Only 5% of cattle are grass fed for the duration of their entire lives. Most cattle are grass fed until their last 160-180 days of life. Their diet is then switched to grain in order to fatten them up for slaughter. Feeding cows grain requires vast amounts of resources such as water, chemicals to inject in the animals to keep them healthy and oil to run the factory farms. The meat industry is focused on minimum costs to produce maximum profits. Cramming animals into smaller areas, reducing the amount of human care animals receive, and only cleaning the farms after animals are killed are ways that costs are brought down.
The result of the increase of factory farms in American society has caused a massive decrease in pastured cattle. In Orange County, an area once covered in land for cattle, only one rancher remains. Frank Fitzpatrick runs 5 Bar Beef on his own, maintaining 2800 acres of land and around 700 cattle. His refusal to use any man-made chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, vaccines, pour-ons, animal by-products, pesticides or grain is rare in today’s society.
Animals and Society: An Introduction to Human Animal Studies