Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Thoughts On The Ohio Dairy Farm Abuse Video

I’ve spent my whole life around agriculture and specifically cattle. I love everything about cows. From being there when the calves take their first steps to enjoying the tasty and nutritious beef that I help supply to the world, all of it is fascinating to me. And it’s that appreciation for these animals that has me so upset this morning.

Yesterday afternoon I found out that a new “shocking” video was being released showing the abuse of dairy cows in Ohio. When I finally got a chance to see the video last night I was outraged for many reasons.

First, I think we’ve all learned not to believe everything you see or read on the internet. Especially after watching this video I’d like to think this didn’t really happen. All of the facts in this case will eventually come out, but on the surface the blatant abuse it shows makes no sense. Deliberately mishandling the very cows that, figuratively and literally, are putting the food on your families table is incomprehensible to say the least. Anyone who has ever handled cattle also realizes that all of the things they were doing to these cows were never going to achieve any desired results.

Next, I’m completely disgusted with these undercover employees that are more concerned about getting months worth of video and are willing to let this abuse continue on in the name of their political agenda. Anyone who has a shred of decency wouldn’t let that happen. If you are aware of something like this and still allow it to occur, that makes you part of the problem.

Finally, if these allegations of abuse are found to be true then I’m livid that these people ever considered themselves dairymen and part of the agriculture community. Their actions are an insult to every one of us that work so hard everyday to properly care for our livestock. I wear the titles of Cattlemen and Rancher with pride, but along with them comes a responsibility to uphold the values and tradition of animal husbandry. Everyone I know that works with livestock feels the same way.

As a fifth generation United States rancher, my job is to care for my cows to the best of my ability. What I saw on that video is not acceptable. The good news is that it’s not the norm. I have visited dairies that ranged in size from 4 head to 4000 head. Never have I seen anything but the very best care being given. My experiences on hog farms and other cattle ranches have been the same.

If you are upset with what you see in this video, that’s OK. I am too. But if you are interested in how livestock are treated on the overwhelming majority of farms and ranches, visit one in your area and see it for yourself. ~Troy

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