How is it that when I research a topic, I end up with more questions at the end than what I started with?
For example, take our recent switch to organic chicken, eggs and butter. Going the organic route for chicken seemed like a no-brainer (since the idea of artificial hormones had been bothering me for quite some time). But it was difficult to only question chicken when we eat both pork and beef too.
Thanks to this article, conventional beef may be tossed out of our diet soon. Very soon.
Should farmers be feeding candy to cattle because it’s cheaper than corn?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, we’re all well aware that corn is going to be expensive coming up soon, if it isn’t already. This includes anything that uses corn too: popcorn kernals, processed foods using corn syrup, corn-based feed for animals, etc.
not enough rain + higher demand = soaring prices
Cattle farmers aren’t going to be the only ones affected. Some pig farms are having to reduce their herd to accommodate the rising cost of feed. Even the pastured farms are having to adjust. Little rain means little grass growth. They’re having to decide whether to have many skinny and malnourished pigs, or fewer plump and well-fed pigs. Most are choosing to slaughter and reduce the herd overall. It means less profit for them and higher prices for us, but at least it’s the most sustainable and ethical route available.
Unfortunately this cattle farmer from Indiana chose a different route. He’s supplementing his cattle feed with candy. Seem silly? It is!
Apparently it’s been going on for decades. Just think – the tri-tip I bought last week, or the beef you have in your freezer, could have come from a cow who was fed sprinkles by the bucketful – simply for the sugar to fatten them up. Some farmers are choosing this route because candy costs half as much as real food.
Because it’s the “way things are done,” the farmers act like this is normal. Normal for who – the cow? For a business owner trying to cut costs?
Our society has been eating pre-packaged and processed food galore for decades, but that doesn’t make it normal and it certainly doesn’t make it healthy.
The famers seem to think that feeding the cattle fruit loops, powdered hot cocoa and crumbled cookies has no affect on the cow, nor the person consuming its meat or milk.
Does “garbage in, garbage out” only apply to humans?
What about the phrase “you are what you eat?” There are broad concerns about eating antibiotics and artificial growth hormones and the majority of manufacturers try to sweep it under a rug. We as consumers have had to educate ourselves on the potential dangers that await us from eating these types of foods. Are we expected to simply turning a blind eye to processed sugar too?
Is it ok to eat a marshmallows and gummy worms for dinner as long they’re on our plate in the shape of a t-bone steak?
Yet it only gets worse.
This same brilliant farmer noticed that the level of sugar in the cows’ diet increased milk production by three pounds per cow, per day. With the average cow producing 7 gallons in one day, that’s an increase of almost 50%!
Besides the fact that candy is cheaper, they now have another reason to add this no-nutrient sugar to the cows’ diet – more final product!
Fun fact for the day: cows love chocolate.
Oh yes, that sweet goodness is not lost on those ladies. So loved in fact that that some choose to eat dessert first by rooting through their daily ration of food to eat the chocolate first, and then eating everything else.
Why does there seem to be no concern that cows know the difference between chocolate and feed?
An animal nutritionist from Nebraska has even sided with this farmer, claiming that feeding cows candy is amazing – you can take something you normally throw away [candy] and turn it into something that can be consumed [beef].
A rancher in Kentucky adds fuel to the fire, saying that this combination of feed and stale candy ensures cows have all the right nutrition. It totally makes sense that feeding a cow 70 pounds of sugar would be appropriate for lean muscle and tissue growth.
What that excessive amount of sugar does create is 70 additional pounds per cattle available for our consumption. Since the consumption of excess sugar (more than the body can process) is turned to fat for storage, we can count on our conventionally raised beef being fattier and less nutritious than ever before.
Curious on an alternative? Eat Wild is a resource dedicated to helping consumers find local farms in their area. You may have to do some checking to ensure your local farm is legit, but Eat Wild only lists farms that are up to their own stringent standards. It makes for an excellent starting point with a high chance of success.