Modern consumers want to know that animals providing their meat were raised under the most humane conditions possible. When you order grass fed beef delivery from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, you can rest assured that the animal lived its life naturally and stress-free with adherence to the highest animal welfare standards.
Animal welfare is a key component of regenerative agriculture. Sustainable ranches utilizing regenerative agricultural techniques treat their cattle with much more respect during their lifetimes. Cattle move and eat as their bodies were designed and as they evolved to live.
Conventionally Raised Beef vs. Grass Fed Beef
Conventional methods of cattle raising leave much to be desired in terms of animal welfare. Some grain-fed cattle begin their lives on pasture, but are soon sent to feedlots to fatten up on corn. Their lives are spent in small, confined spaces.
Too much corn in the bovine diet can result in liver abscesses, which may affect as many as 20 percent of feedlot cattle. The only way to reduce the amount of liver disease in feedlot cattle is by feeding them antibiotics. This practice contributes to bacteria-resistant antibiotics and potential human health problems. Feedlot cattle receive hormones and beta-agonists to boost growth. The latter has been linked to lameness and loss of mobility in some cattle, making it a critical animal welfare concern. Of course, these antibiotics, hormones, and beta-agonists are eventually passed on to the consumer.
In contrast, our 100 percent grass fed beef cattle are raised under natural conditions. They receive no antibiotics or hormones. No GMO components enter their bodies.
Keep in mind that cattle are ruminants. A cow’s multiple stomachs cannot digest grains properly, leading to health issues. Grass fed cows graze naturally and instinctively, digesting the food they were meant to eat.
CAFOs and AFOs
Commercially raised cattle spend much of their lives in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). A CAFO has more than 1,000 animal units (AUs) confined on site for more than 45 days per year. AUs are equivalent to 1,000 pounds of live weight. A beef cow equals one AU, so 1,000 beef cattle can make up a CAFO. In contrast, 82,000 hens are necessary to make up a CAFO.
Smaller agricultural enterprises keeping animals in confinement are Animal Feeding Operations (AFOs). The United States Department of Agriculture defines AFOs as enterprises congregating “animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area.” Rather than the animals grazing on pastures or rangeland, which is the case with regenerative agriculture, feed is brought to them. The U.S. contains approximately 450,000 AFOs. However, no matter the size of the AFO, if it discharges wastewater or manure into a waterway, it is considered a CAFO. That holds true whether the waterway is natural or a man-made ditch.
In contrast to grass fed beef, conventionally raised cattle pose a negative impact on the environment. Manure, runoff, and subsequent water and air pollution are major issues for CAFOs and AFOs. This is not a problem for ranchers using holistic, regenerative agricultural practices.
Grass fed cattle contribute to, rather than detract from, the environment by helping to replenish the soil and grasslands.
Why Grass Fed Beef?
What is grass fed beef? At Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed, not only do our grass fed cattle spend their entire lives on grass, but they live in a much healthier way. There is no confinement feeding or any grain or byproducts fed to them. Grass fed cattle do not experience the stress common in animals raised in AFOs. Stress equals higher levels of the cortisol hormone, which affects not only the animal but the meat quality.
Our products are American Grass-Fed Certified. Grass fed beef does cost more than corn-fed cattle, but the pasture and subsequent animal welfare benefits do incur added expenses. Visit our online store and discover the difference in taste, quality, and nutritional value only 100% grass fed beef provides.
“All the benefits of grass-fed beef are ONLY gained when the cattle are holistically grazed for their lifetime.”
—Matt Maier, Chief Renegade