Once again, modern technology saves money and is better for the earth. By stuffing the feedlot animals with corn, farmers get them to grow faster. Therefore they can slaughter them sooner, which is better for the earth than letting them live longer and do all the environmentally damaging things natural cows do while they are alive.
"Absolutely right," Capper said. "Every single day, they need feed, they need water, and they give off methane nitrous oxide -- very potent greenhouse gases that do damage."
But what about damage to people? Some advocates of grass-fed beef claim that the more naturally raised animals are healthier to eat.
"There is absolutely no scientific evidence based on that. Absolutely none," she replied. "There is some very slight difference in fatty acids, for example, but they are so minor that they don't make any significant human health impact."
But what about those hormones the cows are given? Surely that cannot be good for us.
"What we have to remember is every food we eat -- whether it's tofu, whether it's beef, whether it's apples -- they all contain hormones. There's nothing, apart from salts, that doesn't have some kind of hormone in them."
So the next time you reach for that package of beef in the grocery store tagged with all the latest grass-fed, free-range lingo, remember: Not only does it often cost twice as much, but there's no evidence it's better for the environment or better for you.
It's just another food myth.