We are what we eat, it is often said, but of course that's only part of the story. We are what what we eat eats too"

Cattle in the US are fed just about everything from corn, animal fats and feathers through to vitamins, oestrogen and antiobiotics....... A New York Times journalist describes* how cattle have become efficient industrial "machines" converting oil reserves into protein. They provide us with cheap meat, but at what cost to our environment and health?

Fast food indeed. What gets a beef calf from 80 to 1,200 pounds in 14 months are enormous quantities of corn, protein supplements -- and drugs, including growth hormones. These ''efficiencies,'' all of which come at a price, have transformed raising cattle into a high-volume, low-margin business. Not everybody is convinced that this is progress.

[*New York Times Magazine, March 31, 2002 : "Power Steer" by MICHAEL POLLAN http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/31/magazine/31BEEF.html?pagewanted=all&positi on=top