chemical residue from commercial feed, pesticides, and antibiotics can be left in the environment, including water sources, through animal waste.
- Commercial farming practices increase the risk of serious viral outbreaks like foot and mouth disease and bird flu.
The Definition of Agriculture:
Environmental Concerns Created by Intensive Farming
If more consumers understood the definition of agriculture (cultivating land, growing crops and/or raising livestock) and better understood the impact of agriculture not only on our food sources but on our lives (the planet), they may be influenced to make better food choices.
Understanding what is agriculture? helps to put into perspective the commerical and industrial 'advances' that have resulted in the development of intensive, intrusive, unhealthy methods of growing crops and raising livestock.
The damaging effects of intensive farming are seen at their worst when we examine the environmental implications of using these methods. Factory farms require extensive use of natural resources and account for a larger portion of greenhouse gas emissions than modern transportation vehicles.
Valuable forests have been lost to make room for livestock farms and the amount of waste generated from these facilities accounts for the largest source of water pollution in the world.
As more and more of the detrimental effects of intensive farming practices are recognized, some standards have been put in place in an attempt to decrease some of the risks to the environment and to people.
There are also a few laws that protect the safety of the animals involved in these farming practices, but most factory farms continue to operate in unclean, cramped conditions that are breeding grounds for disease and pollution.
What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves From These Dangers?
Awareness of intensive animal farming methods and the harmful effects they create has caused a significant increase in vegetarian lifestyles (and in arable farming), but not everyone is ready to give up meat in their diet. Thankfully, it is possible to avoid commercially produced meat without avoiding meat altogether.
Organic meat and organic animal farming techniques are beneficial to all involved, including the animals, the planet, and those who consume it.
Organic food production is closely regulated to ensure the highest quality and to minimize the dangers of bacteria and disease.
The farmers who oversee animals and livestock that are raised organically typically possess a genuine care for the animals as well as the environment.
Care of Animals on Organic Arable Farms
The animals raised to produce organic meat live 'stress-free' lives. Organic farms are full of open spaces and the animals are allowed free range whenever possible.
All natural feed, free of pesticides and chemicals, are used to raise these animals.
Hormone growth injections are not allowed, and antibiotics are only administered if an animal becomes sick.
These practices, coupled with the quality treatment and living conditions of organically raised animals, eliminate many of the dangers and health concerns associated with non-organic meat.
Unlike factory farms, organic farming follows strict regulations and guidelines for raising healthy animals that produce quality meat that is not a danger to us or the environment. Government standards in both the UK and the US govern a number of practices on organic farms, including
- The number of animals allowed in a certain amount of space.
- The quality and ingredients used in feed.
- The cleanliness and sanitary conditions of the animals living space.
- Disease control and administration of drugs.
- There are even guidelines regulating how organically raised animals are transported and how they are slaughtered.
The careful practices of organic arable farming against the unhealthy, inhumane conditions of intensive animal farming is not only a sensible choice for those who care about their own health, but also a good choice for the health of our planet.
Organic farms minimize damage to the environment and decrease the amount of chemicals and bad bacteria released into the earth. Organic dairy farming follows similar principles of organic meat farming. Organic meat is guaranteed to be fresh, tasty, and free of the health threats common with commercial meat; making organic the best choice.