WARNING! A "SMOKEY UNPLUGGED" RANT
AUTHORS NOTE: If this article strikes a chord, PLEASE pass this website and article on to as many as you can. Change comes from knowledge. The more who know, the more who will become aware that there are other, viable, options for food shopping and maybe, just maybe, we can start to make a difference.
It is no longer something I can ignore....time to "take the blinders off" and quit pretending. The commercial livestock industry is just plain sick and deranged. For too long I have stood by, ignoring how these gentle animals are treated...in the feedlot, at the sale barn, on the dairy farm, and at the packing plant...I convinced myself that most producers were like me. We love our livestock and treat them with grace and dignity. I have never witnessed any of the many cattlemen I know and work with, subject their animals to cruelty or abuse. I assumed that if your livelyhood depends on these animals it is in your best interests to treat them, at the very least, with respect and with as little stress as possible.
Well, "The Truth Shall Set You Free"!
I recently watched the film FOOD, INC. and it was an eye opening experience, even for a livestock producer, like me. I am over 50 years old, a one time college athlete, a proud cowboy. But, during the segments on livestock, I had tears in my eyes. Both from sadness and anger. Then, tonight, I watched a segment on cruelty to dairy cows on the ABC WORLD NEWS with Diane Sawyer. I'm not going into the gory details, just suffice it to say the callous indifference to the infliction of pain and suffering on these animals is absolutely mind blowing. AND, most of it perpetrated by the dairy operator...( it has created a feeling of betrayal, those who I trusted) sigh(!)...(click on the Diane Sawyer link above for the details). The full story can be found on ABC's NIGHTLINE as well (be warned, some of it is very graphic).
The question now is how to effect change. It is obvious that each of us, on our own, cannot change an entire industrial culture. After all, well organized and funded organizations that operate both nationally as well as internationally have had little effect except to make these industrial complexes dig their heels in deeper. But as individuals, we can, ever so slightly, create change and it starts with what has been the focus of this website...buy local, know who you are buying from, and always ask questions...whether it is about fruit, produce, or meat...if the producer is truly a craftsman (and make no mistake, we are craftsmen) then he or she will show it by the way they answer. Those of us who truly care about the product we produce, have an unmistakably sincere enthusiasm, passion, and love for the land and especially our animals. This passion, this love, cannot be faked.
Here is one thing I can promise. The cattle that I am responsible for are, and will always be, raised and cared for in the most humane and gentle ways possible. We do not brand, de-horn, or "tail-bob". Not a single animal I own will ever set foot in a feedlot. That they will never want for nutritious forage or water and that when the time comes, "it" will be in the most humane way possible...PERIOD!
These are pics of our animals with our Foreman. As you can see they are gentle and curious.