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It is quite possible to feed a cow *some* grain---corn or sweet feed---without plonking it in a feedlot and making it sick. You put the cows out to grass and call them in in the evening for a couple scoops of grain. It teaches them to come when you call 'em. That way you get a look at them nightly and know what is going on. It isn't like feeding them white bread---which I know some people do. The cows digest the grain just fine.
Dairy cattle---my Jerseys would go down with milk fever or quit producing outright if I didn't support their production with the extra calories found in grains. Why do you think lactating women eat oatmeal cookies?
Legally, animals aren't allowed to be fed antibiotics close to slaughter. They test the meat for residue.
That's totally different than what I was saying. The cows you're describing would still be considered grassfed. I think Mark did an entry once where he responded to an email someone sent about a farmer who said they gave their cows a sweet of oats with mollasses so they would come when called, and it was perfectly fine.
Here's the order I'd put it in from best to worst:
Grass-fed/grass-finished cows who get a scoop of grain as a treat.
Grass-fed/grain-finished cows who get a scoop of grain as a treat.
Grain-fed/grain-finished cows from a small farm who have acess to pastureland but most of their calories come from grain-based feed.
Grain-fed/grain-finished cows from a factory farm.
And I wasn't talking about dairy cattle. The topic was about the value of grass-fed meat.
Grass fed is better for the animal, the environment and the end user. It's a no brainer. If it's too expensive, cut out other expenses in your life. There are always going to be readily available excuses. If it's totally outside of your reach then do your best elsewhere and don't worry too much.
I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.