In the documentary Food Inc., undercover investigate reporters reveal the treatment of animals in factory farms. The video and images are both repulsive and heart-breaking: Chickens being cooped up in mesh cages, over inflated due to steroids; cows stuffed into small pens, unable to move, feeding on grain; fish trapped in small buckets, scarcely able to move, feeding on grain.
It’s repulsive to see animals treated in an inhumane way. Unfortunately, that has become the way of factory farms. Profit and economy valued more than a animal’s well-being. But still, you may ask, what happens to the nutritional value of these animals? After all, they are being prepped to be slaughtered, their parts sold. Here is your answer.
Animals in factory farms are fed grain. This grain is pumped with steroids, protein, and other substances to influence the animals to grow to a much inflated size. While this size causes the legs of animals to break and buckle, their meat grows larger. More chicken, more beef, more fish–it helps bring in revenue.
This grain, however, is not as nutritious as a natural meal. For instance, let’s take the case of wild caught salmon.
Wild caught salmon are fished from the ocean. They feed on any number of nutrients in the plants that are in the ocean. Farm factory salmon, on the other hand, are fed grain. Here are three statistics to show the different in nutritional value between them.
- Wild caught salmon has 32% fewer calories than its grain fed counterpart.
- Wild caught salmon averages 13 grams of fat per half filet, compared to 27 grams in its farmed counterpart.
- Farmed salmon has three times the amount of saturated fat as its wild caught counterpart.
And that’s just wild caught salmon. It is a certainty, it seems nowadays, that raising an animal in its habitat is both ecologically friendly and kinder to the animals but also more nutritionally valuable.
Take another–the free range chicken.
In factory farms, the chicken is cooped up in small mesh cages. It can see but it can scarcely move. It is fed a strict grain diet, intended to boost up the protein count in the chicken, the amount of muscle and meat for the most profitable outcome. Americans eat 90 pounds of chicken each year.
Sustainable farming takes chickens in a general open coop and allows them to walk outside in the grass. The chickens eat a more nutritious feed, pick at the grass, and have movement and activity. Chickens in this situation have more nutrients, their bodies grow without the effects of steroids, and they are tastier and more nutritious for buyers.
Then there is the grass fed cow. In factory farms, cows are herded into pens with other cows, barely able to move. Factory farm workers feed them grain pumped with artificial substances.
The statistics are staggering:
- Beef from grass fed cows has a higher amount of Omega 3 fatty acids, and offers more Vitamin A and E
- Grass fed beef has up to seven times more carotene than grain fed beef.
However, grass fed beef only accounts for 3% of beef sales in the United States. While grass fed beef is more nutritious, it is more expensive than its grain fed counterparts.
Local meat farmers provide sustainable meat, such as grass fed steaks and free range chicken. Support them. It’s important for your health.