Pollan Chapter 4 “The Feedlot”

As I read this chapter, I grew more and more amazed at what i was reading that I couldn’t believe it. It took serious dedication and curiosity for Pollan to go out and achieve the information he did. Many people don’t even think about where their food comes from but Pollan did and he went beyond the normal measures to find that answer out. Who thought that corn was such a big characteristic of an animals diet, especially one that doesn’t eat corn. I would love to know how many lobbyist’s influence the USDA and the FDA and how they can take an animal that doesn’t eat corn and make it their entire diet. Oh and not to mention all the forced fat, protein, and antibiotics. The whole situation is terrible.nasty-congested-feedlot-of-cows

 

 

 

Below are some notes from the chapter that I took.

 

  • Corn primarily in American Midwest
  • Corn has colonized 125,000 sq miles of America
  • Western Kansas first Feedlots in early 50’s
  • Poky Feeders, population 37,000
  • Pollan bought a cow for $598 and was paying Poky Feeders $1.60 a day for his room and board and meds.
  • 60% of corn goes to feeding animals
  • CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation)
  • Federally subsidized corn
  • Corn costs more to grow than to sell
  • Corn was used on animals that never ate it in the first place like cows
  • Blair Ranch occupies 5,500 acres of grass in South Dakota. This is where His cow started
  • Four giant meatpacking companies; Tyson, IBP, Cargill, Swift, and National.
  • They slaughter 4 out of 5 cattles born in US
  • His Cow was #534 spent the first 6 months in South Dakota. meaning she was the 34th cow born in 1995.
  • Born March 13th, 2001
  • They can digest grass because of their organ “The Rumen”
  • Cow raised on grass takes longer to reach slaughter weight.
  • Cows used to be slaughter weight at age 4 or 5, then it was 2 or 3 years old and now it is 14-16 months
  • 80 pounds to 1,100 pounds takes corn, protein, and fat supplements.
  • Evolutionary Logic
  • Industrial Logic—Rationale and even irresistible.
  • Weaning cows from mothers is hard. Cows mope and bellow for days and are prone to getting sick
  • Cows are confined to a pen or bunk broken
  • Corn is powered by a very different source of energy than grass is with sun.
  • Liquid vitamins and synthetic estrogen besides pallets stacked with 5o pound sacks of antibiotics—Rumensin and Tylosin.
  • Machine crushes corn into corn flakes similar to a Kellogg’s Flake.
  • USDA policy, which for decades has sought to help move the mountain of surplus of corn by passing as much of it as possible through the digestive tracts of food animals who can convert it into protein.
  • Corn diet is less healthy for us to eat because it contains more sat fat and less omega 3 fatty acids
  • Research shows health risks involved with corn-fed-beef
  • USDA grading system rewards marbling
  • Cows used to be fed rendered cow parts and this started mad cow disease. FDA banned practices in 1997.
  • Make them trade instincts for antibiotics
  • FDA did not ban protein from blood products and fat. His steer will probably dine on beef tallow recycled from the slaughterhouse he’s heading to.
  • Rules still permit feedlots to feed nonruminant animal protein to ruminants. Feather meal and chicken litter are accepted cattle feeds as are chicken fish and pig meal.
  • Corn feed violates the biological or evolutionary logic of bovine digestion
  • Mel oversees sick cows on Poky Farm
  • Cows are evolving to help excess biomass coming off Americas cornfields
  • Many cows are sick
  • Bloat is perhaps the most serious thing that can go wrong with ruminant on corn. The Rumen produces a lot of gas that is usually expelled by belching, but with corn the gas is trapped.
  • Corn also can give cows severe heartburn that can be deadly
  • Cows rarely live on feedlot diets for more than 150 days.
  • 15-30% of feedlot cows are found at slaughter to have abscessed livers, some as high as 70%
  • Antibiotics are used to keep feedlot animals healthy
  • Animals wouldn’t need antibiotics if they ate grass
  • Manure lagoon’s
  • Feedlot waste contains heavy metals and hormone residue.
  • Pen size of hockey rink with fresh water
  • His cow’s eyes looked bloodshot from feedlot dust.
  • #534 looked miserable and not happy
  • Cows constantly in manure
  • 400 an hour will be slaughtered
  • 0157-H7 bacteria that can kill humans, is in 40% of cattle.
  • Most bacteria’s get killed off by our stomach acids
  • You are what you eat.

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