When you think of livestock, you probably think of cows grazing on green grass, moseying around in endless pastures. Something that doesn’t come to mind? Candy. And why would it? Candy surely isn’t a part of a cow’s diet, right?
Well, it’s common practice because corn prices are too high.
Members of the agricultural industry have been caught feeding red Skittles to their cows. And not just one skittle here or there – tons of Skittles. The reason why might not be so shocking. It all boils down to one thing. Saving money.
The Great Skittle Spill
On a highway in Wisconsin, hundreds of thousands of red Skittles fell off of the back of a truck. They were of course, crushed by oncoming traffic. When members of the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found the alarming number of smashed Skittles on the road, they decided to investigate.
Police officers tracked down the vehicle responsible for the spill. The flatbed pickup truck was found near a farm. It turns out, the Skittles weren’t making their way to kids craving a sugar rush. They were on their way to cows, as part of their diet.
According to the Mars company, waste byproducts of food are occasionally used as an additional source of nutrition for animals.
If you’re thinking ‘wait, what?’ you aren’t alone.
Officials found that these red Skittles came from a factory that did not have permission to engage in this practice. According to the Associated Press, these defective red Skittles were actually supposed to be destroyed. One former farmer came forward and told reporters that candy-makers and bakeries often sell off their extra or damaged products to be used for animals.
Giving Candy To Cows
According to CNN, this practice has been on the rise for years. But supposedly, it has complied with government agency regulations. This unexpected Skittle spill on a Wisconsin highway has exposed the common practice. With rising corn prices, candy is a cheap substitute and a source of carbohydrates.
These cheap carbs allow farmers to reduce feed cost, and the Skittles get eaten instead of going to a landfill. But is it safe for a sugary candy to be part of a cow’s diet? John Waller, an animal science professor at the University of Tennessee, doesn’t think the Skittles are a big deal. “I think it’s a viable (diet), he said. “It keep fat material from going out in a landfill, and it’s a good way to get nutrients in these cattle.”
The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office had a little fun with the incident on Facebook. Sheriff Schmidt joked that the Skittles were “past the 5 or 10 second rule.” Some however, didn’t think the spill was very funny. One concerned citizen wrote, “As a cattle rancher’s daughter I can assure you this is not common practice! This is disgusting!” While another comment used the hashtag #prayforourfutureandchildren.
A lot of people will have you believe feeding candy to cattle is a good idea for both candy companies and farmers. What do you think? Should animals be eating high fructose corn syrup instead of corn?