Thursday, January 23, 2014

6 Things You Won’t Believe Are Fed to Cows

For the most part, cattle in America are seen not as animals or living, breathing entities, but as commodities—products to be bought and sold for consumption. So, in many cases, the mistreatment of these commodities doesn’t get a second thought. Large-scale producers are interested in raising the most profitable product for the lowest cost, and this means feeding them some pretty strange stuff.

Here are 6 things farmers are feeding the cows of today – and you will be shocked.

1. Antibiotics - This one is not a surprise, as the use of antibiotics in cattle feed is well-known and a frequent point of controversy. Just how much? A few years ago, the FDA tried to quantify how much drugs we feed cattle and came up with 29 million pounds of antibiotics in 2009. A report from the Union of Concerned Scientists put the figure at 24.6 million back in 2001, but they were only looking at non-therapeutic antibiotics. In total, they believe the true figure is closer to 50 million pounds of antibiotics each year.

2. Roly, Poly Fish Heads - Fish and seafood byproducts like crab, shrimp, and fish guts are considered a “good” source of cheap protein and are ground up into a meal that can be mixed with other feeds. This isn’t a new idea, but it isn’t widespread either, used most often by farmers and ranchers on the coasts, according to Mother Jones.

3. Chicken Feces - Nothing like recycling waste from other parts of the farm! In a recent OnEarth story, Brad Jacobson revealed cattle farmers are increasingly feeding their livestock chicken poop. This questionable meal might contain features, bacteria, antibiotics, and heavy metals, and may even promote the spread of disease like mad cow.

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