There is a big difference between the environmental and health effects of animal products from animals raised naturally and from those raised in an industrialized or even conventional commercial manner. Pasture raised animals provide us with healthier food. And, by raising animals with awareness of their interaction with the natural systems around them, we can raise them with little to no negative impact on the environment. Raising animals in this way can even benefit the natural environment by growing healthier grass and healthier soil which then in turn, better holds moisture and sequesters C02 from the atmosphere.
I personally feel a huge difference when eating food from animals that were happily pasture raised. I have only once had the benefit of finding a farm where animals did not have to leave the farm at end of life. Wonderful researchers like Jo Robinson, below are providing important work to help change the regulatory restrictions on growing healthy food in a way that is holistically good for people and the planet.
Excerpt from the article - Eat Wild Basics by Jo Robinson
Back to Pasture Since the late 1990s, a growing number of ranchers have stopped sending their animals to the feedlots to be fattened on grain, soy and other supplements. Instead, they are keeping their animals home on the range where they forage on pasture, their native diet. These new-age ranchers do not treat their livestock with hormones or feed them growth-promoting additives. As a result, the animals grow at a natural pace. For these reasons and more, grass-fed animals live low-stress lives and are so healthy there is no reason to treat them with antibiotics or other drugs.
More Nutritious. A major benefit of raising animals on pasture is that their products are healthier for you. For example, compared with feedlot meat, meat from grass-fed beef, bison, lamb and goats has less total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and calories. It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and a number of health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and “conjugated linoleic acid,” or CLA.
The Art and Science of Grassfarming. Raising animals on pasture requires more knowledge and skill than sending them to a feedlot. For example, in order for grass-fed beef to be succulent and tender, the cattle need to forage on high-quality grasses and legumes, especially in the months prior to slaughter. Providing this nutritious and natural diet requires healthy soil and careful pasture management so that the plants are maintained at an optimal stage of growth. Because high-quality pasture is the key to high-quality animal products, many pasture-based ranchers refer to themselves as "grassfarmers" rather than “ranchers.” They raise great grass; the animals do all the rest.
Excerpt from the book - Pasture Perfect by Jo Robinson
Pasture Perfect takes you on a "pasture walk" of a grass-based farm where dedicated farmers raise their cattle on grass alone. The animals never leave the farm and live natural, stress-free lives eating their native diet. Next, you'll be given a tour of a factory farm and see the night and day differences. It will be very clear why Old MacDonald doesn't live there anymore.