Arizona Young Cattlemen's Initiative (YCI) distributes a weekly email that is packed full of great information. Recently, this email contained a link to an article written for Precision Nutrition by vegetarian author, Ryan Andrews. Andrews was given an exclusive tour of the Magnum Feedyard in Wiggins, Colorado. He was stoked about the opportunity and had no clue about what his experience would be like. Fortunately for us (us = beef producers and other agricultural operations), Andrews was impressed by the healthcare, nutrition and sanitation that all cattle at that feedyard are exposed to. I am confident when I say that I think we would have found similar experiences at feedyards across the US. Props to Magmum Feedyard for doing an awesome job of representing one segment of the beef industry, and props to Mr. Andrews for his willingness to seek the truth when it comes to animal production in the United States. You can read the article for yourself here. A short excerpt is listed below to wet your appetite.
And, I have to say it. If my experience at Magnum is representative of other cattle farms, all those accounts of the dismal, depressing, disastrous cattle conditions seem to be exaggerated.
No, I’m not going to start eating meat again.
However, if I did eat meat, my visit to Magnum would have made me feel great about eating non-organic, non-grass-fed beef. Seriously. I can’t imagine the quality of meat would be substantially better with organic and grass-fed. Nor can I imagine the living conditions would be substantially better for the cattle.
Now, to be clear, we don’t require meat in our diet. And I don’t think we should be using cows for food, doesn’t matter if the cattle are kept on a feedlot or chilling in a waterbed listening to John Tesh. But that’s my own value system and I’m well aware that 97% of people in the U.S. eat meat on a regular basis.
However, considering the amount we procreate in the U.S. (there’s a birth every 8 seconds and a death every 12 seconds); and the amount of meat we eat (222 pounds per person, per year – not including marine life); and the small amount of money we’re willing to spend on food (we spend 9.6% of our disposable income on food, the lowest in the world. India spends 53%, Venezuela 34%, Italy 26%, Japan 19%, France 16%); feedlots have it right.
People want meat. And Magnum’s feedlot system is dialed in. They’re producing safe and cost-effective meat in, arguably, the most cattle-conscious way (short of opening up those pens and letting them run free). Rock on Magnum.