Old Mcdonald Had a Feedlot Essay

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D’Jay Lefler Jacquelyne Kibler ENG 101 26 November 2012 Old McDonald Had a Feedlot The growth in industrial animal production has caused an increase in the number of cattle raised in feedlots instead of on pastures. The diet of cattle on feedlots is a serious issue. The impact it has on animals and humans alike is devastating. This crisis has escalated and will not resolve itself. It requires education and actions taken, one meal at a time. The stomachs of cows are pH neutral, but cows that consume mainly grain become prone to multiple health conditions such as bloat, diarrhea, ulcers, liver disease, a weakened immune system, and one of the most concerning, the growth of E. coli. However, feedlot workers continue to feed cattle a grain diet regardless of the health risks for the animals and consumers of the meat to save money because a diet of grass costs 50 to 100 percent more. Bloat is a form of indigestion marked by excessive accumulation of gas in the rumen. Immediately after cattle consume a meal, the digestive process creates gases in the rumen. (“Bloat in Cattle”). Grain causes the gases to become trapped inside the stomach which leads to bloat whereas grass and roughage does not. The National Animal Health Monitoring System reports that 7 percent of beef cattle death losses in the southeast U.S. were caused by digestive problems such as bloat (“Beef Cattle Nutritional Disorders”). When the cow gets bloat, acid builds up and causes ulcers. James B. Russell of the Agricultural Research Service states, "Then what happens is that infectious bacteria come from the rumen through the ulcers, into blood, and finally into the liver, where they cause abscesses.” (“Diet and Disease in Cattle”). These abscesses can lead to a weakened immune system and liver disease. A grain based diet not only causes health risks for the animal but the consumer as well. A
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