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Organic Beef Is Good For Cows?

Posted by Merlin on Jun 21, 2008

The philosophy of organic production is to provide conditions that meet the health needs and natural behavior of the animal. Thus, organic livestock are given access to the outdoors, fresh air, water, sunshine, grass and pasture, and are fed 100 percent organic feed. Any shelter provided must be designed to allow the animal comfort and the opportunity to exercise. Organic practices prohibit feeding animal parts of any kind to ruminants that, by nature, eat a vegetarian diet. Thus, no animal byproducts of any sort are incorporated in organic feed at any time.
National organic standards require oversight of production and handling systems. For instance, production and handling operations must undergo onsite inspections and have farm or operating plans in place in order to be certified organic. The standards also specify feed requirements, including what is and is not allowed.
For instance, in organic production, livestock cannot be fed plastic pellets for roughage, or formulas containing urea or manure. They cannot be given antibiotics or growth hormones. All of these are allowable practices in conventional agriculture. For an animal to be raised for organic beef, its mother must have been fed organic feed for at least the last third of gestation. (Organic Trade Association)

All of these practices directly benefit the cows because their food and their treatment are directly regulated.  They must be allowed to graze outdoors (free range) whenever they wish, and only be fed a vegetarian diet (grass fed). And the way that they are handled is again regulated and they must be humanely treated.

Humans have eaten meat since they have been humans. We are omnivores by nature, and recent research points to high quality fish protein being the reason for our large brains. But just as we never need to appologize for eating meat, but we also never need to mistreat an animal so that we can eat.

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