You have that picture in your head of a factory farm: It’s a large building, probably gray in color, massive like a warehouse. Inside, there are animals. They are in pens, corrals, and you think that this is the way that American farming works.
Unfortunately, this is all too often the case. American farming in the past thirty to forty to fifty years has undergone a strange transformation: Whereas, once there were pastoral and idyllic farms where chickens roamed freely on top of the grass and cows walked slowly through the pastures, American farming became solely dependent on a mechanism that drove them to far reaching measures, enacted because of one thing–money.
It started like this. In the 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression, American farmers were losing revenue on a vital staple of American farming: corn. People, many of whom were just barely scraping by and in some cases not at all, couldn’t afford corn. This led to the government issuing the first in a string of legislature to combat this loss of revenue: the subsidy.
Slowly, over time, American farmers raked in more revenue from growing corn than most any other crop. The customer bought some; the government added to it. The Great Depression had ended and yet still the government handed out subsidies. This grew and grew, until factory farms were developed.
Factory farms are a blight on the nation’s conscious. They put animals in constrained and confined areas–small enough to where the animals can barely move. This goes for cows, for chickens, for pigs, for fish. Yes, even salmon gets taken into factory farms.
Yes, this is considered, at best, poor treatment; at worst, many would consider it humane.
But nutrient wise factor farms decided to introduce another element to these animals’ diets: corn.
Yes, corns is fed to cows. And to pigs. And to fish. And to chickens.
The government subsidizes it, just like they have for decades.
And the health effects are damaging, not just to the animals themselves–those cows and pigs and fish and chickens. But to the American people as well. For those that do not believe, here are the statistics:
- Americans eat on average 66.5 pounds of beef every year.
- Of that beef, just 3% is grass fed.
- However…beef from grass fed cows has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, offers more vitamin A and offers more vitamin E
- Grass fed beef offers seven more times the beta carotene than grain/corn fed beef.
And even more so for fish. To take an example, look at the statistics behind salmon:
- Wild salmon has 32% fewer calories than its farmed counterpart, according to data from the National Nutrition Database.
- Wild salmon averages out at 13 grams of fat per half fillet, while farmed salmon has 27 grams.
- Farmed salmon has more than three times the amount of saturated fat as wild salmon.
It makes sense, then, that salmon raised in a factory farm would be more unhealthy to eat than salmon caught in the wild. Factory farm salmon are fed a steady diet of grain and corn, while salmon in the wild act and eat as nature would have intended them to do so.
There are options, however, for those looking to eat healthier. People can buy grass ed steaks and free range chicken, buy from local meat farmers who sell sustainable meat. There is even grass fed meat delivery.
It is also possible to buy wild caught Alaskan salmon. Wild caught Alaskan salmon is healthy, as some of the world’s tastiest salmon comes from colder regions like Alaska. Wild caught Alaskan salmon is also shipped across the United States. You might find it in supermarkets. Wild caught Alaskan salmon is juicy and very healthy to eat.