Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's wrong with meat?

     After posting my introductory blog entry, my fiancé read it and of course he gave that look like I am a complete nutcase and I swear I saw his hand reach for his cell phone ready to send out the call to start my intervention. She’s gone insane! How can she live without meat?!?! Well, there ensued a long conversation and the usual barrage of questions but the main questions were: What’s wrong with meat? What’s wrong with eggs and milk?

     Well, let’s start with what the animals are fed. My fiancé, the advocate of dead pig for breakfast and dead cow for dinner, swears up and down that the only thing cows are fed is grass and the only time they are given antibiotics is when they are sick. Really. Then why is there such a big market for ‘grass fed beef’? Why would that type of specification even be needed if all the cattle used to supply our beef were in fact ‘grass fed’? Cattle are first fed grass but upon reaching a certain weight they are then moved into a feedlot where they are fed a specialized diet that includes ‘animal bi-products’. Yummy.

     If that isn’t enough to make you sick to your stomach then what about the antibiotics that are given to the livestock? According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine animals are not only medicated when they are sick but often, “in the absence of disease, for sub-therapeutic purposes with the goals of growth promotion and enhanced feed efficiency” (1) The article goes on to mention that in a study, “20 percent of samples of ground meat obtained in supermarkets were contaminated with salmonella and that 84 percent of the isolates were resistant to at least one antimicrobial” So not only are animals feed drugs when they have no medical need for them, the results of this ‘therapeutic’ use of medicine is causing bacteria to become resistant to these medicines, many of which are also given to humans. Great, so now you can get an extra dose of your antibiotics and drug resistant bacteria with you hamburger and french fries!

     Steroids too are given to cattle according to a study posted on the USDA’s website, “Anabolic steroids are widely used growth promotants for feedlot cattle”. There are six steroid hormones that are currently approved by the FDA for use in feedlot cattle. Also the bovine growth hormone (BGH) is used on dairy cows to increase the amount of milk they produce.(3) The effects of these steroid hormones on human’s has yet to be studied though many of them are suspected in issues such as earlier puberty in girls and a higher risk of cancer. The BGH hormone given to dairy cows is related to breast cancer and has caused a rise in the amount of antibiotics given to the cattle because the increased irritation suffered by over milked udders causes increased infections. Just the fact that they are using things whose effects haven’t been studied in is enough to keep me from eating it.

     I told my fiancé most of this last night and he said now I am avoiding the crap in meat but now I am getting pesticides from my beloved fruits and veggies. Pesticides are also found in concentrated amounts in our meat products. According to the “Skinny Bitch” book that I recommended yesterday, “Meat contains 14 times more pesticides than plant foods and dairy has 5 times more pesticides that plant foods.” Besides, if you are eating mostly organic fruits and veggies you can avoid these pesticides.

     So there you have it. What is really so bad about meat, dairy and eggs? Well, (without going into the protein over-load or the high content of saturated fat among other things) antibiotics, steroid hormones and pesticides.

(1) Sherwood L. Gorbach, M.D. “The New England Journal of Medicine” 2001:16:1202-1203
(3) Renu Ghandi, ‘Consumer Concerns about hormones in food’ Cornell University

1 comment:

  1. read "the kind" by Alicia silverstone