As Care2 has recently reported, the current drought has made it difficult for United States farmers to feed their livestock. Some farmers, however, appear to be borrowing a page from Marie Antoinette – who supposedly said of her breadless populace, “Let them eat cake” – by offering their hungry cattle a sweet alternative: let them eat candy.
No, really. A handful of farmers have resorted to feeding their cows candy. As Kentucky rancher Joseph Watson explains to WPSD, he has made sugary treats the main meal for the nearly 1,500 cattle on his farm, Mayfield’s United Livestock Commodities. “Just to be able to survive, we have to look at other sources for nutrition,” Watson said.
Though Watson has previously used corn to feed his cattle, with the drought affecting 88% of the country’s corn crop, the price of corn has soared, making it too expensive to use as his cows’ main source of food.
Since Watson’s cattle are slaughtered for meat, fattening his livestock up is a top priority. Unsurprisingly, candy has proven to be a good way to keep the cows’ weight up. Hey, it almost worked for the witch in Hansel and Gretel.
“The ration is balanced to have not too much fat in it,” said Watson, who combines ethanol and a mineral nutrient with the candy for extra sustenance. “It’s got all the right nutrition for them,” he adds, sounding not unlike a child trying to convince his parent to let him have candy for dinner.
Watson claims that he has yet to see his cattle suffer any health problems as the result of their new diet. Then again, the long-term health consequences are probably not accounted for as the cattle are designated for slaughter. There is no word on whether the cows have started to produce chocolate milk.
Watson admits that his friend suggested feeding the cattle candy as a joke, but then he found the solution to be cost-efficient. Watson is able to purchase discarded candy that has been deemed unsellable to humans for one reason or another at cheap rates. For now, Watson intends to continuing feeding his cattle candy until the price of corn drops.
Those poor, fat cows.
Photo Credit: Stuart Heath