Agriculture, beef, cattle, consumers, corn, eating, environment, ethical eating, farming, food, food culture, food systems, industrial agriculture, ingredients, marketing, Meat, processed food, whole grain, zilmax
A new drug has been introduced to cattle called Zilmax, it has been widely used in feedlots where most of beef comes from. It is a growth drug that makes the cattle swell with muscle in the final weeks of their lives. While this can boost the amount of meat per carcass, it can remove the very qualities that people like about beef, like the fatty marbling that adds juiciness and flavor.
The reason they started grain feeding cattle was because it was more profitable for the grain farmers. Grains like corn are very bulky, hard to move to market, and historically low value. This was in the 1800’s while railroads were still getting established. Farmers found that if they fed their harvested low value corn to cattle and pigs they could then walk the valuable meat animals to market. Since at the time a 5 pound of grain to a pound of meat gain was probably good that was a big consolidation of mass with the added benefit of self propulsion. People got used to the taste and since corn has still until the last few years been cheap the practice continues now. Feeding animals with corn will make fatter quicker then at a normal rate.
People need to be more aware of this matter, I discovered that what passes for eggs and chicken meat in supermarkets are of very poor quality. However, the vast majority of consumers have no idea what they are missing. This constant emphasis on cost versus quality, is driving down the quality of food. So you end up with chicken grown under dismal conditions and breeds of chicken that balloon to butchering size in just 8 weeks. It’s really not fit for human condition. It takes 6 to 9 months for a chicken to get to butchering size, and a full year to mature. The meat from these birds which spend all day running around through pasture, brush, woods and gardens eating grass, berries, scratching for worms, hunting field mice, taking long dust baths in the sun, is out of this world. The best way to describe the difference between these chicken and commercial chicken is the difference between a whole grain bread and a twinkie. It is that dramatic. Unfortunately, 99.999% of consumers will never know what chicken can really taste like.