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What’s My Beef?

Veal Calf   It is all over the news and yet the general public appears unbothered: a huge meat processing plant in California abuses cattle (the acts of violence are simply too horrible to go into but a few of them include waterboarding and ramming them with forklift blades) & the USDA is conducting an investigation and a massive recall of beef is issued.  Josh and I wandered into the grocery store today and noticed plenty of folks grabbing up packages of beef without even glancing at the labels.  We also noticed that various fast food establishments (all known to purchase their meat from such places) were just as busy as usual.  This is no spinach scare: this is the largest meat recall in U.S. history.

Some of you may remember a post a few weeks ago in which I talked about The Ominvore’s Delimma in which Michael Pollan, a professor of environmental journalism at the University of California-Berkeley, says a very simple but amazing thing: “Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.” Our $30 billion dollar diet industry would like you to think that there is some magic formula to health and the truth is that our society consumes mass quantities of meats & dairy containing steroids (promoting weight gain), hormones(8 year old girls are now getting their periods), and antibiotics (Americans are now resistant to many antibiotics).  All of these factors make for an overweight, hormonally imbalanced, and ill society. 

Be sure you check out the Meatrix 2 1/2 which shows the truth about meat processing factories. 

The Eat Well Guided Tour of America          Get Involved! Find out what you can do to help!     Explore the 360 degree interactive scene!

Humane Eating         


  • Lips of an Angel - People just don’t care anymore. They assume things will never affect them personally so why worry. It’s my feeling anyone who abuses animals deserves to have whatever they did to the animals done right back to them in return. There’s no excuse for it.

    As a side note… when I was younger I basically lived on grains (“carbs” which are now deemed “evil” by people who don’t know better) and it was then that I was healthiest, I felt the best, had plenty of energy, was at a comfortable weight, you get the idea. I’d eat meat (be it fish, poultry, or red meat) perhaps once or twice a week, but every day it was mostly grains of some sort. Granted I’ve become less physically active than I was then as well but the fact remains when I ate primarily “carbs” I just plain felt better than I do now.

    8 year old girls getting their periods… My niece is seven. I can’t imagine any little girl that young having to deal with having a monthly friend who’s so unpleasant. They grow up too fast as it is.ReplyCancel

  • Sheli - I am one of those people that doesn’t check where my meat comes from. I cannot afford to. Meat that is raised organically and properly is so out of my price range. I care what happens to the animals at the slaughterhouses/feedlots. We have many meat packing plants here and when a load of cattle crashes on the interstate and they just choose to kill the animals instead of corral them it is upsetting. I guess for me what I don’t know, keeps me eating meat. I like it now that I am an adult. When I was a child I couldn’t eat chickens because I saw my Granny kill them. I couldn’t eat chicken without crying until I was an adult, unless it was nuggets and didn’t look like meat. I am afraid that if I know what even the “good” packing houses do, I will not eat it period, and I just don’t know how to be a vegetarian either. So for me ignorance is self protective. My husband actually goes in and out of packing houses all day with his job. He doesn’t get to share with me either, he does say that the USDA has some guidelines that are meant to help be humane to the cattle, however, it has to be a small comfort to the cattle that are waiting outside that sense what is happening on the other side of the wall.

    So while I cannot watch the video, I’m glad it’s here for people that can handle it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    On the hormone issue, absolutely the hormones in the meat are affecting our kids. When I was a child I ate so little meat that I didn’t “develop” until I was 16. My girls on the other hand were much earlier and many of their friends even earlier than them.ReplyCancel

  • Holly - Hi Jenn. I have to agree with the first comment about people not caring, and about how people tend to live in denial (“Oh, that won’t happen to me). It’s apathy and denial that cause so many of the problems we’re seeing in the food industries, these days, and it has to stop. People have to take a stand and hit the manufacturers where it hurts: In the pocketbook. Meat these days just isn’t safe, specifically because of all the crap that’s injected into it during processing, as well as what the animals are fed when they’re alive. I rarely eat meat, anymore, and that’s a big part of the reason why.

    I could go on about this, but I won’t. I’ll just say thanks for coming to visit me – I’m sure glad you got things sorted out with your internet! – and tell you you’re welcome for the info about that woodpecker. We have a place a couple of hours east of us that we visit quite often, and there are more than 170 recorded bird species living there – one of which is the Hairy Woodpecker. I’m glad to have been able to help you out.

    Have a great day, my friend. Thanks again for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • Gina - Lacy- THANK YOU for bringing up a very important topic!! And I think it goes so beyond just the sad, sad fact that these “meat factories” are cruel and unusual in their treatment of the animals. We are in a HUGE NATIONAL HEALTH CRISIS and it’s because of the fact that half the time we don’t know where our food has been!!
    Shelli- eating primarily vegetarian is not hard at all. Eat 80% of your diet raw or cooked fruits/vegetables, and 20% meat/dairy/eggs. (the less meat you eat, the better quality you can afford) People always say, “well, what about protein?” If you are truly eating VEGETABLES then you are getting all kinds of necessary nutrients. Eat beans/legumes for protein (make that chili w/o ground beef, add extra beans- wahlah!). A lot of people who say they are vegetarians are actually “bread-etarians” or “rice-etarains” or “pasta-etarians”. They are getting WAY too many carbs and not near enough fruits and vegetables and beans. They don’t eat meat-but they really don’t eat vegetables, either.
    There IS a cost factor in choosing better products- but here is how I look at it: I will either pay now, or I will pay later- in doctor visits and hospital stays and treatment therapies and prescription drugs. Personally, I look at what I eat as an INVESTMENT- not as a cost.
    What we eat is THE #1 factor to our health, no matter what any doctor says. How could it NOT be?? If every living cell in our body derives it’s energy and food and reproduction ability from what WE ingest, then how could food not be important?? If we feed our cells inadequate or dangerous foods, what we get are cells that cannot reproduce themselves at the same level, so they keep breaking down, and breaking down, until they have become a mutated form of their original form- CANCER.
    Follow the money: huge manufacturers of our primary sources of food-> huge treatment centers for cancer.
    Sorry- this is a MAJOR soap box for me.ReplyCancel

  • Razor Family Farms - Hi Leah and Shelli! I’m so glad that you commented on this post (it’s on a subject which I am very passionate about). We are an enlisted military family which means we are on a very tight budget. I’ve learned how to buy the organic/free range meat and dairy without breaking the bank. Here’s how: we don’t have “just meat” meals any longer. Instead of serving steaks, I take one steak and cut it into strips and make stoganoff. I fix half-sized chicken breasts and cut them up to serve over salad that I’ve loaded up with peppers, onions, olives, almonds, hard-cooked eggs, and more. We eat a great deal of soups, stews, and chili which contain more beans than meat. Finally, I bake a LOT of bread to supplement our diets. As Leah pointed out, grains are not the enemy. The French eat many fatty foods, tons of carbs, gallons of wine, and LOADS of fresh locally grown vegetables (meat in small quantities). They sit down and their meals last for hours and they spend a huge amount of time walking for their next meal (from vegetable stand to bakery to vintner). They have FAR fewer instances of heart disease and obesity than Americans. America is not set up for us to walk — in fact they make it REALLY hard. The mall nearest to us is designed for people to drive from store to store instead of walking. When I go, I park in one spot and walk everywhere — there are no sidewalks linking the stores to the eateries. I get some really funny looks and some less-than-complimentary honks but I walk from the shops to Jason’s Deli and back. When I go to the grocery store by myself, I park in the spots farthest from the entrance (I also bring the paper bags from last weeks groceries to reuse). We also have chickens now. Truthfully, we’ve spent more money building shelters, buying feed, and purchasing the chickens than we’ve saved (at this point). BUT in the long run we’ve saved a great deal of money. We plant a vegetable garden each year and can up everything so we can enjoyReplyCancel

  • Gina - Don’t you just love the French?!?!
    I would LOVE it if you do a post teaching how to can. I have always wanted to can but it scares me- and I don’t really have anyone to teach me how.ReplyCancel

  • Tia Julie - Lacy, It looks like you hit on a hot topic. I love all the links that you have added to this BLOG for educational purposes. The public needs to get educated but our world is moving and changing so fast that we can’t seem to keep up. Can you also let us know which meat that is labeled free range is from reputable companies. Thank you for doing all of this research for us. Raul and I really believe you should submit some of your writing to magazines and newspapers. The gift angel agrees with us on that one!ReplyCancel

  • Razor Family Farms - Hi Gina & Holly! I love your comments! If you check out our website, there are several pages detailing canning (main page – on the right). Check it out and sign the guestbook! I also want to thank Shelli for her honesty (something that I appreciate in her blog as well). I hope that you’ll take these comments as helpful suggestions and not as a personal attack. Trust me, I understand shopping on a budget. When we lived in WA, we qualified for food stamps and if it weren’t for on-Post shopping (and the fact that Josh was deployed most of the time) we would have been hitting up our local food pantry. I ended up eating a diet that consisted of mostly vegetables and bread because that is what I could afford. Meat became a special treat. I promise to post more recipes that use a non-American meat to vegetable ratios for you to try. Blessings! -LacyReplyCancel

  • Razor Family Farms - Hi Tia Julie and Tio Raul! Check out this page: http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/ and enter your zip code. Also, ask your butcher where the meat comes from. If he doesn’t know, take your business elsewhere. You may also try to find a local farmer who will let you buy meat/produce direct. In small farming communities, families will buy a steer headed for slaughter and then stock their freezer for the year. An entire steer would likely be too much for you and Raul but you could convince some friends (perhaps ones with kids) to buy the steer with you and then share the meat. Just a thought. Not all slaughter houses are bad — some even give tours. Another nice alternative to organic and freerange meats/produce: eat Kosher foods. Judaism forbids eating animals that died without proper slaughter and the draining of the blood (which is a medium for the growth of bacteria). Judaism also forbids eating animals that have abscesses in their lungs or other health problems. Check out this article: http://health.usnews.com/articles/health/2008/01/11/is-kosher-food-safer.html Tell me what you find in your area. I’m sure others who read this blog would be interested, too! Tell the gift angel thank you. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write something up and see about publishing. 😉ReplyCancel

  • Gina - Oh, yeah- my comments were definitely NOT a personal attack on anybody- especially Shelli!! She knows I love her!!! 🙂 I just have a LOT of passion on this subject… sometimes I get overzealous.
    That’s great input about the Kosher foods. I didn’t realize that regarding their practices, so that’s awesome information.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - Wow…talk about a hot topic! We are a big meat family. Always has been. My hubby is a big steak and potatoes man too. That being said, we have reduced our chicken intake once my husband starting working at a plant and he fed them. What they do to those chickens in regards to their food is ridiculous and I don’t want that in my body. Due to my compassion stuff…I cannot physically watch the video. I understand what it talks about though. I have loved all the tidbits that you give on the site and I have to run to the other one to get canning advice. I’ve also never had anyone to teach me to make jelly and jams and I really want to, but without a teacher, I’d just make a mess and a muck and no one wants to eat muck.

    Talking about Kosher food, anyone who lives in the vicinity of Mennonites should see about going to a Mennonite farm/dairy whatever. They are more open to the “English” than the Amish are. They are very particular about how their vegetables are grown as well as how they feed and take care of their animals that supply food of any kind. Eggs, milk as well as meat. They take great care in the bleeding of their animals as well as checking them over for disease before they are slaughtered. Excellent meat, not bad prices either since it’s unethical to over price. Just my 2 cents.ReplyCancel

  • Razor Family Farms - Melissa — you gave an excellent suggestion! I grew up near Dayton, VA (an old order Mennonite farming community) and loved their vegetable stands! You are absolutely right about their dedication to ethical farming practices. And while the Humane Society video is quite graphic, The Meatrix is in cartoon form. The Meatrix is really worth watching and it is a clever play on The Matrix. I am not a vegetarian and (truthfully) I LOVE steak. The very first meal that my husband and I enjoyed together (first date) was steak! We are looking forward to having our own cattle one day. Josh has fallen in love with Irish Dexters (http://www.morningstarranch.net/irish_dexter_cattle.htm) which we want to have on our next farm. We have only three acres now so we are limited to fish, ducks, chicken, llama, alpacas, and goats. Melissa, I always love your 2 cents! Blessings!ReplyCancel

  • Are we really what we eat? | Razor Family Farms - […] to know what’s going on in factory farms?  Find out: What’s my beef?  Other Media: Download Popularity: 13% [?] Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social […]ReplyCancel

  • Fredro - Nice post!ReplyCancel

  • Ludwig - How did you find so many details? I like the way you organize everything, since it’s actually easy to read.
    All in all, I can recommend this article to everyone who’s interested in that subject.ReplyCancel

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    I think it is essential to spice up your writing in the event that you wish to grab the viewers’ interest.
    However, you did great, thanksReplyCancel

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