concentrated animal feed operation (CAFO)

October 8, 2013

Don't you get warm fuzzies just hearing that: concentrated animal feed operation? Do you picture rolling hills, beautiful trees, lush grasses, and happy cows hearing: concentrated animal feed operation? Yeah, me neither.

CAFOs are where animals are raised and kept in a confined operation. They "congregate animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area." source Additionally, these animals have no access to grass or vegetation.

Some of these may be small and have less than 300 animals, while others could have over 1000. Although I could not find information on typical land size, if you do a google image search of CAFO, you will get an idea of the level of confinement.

Although there are many reasons to avoid CAFO meat, I think for me, what they may be fed is the most disturbing.

There are some farms that have...

But not all farmers are feeding their animals candy and cookies. I actually looked up the ingredients in feeds. Although some were not too bad, this one I found was quite disturbing. They put drugs directly in the feed!

So why do they give supposedly healthy cows antibiotics? Because the cows are more likely to get sick due to the way they are being raised. Diseases can spread much more easily when there are a large number of cows in a small area. I compare it to cruise ships. Many times we have heard of a disease spreading quickly on a cruise-line. You have a large number of people in a small area. 

But feeding antibiotics to farm animals even when they are not sick has serious consequences. This article just came out a few weeks ago. 

Now when we get sick and legitimately need antibiotics, they may not work because of the overuse.

So back to CAFO cows and happiness.
I do not think these CAFO cows are as happy as pasture raised animals. OK, well I guess I do not really know if that is true. But my instincts and common sense tell me they are not as happy.
This video of cattle being let out for the first time after a long winter indoors makes me think I may be on to something.

And if you missed it, a good place to find better meat is

linked to Whimsy Wednesday Real Food Wednesday, six sisters stuff, Tuesday Talent Show, Fresh Foods Wednesday