Contradiction: American Wagyu

This article about Kobe and pseudo-Kobe beef was interesting, but kind of pissed me off: Raising the Steaks
I mean, the author is passing judgment on a practice he’s never seen first-hand? I lived in Japan for many years, knew a lot of people raising cattle, and I never saw a single cow living in a lean-to (I can’t remember seeing any lean-tos in Japan!).
I sure saw a lot living in barns, open pastures, and ranches, though. This quote from the article especially struck a nerve: “And where is all that pasture to begin with, given that Japan is so short of land?” Oh, I see. The problem is that this guy has never been to Japan, has probably never even seen Japan outside of the photos in the wikipedia articles he used for “research,” and couldn’t find a single Japanese rancher to interview so instead asked his questions to experts in the US… and in the end recommends their product over the Japanese one because he’s lost his taste for “beef raised in a crate.” As evidenced by the testimonial of a single Frenchman. Oi.
Hey, and I’m really curious as to under which Shinto tenets, “beef was not consumed in Japan until the Meiji Restoration.” Or is this just a very slanted way of presenting Shinto vegetarianism?
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A great contrast to this article, also written last year, is this one: The Sublime Culture of Kobe Beef
It paints a much different picture than the article above…. In the end, only one question remains: ARE THE COWS ACTUALLY MASSAGED, OR IS IT JUST SHIT BEING RUBBED OFF THEM WITH A HANDFUL OF STRAW?
and also: DOES SHIT-COATED COW MAKE FOR BETTER EATING, OR WHAT?
These are questions that deserve straight, honest, and thoroughly documented answers.
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I, personally, can offer the following:

  • I have seen cows in Hyogo that were being raised for meat being massaged by their owners
  • I have seen small “houses” especially built for cows to sleep in at night in some pastures
  • A worker at a small ice cream factory on Awaji Island told me that they sometimes sold old ice cream in bulk to local farmers for cattle feed
  • I have never seen a cow lying in its own shit unless it was sick

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