A confined area for the feeding of livestock. Typically, animals on a feedlot are fed on an enriched diet so as to fatten them up before slaughter. In the United States, at least, a feedlot is distinct from a farm or pasture: no grain or forage is actually grown on site. The feedlot is a parking lot for animals, albeit a catered one.

Michael Pollan notes the modern (post World War II) feedlot as part of the urbanization of animal husbandry:

"Indeed, a cattle feedlot is a kind of city, populated by as many as 100,000 animals. It is very much a premodern city, however -- crowded, filthy and stinking, with open sewers, unpaved roads and choking air. "

Michael Pollan, "Power Steer," New York Times Sunday Magazine, 31 March 2002.

The pollution is a consequence of large numbers of animals crowded together, as economies of scale make this more effective. And although animal manure makes for good fertilizer, the sheer volume of animal waste in a feedlot can kill off plants and disrupt food chains in a local watershed; for this reason, waste is often kept on site in contained lagoons to prevent runoff. Feedlot conditions can cause stress and disease in animals, but these are mostly dealt with by rigorous doses of antibiotics .

Additional sources: Robert M. Corwin, "Veterinary Parisitology Glossary," University of Missouri - Columbia College of Veternary Medicine, 10 January 2000, <http://www.missouri.edu/~vmicrorc/Glossary/Fgloss.htm> (5 April 2002)

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