What’s Wrong With Feedlots?

US - Most cows spend the last several months of their lives cramed into pens in feedlots where they are fattened up for slaughter. There, they are fed a diet that consists mostly of corn, but often contains such items as rendered chicken parts, chicken manure and feathers. They are also fed a sort of protein slurry spiked with vitamins and antibiotics. Meanwhile, hormones are implanted in the cows to promote faster growth.
calendar icon 31 May 2007
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Cows are grazing creatures, and the bovine digestive system evolved to process grass and roughage. Switching to this grain/slurry diet is sort of like a human switching from a diet rich in leafy greens to eating every meal at Krispy Kreme (think Supersize Me).

The cows’ intestinal tracts begin to acidify in response to the unnaturally starchy diet. That makes them prone to infections, so they are jacked up on heavy antibiotics.

The high levels of antibiotics and artificial growth hormones remain in the steer’s muscle tissue when the now-massive animal goes to the slaughterhouse a few months later.

There’s controversy over what effects hormone-laden beef may have on humans, but it’s been shown that fish downstream from feedlot effluent ponds display abnormal sexual characteristics. And widespread indiscriminate use of antibiotics has been shown to create more resilient bacteria strains that can be difficult to treat with standard drugs.

Source: Coast Weekly
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