SAFE calls bull on feedlot spin

Feedlots are a form of intensive agriculture in which cattle are confined in pens, without grass and usually without any shelter, to feed them up before slaughter. In New Zealand, cattle can be held in these pens for months at a time.

New drone-footage reveals the reality of feedlots already operating in New Zealand – thousands of cattle, crammed into barren paddocks. The footage shows Five Star Beef, the country’s biggest feedlot operation, which can hold up to 19,000 cattle at a time.

Head of Campaigns, Marianne Macdonald, says feedlots raise serious animal welfare concerns, as well as environmental ones.

“While the spin from the company marketing this beef describes it as produced with a ‘unique combination of nature and nurture’, the reality is a bare wasteland and increasing Americanisation of the New Zealand farming landscape. This is bad news for cattle and our environment, and undermines our international reputation.”

As shown in the video, there is no shelter for the animals or grass to graze. The cattle are moved here for between 75 and 125 days until they are slaughtered.

“For months the cattle are denied their natural instinct to graze, which they would normally do for up to eight hours a day. They are forced onto a diet of grain, which can cause bloating and diarrhoea. They are also given no shelter from harsh weather. These factors breach the Animal Welfare Act and are totally unacceptable, especially since it’s purely for profit.”  

We’re calling on Environment Minister Hon David Parker, to stop further intensification of cattle farming; set a date to phase out existing feedlots; tighten up loopholes that allow farmers to operate unconsented feedlots; and ensure better monitoring and enforcement is undertaken by local Government.

“We’ve seen the damage from the virulent spread of beef and dairy intensification as greedy industries seek to cash-in on short-term gains. The cure is clear-cut and it’s in the Minister’s power to deliver it: make the use of feedlots a prohibited activity, as he re-writes his new, stronger water regulations.”

Take action:

  • Email Hon David Parker, asking him to end feedlots. 

20 August 2018