Jackie Avner believes otherwise. In her (or his?) article, “Reasons You Should Buy Regular Foods,” Avner argues that organic growing and raising practices are harder on the environment, animals, and humans than conventional methods.
First, because their growing and harvesting methods are comparatively inefficient, organic farmers consume more land and fossil fuels than their conventional counterparts. In one example, a Canadian organic farm consumed six times more diesel fuel per bushel of wheat than a nearby conventional farm. That’s pretty alarming. In her argument for using rbGH, Avner asserts that, without the hormone injection, cows produce less milk. Therefore, more cows are required to produce the same amount of milk, meaning more food and land are required. Bovine waste, which releases methane gas into the atmosphere, also increases.
Second, because organic meats and poultry can never be treated with antibiotics, many animals die needlessly–and painfully. Organic dairy farms often sell sick cows to conventional farms where they can be treated for curable illness. Otherwise, the animals are sold for slaughter.
Finally, the issue of freshness: organic foods often travel farther than conventional ones to compete on your grocery store’s shelves. In addition, organic milk is ultrapasteurized to give it a 90-day shelf life, rather than the standard 20-day shelf life for conventional milk.
I think Avner has some good points. I’ll certainly continue pondering the article. Maybe I’ll even stop buying organic products in my grocery store. Maybe. It’s something I’m going to consider, after a little more research, of course.
But here’s what I won’t stop doing: I won’t stop buying local organic produce, raw milk, and organic grass-fed beef. When my produce is local, I know it’s fresh. It was picked this morning! When the milk is raw and organic, that means it’s not only free of antibiotics and hormones, but that its original molecular structure is untouched. It won’t last long, but it’s nutritious. And grass-fed beef? It’s much leaner and higher in essential fatty acids than corn-fed beef.
I also have to protest the article’s closing. Avner assumes that people who buy organic food are ultimately hypocrites, because they demonstrate concern over chemicals in their food while overlooking those in their personal care products and household cleaners. This isn’t necessarily a fair accusation, however. I, for one, do care very much what ingredients are in my deodorant, face wash, feminine care products, laundry detergent, and everything else I use on my person or in my home. More on that another time, though.
Read Avner’s full article here: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_6474474