What effect does it have on us?
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
the stress and preventing the harmful health effects.
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