Tuesday, November 18, 2008

MSN Headline - Anti Animal Ag

What's Really in Your Fast Food?
By Rebecca Ruiz for Forbes.com

You may want to reconsider getting that double cheeseburger with fries.

A study released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences contains controversial claims about menu items served at McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King.

Using a technique that identifies carbon and nitrogen isotopes in meat, co-authors A. Hope Jahren and Rebecca Kraft tried to determine the animals' diets and in what conditions they were raised. Based on the high levels of carbon and nitrogen isotopes found in the meat products, the authors claim that the cattle and poultry were predominantly fed corn, which makes them as fat as possible in as short a time as possible, and were raised in extreme confinement.

In an interview, Jahren, who is a geobiologist and professor at the University of Hawaii, even suggested that the nitrogen isotopic signatures found in meat products were so high that they were consistent with environments where animals had consumed their own waste.

Please Read More. This was a headline on MSN.com yesterday.

This is one of those stories in the media that when you come across it, all you can do is shake your head. Where should I start dissecting this article? First off, it is no mystery that most livestock on finishing rations have corn in their diets. They did not need to test for any type of isotope to find that out. Next, there are many reasons why corn yields are much higher than they were 70 years ago. It’s not just due to putting more fertilizer on the fields. If that theory was true, you could just put on more and more fertilizer and the yields would just get higher and higher. Seed corn technology has been a major factor in increased production along with weed and pest management, just to name a few reasons. Finally, the authors of the study claim the meat tested came from animals that were in “extreme confinement”. What is that? What does that mean? Have they compared meat samples from animals in different types of confinement or no confinement? They seem to insinuate that because they were fed corn, that they were in “extreme confinement”. These are just a few of the items that should have caught your eye as a producer reading this article. This is what we are up against in our efforts to promote agriculture.

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