Cattle Welfare. The cattle are here, it’s what we do. It’s our passion and this business if our livelihood. Bottom line is the cattle are handled better today than they ever were before.

The words of this Colorado cattle feedlot operator couldn’t be more representative of cattlemen across the country. On farms, ranches, and many cattle facilities there is someone raising cattle that will end up as beef on your grocer’s shelf. As this college student, with little to no agriculture background, explains in his documentary, there is a lot that goes into the care and handling of livestock on modern operations in this country. I have received many response since sharing my thoughts about events at a California feedlot, and I believe this video is a good introduction to the conversation on cattle welfare. Take 20 minutes to watch the video, and take notes to share your thoughts.

I hope you make it through the end of the video. There are some very important comments made by Dr Temple Grandin, a feedlot manager, and a cattle rancher. These people are the experts on cattle handling because they experience it life every single day. Their lives depend on it, as well as their families, and I promise you they wouldn’t be raising cattle if they weren’t passionate about their work.

A few interesting topics were raised in this video.

Did you notice when the cattle rancher discussed health, it’s more than just managing sickness? Herd health starts with a vaccination program, just like we humans receive our vaccinations. Building strong immune systems in cattle with vaccination programs and proper nutrition is an important role in health care.

Did you notice the cattle in the feedlot? How was their disposition? What were the pen conditions? These cattle looked pretty content to me. The pens were dry and the importance of pen design was discussed. Were there sick cattle on the lot? Yeah. I think we actually got a shot of one of those pens.

What were the feedstuffs mentioned in the video? Did you notice that Dr Grandin said it’s true of all beef cattle that they are born and raised on grass? It’s true. Even in the growing and finishing phases of feeding, forage and roughage sources (often grasses or legumes) are an important part of the diet.

What housing concerns were discussed in the video? The rancher talked about the environment on the ranch; how we must provide shelter from the weather elements. The feedlot manager also discussed the importance of pen slope, removal of excess water, and temperature and dust control.

What questions do you have that are raised from this video? Leave them in the comments section below or email me ( and I will do my best to address them in future Cattle 101 posts.