Farmers have long made frugal use of their table scraps, feeding their leftovers to hogs, dogs and now, cows. In a bizarre sign of our cash-strapped and climate-changing zeitgeist, a farmer in Kentucky has turned to feeding his 1,400 cattle on candy. A crippling drought in the US has raised corn prices so much that it’s now cheaper for Joseph Watson to buy factory-discard candy than America’s staple crop.
Global warming is often called “global weirding”, and the factors that have lead to this bovine sugar high are absolutely weird. Global trade and subsidies has combined with food science to create a glut of cheap sugar enhanced with cheap artificial flavorings and colors. Although the original article does not mention the specific brand of candy, from the photos it appears that they’re “rainbow belts” that, strangely enough, list corn syrup as their second ingredient after sugar. Not to mention that cows are ruminants. Even a “normal” diet of corn is fatal, over the long-term, for an animal that evolved to eat nothing but grass.
Luckily, the cattle are unfazed by being put out to graze on Candyland. Watson reports that they’re plump and healthy on their new diet of sugar supplemented with ethanol byproducts (also mostly from corn) and minerals. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a burger for dessert.