More Drugs for Feedlot Cattle?

Photo credit: Kevin Moloney, via The New York Times

I couldn’t believe I was reading this today in The New York Times

“Jason Timmerman coaxed a balky calf into a chute on his feedlot one recent afternoon and jabbed a needle into its neck. He was injecting the animal with a new vaccine to make it immune to a dangerous form of the E. coli bacteria.” 

Huh?? We’re giving feedlot cattle more drugs? Apparently, the vaccine is currently being tested and, if proven effective, could significantly reduce the amount of harmful bacteria that cattle carry into slaughterhouses. 

Um, excuse me, but what about the fact that feedlot cows stand around in their own waste, which goes along for the ride into the slaughterhouse? Isn’t that a primary source for much of the E. coli that infiltrates feedlot beef? 

The Times answers this question at the end of the article: “E. coli contamination generally starts when bacteria in feces on a cow’s hide are transferred to the carcass. Cargill [the food giant that’s funding the vaccine study] has added many steps to keep carcasses clean, including steam pasteurization and hot water washes. But regular tests at the plant still turn up occasional traces of E. coli in trim, underscoring the need for additional steps, like a vaccine.” 

Go ahead, Cargill, put a Band-aid on the problem instead of getting to the root cause: feedlots. Studies cited on the website indicate that cattle fed grass, as opposed to grain, are less likely to be infected with E. coli. And, on top of that, they’re cleaner animals because they’re not standing around in their own excrement. 

Looks like Cargill is just trying to find away to avoid future lawsuits, at the expense of the cattle, the factory farmers, and the consumer.

Read the article.


2 responses to “More Drugs for Feedlot Cattle?

  1. You know, more and more I’m realizing that all of our environmental issues come from fighting nature. Cows evolved to be able to digest grass, hence the four stomachs, and yet we want them to eat corn because we perceive it to be cheaper. Remember those images from Food, Inc. treating the hamburger additive with ammonia? Is this really our earth’s future?!

    • I DO remember the ammonia being added to the ground beef in “Food, Inc” and that’s the only visual I need to keep me from eating any beef whose source I don’t know or trust (as being grassfed). I am totally with you about nature. How much can we humans screw up the earth?! And look at what we’re doing to our health in the process! It’s just so obvious but people don’t want to see it.

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