The Australian Lot Feeders Association will extend an invitation to one of Australia’s leading chefs to visit a feedlot after he publicly sank the kitchen boot into the lot fed beef industry last week.
Neil Perry operates successful steak restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, and features grainfed beef on his menus.
However in his new book Rockpool Bar and Grill released last week, Mr Perry included a scathing assessment of the cattle feedlot industry.
In comments that earned the chef and his new book prominent media coverage, Mr Perry described grainfed cattle as “very unhappy animals”.
“Also called ‘lot-fed’ beef, this type of beef is akin to battery chicken and intensive pork farming; the animals don’t do much moving around and are usually fed twice a day so they gorge themselves when the food is there,” he wrote.
“These cows are athletes on steroids, with the aim to maximise growth so the return is better.
“This can’t be good for them or us.”
Australian Lot Feeders Association president Jim Cudmore said he was surprised by Mr Perry’s comments, particularly as he had been “great supporter” of grainfed beef for many years.
He said ALFA planned to meet with him to discuss the environmental and animal welfare standards of the industry and to invite Mr Perry to personally visit a feedlot.
“We want to talk about the validity of grainfed beef, and the range and quality you can get with grainfed beef, the environmental stewardship we have,” he said.
“And also our animal welfare concern, there is no parallel between pig sow stalls and battery hens in cages, there is no parallel, feedlot cattle are quite different.”
- The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association will host the BeefWorks 2011 feedlot industry conference at Toowoomba, Queensland, today and tomorrow. This year’s program has a particular focus on ‘social license to operate’, both from an environmental and animal welfare perspective.
Keep an eye on Beef Central for conference reports over the next two days.