For today's Real Food Quote Monday (RFQM), I'm quoting from Joel Salatin's “Salad Bar Beef” — the book where he outlines his creative and alternative production model of raising grass-fed beef for healthy animals, humans, and ecology.
“…the salad bar beef production model offers hope to rural communities, to struggling row-crop farmers, and to frustrated beef eaters who do not want to encourage desertification, air and water pollution, environmental degradation and inhuman animal treatment. Because this is a program weighted toward creativity, management, entrepreneurism and observation, it breathes fresh air into farm economics.”
I just finished reading Chapter 13, on choosing a breed. I read it because my husband thought it applied not only to cattle (which we don't have, yet) but also to goats (which we do have). I learned much about common sense breeding, but what stuck out to me were a few paragraphs in which Joel Salatin debunks research that puts down organic or natural growing methods. Even though long, every bit of this quote is important.
“You know how the research is done. Some company provides seed money to a land grant university to do some research on the experimental farm. The herd on the experimental farm, of course, is on all the latest crutches available to the industry. That's just the nature of the system. I don't know of any experimental land-grant farm that operates a salad bar beef program.
What that means is that these animals come into the study crutch-dependent [pharmaceuticals, grain, etc.] already. It's kind of like the research that showed organic farming couldn't produce anything. Typical research went into something like this. They would go out behind the soil or crop sciences lab and pick a couple of plots they'd been using for two decades to run chemical fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide tests. They wouldn't do anything to these plots at all: these were the organic plots. In the adjacent plots they would pour on the regular dose of chemicals, or, as Charles Walters, Jr. calls it, “toxic rescue chemistry.”
Then they'd plant the corn and at the end of the season take their measurements. Well of course the chemical plot did great and the organic plots did miserably. Conclusion: “If farming went organic either half the world would starve or we'd have to plow up twice as much acreage for the same production. Clearly, organic farming doesn't work.”
Such research, of course, makes a mockery of true science. Anyone involved in organic farming knows that it takes a lifetime to build a healthy soil. To take soil that has been abused for decades, do nothing positive to it one year and call that “organic” is a lie. And yet this technique was and is employed all over the world to disprove alternatives.”
To put this in perspective, recently we heard the news that grass-fed beef is just as susceptible to E. Coli as feedlot beef.
“A recent article refutes the assumption that E. Coli contamination won’t happen in grass fed beef. Studies have been performed in the past several years have noted that rates of E. Coli in grass fed beef are similar to feedlot cattle. See studies here and here.”
And there are more statements like this across the internet. But, what animals were studied, where and how were they pastured, and how was the meat processed?
Was the E. Coli contaminated grass-fed beef from among Joel Salatin's cows or similar cows? (I doubt it.) Was their pasture rich and diverse with a smorgasbord of grasses? Did fowl follow the herbivores completing the natural task of cleaning up parasites?
Or, had they just been taken off various crutches, put on a scrawny piece of land, and dumped into a study?
You see, we hear the claims but we don't get details about the study. If you wanted to see the study yourself, you'd have to purchase access for $20 or $31.
We have not purchased access to the study. We know what we'd find if we did see it, though. The grass-fed model won't have been a good one.
(If you've purchased either study and want to share one with us, I'll have my husband take a look. I'll also send it to Joel Salatin and ask him what he thinks.)
Does anyone really believe that raising any crop — whether animal or vegetable — in a truly organic and natural way is not superior? Apparently some people do, or perhaps they're deluding themselves. The trouble is, they will concoct studies in an attempt to delude the rest of us.
What are your thoughts?
Note: The book link in this post is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you choose to buy the book via my link, I'll earn a commission. But I don't care about that too much. The point of this post is for us to share inspirational words. That's my sincere disclaimer. Thanks for reading.
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