Is your beef grown naturally on a species-specific diet or is it treated with hormones to stimulate growth on a diet unnatural to the species? The digestive system of cattle, the rumen, is a 45 gallon fermentation tank designed to hold a population of beneficial bacteria that efficiently convert the sun's and soil's energy stored in natural grasses, into the proteins and organic acids that are metabolically useful to we humans. When cattle are fed grain in feedlots, their rumen acidity rises and the gut lining becomes ulcerated allowing the bacteria to escape into the bloodstream and pass to the liver where they create abscesses. The acidic rumen also produces an enzyme that destroys thiamin or vitamin-B1. Feedlot operators then feed cattle antibiotics to reduce the liver abscesses and buffer rumen acidity. Prior to entering feedlots, calves rely upon the high butterfat content milk they receive from their dams until their rumens develop and they can effectively feed themselves from the grass. Cows that possess a healthy rumen pass on needed minerals, nutrients and vitamins to their calves. Cows that possess an unhealthy rumen due to grain feeding are less able to nurture a healthy calve and also pass along any residual medications in their milk. These calves are often injected with growth hormones to compensate and also shift them onto a grain-based diet even prior to being shipped to the feedlot.