“The Feedlot”

Michael Pollan’s “The Feedlot” raises some interesting points about the recycling nature of factory farms; in other words, how waste products are not viewed as waste, but are instead used for the purpose of being consumed again and again. Corn is easy and cheap to produce, and although it has next to no nutritional value and isn’t even meant to be digested by these animals, this makes it a commonly used feed for the cows on these farms. Rather, the waste products of the corn is what’s fed to them, and is also reused to produce even more crops, lending itself to a cycle. On top of all the other generally disgusting conditions in factory farms (overcrowding, etc.), this method of recycling nutrients is incredibly gag-worthy, a picture that is vividly painted by Pollan’s imagery throughout the piece, such as when he compares it to a “teeming and filthy and stinking” city (72).

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