Grassfed vs Feedlot Meat

Categories: Rants

Paul Misciagno

Choose your meat wisely because your life depends on it.

Many people I know have chosen to not eat meat and become vegetarians due to the unhealthiness of meat, and the difficulties in finding quality meats. The truth is meat can be extremely healthy and provide life saving nutrition if you make the proper choice from the butcher.

However, meat is extremely unhealthy if you choose it by the cheapest price from the grocery store.

To better understand, we need to look at the differences between grassfed and feedlot meat.


Feedlot is the close confinement raising of animals using the cheapest feed possible -- corn and soy, which has been subsidized by the government to lower the cost. The animals are also fed "by-products" from other industries like, municipal garbage and chicken feathers.

In fact, up until 1997 it was legal to feed cows to cows. Yes, we would use the excess fat and trimmings and add it to feed and give it back to the animals. This is what is believed to have caused Mad Cow Disease.

Cud chewing animals, cows, goats, and sheep are not made to eat grains; they are supposed to eat fibrous grasses, plants, and shrubs. The result of feeding these animals grain is they get sick, so the animals are given chemical additives and antibiotics. The antibiotics are the same given to humans and when they are over-used, the bacteria become resistant. Then, when we become infected with these new resistant bacteria, the antibiotics do not work for us.

Farmer Jay
Cheap meat, pay more now or more later at the doctor.

Feedlots are much worse for pen animals such as, chickens, turkeys and pigs. These animals are not allowed to do normal movements that they are naturally accustomed to like, rooting and roosting.

Animals in close confinement are raised in their own excrement and in most cases also sleep in it. Most situations in close confinement, the animals can not all sit down at the same time or even turn around. The result is sick animals and more antibiotics.


Grassfed, also known as pasture raised, allows the animals to live how they were meant to. Animals in this wild-like habitat are constantly moving; by constantly moving, parasites never catch them.

Livestock can choose what they want to eat in this scenario and the basic job of the farmer is to take care of the soil and grow grass. The philosophy is simple, take care of the soil and the animal can take care of itself.

Farmer Jay
Goats are used to mow by moving around pasture. See the guard dog stretching? Two dogs protect goats all the time.

The animals on pasture are not only happier and healthier themselves, but they improve our health and raising animals by this method will improve the health of the earth. Animals know what to eat and what not to eat and will select the right plant that will give them optimal health. I have seen on a number of occasions cows reaching underneath the fence into the natural weed cover to eat and overlooking what is in their pasture.

What does all this mean for our plates?

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If your friends are having trouble finding pastured meats in South Florida, they haven't looked too hard. It is ridiculously easy to find these meats now compared even to just 2 years ago. So many vendors in virtually every city. The pastured food club I volunteer for brings in 8 tall pallets of food each month and we're just one club of many.

Yes, it costs more, but on taste alone it is worth it. I've seen far too many people's medical issues go away with a change to nutrient dense foods, even as they wean themselves off their expensive pharmaceuticals. Pastured chicken and milk have the highest price premiums over what I call the "barely edibles" sold at grocery stores and big boxes. Beef and pork and closer in price, but with any meat if you make it at home, you can come close to price on the dollar menu. 

Finally proper herd management may be the cheapest and fastest way to reduce CO2 levels (no government subsidies or taxes needed). 

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