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What's In Animal Feed? (You're Eating It Too!) A Look at Factory Farm Animal Feed

Americans are giving more thought these days to what they’re eating. For those who consume animal products, though, there is a growing awareness of—and concern over—what their food has been eating.

The Union of Concerned Scientists discussed industrial animal feed on their website, and what they have to say could surprise you … and possibly make you reconsider your grocery list.

Common ingredients in factory farm animal feed can include:

  • Same species meat 
  • Diseased animals 
  • Feathers, hair, skin, hooves and blood 
  • Manure and other animal waste 
  • Plastics 
  • Drugs and chemicals 
  • Unhealthy amounts of grains

Legal? Yes. Natural? Hardly. Left to its own devices, a cow is unlikely to go foraging for antibiotics or plastic pellets. You don't want to eat these things, but they could well be part of your dinner anyway.

Concerned consumers are employing one of their most effective tools: their wallets. By opting to purchase humanely raised, pastured, grass-fed or vegetarian-fed, hormone-free animal products, they withdraw their support from an industry they see as unhealthy for themselves, the animals and the planet. Check out the UCS's critique for more details and resources.

Another factor to consider? “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels recently tweeted the following:

Fun Fact I just read: If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in your eating habits. If everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year. If all Americans switched to grassfed meat, our national epidemic of obesity might diminish.

 Will you be changing your shopping or eating habits? Do you already purchase organic meat or grassfed beef?

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