Life is always better under an oak tree compared to a parking lot

written by

Kevin Cory

posted on

June 19, 2022

Life is always better under an oak tree compared to a parking lot.  

Over the past week a heatwave moved through the South East and the Midwest resulting in death of livestock.  A report listed an estimate of over 10,000 head of cattle were killed from the heat.  Admittedly, Laura and I lost some livestock as well: bred rabbit does, broilers, etc. However, these death losses is part of the natural order as only the strong genetics should continue on. The heat and humidity have compounding effects, we all know this from personal experience living in the South. However, one or two head of small livestock compares little to the loss of 1500-2000 Lbs animals.  And that is the crux of the issue.

The conventional industry places unnatural stressors on the animal.  While being a 2000 Lbs. cow in and of itself is not bad (2000 Lbs is light for the American Bison), it’s being 2000 Lbs and under unnatural conditions on Centralized Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO / animal factories).  Admittedly, this is an assumption, but an assumption I have confidence in as the prime region for the feedlot industry is the Midwest with the epicenter being Kansas. 

In previous posts and points of dissertation, I’ve highlighted the difference between us (the little guy attempting to feed his family and neighbor) and the factory, government backed, and taxpayer subsidized meat industry.  By focusing on the distinctions, you can see why these 10,000 animals perished. Lets begin with the below photo:

This photo, a representation of your typical CAFO, lacks any semblance of pleasantries of a warm summer day. There are no trees.  Because of the lack of trees, there are no cooling breezes.  Of course 10,000 head of cattle are dead.  They couldn’t dump the heat.  

As your local producer and neighbor, we attempt to manage in synch with nature. Through the summer months we attempt to mitigate the effects of heat by adjusting our grazing strategy to have the animals in the woods.  Under a canopy of deciduous trees, the temperature can be over 20 degrees cooler!

Agreed, saying there are no trees as the cause of the death loss is over simplifying this issue.  So let’s delve deeper into why these animals perished.

Ruminants (e.g., cattle) evolved on this earth grazing pastures, plains, and savannahs. The animal under confinement is under a constant level of stress.  They are cramped, they live in their filth, injected with hormones and antibiotics, and fed a high energy, grain based diet. While these industrially raised animals do have access to food and water, they cannot dump the stress and the heat.  


As you can see in the sampled photo, there is little roaming and grazing happening in the CAFO. This bare dirt reflects the sun, as opposed to trees and grass, which absorb much of the sun’s radiation through photosynthesis and exhales water vapor to cool the soil and the air.

Animals allowed to express their instinctive behaviors eating natural diets do not have these issues. When all of nature’s cycles are functioning, the ecosystem is in balance. Cattle can graze early and late in the day when the temperatures aren’t as harsh. They can eat where they roam, without having to compete with more aggressive animals for access to the feed trough. And, when the sun is high, the animals can retreat to the woods or ponds where it may be 10-20 degrees cooler.

The final contributing factor to the death loss is that the animals are obscenely FAT!  Fat is good.  Fat under appropriate conditions and management is good. Fat stored on the body to survive lean times (i.e., Winter) is good. Heavy fat deposits in the Summer IS NOT GOOD. 

The reason for CAFOs and high energy grain rations is to artificially fatten the animal in unnatural settings to provide the American consumer with steaks characterized by ribbons of white, tasteless, saturated fats.  It is not uncommon to have feedlot animals with an excess of .75 inches of backfat, where grassfed and finished ruminants might have .2 inches.

I struggle to comprehend why the USDA sanctioned and financed industrial food companies believe that eating dying animals is good for us. If left in our pastures, our ruminants and the ruminants of our partners would live to a normal life expectancy of 15-20 years of age. If left in a feedlot, industrial animals would not accomplish a quarter of that as their livers and endocrine system would shut down.

Our animals are healthy.  Our animals are natural.  

Our animals are part of the natural diet of a healthy carnivore / omnivore.

Only the Best for Your Family and Ours!

Why stop here? Discover more!

The Stark Truth: Grain-fed vs. Grass-fed - Follow Me Land & Livestock (

The threat of ‘GREENwashing’ - recommendations to navigate misleading claims - Follow Me Land & Livestock (

Freedom Chicken - The Healthier Choice - Follow Me Land & Livestock (





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