Friday, November 27, 2009

Verified Beef? WTH?

I just noticed one of those google ads that pop up under my posts from time to time. It reads "Alberta Beef Producers...Is your cattle operation verified? Protect our reputation of quality."

You are freaking kidding me right? "our reputation of quality"? Is that the same reputation that, in the past or even currently, excludes Alberta Beef from being displayed in the markets of Europe and the Far East? That reputation of quality? As a certain bald headed cartoon character would say...good grief.

Furthermore, what the hell does verification have to do with operating a healthy beef herd? Isn't it the same system of beef production that wants me to "verify" my operation that got us into this whole mess in the first place? Let me tell whomever it is that operates the Alberta Beef Producers Association...I figured out long ago that if you confine cattle in unnaturally populated feed lots for months on end all the while feeding them um, well...what were you feeding them? Oh yes, that's right. Other cows! As I was saying, I figured out a long time ago that you will end up with problems in these types of verified operations.

No thanks to the verification process, I think I'll stay put with my grass-based operation. The same one that enjoys the benefits of healthy, genetically diverse breeds of heritage cattle happily grazing untreated pastures or quietly munching away on their certified organic hay that I grew myself. Or am I doing this wrong?

1 comment:

  1. One of the reasons that I've never pursued even an organic certification is that industry co-opts the term and makes it meaningless, at least in the USA.

    "USDA organic" is a good example of that.

    What happened there is that people starting using it, and the USDA stepped in and gave it a legal definition which happened to correspond to current large industry practices -- and voila! -- everyone is now organic.

    The term "pastured" is what I suspect will be next co-opted, particularly if people are successful at making it desirable to consumers.

    I worked in a company a couple of decades ago that decided it wanted an award, so they started advertising "winner of two blue ribbons". There was no contest, and there was no award. They even went as far as to buy a wall hanging with two blue ribbons. It worked -- consumers are a pretty trusting bunch.

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