Never break the chain....

  • Posted: 3:01 PM
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  • Author: Heather Bannister

        For most, that is nothing but a memorable song lyric.  As delightful a song as it may be, that phrase can and should mean much more than an antiquated love chain.  For us, humans, earth-dwellers and omnivores, it should mean something more along the lines of a food chain.  We all learned about these in school, this eats that which is then eaten by something else, and there we are on top, eating everything.  Which is true....we have completely dominated the global food chain.  This is not a bad thing at all, we are an intelligent, adaptive, omnivorous and societal species.  But, what we have lost track of is what our foods eat.

         When we go to the store, we don't think about what the cow that our ground beef came from ate, or whether it was on antibiotics or why.  We, again, only care that we don't pay too much for it.  We fail to take into consideration the fact that most of these animals are kept in dirty, cramped, cement feedlots where they are fed corn.  "Okay so they eat corn.  What's the big deal?"  Have you ever seen a cow in the wild eat corn?  If you can't remember, or don't know, I can tell you.  NO!!!  They eat grass.  Their digestive systems are speciffically designed for this purpose.  When they eat corn, they get sick because their systems are not made to process corn.  So, we give our cows corn, they get sick because they are made to eat grass.  What is the obvious solution?  If you thought "Feed them grass, duh."  you'd be wrong....at least according to the industrial food machine.  When cows (and any other feedlot animal for that matter) get sick, we don't look for the source of the problem, we pump them full of antibiotics, duh. 

        Now, that must be okay though because the FDA and USDA have tested all these antibiotics to make sure they are safe for human consumption right?   Weeeeelll....you'd think, but that is surprisingly not always the case.  Most of the time, the USDA/FDA work retrospectively, meaning, they wait til there IS a problem to deal with it rather than trying to avoid it in the first place.  Seems counterintuitive to me too.  ESPECIALLY when it comes to food that millions of people are eating.  The people they are supposed to be protecting from that kind of stuff.

        Back to corn.  Why would we use antibiotics to treat cows and other animals so that we can feed them what they're not supposed to eat?  Because we can grow more corn per acre than pasture.  We can subsidize corn farmers, and allow private corporations to control over 90% of the corn seed planted in the united states.  By the way, this particular corn seed is patented.  You heard right, PATENTED.  That mens that corn farmers cannot save their seeds to plant the next season like they used to....for thousands of years.  As a matter of fact, this is the first time that it has been more common for frmers as a whole to plant new seed every year than to keep their own, since the implementation of agriculture.  Doesn't seem right to me, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

         Fortunately, recently there have been more and more pastured (or at least grass-fed) meat choices available in grocery stores.  This means that if you can't or don't want to go to your local farmer's market and get non-feedlot meat, you can still go to your regular store and help to stop the breakdown of the food chain.  And as always, vote with your fork and "Eat FOOD.  Not too much.  Mostly plants."