When you’ve been vegan for a few years, you always think you’ve seen everything the world can possibly throw at animals. Until you get hit with the next enormity you could never have dreamed up in your wildest imaginings – as happens day after day.
But how about this for a piece of news to sock you straight between the eyes:-
Cows love Skittles!
Well, if I’m honest no-one’s asked the cows their opinion, but whatever, love’em or loathe’em they do have to eat them. Because there’s a little secret US cattle farmers successfully kept under ‘wraps’ until Tuesday night last week. That was when a truck shed its load and turned the icy Wisconsin highway the hottest of hot pinks with tons and tons of spilled Skittles. You could say it spilled the beans.
Here are the sweets in all their elemental pinkness.
The truck was delivering ‘feed’ to a farm. It seems that on the quiet the farmers have been feeding Skittles defects (not always pink, in case you’re wondering) to their animals for years because they’re cheaper than corn.
But don’t worry, says local Agriculture Educator Liz Binversie, there’s no need for concern that the cows’ candy consumption will spoil your meat. She’s quite sure of that – after all they’ve been doing it for years and no-one seems to have noticed.
Well, that’s all right then. As long as it doesn’t affect the humans, heaven forbid.
And full marks to all concerned for their efforts to spin a PR disaster into a fine bit of agitprop. Despite being put on the spot so spectacularly, they’ve rustled up some excellent reasons why pink Skittles are as good if not better for cattle than corn.
“Cows need carbohydrates. They need sugar. It provides energy and calories for them,” continues Ms Binversie. “Your body doesn’t really distinguish candy vs syrup vs corn vs whatever.” Whatever.
“It actually has a higher ratio of fat (than) actually feeding them straight corn,” says Joseph Watson, owner of United Livestock Commodities. Actually.
“I think it’s a viable (diet),” professor of animal nutrition John Waller throws in. “It keeps fat material from going out in the landfill, and it’s a good way to get nutrients in these cattle.”
So there you go – better for the environment too. Everyone’s a winner.
If you want to know just how credible are those apologists for cows consuming candy, you might want to consider this snippet from NBC News:
Watson’s feed appears to contain wrapped candy. [Professor] Waller admitted that there seemed to be candy wrappers in the feed, but he still wasn’t alarmed.
“It didn’t look like a tremendous amount (of wrappers). If they’re paper, those same microbes can digest that paper,” he said.
And if they’re plastic?
“They probably would just pass through. I think it would pass through just like excess fiber would,” Waller said.
Hmm. In what universe is it not utterly disturbing that cattle are fattened up on reject pink sweets – with or without plastic wrappers – before being butchered for the dinner table? Tell me that.