Thursday, October 1, 2009


Cow wants to be outside and eat grass (after it's milked) in the early morning.

Cow wants to go back inside in the early evening to be milked again.

Instead, cow stays in an enclosure standing in its own poop and is fed corn.

Corn doesn't agree with cow's stomach, and becomes gassy.

Cow gets sick; wants to go outside and eat grass and poop.

Cow, instead, is given antibiotics with its corn.

Cow gets sicker; meat is affected; still standing in own poop.

All cow wants to do is go outside and eat grass. And poop.

There was a great article in the Birmingham paper yesterday about one of our local farmers' market farmers. They raise beef, poultry and pork. The beef is grass fed. They let the chickens forage. And they let the pigs forage, for acorns. She said the acorns give the pork a wonderful flavor.

Articles like this make me feel less alone. And stories like this one make me believe I can do anything if I stick with it.

Here's the thing: Free-range livestock eats what it needs to be healthy, suffers less stress over the course of its life, and has some dignity. Because of these simple things, it tastes better, and, that's right, it's better for you.

I think I read where Michael Pollan said that a cow with a stomach infection, if left to its own devices to eat grass, will have a completely healthy stomach in less than a week.

No antibiotics needed.

I'll shut up now. (For awhile.)


artandsoul said...

Yesterday at the Farmer's Market I got a brochure for our 2nd Annual Farm Tour.

I also met a guy who raises Sheep and Goats in a free-range manner. And found one that does chickens and turkeys the same way.

I know these are recent developments ... and it makes me feel truly hopeful. I really do live in one of the least-trendy spots in America, so if it is HERE, then it can be anywhere!

switters said...

That's fantastic.

We're coming up on our last two weekends of market. Kind of depressing. And because of my inferior tomatoes, wasn't able to can at all.

Seems like you're really making a difference. Must feel pretty good.

Schmutzie said...

On something of a side-note, speaking of how we treat cows, I was told that Italian leather is more desirable than American leather because there are practically no puncture holes in raw Italian leather. They don't use barbed wire.

Also- Had my last veal at an Italian restaurant about 25 years ago. Went home that night and saw 60 Minutes do a thing on how we get veal. Talk about standing in poo and never living the full cow life. That was it for me. Never again. Oh my.

catnapping said...

One of the many reasons I only eat local meat, and only from ranchers who allow their stock comfortable lives till slaughtered.

Even my eggs come from contented chickens.

I rarely eat beef anymore. For "red" meat, I most eat buffalo - free range. And if someone I know has brought home some venison, I go for that, too.

I wish everyone would boycott the fast food franchises and the national grocery chains. As long as there are assholes spending money for the meat of tortured animals, the ranchers will never stop doing it. And the KFCs, Safeways, Wendy's, McDonald's, etc. will never stop purchasing it.

artandsoul said...

I have to guard against trying to be perfect at it, and to allow what I'm doing to be enough.

That's a concept, right? Enough.

My new favorite friend (the sheep and goat guy) is Golden Acres Ranch in Monticello. His farm is on the tour - hey, switters, maybe you should come to the Farm tour and get some ideas to take up to Iowa!

Isonomist said...

Thanks especially for the link. A new hero for me.