A Living Nightmare,

C Robb W. 429°

Imagine London before Dickens, before King Henry the VIII, in the 14th century. Teeming with the great unwashed, rivers of sewage in the streets. Now imagine London with even more people, unable to leave their homes. Now the rivers of sewage are underfoot at the kitchen table, in the bedroom, the peoples bodies are slimed from working, relaxing, and sleeping in sewage. Disease is rife, there is no quality of life.

That gives you a picture of the a modern 21st century feedlot in Kansas. The only difference is cows, not people. Diseases caused by the filth and the unnatural diet of corn and soy, cows are designed to eat fresh clean grass, are rampant and are controlled by huge quantities of antibiotics. Additionally, large quantities of the waste run off into our water courses contributing to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even if you can accept the ethical implications of this mistreatment of animals are you prepared to eat the antibiotic soaked flesh of these pitiful creatures? Where does most of this flesh end up? Look in your local supermarket, at your local fast food outlet. The only way to avoid it is to abstain completely or to source organic or at least grass fed beef from sustainable farms.

Cows belong on farms where they can graze on grass, where their waste is recycled naturally into the earth in small enough doses to be healthy. Where their welfare can be looked after and they can lead a natural life. Where they contribute to local economy by supporting family rather than corporate farming.

Thanks to Michael Pollan for the analogy - Omnivore's Dilemma pg 73

1 reply

Charles M. 110°

The same goes for chickens and turkeys too.
Feedlots have a vast impact on more than just the animals, though they clearly are not getting ethical treatment.

From some Google searches it would appear that the average American consumes over 200 pounds of meat a year. That requires over 3000 pounds of stock food which is about the output of an acre of soy/corn.

Or, another way to look at this is that a pound of meat requires 200 sq foot of stock food agribusiness.

If you disassemble a hamburger (standard American food unit :-)) and look at the agricultural footprint:
* Bun: 4 oz of wheat. One half of a square foot.
* Tomato and lettuce etc. One quarter of a square foot.
* Meat: 4 oz. 50 sq feet.
Total 51 sq ft.

If you change that to an equally tasty vege buger (falafel etc), and substitute the meat with beans you get:
* Beans: 4 oz. 2sq foot.
Total 3 sq foot.

Clearly reducing meat consumption is one of the best things we can do, ethically and environmentally.

Written in February 2009

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