Kobe Beef: Basically Veal

Gourmet Magazine has an article by Barry Estabrook in the latest issue that discusses the realities of how the world-reknowned Kobe beef is raised. I've described in glowing terms how these cows lead better lives than you and I. It turns out, not so much.

Yeah, they're fed beer, probably to re-start the appetites of depressed cows forced to live in solitary, tightly confining pens. That massage? Likely to relive arthritis because of their lack of exercise and grossly overburdened joints.

That does not mean that all Wagyu (that's the breed of cow that's raised in Kobe) is treated this way; some ranches in the US and Australia have much better standards. The problem? Better standards means beef that, although tasty, may not be as tender. I think I'll take the cruelty-free Wagyu nonetheless, thanks.

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