You know it is really frustrating to me when on a night that I have to get up every two hours to take care of an animal who needs some extra attention right now I happen to get online and through a Meet the Farmers promotion that is going on now with McDonald’s I start reading all of these offensive clips about farmers and agriculture.
To top it off, one of the video responses is an “extended version” of the original piece put together by McDonald’s about the beef rancher/supplier that contains some graphic images of a calf slaughter, the most disgusting feedlot I have ever seen and then a drop-kill when the animal just has it’s throat slit and drops thrashing to the floor.
Maybe I just don’t have the extra tolerance at FOUR AM to keep my mouth shut (meaning my fingers since I have to type this out) anymore.
Yes, there are some farms and slaughter-houses that do use those practices out there in the real world…But, contrary to the believes of the folks who sit in their homes watching the horrific images on the nightly news with the special graphics at the beginning that says “these images are too violent” to be viewed on open air ways that isn’t what happens in the majority of circumstances.
Animals are raised, depending upon what type of animal, in control environments for the animals health or they are released into a pasture. The animals are feed a diet that is designed for the health and nutritional requirements by an animal nutritionist. They get regular check ups from farm hands and yes, sometimes a vet when they are sick or injured. Once the animal is grown it goes to a butcher or slaughter-house. Many of the large slaughter houses in the US, have changed drastically over the images that we think are involved.
This woman by the name of Temple Grandin has been changing animal handling procedures for many years now. She has designed chutes for animals to move through that the animal is comfortable with. She has designed slaughter-house floors that keep the animals calm and relaxed. She has generated practices all across this country and maybe even world-wide that are renowned for the benefit to the animal. Oh and if you didn’t know…they actually made a movie about her life and you should really watch it. And imagine, all of this coming from a woman with Autism.
Seems to me that if someone like her can take a look at what is a best practice for the health and well-being of an animal, then why shouldn’t the rest of us within the ag industry? And beyond that, why shouldn’t consumers know and ASK how their food is raised and processed?
Everyone out there needs to stop assuming that what you see on the nightly news is real world agriculture! It isn’t. Coming from my perspective, farming is a way of life. My animals, whether it is a 4 pound chicken or a 1200 pound cow, is part of my family. I raise them much like I do the dogs that sleep at the end of my bed. And believe me, if I could figure out how to make room for a calf or two to do the same, I WOULD!
Again, I would like to remind you all that not all farmers are like that. I agree that some of them out there shouldn’t be allowed to raise animals and should be locked down and treated the same way. It’s actually very similar to what goes on in the Pet World. How would you like it if someone came to you and said that all dog or cat owners treated their animals inhumanly? No cat or dog….how about those of you who have mice, rats, lizards or birds? You would get upset and start dancing around, wagging your finger at the person giving them every justification on why you have whatever animal it is that you have. That’s a natural reaction.
When farmers are confronted with this backlash that society seems to give them for being a rancher, dairyman/woman, poultry or swine grower they don’t point fingers and wag. They just buckle down and try to overcome all the barriers. Society says, treat your animals better and what happens? A whole team of researchers, scientists, nutrients, veterinarians, and farmers collaborate together to improve housing, feeding, etc to improve the environment of the animal. Which, in my opinion, is an ever evolving sector as new materials or processes come into the market (for example new fans for air flow, new ways of utilizing manures to generate electricity and reduce that “farm smell”).
Farmers and Ranchers across this country are working hard to please our animals and society.
*Please note the animal sounds in the holding pens. Stressed cattle will vocalize and in this video, there is maybe one vocalization.
It just seems that our voices are never heard through the drowning whine of society. If you have a problem with a commercial system of the meat or dairy market, then buy from a local farmer and talk to them about their practices. Ask them questions. Ask them if you can visit their farm to see how they treat their animals. Ask them where they send the animals for butcher. Basically, what I am asking you to do is: get to know your food. I don’t care if it’s fruits or vegetables, beef or chicken, syrups or jams, milk or cheese.
If you don’t know where your products in your fridge come from…then it really is time that you start asking some questions on where it does come from. Maybe even watch this show called “The Big Waste”:
To those of you who read this that are NOT farmers who have questions about our practices or what products are supplied here on our farm…give us a shout. We will be more than happy to take the time to answer any questions you may have.