One major difference between grain-fed and grass-fed cattle is the use of antibiotics and hormones. Using antibiotics for cattle started in the 1940s, and the use of antibiotics, as well as hormones, has continued to grow over the years.
Grain-fed animals in feedlots typically get hormones, in addition to their diets of grain, to help increase their weight faster. Adding hormones to their feed allows them to grow larger, faster and be ready for harvest earlier. Grass-fed cattle generally do not receive hormones.
In addition to hormones, another major concern about animals raised in feedlots is their susceptibility to diseases. Eating a diet they’re not accustomed to leads cows to contract diseases, which require antibiotics. In addition, the confined nature of feedlots contributes to the spread of disease. Managing the spread of disease can be challenging, since animals move in and out of feedlots often. Some diseases animals contract can be passed on to humans who consume the meat, causing major concerns. One specific issue of concern is E. coli. When cattle eat grain, it makes their intestines more acidic, which promotes the growth of bacteria such as E. coli. If you eat under-cooked beef that has E. coli, it could kill you.
The overuse of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance in animals and create superbugs. This antibiotic resistance is passed to humans who consume the beef. Today, antibiotic resistance is a major concern for the public and doctors.
Because feedlots’ smaller spaces give way to the increased spread of diseases, it is common for antibiotics to be used in feedlots. Although grass-fed cattle can still get sick and require antibiotics, it is less common than the use of antibiotics to treat cattle in poor living conditions. Grass-fed diets also provide nutrients that boost the immune system and help limit the chances of needing antibiotics.
Overall, grass-fed cattle receive fewer antibiotics and hormones than grain-fed cattle. Understanding the process involved in creating the food you consume is an important step in making an informed decision about the food you eat.
Our current label claims for beef are: 100% grass-fed cattle; pasture raised cattle; raised without antibiotics; non-confined cattle; vegetarian diet; no added hormones; no ionospheres; and product of USA.
We are also GAP (Global Animal Partnership) step-4 rated.