Why are animals in feedlots treated so horribly? I buy local organic meat these days. The thought of eating an animal that stands in its own filth and is unable to graze is just not an option for me.
I have 100 cows, raise the offspring and sell direct market and replacement females to other breeders. I do not believe in organic animal production. It might be alright for some, but if my dogs need to be dewormed I do it, same with my cows. If flies are bothering them, i spray the barn to kill the flies, like I use flea stuff on my dogs. Organic producers do not have this option, and if a cow is sick, they cannot treat her without removing her from the organic herd. I care more for my animals than I do for the rules regulating organic - organic is not the only answer.
My friends who own feedlots in Nebraska, the Beef State, would be delighted to show you their feedlot. They do not smell, they are cleared of mud within a week after a snowstorm or major rain and all the precipitation is carefully applied to the ground to avoid pollution. They seldom look like they are standing in filth. I think that the price of corn will improve the economics of grazing as opposed to feeding cattle, but the current market expectations are white (not yellow) marbling which comes with corn feeding and the cattle can be fed more economically with faster weight gain (and thus less greenhouse gas) in a feedlot.
Take a look at the short documentary below that will dispel some of these ideas. Not only is it shot at a feedyard in Idaho, it is just one example of how so many ranchers care deeply about the health and wellness of their animals and the cleanliness of their pins. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=onITAppbWyE
I also do not suppport the organic movement, I feel all the requirements are over the top of what makes sense. I know people who locally who do farm organically, and what they go through. To raise cert. organic beef or pork the corn you feed also has to be organic. A natural approach allows me to feed corn from the local mill and doctor a sick piglet, just as I would my child.
I agree completely with Rex & LB - the ability to keep animals healthy outweighs a certification. After all do we really want to eat unhealthy, sickly animals? If they survive it's not the same as the one that was treated, recovered and healthy. From a poultry standpoint, the feed must be organic from day 1 - at about 3 times the cost of non-organic non-medicated feed. Now if you're willing to pay $10-12/dozen for eggs perhaps we can work something out to get some birds and raise them on that $25/bag organic feed for 6 months and maybe get eggs. If they don't get sick (if treated they're not organic).