Beef: Corn Fed, Grass Fed, and Now, Candy Fed!

Cows eating candy

image: Britannica Advocacy

File this under weird. Due to drought conditions this year, the price of animal feed crops has increased substantially. In some cases ranchers are finding it hard to obtain corn or soy to feed their cattle. Some farmers have discovered interesting alternatives – candy!

Unbelievable as it may sound, there is a market for past-expiration-date snacks that cannot be sold for human consumption:

In the mix are cookies, gummy worms, marshmallows, fruit loops, orange peels, even dried cranberries. Cattlemen are feeding virtually anything they can get their hands on that will replace the starchy sugar content traditionally delivered to the animals through corn. Read more from Reuters…

Animal nutrition experts agree that ruminants such as cows are able to ingest and digest a wide variety of foods (unlike birds and pigs), but this seems to be quite an extreme. Cows eat grass, that’s what their digestive system was designed to do.

The factory farm practice of feeding them mostly corn (highly subsidized by the government) is already problematic – it messes up their liver and digestive system, requiring constant medication. Now these poor animals are being subjected to gummy bears full of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and what not.

Perhaps we should modify the old adage to “you are what you eat eats”