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13 Reasons to Boycott Big Meat:

1| Protect your health. Better meat—organic, 100% grass-fed or pasture-raised—means better health. Studies show that meat from industrially farmed animals can have lower levels of beneficial omega-3 and a less favorable ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. By contrast, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats have more antioxidants, less cholesterol and lower risk of exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides. Industrially produced meat is often contaminated—a 2017 Consumer Reports investigation revealed the widespread presence of hormones and illegal drugs in the U.S. industrial meat supply.

2| Protect meat industry workers. Workers in the industrial meat industry need the type of support proposed under the Green New Deal which would provide a just transition to better jobs, better pay, and safer working conditions in a green, regenerative, and resilient economy.

3| Protect local food security. Communities with strong local and regional food systems, made up of local producers, processors, distributors, and local markets, are more resilient and food-secure. The empty meat counters consumers saw during the COVID-19 crisis weren’t caused by a shortage in cows, pigs or chickens—they were caused by disruption in the industrial meat-processing industry.

4| Protect family farmers. Four huge corporations—Tyson, Smithfield, JBS, and Cargill—dominate today’s industrial meat production. Big Meat companies spend billions lobbying for policies that support their destructive, abusive, and extractive operations, while putting family farmers at a competitive disadvantage in the marketplace. Buying meat from the Big 4 builds wealth for corporate CEOs and shareholders who have no concern for consumers, workers, animals, the environment, or your community. 

5| Protect farm animals. According to the ASPCA, 94% of Americans agree that animals raised for food deserve to live free from abuse and cruelty. Yet the majority of the nearly 10 billion land-based animals farmed for food each year in the U.S. are imprisoned in crowded stress-inducing conditions that make them more susceptible to disease and injury.

6| Protect rural economies. Growing, processing, and distributing food locally creates and sustains community-based jobs. Farmers markets and food cooperatives help ensure dollars remain and circulate within localities, creating more vibrant communities. 

7| Protect your water supply. Producers of organic grass-fed and pasture-raised meat don’t use synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, and don’t feed their animals antibiotics and growth hormones—so they aren’t putting those pollutants into local waterways. According to the Environmental Integrity Project, between 2016-2018, 75% of large U.S. meat processing plants that discharge their wastewater directly into streams and rivers violated their pollution control permits.

8| Protect air quality. Factory farms emit over 200 gases, including hydrogen sulfide and ammonia which can cause serious health problems at certain levels, according to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Studies show that people living near factory farms are more likely to experience respiratory problems, headaches, diarrhea, burning eyes, nausea, and more serious health problems from factory farm air pollution. 

9| Protect soil health. Research suggests that the healthier the soil microbiome, the healthier your gut microbiome—and immune system—will be. The Atlantic reports that just as we’ve destroyed vital microbes in the human gut through overuse of antibiotics and highly processed foods, we’ve also recklessly devastated soil microbiota, essential to plant health. These soil microorganisms, particularly bacteria and fungi, cycle nutrients and water to plants, to our crops, the source of our food, and ultimately our health. Local producers of organic grass-fed and pasture-raised meat actually help build healthy soil because they don’t feed GMO crops, and don’t use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

10| Protect against antibiotic resistance. Organic and regenerative farmers and ranchers produce meat without the routine use of massive amounts of antibiotics. That’s important because the overuse of antibiotics in the industrial meat industry has led to a global antibiotic resistance crisis—every 15 minutes, one person in the U.S. dies from an infection that antibiotics can no longer treat effectively. 

11| Protect plant & wildlife biodiversity. Regenerative agriculture, including livestock production, incorporates beneficial insects, birds, and improves soil carbon content, fertility, availability of nutrients and soil life, all while producing food for human consumption. 

12| Protect against future pandemics. COVID-19 didn’t originate in a factory farm. But past pandemics—including the 2009 H1N1 swine flu that jumped from pig farms in North America to humans, killing hundreds of thousands of people—did. According to the CDC, 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals, and 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.

13| Protect climate stability. Studies show that proper grazing of animals reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions, provides essential ecosystem services, increases soil carbon sequestration, and reduces environmental damage. The practices employed by Big Meat—including Big Chicken, Big Pork, and Big Beef—have the opposite impact. Industrial meat production, which includes deforestation for growing millions of acres GMO corn and soy, is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Want to do your part to cool the planet? Buy your meat from a farmer who is enhancing the soil’s ability to sequester carbon.