Meet the Farmers

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.

5 thoughts on “Meet the Farmers”

  1. I’m sorry, but maybe I don’t have the extra tolerance to keep my mouth / fingers shut when I click on a promoted Twitter link where McDonald’s is trying to tell me that their beef is produced with “love and passion”. In this day and age, it’s so disappointing that people don’t see how KILLING an ANIMAL, especially one that you LOVE, is so distant from humane it’s literally the opposite, it’s demented and psychotic. If people were starving, that’s one thing, but people aren’t starving, they’re lazy. And they WANT TO EAT MEAT. This is about WANT, not need. It’s about gluttony and desire, not necessity. You’d never kill a family member so don’t even pretend like you’re talking about the same thing. Who cares if the lighting is nice and the animals are stroked lovingly before they’re slaughtered. And don’t try to say, “They’re just animals” — WE’RE just animals. Top of the food chain my foot, we’re at the top of the intellectual thought process, so why are we still living like civilized neanderthals? Don’t patronize people who can’t even fathom the concept of seeing an animal be killed, and for what? So that a planet of stoned teenagers and lazy parents can have more of WHAT THEY WANT. It’s about DESIRE, not need. It’s about the world’s SELFISH WANTS, and that is why this planet is going up in flames. It’s vile to hear you say your animals are like members of your family but that you would kill them. You obviously treat your family differently than I treat mine. I’d never kill my cat or dog or mom and eat them or sell them to someone else to eat. We all have to make a living, but ya know what? There are plenty of jobs out there that don’t involve contributing to a global animal holocaust, which is exactly what this is. Sorry to rain on your parade, but there’s a little bit of truth for you. I apologize if you think this comment is disrespectful, but I think that murdering a living breathing human or animal, especially ON PURPOSE is not nice, and I don’t condone or tolerate it.

    1. I look forward to Barrow’s Farm reply in the next post. From my perspective, we do well to understand that for anyone to sustain life they will take the life of another. Whether a meat-eater, vegetarian, or vegan it is impossible to survive without taking life. For instance, a bread-eater must take a look at where their flour comes from. To raise wheat the ground is plowed, disced, or no-tilled. In every case, animals die from either the turning of ground or the elimination of habitat.

      To be fully present in the death of our food is neither selfish, demented, nor psychotic, but rather an attempt to honor the sacredness of life. I may not believe exactly as Barrow’s Farm (But then that is what keeps each of unique, isn’t it?), I question our existing industrial/commodity based agriculture system a lot, but I think there is a core statement in this posting.

      “…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.”

      Whoever we are—meat-eater, vegetarian, or vegan—we have a responsibility to know where are food comes from: the soil, the water, the sun, the farmer, the plant, and the animal. Only then can we fully understand our food.

  2. I have to strongly agree with Dave’s post, well worded and spot on. The problem that much of the farming world faces is increased pressure to lower prices from supermarkets/grocery stores together with higher demand due to the the fast increasing population. Unfortunately this seems to be leading to huge compromises on the animals welfare but in turn has lead way to new initiatives “farmer assured” “free range” etc.

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