LOT feeders have slammed a new report by consumers' group Choice that labelled grain-fed beef as unethical.
Australian Lot Feeders Association chief executive Dougal Gordon said the report, released last week, was "inaccurate, ignorant and misleading."
Choice recommended consumers who shop ethically should choose grass-fed beef.
"Grain feeding is said to be less enjoyable for the cows from an animal-welfare point of view, so it's the less ethical option for people who are looking at ethical buying," Choice food policy adviser Angela McDougall said.
She said a Choice survey of 743 members on food labelling found many thought there was poor clarity in ethical labelling.
The report also looked at farming models, feeding practices, transport and slaughter and processing and packaging.
It said grain-feeding or "the industrial model" focussed on profits over soil health, provenance and "in some cases, even quality of meat".
Mr Gordon said the report was disappointing because of the prominence of Choice.
Its suggestion that grass-fed beef was more ethical than grain-fed was "very subjective", he said.
"We are doing research with the CSIRO that shows cattle prefer feedlot conditions during the day and at night prefer the grass-fed conditions," he explained.
"There's evidence the mortality rates are lower in grain-fed beef and there's a definite link between animal health and productivity."