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Omnivore’s Dilemma Chapter 4

November 7, 2008

Cow & Calf, originally uploaded by Jim Moran.


This chapter will tell you more then you ever wanted to know about the process of turning an excess commodity called corn into beef. In doing so we are jeopardizing the lives of 100s of millions of cows and humans alike.

What at first seemed like a streamlined process for dealing with excess corn and speeding along the process of fattening cows for slaughter has instead caused pollution, toxic waste, and deadly pathogens. It’s a simple matter of biology that not only allows cows to live off of grass it makes them uniquely suited to do so. Forcing them to live off of corn is not only unnatural it’s unhealthy. You (although most people reading this probably do) may not care about the life of a cow but when the process of using excess antibiotics to speed the beef to your table at an affordable price causes you or someone in your family to get sick or die from a “antibiotic resistant superbug” you might pay a bit more attention. “Most antibiotics sold in America today end up in animal feed, a practice that, it is now generally acknowledged (except in agriculture), is leading directly to the evolution of new antibiotic-resistant superbugs.” These antibiotics are only necessary because we insist on forcing cows to live off of corn (because it’s cheap). If we let them live naturally off of grass they would be less prone to disease, they would be less able to pass that on to us and oh yeah we would be healthier too. That cheap corn that fattens up the cow is also fattening us up with excess saturated fat.

This was a hard chapter to read and definitely made we want to “release” cows from every feedlot. They are slowly dying everyday because we insist on growing more of a certain crop then we need and instead of growing less we are force feeding it down their throats so we can save ourselves some money. We are greedy beyond belief and nature is paying the price. One day though it seems through bacteria and infection we may directly experience the result of our sins.

Chapter 1-3 The Plant: Corn’s Conquest, The Farm, & The Elevator

Chapter 5-6 The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods & The Consumer: A Republic of Fat
Chapter 7 The Meal: Fast Food
Chapter 8 All Flesh is Grass

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