March 21, 2017
Confinement vs. Non-confinement Feeding of Animals
Specific Purpose Statement: To allow my audience to consider the advantages and disadvantages of confinement feeding versus non-confinement feeding of animals and allow them to understand the practices as well as what the future holds for both sides.
Thesis Statement: Confinement feeding is the feeding of livestock or animals in a feedlot setting that is the future of the industry, while non-confinement is the feeding of livestock or animals in an open grazing, free roam environment which has been widely used in the past. Today I would like for you to understand the differences between the two in order to better recognize the progression of the industry.
1. (Attention Getter): Picture yourself driving down the road, on one side there is a large group of animals in a fenced in area or a corral, on the other side of the road is another large group of animals roaming free in a large pasture area.
a. The side that is fenced in looks close together and in a small area.
b. The opposite side looks very spaced out and content
c. What is the difference between the two groups of animals? Why are they both not in the same setting?
2. (Reveal Topic & Relate to Audience): With animal welfare becoming a widely voiced issue in todays society, it is important to understand both sides of feeding animals and how it affects us in the long run.
3. (Establish Credibility): Raising and feeding livestock my whole life has given me the opportunity to experience both types of feeding of animals and the advantages and disadvantages they hold.
a. I have never really looked into the idea of either anymore than what I had learned from my family until this speech.
b. After researching both sides, I still cannot make the decision as to which is better or not, because there are factors equally going both ways.
4. (Thesis and Preview): Therefore, I would like to first present the definition of confinement feeding, otherwise known as CAFO which stands for “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation”, and then explore the differences between confinement and non-confinement feeding of livestock or animals.
a. I hope that by sharing the following information with you, that you will be able to make a more informed decision on the topic and in turn, use your personal opinions to allow me to make a decision as well.
Signpost: First, we will look at confinement feeding
1. According to the article “Meat and Livestock Production”, confinement feeding is a drought feeding practice that aims to promote animal health and welfare while preserving ground cover and land condition across the majority of the property.
a. Confinement feeding is accomplished by confining livestock in a small area to be fed a total ration.
b. Examples of confining areas would be feedlot settings, cages, or small, securely fenced in areas.
c. According to “Beef Magazine” confined feeding is actually the more cost effective method.
i. Confined feeding involves more grain feeding of livestock which in turn allows for quicker finishing times (maturity of the animal), as well as more desirable quality grades for consumers.
ii. Another advantage to this method is how it helps promote animal health and welfare. Producers and feeders are better able to care for sick and or wounded animals in a much easier way. They are able to get the animal in and treat them in a low stress situation, opposed to running them around a pasture or free range area and increasing stress which in turn affects the meat quality.
iii. Finally, another major advantage to confined feeding, found on the “National Conference of State Legislatures”, is how the animals produce large amounts of waste within these areas that is required to be cleaned out at least once a year. This manure that is produced is used fertilize crops and restore nutrients into the land.
Signpost: Now let's take a look at how the live animal feeding carries over to the meat product.
d. One big discussion topic, that over the past few years has become a bigger issue is the idea of grass fed versus grain fed meat products.
i. According to a “CNN survey” conducted in 2016, there were many different opinions on both sides. However, there were some very good pro grain fed opinions.
1. Grain fed (otherwise known as confined fed) meat is much cheaper and easier to find in most generic grocery stores. These may include King Soopers, Safeway, Albertsons, etc.
2. Grain fed meat is also generally higher in quality and is easier to produce in large numbers as they finish a lot faster than a pasture fed (grass fed) animal.
e. On the contrary though, confined feeding does display some disadvantages.
i. Many consumers shy away from buying grain fed products due to how the animals are cared for in a confined setting. They believe it is unsanitary to be in a pen with their own waste and being in a small area with several other head of livestock.
ii. One other big disadvantage to confined feeding is not having the free will to ram wherever they please and graze on whatever is surrounding them. Being as close as they are to each other does allow for more disease possibilities and more aggressiveness in the animals.
f. Personally, I believe that confined feeding of livestock and animals is an essential part of the agricultural industry as a whole. However, I understand the concerns that arise with this particular method.
Transition: Now that we have some background on the confinement side, lets take a look at non
2. According to the website, “Kansas State University K-Cares Page”, Non-confinement feeding is the feeding of livestock or animals essentially with no boundaries or confining methods. This method allows for animals to roam free and graze at their leisure.
a. This method of feeding is becoming a more accepted method over the past ten years. A lot of smaller producers or families with just a few animals, typically use this method because it is a relatively cheap way to feed an animal and allows for acceptable quality in a longer period of time.
b. By using the non-confinement method, it allows for no limit to the number of animals in one place at one time.
c. Going back to the idea of grass fed versus grain fed is a big factor here. Studies preformed by the “University of Missouri” have shown that grass fed meat has a higher level of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a fatty acid that aids in the prevention of heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.
d. Some consumers have showed that grass fed is more desirable because it does meet minimum quality and tenderness standards. However, it does take extra time and energy to do so.
e. A big factor that comes into play is also the cost when purchasing a grass fed product opposed to a grain fed. Grass fed meat is typically labeled as so along with organic, non-GMO, pesticide and hormone free. These are just a few of the labels. In turn, producing this type of meat is more expensive, making the meat product itself almost two times more expensive above its competition. However, consumers are willing to pay this price due to the health benefits and personal opinions on confined feeding. Consumers are the driving factor in the grass fed meat industry being at such high profits in the past 5 years.
f. With this being said, non-confinement feeding also has its downsides.
i. In order to be a non-confinement facility, there are lots of rules and regulations that must be followed. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources”, they state that non-confinement feeders:
1. MUST maintain good grass and or hay stands throughout the growing seasons
2. Must provide both forage and occasionally grain if necessary to livestock
3. Must manage stocking rates
4. Must maintain vegetation or a “buffer” otherwise, the site may be considered confinement and possibly a significant pollution potential
ii. Raising grass fed meat also takes about twice the amount of time to do opposed to grain fed. They do not have as high of a crude protein diet as grain fed do therefore having to use more energy to put on weight instead of exerting that towards gaining weight.
Signpost: Now that I have shared with you some of the advantages and disadvantages to
confinement and non-confinement feeding, I would like to hear your thoughts and opinions on the topic.
1. Close-Ended Questions
a. By a show of hands, how many individuals in her today prefer grass fed products? Grain fed?
b. By a show of hands, how many individuals in here buy organic products?
2. Open-Ended Questions
a. Do you think one method over the other I have discussed today is more sustainable? Why?
b. Those who prefer grass fed products, why?
c. Those who prefer grain fed products, why?
d. A large percentage of producers and feeders are involved in confinement feeding over non-confinement, why do you think this is?
e. As consumers, what is the the appeal to buying more expensive, organic products? What are the marketing factors that draw you in?
f. What do you think is the future of the feeding industry? Will there be more confinement feeding operations or non-confinement?
g. In what ways would confinement feeding influence the industry if the industry had to pick one? Non-confinement?
1. (Signal End): As we have learned today,
2. (Review): Confinement feeding is a more widely known and practiced feeding method that differs greatly from non-confinement feeding
a. We have looked at the advantages and disadvantages of the two different methods of feeding to further our understanding about the way our meat is produced and how we as consumers are purchasing these products.
b. Using the information, we have learned today, I hope that we are all able to make our own personal opinion on which method of feeding of animals we prefer, and how that transfers over to the purchase decisions we make on our meat products.
3. (Closing Line): I encourage you all to think back to the information presented today the next time you are driving around and see both methods of feeding on either side of you or when you are making your decisions in the grocery store
Compiled by Stephanie Veldman Associate Editor | Feb 01, 2006. \"Pros and Cons of Pasture
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2011. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/29/grass.grain.beef.cookinglight/index.html>.
\"Environmental Protection.\" Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Iowa.gov, n.d. Web. 20
Mar. 2017. <http://www.iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Land-Quality/Animal-Feeding-Operations/Confinements>.
George, Herschel. \"Is Non-Confined Feeding an Alternative?\" Is Non-Confined Feeding an
Alternative? (n.d.): n. pag. Kansas State Education Page. Kansas State University. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.kcare.k-state.edu/water-quality-training/Is%20Non-Confined%20feeding%20an%20alternative%20by%20Herschel%20George.pdf>.
Hendrick, Scott. \"Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.\" National Conference of State
Legislatures. NCSL, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2017. <http://www.ncsl.org/research/agriculture-and-rural-development/concentrated-animal-feeding-operations.aspx>.
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