As the global temperature rises, both people and animals suffer the consequences. A new Mercy For Animals investigation reveals animals suffering in sweltering heat at a Nebraska feedlot that raises cattle for meat companies, including JBS, one of the world’s largest. Our investigator documented animals forced to live in barren pens amid their own waste without any shade or protection from temperatures that often soared well into the triple digits.
Footage also shows dead and dying animals with severely swollen bellies, which one employee said was caused by “bloat,” a painful buildup of gas in their stomachs. At feedlots, bloat typically results from feeding strategies aimed at making animals grow faster—in this case, forcing the animals to consume an unnatural diet of grains.
But bloat is just one of the health problems these animals endure. In heartbreaking instances our investigator witnessed, some pregnant cows suffered stillbirths and organ prolapses after giving birth without proper veterinary care.
In other crude attempts to make the animals grow faster, workers at the feedlot were instructed to insert implants containing a combination of steroids, hormones, and antibiotics. The animals’ food was also laced with ractopamine, an additive designed to increase muscle mass.
The hormones given to the animals through the implant have been banned in the European Union since 1989 and are prohibited in over 160 countries owing to evidence of adverse effects on human health.
Also allowed in the United States, ractopamine is prohibited in over 160 countries for raising significant animal welfare concerns and possibly leading to heart problems and even poisoning in humans.
What You Can Do
Mercy For Animals is calling on JBS to prevent this extreme suffering by implementing meaningful welfare standards throughout their cattle supply chain, including the following:
- Protection from extreme weather
- Adequate group management, shelter, shade, and pasture
- Balanced diets
- Proper veterinary care
As one of the world’s largest meat companies, JBS has the power and responsibility to prevent the suffering of animals in their supply chain.
Animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and contributor to climate change. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, greenhouse gas emissions from raising farmed animals make up 14.5 percent of all global human-induced emissions.
You can fight climate change and help animals suffering at feedlots by choosing plant-based foods and encouraging others to do the same. Together we can build a food system that is good for our planet and all who share it.