I receive Google news alerts for “beef” in my email, and this interesting and jaw-dropping photo was one of the results. I went through (most of!) the reddit thread to make sense of what I was looking at, and this is what I’ve come up with:
- No, it’s not blood. Cows are not slaughtered here. As explained in this comment, this is a feedlot, and what you’re seeing is cow waste.
- The red is an algae bloom. The photo was edited to increase saturation.
- It is almost 2000 feet wide! Wow.
- “Cows normally would need about an acre each to feed naturally which obviously isn’t going to fly in an industrial setting that values efficiency in both cost and work. The result is the high density feed lot. With so many cows in such close quarters all being fattened up on corn, waste piles up fast and the easiest way to clean it is to just wash it away. Since it would be dangerous to send that water anywhere, the farms just keep it in their waste lagoons.” – user fishfishfish
But the best part of the reddit thread was to find that the image is from a collection titled “Feedlots” by artist Mishka Henner. Check out the rest of the collection – really fascinating and ugly stuff. Check this short video out for more info on feedlots, featuring Henner’s work. And for a more in-depth discussion about Henner’s images, read this piece.
You know, just as an FYI: Pollution from Giant Livestock Farms Threatens Public Heath. Check this out for more information about the health and environmental dangers, including why algae blooms are not that great.
Still want that piece of beef for dinner?