Organic meat differs from regular meat in the way the animal farmer raises the animal prior to butchering. Organic meats must be certified through one of several certification organizations that exist within a country. Farmers must follow strict organic guidelines in the production of the meat product.
Organically certified meat is often born on farms and raised with the utmost respect and animal dignity. Most organic meat comes from animals grown from birth on small farms in which the animal has free range to move around on the pasture with unrestricted access to water, food, sunshine and outdoor air at all times. Such animals generally are healthier than their conventional counterparts. Animals are allowed to mate as they wish, adding to the sustainability of the farming practice.
Everything that goes into an organic farm animal must also be organic. The pastures the animals graze in must be certified organic themselves. Organic forage and grains grown organically must be fed to the animals and organic pest control must be utilized on these farms. No synthetic or chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers are applied to local fields or pastures.
No organic meat can be certified organic if the animal has been fed any antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids or animal byproducts. Animals are fed what they eat in the pastures and organically grown farm products, such as organic hay. Water is free from contaminants.
Organic animal farms must apply specific conservation practices to preserve the natural surroundings and the soil in the area. Water is not wasted and recycling is used whenever possible.
In many cases, animals grown on organic animal farms are removed from the program if they ever become sick enough to require antibiotics. They are removed from the herd as soon as their illness is discovered.
While antibiotics are an excellent way to treat bacterial infections, there is always the risk of developing resistant strains of bacteria and no one knows the health effects to consumers who eat meat treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics speed the growth of cattle that seem to grow using less feed but, because of resistances, sick animals often can’t be well treated and often die of their illness. Growth hormones, eliminated from the production of organic meats, are given to cattle to speed up their growth.
Much of the organic meat is derived from bull meat, which is some of the leanest meat around. Farmers who raise bulls and sell them must provide affidavits stating that their bulls were not raised using antibiotics or growth hormones from the time of their birth. Such affidavits generally go back at least twenty months prior to the time that the organic farmer purchased the animal.
Organic meats may be somewhat more expensive than conventionally-grown meat. However, Wesfarmers’ owned Coles supermarkets around Australia have started selling only hormone-free beef at all their outlets from 2011, at no extra cost to the consumer.
In general, organic meat is fresh and the consumer can be guaranteed that there is nothing unhealthy in the organic meat product.