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Modern meat farming.
What effect does it have on us?

Over the years, although little has been written about modern meat farming, much has been written about meat and its effects on health.  Unfortunately, a great deal of what is said is based on little more than opinion and much of it owes more to emotion than to science.

Even more unfortunately, some of the most important points have been, at best, missed and at worst, deliberately obscured by an industry with more than its share of vested interests.

What people tend to forget is that meat farming is big business and the pressure on farmers to increase output are enormous.  More, bigger and leaner animals are always the subject of strenuous efforts, often with scant, if any regard to the effects on human health.

Additionally, whilst many people take a direct interest in animal health, few stop to think how it, and the modern meat farming methods that lead to it, affect us. 

So what is all the fuss about?

Many of us are lucky enough to remember when animals were raised in open farmland and fresh country air before reaching us via a local butcher who knew notonly the farm they came from, but the exact environment in which they had been reared.  Nowadays, the only hint that any of us get of that environment is the county of origin on the label in the supermarket.

The vast majority of animels that find their way into our supermarket trolleys (especially in the USA) are now "grown" not on pastureland, but in intensive, indoor "battery" farms.  This has many implications, both for their health and for ours.

First of all, most grazing animals (cows, sheep etc) are built to do exactly what the name suggests - graze.......on grass.  Even a three-year-old can tell you that cows eat grass, so why is it that modern meat farming methods choose to feed them on grain?

The answer is very simple.  Grain makes cattle (as us!) put on weight more quickly, making them for market earlier and heavier when they get there.  Unfortunately, it also has other effects (see our article grass-fed beef for more info). 

In addition, raising animals in barns causes a multitude of other effects.  The proximity means that diseases are spread more quickly, happen more often and are much more difficult to get rid of.  As a result, many animals are given a cocktail of drugs to treat otherwise harmless diseases and even, in many cases, to prevent them.  The effect of this is not only to lessen the effect of the drugs in the animals that need them, but to introduce many unnecessary drugs to the animals, and via them, to us.

Consequently, all sorts of drugs, from antibiotics to hormones and many other toxic drugs are introduced to the dinner table, all because of the greed of modern meat farmers.

Perhaps even more important is the effect of modern farming methods on the animals themselves.  Animal rights campaigners are largely active on behalf of the animals themselves, but what is appreciated far less is how even this can affect us.

Put simply, if an animal is raised in a stressful environment, its body will produce more stress hormones. These hormones then get distributed to the tissues and remain in the meat at elevated levels.  When we eat the meat, the raised level of hormones then has a secondary effect on us, in a similar way to our own stress hormones.  As a result, blood pressure is raised, our hearts have to work harder and many other parts of our bodies are affected.

Most natural health practitioners now recognise (and the blinkered followers of modern medicine will eventually realise it too) that stress, in all its forms is cumulative.  That is, whatever the form of stress on your body, it all adds up (unless released) until it overwhelms you.  One reason our ancerstors were not affected in the same way as we are is that the large amounts of physical exercise they did acted as a "vent", burning off the stress and preventing the harmful health effects.

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