Cattle Feedlots are Like a Holiday Inn

Ryan Andrews, a vegan bodybuilder and strength coach, has overjoyed America’s cattlemen by touring a 22,000-head feedlot and then parroting beef industry talking points:

You see, very few people in the nutrition world are ever allowed to visit feedlots. In fact, some of my favorite authors have written entire books about feedlots without ever being granted permission to see one in person. So I had to “work it” pretty hard to get this kind of access. And was really excited.

Stupid, stupid, stupid. Feedlots may be tough to enter—and why do you think that is?—but some of the biggest are located right alongside major highways. You can easily stop your car and get a close-up view of the conditions the cattle live under. Harris Ranch, for example, is one of the world’s biggest feedlots, and it’s located right next to Interstate 5 in California, meaning that tens of thousands of motorists witness its deplorable conditions every day.

If the wind’s blowing right, you can smell the shit from Harris Ranch from miles away. I have.

But go on, Ryan:

Growth-promoting hormones are used in feedlot cattle as it increases efficiency. These are naturally occurring hormones that are regularly metabolized by the body.

And Europe refuses to import beef from hormone-treated cattle.

Most cattle don’t get antibiotics. And if they do, they need it.

Very likely because of illnesses arising from crowded conditions, and a grain-based diet.

Speaking of cleanliness, Magnum wants the cattle to be clean and comfortable.

I know, I know, I can see my animal welfare comrades shaking their heads—but think about it. From a profit standpoint, if animals aren’t comfortable, they aren’t going to eat. If they don’t eat, they don’t grow. If they don’t grow, they won’t be much use to the dude wanting to buy a big steak.

Your animal welfare comrades are shaking their heads because you’re making an idiotic and demonstrably false argument. 22,000 animals crowded together at a feedlot aren’t ever going to be “clean and comfortable.” And animals do so eat if they’re not comfortable—in fact they’ll eat until and unless they’re on the brink of death. Look no further than any battery cage egg or veal operation for clear evidence of this.

Yes, what I’m trying to say is that Magnum Feedyard cattle receive better health care than many North Americans. They get regular vet appointments and a simple diet that is nutrient dense.

I have no other response than to say this guy is smoking crack.

Have you ever been to a Holiday Inn? That’s kind of like Magnum. They are a hotel for cattle.

What the fuck is wrong with this guy?

I was tired of talking about, reading about, and hearing about feedlots. Especially when many of the accounts were from people who had never been to a feedlot in their lives.

So, when I was given this sort of rare access, I jumped at the chance to check one out for myself.

Have you stopped to think that the only reason you were given this access was because you made abundantly clear you are a Quisling?

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.

As I wrote in Meat Market, the business of a feedlot is to trade health for size. Andrews just paid a visit to an operation where he saw 22,000 cattle standing in shit, implanted with hormones, and waiting their turn to be carted off to slaughter—and he apparently has no problem with any of it. He concludes his piece by writing:

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.

Andrews’ article has predictably drawn vehement responses from the vegan community and gleeful articles from beef interests praising his “open-mindedness and objectivity.” He’s responded here. He remains absolutely clueless about the distortions he’s made and the damage he’s done.

The substance of Andrews’ article is no different from the lies being peddled by the beef, dairy, pork, and egg trade groups. But those PR flacks do it because they’re despicable people who lack a moral compass, and have something to gain financially.

Andrews did it because he’s got the critical thinking skills of a gnat, scant empathy for animals, and total incomprehension of the harm he has caused. (Thanks, Ginny.) Link.

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