The SAFE Animal Rights Group says that New Zealand's biggest fodder threatens our international reputation and calls on the Environment Minister to ban practice.
Five Star Beef Limited's feed feed in Ashburton is the largest in New Zealand and has been running since 1991.
The cattle spend six months grazing, eating grass, before they are taken to the pasture where they are locked up in square, uncovered pens, which are vaccinated to prevent diseases and grains, for anywhere between two and a half to eight months.
Animal welfare group SAFE has serious concerns about both animal welfare and the environmental impact of having almost 20,000 cattle.
"The farmers who do this just want to make quick money by stopping the animals in these kind of feed lots and that puts our international reputation at risk," said Marianne Macdonald, SAFE head of campaigns.
The feeder with five star beef is not the only one in New Zealand, but is by far the largest, most others are at most thousands of cattle.
SAFE calls on Environment Minister David Parker to ban feed places.
"They have no shelter from the burning hot sun or the freezing cold winter temperatures, they're just there, in those barren lofts.
"There is no grass, it is called a zero grazing system, and those animals are forced to follow a grain diet during the months before they are slaughtered for beef, which can also cause a lot of well-being problems. bloating and diarrhea in those animals. "
Fish and Game wants them to be banned as well.
Chief executive Martin Taylor said they are at odds with attempts to clean up waterways.
"The Ministry of the Environment is quite clear that deposition of sediment is one of the major problems for New Zealand, we know that it harms the environment and yet we let practices such as grass fields continue.
"One of the charges against New Zealand is that we are identifying a problem, namely erosion and sediment, and then we just look close to what causes it, and one of the things that causes it is feedlots.
"Intensive agriculture is not good for the country."
Beef from the Five Star Beef feedlot is sold extensively throughout the country under the brand Wakanui Beef.
While most of it is exported overseas, it is in New Zealand supermarkets and more than 200 restaurants, from low-end to five-star dinners.
A full list of dealers is available on the Wakanui website.
No restaurants that Checkpoint has mentioned today were willing to talk about why they use it.
ANZCO, owner of the feedlot, was not available for an interview today, but said in a statement that it meets the highest standards for animal welfare.