[Editor's note: Interesting geography piece in yesterday's Washington Post about how Argentina is producing less free-range beef in favor of US-style feedlots. The days of the cowboy are indeed numbered.]
Republished from The Washington Post.
By Juan Forero. Thursday, September 10, 2009
Cattle Being Moved Off Plains and Into U.S.-Style Feedlots
MAGDALENA, Argentina — Cattle once ruled the seemingly endless grasslands here, delivering decades of prosperity for Argentina and producing a brand familiar to the world — natural, grass-fed beef.
But a quiet revolution has arrived on the famously fertile pampa, a swath of plains bigger than Texas.
Instead of roaming freely and eating to their hearts’ content, a growing number of Argentine cattle are spending a third of their lives in U.S.-style feedlots. There, crammed in muddy corrals, they are pumped with antibiotics and fed mounds of protein-rich grain, which fattens them up fast but hardly conjures up the romantic image of the Argentine cowboy, the iconic gaucho, lassoing cattle on the high plains.