IT'S STILL A “JUNGLE” OUT THERE ... Or How US Beef-Industry Feeding Practices Are a Source of Concern
If you think about farmers raising cattle, you probably conjure up something like this happy cow scene: Mellow heifers quietly grazing on lush grass of rolling countryside, lazily swishing their tails at pesky bugs. New-born and young calves getting nourishment from milk in their mothers' teats. For us here at Grinning Planet, such images make us reminisce about our days in Mu Alpha Mu fraternity, when we'd hang out at Dairy Queen every Friday after class singing all great milk-drinking songs.
But back to dreamy visions of cow country. It seems there is a nightmarish underbelly here, and much of nightmare centers on animal feed.
While it's true that cows typically spend first year or two of their lives grazing on pasture, there are two ugly facts about how "agribusiness" in US feeds cows:
A baby cow does not typically feed from its mother's teat, but rather is fed a bottled formula mix that contains (among other things) blood of cows that have previously been slaughtered. Eww!
Once a maturing cow leaves pasture for feed lots, it is typically given a feed mix that contains slaughterhouse waste—parts from cows, pigs, and chickens that have been ground up, rendered, and mixed with grain or other feed stocks. Double eww!
Basically, those in ranching and feedlot industries have turned cows—which are purely vegetarian by design—into meat-eaters, and to some extent, unwitting cannibals. Most people have a visceral negative reaction to concept of cannibalism, even when it occurs naturally in a species. But in this case, cows' cannibalism is 100% at man's insistence. Profit and pricing pressures are behind it—slaughterhouse waste is a cheap source of food for grower's operations.