We all know that cows are designed to graze off fresh, lush grass. It’s their natural form of food, and animals fed on pasture are healthy and end up tasting great on the dinner table.
But apart from providing us with delicious grass-fed meat packed with health benefits, what are the other positives for animals that are pasture grazed?
First and foremost, animals who get to graze on grass are significantly less at risk of dangerous health issues that those fed on grain-based diets. Although a small amount of grain as a supplement to grass is not harmful, animals fed purely on grain and in feedlots are likely to experience health issues, according to the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).
Two of the most serious risks are digestive-related conditions “feedlot bloat” and acidosis. AWI describes feedlot bloat as a dangerous digestive issue that occurs when cattle do not get enough roughage in the diet, instead receiving too much starch. It is an uncomfortable and unnatural condition, and results in “sudden death” for many animals who suffer from it.
Acidosis is another digestive issue, which is essentially the cattle form of heartburn. Cows can experience nasty symptoms such as ulcers, and the condition can even lead to liver disease.
In addition to these two undesirable conditions, AWI suggests up to 30 per cent of cattle in the United States that are raised in feedlots suffer from liver abscesses, and can also experience respiratory problems such as pneumonia from standing in dusty conditions.
In response to these unnecessary and saddening side-effects, feedlot farmers often introduce antibiotics and other medicines to the cow’s systems – making the practice of grain-feeding in feedlots even more unnatural.
While feeding animals off grain may seem like an affordable and efficient operation for some farmers, the effect on the animals is simply not worth it. By buying organic, grass-fed meat, you can rest assured that the animals were raised in natural conditions free from nasty side-effects – plus, it’s even more delicious than conventional meat!