Saladillo: Feedlot’s Capital
Since 2008, ECOS, an environmental group from Saladillo, Argentina, has been investigating reports of sanitary violations by cattle ranches in and around Saladillo, which boasts the highest concentration of feedlots in the country.
According to Gabriel Arrisnabarreta of ECOS, feedlots subject animals to stressful situations because they are trapped in crowded small spaces that impair their ability to move. Animals are forced to stand in manure and dirt all day, thus increasing the spread of E.coli diseases among animals, which leads to high mortality rates. As a result, animals are injected with antibiotics and hormones that end up in the meat. Even worse, a number of feedlots do not have proper disposal systems installed, which consequently leads to animal residual in the already-polluted Salado River.
After receiving numerous odor complaints from neighbors, members of ECOS visited a feedlot owned by the Don Ramón company on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. When ECOS arrived, they found hundreds of dead cows on the side of the road, many of which were in advanced stages of decomposition, implying they had been there for a long time. The disposal of dead animals is poorly regulated by authorities and it has become a serious health threat to the Saladillo community. In addition to finding bovine carcasses on the roadside, ECOS representatives recorded a video of a Don Ramón employee disposing one of the dead animals. Argentinean sanitary control agencies have been ignoring appeals by local neighbors and ECOS to regulate the feedlot’s activities.
Food and Water Watch is partnering with ECOS to uncover feedlot abuses and to raise public awareness of meat choices.
“We would like to ask the public to consider if is necessary to produce meat like this. They should have the option to answer with their meat purchases,” said Arrisnabarreta.
ECOS and Food and Water Watch encourage the public to support beef labeling requirements in order to pressure feedlots to adopt more sustainable practices.
See below for a video of the Argentinean feedlot conditions filmed by ECOS.
Food & Water Watch Intern