Story by: JOVAN LONGS-TUCKER / Central High School
Animals are often subjected to harsh conditions and barbarous treatment for a quick profit. Animals should be managed properly and provided adequate nutrition. For instance, data shows that corn-fed cows have relatively poor health compared to grass-fed cows. In fact, James B. Russell of the Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ithaca, New York said, “When cattle are fed grain, productivity is increased, but fiber-deficient rations can disrupt physiological mechanisms.” Furthermore, Ill-fed animals are more prone to disease, which results in an increased chance that humans may potentially become sick from consuming the animal by-products.
About sixty-seven percent of all cows used for beef consumption and twenty-two percent of all cows used for dairy products in the United States are injected with artificial growth hormones. In particular, the chemical rBGh ( Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) is given to a widespread number of cows to increase their milk production.
The more milk that an animal can produce results in higher profit. Another side effect of ingesting rBGh is the cows reaching a faster slaughter weight. These malnourished cows are often prone to diseases like mastitis, an udder infection that causes the cows to secrete blood and pus in their milk. In addition, consuming excessive amounts of corn can cause ulcers in the animals, and E.Coli may form in the digestion tract of the animals. E.Coli can cause bloody diarrhea, and it can result in kidney failure in children. Getting Crohn’s disease is another effect from drinking milk from diseased cows. The milk contains the bacteria Mycobacteria paratuberculosis, which can cause stomach flu and diarrhea.
Dr. Carl Berkley, a research scientist at the Animals Research Institute, cautioned people to not consume the meat by-products of sickly cows. He noted that diseases such as anthrax that infect cows can easily be transmitted to human via meat consumption. Eating meat infected with anthrax may result in infertility.
Evidence shows that large corporations continue to prosper from animal malnutrition. It is important to note that most beef products today come from cows that are about fourteen or sixteen months old. These cows are fed a diet of protein supplements, corn, antibiotics and other drugs, including growth hormones.
In fact, a properly nourished cow requires about one thousand two hundred pounds of grass for at least two years to be healthy. Since low quality diets require less money, this remains to be the status quo.
Cows that have a dietary deficiency are in a state of poor physical condition. They are often weak, have a rough dry coat, a humped back, and protruding bones. Other features include shriveled muscles and organs and sunken eyes. Additional symptoms include lethargy, swelling gums, and neurotic behavior. Statistics can only describe the inhumane treatment of the animals, but one single picture of these mistreated animals is truly horrifying.
What are the stakes? While it may seem profitable to feed poor diets and growth hormones to farm animals, it is not. Typically, malnourished cattle have a short lifespan because they live stressful lives. Furthermore, sickly animals produce foul odors and are more difficult to manage.
For the health of the animal and the consumer, it is important to respect the cows and manage them with proper care.