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Food is arguably the most basic need of man and as such, having food security is a fundamental goal for human civilization. Ensuring that people are protected from hunger that is often the consequence of underproduction of food is therefore one of the major ambitions of most governments.
To cater for the increasing need for food caused by an every growing population, traditional methods of producing food have in most cases being replaced by modern means which are deemed to be more efficient. Livestock farming is one of the areas whereby modern methods such as feeding livestock on corn have been adopted to increase the growth rate of the animals. As it currently stands, livestock products today contribute a large percentage of our daily intake of nutrients in our bodies.
However the foods that the livestock feeds upon impacts on the livestock products that we as human consume. This essay will argue that free range animal products are more beneficial to the consumer as compared to corn fed livestock products. To reinforce this claim, this paper will review the various benefits that free range animal products hold over corn fed livestock products.
Benefits of Free Range Animals
Human beings rely on animal products to provide them with some essential nutrients. Animals that are fed on corn sometimes end up lacking these essential nutrients. Challem reveals that farm animals that eat mostly corn and other grains have little to no omega-3 fatty acids in their muscles (78). Free range livestock products on the other hand are endowed with most nutrients that help us to boost our immune system in that they contain higher levels of antioxidants and important fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E (Forge 10).
These vitamins are essential for promotion of good eye sight, strong well formed bones as well as healthy skin. Free range livestock products are also rich in calcium which is essential to maintain a healthy body, strong healthy bones and teeth, healthy skin hair and nails and more so helps us to have supple and flexible joints. It is hence very important to go for free range livestock products so as to maximize on health benefits.
The United States and other developed countries currently face high prevalence rates of obesity, a condition which is mostly caused by consumption unhealthy foods. This problem is accentuated by corn fed livestock result in products that are unhealthy to human beings. Research indicates that pasture-raised meat, eggs and other dairy products are better for consumer health than conventionally-raised grain-fed food (Challem 38).
This is because these products are lower in calories and total fat as a result of feeding livestock with the right food. The reason for this is that corn is not friendly with the digestive system of animals and this results in the animals not being able to process the food as well as they would process grass. They therefore end up giving products that are high on calories and fat and therefore unhealthy for the consumer.
In addition to being nutritionally rich free range products are safe to consume as they are known to be free of residues from the antibiotics that are routinely fed to livestock as growth promoters by conventional farmers (Straten 162). Free range beef has a higher level of a naturally occurring fatty acid called Conjugated Linoleic Acid –CLA which is vital to our bodies. It is involved in the efficient transportation, storage and metabolism of fat in the body but is frequently deficient even in a healthy diet.
This fatty acid is also “a key factor in weight management as it helps to reduce the total weight fat and increase muscle tone as part of an enzyme reaction that breaks down fat globules in the blood” (Straten 168). The consumption of free range livestock products therefore results in the efficient circulation of blood and decreases the chances of developing heart complications and high blood pressure.
Corn fed products is not safe to consume due to the residue from antibiotics that are continually fed to animals to promote their growth. This is a cause of great concern because this raises negative health risks. For instance this may lead to resistant strains of bacteria in consumers and consequently reduce the effectiveness of the bodies own mechanism (Straten 32).
There are various concerns pertaining to modern food animal production. Mooney, Knox and Schacht reveal that higher levels of saturated fat in corn fed beef result in possible health risks associated with growth in milk and the production of contamination of meat (70).
Creatzfeldt-Jacob which is the human form of mad cow disease may also result from the consumption of corn fed products. The use of antibiotics in animal feed also results in the creation of super-resistant bacteria infections in man (Straten 70). Consumers are thus encourages to be very careful when buying livestock product they wish to eat because cheap could be extremely expensive.
A case for Corn-Fed Livestock
As has been noted, the human population has increased at phenomenal rates and relying on traditional means to feed people may no longer be viable. The biggest motivation for farming today is therefore coming up with products in the shortest time possible so as to feed the bulging population.
Doyle and Lipman rightly noted that “most commercially available meats are factory farmed because it is fast, convenient and more economical” (131). It can therefore be seen that while corn fed livestock may not be as healthy to the human body as free range livestock, they give the nation the ability to feed its population.
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However, it should be taken into consideration that corn fed livestock deprives people of important nutrients and may in fact result in health complications. Baer reveals that for instance, the ratio of the detrimental Omega 6 fatty acids is higher in corn fed beef than in grass fed beef and that do not work well for our bodies since it can cause inflammation, increase of heart disease and even cancer. From such revelations, it is clear that consuming corn fed livestock products just because they satisfy us is a dangerous.
Animal products form an important part of man’s nutritional needs. This paper set out to argue that free range livestock products are more beneficial to human beings than products from corn-fed livestock.
The paper has highlighted the fact that free range products result in the promotion of good health. It has also been documented that free range products can be counted on to boost the immune system, to provide us with soluble and to supply humans with adequate amount of an important nutrients in our bodies. This proves that free range livestock is so much beneficial on consumer health rather than corn fed livestock.
Challem, Jack. The Inflammation Syndrome: Your Nutrition Plan for Great Health, Weight Loss, and Pain-Free Living. John Wiley and Sons, 2010. Print.
Doyle, Molly and Lipman, Frank. Spent: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again. Simon and Schuster, 2008. Print.
Forge, Arabella. Frugavore. Black Inc, 2010. Print.
Mooney, Linda., Knocks, David and Schacht, Caroline. Understanding Social Problems. Wadsworth Publishing , 2010. Print.
Straten, Michael. Organic living. Frances Lincoln ltd, 2001. Print.