Monday, April 23, 2007

Grain feeding of cattle

Good morning all....a client just sent me an email this morning that reads:

"I just saw an item on ASB Business this morning about a farmer in the Manawatu.
He has found it more "efficient" to add an hour of feeding from a feedlot type situation twice a day before milking to boost the milk production. The dried feed, which he claimed gives the cows a more varied diet, has to be bought in, yet it was described as a sustainable venture because the effluent gets sprayed back onto the fields.
I find this quite disturbing!"

I find it disturbing too mate...
This email was entitled "The thin end of the wedge" and it certainly does seem to me to be.
A friend of mine works for a major farm supply company and has told me that more and mroe farmers are beginning to supplement their cattle's diet with grain and corn based feeds. What is the problem with this? You may well ask....
Well here are the problems:

- Grain and corn fed cattle have higher amounts of omega 6 fats in the tissue than grass fed cattle. Omega 6 fats in too great an amount have been shown to be cofactors in the development of heart diseas and most particularly cancer. In fact according to my research the biggest single nutritional factor associated with Breast cancer development is the increased incidence of Omega 6 fats in our modern diet.
- They also contain MUCH lower amounts of Omega 3 fats which we generally now eat far too little of and are considered healthful because they increase insulin sensitivity and reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Did you know that scientists think we should eat about a 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats for good health?....we now eat a diet that is somewhere between 20:1 and 50:1!!!
Basically, what our food eats affects our health in a HUGE way.
Cattle have evolved to eat pasture grasses. When they eat grains and corn they are more likely to develop serious gastric upset and digestive imbalances that require intervention (medical, physical and surgical) and it is MUCH less pleasent for the animal.

Grass fed beef is also becoming more and more sought after - particularly in North America, because of it's health benefits and so we have a specific economic advantage in keeping our cattle grass fed!

So to recap it is:
Healthier for us, healthier for the animal and allows us to have a premiere, unique and higher value product by preserving grass fed and pasture raised beef and resisting the further introduction of cattle feeds.

What can I do?
- Buy only New Zealand beef (you'd be surprised that much of what we buy in Supermarkets now is imported! Ask at the supermarket service desk and ONLY ever buy NZ beef

- Support mandatory labelling of point of origin. Encourage your supermarket or butcher to label the country of origin.
- Sign my petition to ban grass and grain feeding of cattle in New Zealand here:BAN GRAIN FEEDING IN NEW ZEALAND

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