A Moooove in the Right Direction

Fast food chains like McDonald’s buy the majority of their meat from companies like Tyson and Keystone Foods, both of which purchase animals from the factory farm industry. However, there is a huge flaw in this paradigm: factory farms produce more pollution than all of the world’s transportation systems combined. Toxic waste runoff from these facilities is one of the major contributors to water pollution, as well as food born illnesses like E. coli.

McDonald’s admits on their own website that their beef is derived from corn-fed cattle. Cows, however, are not meant to eat corn. The genetic makeup of a cow’s digestive system will not permit digestion. The fact is, these animals are forced to eat an unnatural and unhealthy diet because it’s cheaper than what would be healthy for them, not to mention more healthy for the consumer.

According to Science Daily, and based off the scientific research of 53 scholars, when cows are fed a vegetable grain like corn in the place of grass, “acid buildup can cause ulcers in animals consuming too much grain… Then what happens is that infectious bacteria come from the rumen through the ulcers, into blood, and finally into the liver, where they cause abscesses… Feed additives such as antibiotics can counteract such ailments, but they further alter the ruminal microbial ecosystem…Grains can accumulate in an animal’s intestines because they lack starch-digesting enzymes. Thus, a high-grain diet can promote an overgrowth of Clostridium perfringens, a bacterium associated with sudden death in feedlot cattle… Finally, grain-based diets can promote Escherichia coli (E. coli) within the digestive tract of cattle, and these E. coli are more likely to survive acid shocks that mimic the human gastric stomach. This discovery, first reported by Russell and colleagues in 1998 (Science, 11 September), has now been confirmed. Other USDA scientists have likewise shown that cattle switched from grain-based diets to hay were less likely to shed harmful E. coli 0157:H7 in feces.”

Shockingly, non-organically, traditionally-raised cattle in the US consumes more antibiotics annually than humans do. Because of this unfortunate fact, our bodies are slowly building up resistances to antibiotics because they are being constantly ingested through animal flesh. On the other hand, organic, grass-fed beef contains no harmful antibiotics, pesticides, additives, hormones, or chemicals. With a simple switch to an organic diet, disease rates in humans, animals and plants would drop dramatically, and our strain on the environment would decrease as well.

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