I’m already someone who has a deep respect for knowing where my food comes from. It goes deeper than just the healthy part of it. It is genuinely being thankful for the hard work that is put into ensuring food is on my table from my own garden, farmers, produce stands and the many others who bring the process to home. This year, I had a chance to participate in the Explore Beef Tour presented by Washington Beef Commission. Now I respect my food even more.
I can say from this tour that I respect my food even more than I did before. We had an eye-opening tour of how cattle is raised, fed and packaged for beef consumption. It will blow your mind how it is nothing like most people might perceive it. I’m going to try to be a responsible beef eater in sharing with you today how things really are. From someone who saw it all.
When I say “I saw it all”, I saw it all. I did see how a cow is sacrificed for our food. I honestly like this language use better because it is true. It makes me further respect a cow for giving up its’ life to help feed my family. Cattle isn’t something to be raised and killed without feeling. Something I believe every person in this industry understands and respects. It really helped ease the shock value by understanding that they are doing everything they can to sacrifice cows without stress and pain to the animal. Including the use of 99.9% of the cow. I know we’ve seen documentaries and read articles, but please try to take it from someone who saw it with their own eyes. I thought I’d hit that discussion right out of the gate because I know you’re wondering how things are done. I can assure you that cattle are not killed in pain or stress. Care is for the animal and for what is going on your plate. If you are interested in more about the tour that I took, check out this “virtual tour” of the Agri Beef Co.
Going to the beginning of the process, I was pleased to hear that 91% of ranches are family owned. There is constant research for ways to improve ways to feed more people with less resources. Let’s face it, our land is being eaten up by concrete jungles. I honestly think that is where our problem is. We want “no growth hormones”, “grass-fed”, “no antibiotics”…but are we willing to give up our lavish homes? Most would say “no”. So what are ranchers to do? They do their best to use research and technology that improves genetics of cows so that we have the best food on our tables with use of less resources. From 1977 to 2007, ranchers had 30% less cattle. If that doesn’t tell you something. You can dive a little deeper into this study about less cattle, less environmental impact.
Here’s another fun fact. Did you know that no cow is allowed into the production plant with antibiotics still in their system? In fact, a feedlot owner told us that if 2 cows are found with antibiotics in their systems within a 5 year period, that feedlot is out of business. If you think about it, antibiotics are never in our meat. Feedlot owners don’t like administrating antibiotics to begin with. It is not a cheap process. However, it is a necessary evil. One cow can infect an entire heard. That’s a huge loss and needless deaths of cows.
Three big points that I believe we often argue over without any education into the process. Trust me, I like the taste of grass-fed beef. I’m all for a gamey flavor. However, I’ve learned a lot as to why some of these methods we shy from are done. As I said before, we are losing a lot of resources in this world. It is getting harder and harder to feed people. A reason those in the beef industry are also looking for ways to provide “less feed, more energy” to cows. Now that I’ve been very well-educated on the process of raising beef, I have a new outlook on things. I feel like I need to be a voice on the “other side of the coin”. Because let’s face it, if we want to consume beef, we need to be responsible and respect where our food is coming from.
I am thankful for the opportunity to be educated more in this process by the Explore Beef Tour. I truly feel empowered to give you further information to be comfortable with understanding how your beef comes to your table. There is so much more information I am eager to share with you, and I will be sharing that in further posts. For now, I’m encouraging you to take the time to understand more about your local ranchers. If you have the time, take the tours they might offer. Even go as far as to listening to those who work at a packaging plant. Easy to take? No. However, I believe the education and knowledge far outweighs it. Understanding the entire process brings a new respect to those involved in the beef industry and the cow itself. I’ll have a deeper “thanks” when sitting at my family table.
Check out more of the experience by checking out the #WABeefLove hashtag on Instagram!