During the Great Depression, farmers were struggling to keep their homes and lands. People were not buying as much meat or produce and even skimping on basic necessities like milk. People were struggling across the country and the government decided to step in to help farmers: a subsidy.
That subsidy, which is still in effect today, 80 years after the Great Depression, was for corn. Corn became a cash crop, as it was subsidized by the government. That meant farmers could sell corn for a higher profit margin than other crops, which led them to produce more corn. This led to the state of our food system today: the “farmed” meat.
When McDonald’s first came along before the 1960s, people bought different cuts of meat from the meat department at the store or the butcher. Each cut was different; none was exact. Replication was unheard of. But McDonald’s became popular and each of their burgers needed to be uniform. The shape, the cut, the texture, all needed to be the same.
The meat industry responded (as their largest customer became McDonald’s) and began making uniform cuts of meat and as the meat industry grew (due to the demands of the U.S. consumer and the demand from fast food companies), the meat industry needed to find a way to produce more meat at a cheaper price. There came in factory farms.
Factory farms may seem like an oxymoron: How can a farm be a factory or a factory be farm? But the answer lies in the face of capitalism, where profits take the front seat and everything else can be left behind. A factory farm works like this: Animals are placed in small areas, where they are packed together like sardines. They are then killed for food.
The animals that are packed into these small areas are given steroids to boost up the meat in certain parts of their body (the breasts of chickens for instance). This often makes those muscles double the size and sometimes keep an animal from walking due to the weight. When they are taken to slaughter, this excess meat leads to more profits.
The state that these animals are kept in are deplorable at best. They walk in their own feces, eat from a diet that has been packed with additives and preservatives. They never see the sunlight in many cases and may never get to talk on grass and act like animals. They are raised for one purpose: to be slaughtered.
The diets of these animals, to come back to the original paragraph, is based on corn. Because corn is still subsidized by the government and was during the rise of the fast food industry, corn became the fuel for which these animals in these factory farms were given. They have even become genetically modified.
This diet, however, has had consequences. There are many statistics that show the different between animals that have been raised on farms that don’t practice factory farming techniques and those that have. There is “grass fed beef” versus “farmed beef.” There is “free range chicken” versus “farmed chicken.” Some statistics follow.
- Beef from grass-fed cows has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and offers more vitamins A and E.
- Grass fed beef has up to seven times more beta carotene than grain fed.
- Grass fed beef accounts for possibly less than 3% of all beef sales in the U.S.
- Wild salmon has 32% fewer calories than it’s farmed counterpart, according to data from the National Nutritional Database.
- Wild salmon averages out at 13 grams of fat in a half filet, compared to 27 grams in farmed salmon.
- Farmed salmon has more than three times the amount of saturated fat as wild salmon.
- Pasture pigs have 300% more vitamin E and 74% more selenium in their milk, which promotes healthier litters.
There are terms associated with fresh food. They include types of Alaskan salmon, types of salmon, wild salmon recipes, wild caught Alaskan salmon, grass fed steaks online, local meat farmers, sustainable meat, wagyu beef online, wagyu steak online, and more.
There are many types of salmon. The largest distinction between salmon is farmed and wild caught. Types of salmon that are farmed are in factory farms and fed corn. Types of salmon that are wild caught were caught in the wild, where they ate their natural food.