In the United States, most cattle live on feedlots- or concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)- and are fattened on corn, soy and other “by-product feedstuff” like recycled beef tallow and chicken litter (read Michael Pollen’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma”). It’s an unnatural diet for rumen so they’re kept “healthy” with antibiotics.
Since the late 1990s, a growing number of ranchers have let their animals forage solely on pasture, without the need for antibiotics or growth hormones. These “grassfarmers” (Eat Wild, Polyface Farms, Stockman Grass Farmer) are helping to keep soil and ecosystems healthy and consumers are benefitting as well.
In 2006, the Union of Concerned Scientists declared grass-fed beef “beef with benefits” confirming that animals raised entirely on pasture not only reduce water pollution and the risk of antibiotic-resistant diseases, but they have higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids (thought to strengthen the immune system and prevent heart disease) than conventional beef and milk.
In this video, we spent a day in Montague, California at Tawanda Farms where Carol Pasheilich and Maggie Howard showed us how with intensive rotational grazing their cows and sheep live solely on grasses.
We also have a video on eating kangaroo meat as a methane-free option.