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Feeding Candy to Cows

Candy for cows

Prepare to insert a candy corn joke here:

I caught this story yesterday (thanks to Judith from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance for putting this out there) and I couldn't help myself. Feeding candy to cows? For one man in Kentucky, that's his solution to providing calories in the face of skyrocketing corn prices. Perhaps because corn is already an unnatural part of a cow's diet, candy can't be much worse? At any rate, here's the original article in full:

Kentucky Feedlot Manager Feeds Candy to Cows

While my initial reaction is just this side of horrified, feeding candy to cows brings up a host of questions in my mind:

- What's the difference between a rancher and someone who operates a feedlot? The article describes the latter by the former's title, is that accurate?

- Is corn expensive only because of drought? Or is it more complicated? What about the effect of land speculation?

- It's said another factor in the price of corn is ethanol production. What regulations are in place that makes this happen? How can they be changed?

- In the price of corn, what is the role of government subsidy programs? What do we want to see in the new Farm Bill regarding these subsidies?

- What is our role as consumers? It's easy to blame someone for feeding candy to their cows, but isn't he merely trying to produce a cheap product? Because we demand cheap meat (and lots of it!) aren't we equally culpable for the means to which that end is achieved?

- Finally, how common is this practice? Although it seems shocking, I'm curious if this occurs in pork production as well?

I'll hop off my little soap box but I'd love to hear others' thoughts. Feeding candy to cows: yay or nay?