k, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan has raised this issue as well, calling for an alternative to present day’s farming practices, when it comes to raising cattle for food. It is evident, that a change is, indeed, warranted, especially when it comes to the feedlot, and feeding of the cattle, because, as Pollan puts it, we “are what [we] eat eats too” (84). It would be, perhaps, best if we reverted to the old days of localized animal farming, where the cattle would be raised as close to their natural and evolutionary pattern as possible.
The feedlots of today are not a modern inception; they came into being round about the time of the Second World War, when food had to be produced at a much cheaper and quicker way to feed the troops, while taking into account the lower number of men available for farming. While they were efficient for this purpose, they did not take into account the havoc the system may play on the various natural processes involved in cattle raising, both on the cattle and on the consumers thereof. First, animal farms were moved from main cities and cattle were displaced from “widely dispersed farms in places like Iowa to live in densely populated new animal cities” (Pollan 67), termed CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). This creates problems on its own, as now the cattle waste that was once used to fertilize the farm goes to waste and ends up polluting the environment. Though, as it would later be explained, the manure of the cattle on CAFOs is no longer so tenable either.
The calves that are born into the present animal farms are allowed their natural diet of mother’s milk and grass for only six months, after which they are taken away to the CAFO, to be fed an unnatural diet of “corn, for no other reason than it offers the cheapest calories around” (Pollan 68). Corn is not a natural food for the cattle, which results in many health problems for them; their stomachs do not digest corn well. Marvels of evolution,