Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.
These cows were just moved into this pasture yesterday and are relaxing in the grass. With all the late rains we had here in the Central Valley and now the heat the grass is growing very quickly in the pasture. these cows need to get up and get to work eating it down!
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Here is a look into what goes into providing the cows on our farm clean soft comfortable beds to lie in. The pictures are from start to finish and show how we take solid manure sterilize and dry it, with a process similar to composting, the finished product is essentially soil we then use for bedding. On our farm we use 95% of the solid manure from the cows as bedding as an effort to recycle all we can and leave a minimal environmental footprint.
When cows injure themselves we use this tank to help them recover. The water allows the cow to float and stand without having to support her own weight.
NO the answer is to hold animal abusers accountable for their actions and honor those who do the right thing by the animals.
National Dairy FARM is a program created by dairy farmers to set a baseline for animal care and move forward from there, our farm along with many others in the US have embraced this program to help weed out the bad actors.
This afternoon I learned of another undercover video of animal abuse in agriculture and quite honestly I feel let down by fell animal caretakers. I am as horrified as ever that some of the things caught on tape are even happening in agriculture today. There are proper means to euthanize animals to end their suffering, using a hand tool to prolong that suffering is not proper or ethical.
Many farmers like myself and my family spend long hours caring for our animals the proper way only to have one bad actor ruin it for thousands. I personally have given up sleep and meals to make sure the cows came first I know farmers who brave some of the worst weather know to mankind to rescue animals and the thanks we get from another caretaker of animals is a slap in the face. I hope anyone found guilty of any wrongdoing faces the maximum punishment possible.
This is a short post because the more I think about what to write the angrier I get about the whole situation you can read some of my previous thought on animal abuse in some previous posts:Different undercover footage same reaction from me: Outrage
Haley Farms No Mercy For Animal Abuse
Agriculture Proud Quality Food Begins With Quality Animal Care
Cause Matters The Tears I’ve Shed…. Animal Abuse
Crystal Cattle Animal Abuse in Agriculture
Dairy Innovation Animal abuse: Still a Big No No!
Zweber Farms Video:Calf Care on Zweber Farms December 2010
Zweber Family Farm News Calf and Animal Care is our Number One!
Orange Patch Dairy Too mad to go to bed!
killrocfarms Animal abuse: Never acceptable
Pinke Post Link Up Wordless/Wordful Wednesday: Despite Animal Abuse Headlines
Life as an Iowa Farmwife Animal Abuse, Undercover Videos, and Doing the Right Thing
From the Tractor Seat Animal Abuse
The Ole Cowmilkers Random Thoughts Animal Care
Buzzard’s Beat No Excuse
ag – a colorful adventure Hold People to A Higher Standard
Slow Money Farm – Life, Farm, Food Double Standards and Bad Days
Around the Farm Blog Fighting moral fire with moral fire
My View Quality Animal Care
Maricle Minute: Family, Food, & Farm Atrocious!
Jersey [Cow] Girl And So It Goes
Dairy Devotion Why am I doing this?
Pearl Snap’s Ponderings Animal Abuse Unacceptable
Topwinds Dairy Animal Care is Priority
Purple Poke Animal Abuse – Simply Unacceptable
Food For Thought – The Blog Enraged: Animal Abuse Video
Beef Daily Blog A Rancher’s Letter To You About Animal Abuse
Wag’N Tales Safe at home
A Farm Girl’s Perspective Do those shooting animal abuse videos really have mercy for the animals?
FarmersWife30 Heartbreak and Anger
Loos Tales Nathan Runkle founder Mercy for Animals on E6 Ranch
The Frolicking Farmgirl No Excuse for Animal Abuse
Haley Farms Why Animal Abuse?
Cow Spots and Tales 100% NOT okay
Northview Dairy And the Badly Ugly
A Dairy Goddess’ Blog Spring, Harvest, Calves And Cheese: A Few Of Dairy Goddesses Favorite Things
Agriculture needs anyone who has ever been touched by food production to become Agvocates. So basically if you eat you’re automatically included. Ag needs people to start talking and asking questions with an Open Mind, we also need those questions received and answered with an Open Mind. There is a great story behind how food reaches the plate that is not being told enough. Sure we have some in Agriculture starting to speak up and the people enjoying food asking questions however there needs to be one prerequisite to these conversations; an Open Mind.
You might ask; why keep repeating the need for an Open Mind? Too often I have seen the questions being asked of agriculture based on documentaries or books. The thing we need to remember is first and foremost the books and movies need to sell and to sell can stretch the truth and sensationalize it to the point it becomes a seller. Do not get me wrong there are great starting points for questions and conversations that come from these works. However the questions need thought of with an Open Mind because the answer may be different than what one wants to hear and contradict the book or movie.
On the other side of the coin farmers, ranchers and others in the food chain need to welcome the questions and answer them with Open Minds. Too often I see or hear things become polarized from the word go because we in Agriculture have grown weary of people and groups like Oprah, Michael Pollan and HSUS thought of as experts on farming and animal care. Oprah is a television host, and Pollan is a journalist and author who do raise good points however must also add the fluff so their products sell. HSUS is a nonprofit business that derives a major part of their income from donations and to get those donations needs to sensationalize their story and move people to send money. We in Agriculture need to have Open Minds when we answer questions formed from the works of those who can often stretch the truth. As agriculturists we should embrace the fact that those who buy the food that comes from our toils are interested in how and why we do what we do.
So why does Agriculture need YOU?
Because I firmly believe “Conversations are King!” It takes CONVERSATIONS to build RELATIONSHIPS that lead to TRUST (each belief can still differ). If farmers and ranchers along with those enjoying the end products of their toil can build relationships based on Conversations many questions will naturally be answered. Those in Agriculture and those buying the products that result from agriculture need to remember to not be preachy and seem better than the other. I have been guilty of preaching before and try to catch myself before doing it. If there is one thing I have learned you truly learn who is listening and who your audience is with engaging conversations not just preaching. I can’t remember how many times I have had conversations with people I have no Idea that are following me through various social platforms or by actively searching out a conversation to join.
Do I think only “farmers or ranchers” can tell “Ag’s” story?
NO, we need everyone to tell the great story of Agriculture.
Do I think only “farmers or ranchers” can tell “farmers or ranchers” individual stories?
YES, just like only someone like a Mom can tell a Mom’s story or only a Doctor can tell a Doctor’s story because they are individual stories.
Collectively the individual stories we tell will shape Agriculture’s story.
The work that is behind putting food on our plates makes a great story to tell and WE ALL need to remember WE need ALL the help WE can get to tell it.
We need you to tell your story because we all eat and are touched in some way by agriculture everyday.
Welcome to “TEAM AG”!
One of the things I am extremely passionate about is telling my story on my own terms because no one knows it better than I do. It is this passion that drives me to find common ground with others outside of farming and have discussions about farming when the time is right. Speaking up for farmers and farming is as simple as talking to an old friend who moved to the city or asking a person what motivates them to buy certain things in the grocery store.
I have taken the opportunity on many an airplane to reach out to others, however one time stands out. I was on a flight from St. Louis to Salt Lake City and was seated next to two young boys travelling with their families for a ski vacation to Utah. Throughout the flight I kept to myself because the boys were having their own conversation and as an adult I did not want to create a weir situation. As the flight was nearing its end the show friends was being shown as the in flight entertainment. The episode was one where Ross dumps a whole gallon of milk down the front of himself. One of the boys then said something to the effect of “that’s a lot of milk”. I then proceed to say no I have 4000 times as much at home. Then conversation then moved to me explain that my family operates a dairy farm. One of the boys then proceeds to ask me “Are your cows free range?” After I picked my jaw up off the ground I answered that some do and some are housed in open air barns and in nice weather have access to outdoor exercise pens. I also explained the stalls in the barn are groomed and kept clean. The cows also have free access to fresh food and clean water. The concrete the cows walk on is cleaned frequently and there is soft rubber where the cows walk. The young boy then said “Wow it sounds like you take great care of your cows.”
Another time I was engaged in a local community on twitter and through several meet and greets created several longtime friends. One of those friends asked if he could bring his boys out to the dairy and being one to not miss an agvocacy moment I agreed. His boys loved the tour and to this day nearly a year later he continues to remind me his young sons remember what they saw and did on the dairy thus creating a lifetime impression. In addition to his sons the gentleman also came to realize that many who try to paint farmers and ranchers in a negative light are not always being the completely truthful.
Here are some videos from their visit:
It is so easy to build bridges between communities in our lives, they can be virtual, social, religious, or hobby based communities however they have all started with common ground outside agriculture.
If we farmers and ranchers think about it enough becoming an Agvocate and letting others know why and how we do what we farmers and ranchers do to feed, fuel and clothe them becomes second nature. We are given opportunities to Agvocate daily it is up to us as Agriculturalists to take advantage of them and not let the opportunity forever slip away.
I am extremely excited to see all of the blogs, tweets and status updates from farmers explaining that what the recent “undercover video” shows is not the norm. The pride I felt today while catching up with reading all the posts that I missed on vacation was amazing so I listed some below.
A few blogs in response to the video:
I am hearing of some video footage coming from a dairy farm in Ohio that shows someone abusing an animal(s) and my reaction is the same as every time one of these “exposes” is brought to light. I feel a response is so important I am taking time away from my family’s vacation to express my disgust with this behavior.
Every other farmer I know who cares for animals has at one time or another put those animals well being ahead of their own or their families time or needs. Wether it is treating a sick animal during the middle of the night after having been woken from a well deserved slumber to recover from the previous days long hours, or having to jump up from the dinner table to fix a water system so the animals have a cool refreshing drink. I firmly believe that the right thing to do when anyone observes another person abusing an animal they should immediately stop what they are doing and confront the person or report it to their supervisor if that is not effective then make contact with someone in a regulatory capacity. An employee who blatantly abusesan animal observes another employee doing the same without taking the appropriate action should be immediately terminated.
Here are some of my previous thoughts on this topic:
January 27, 2010
I watched a investigative report on a major networks late night news show Nightline that was about dairy farms. The sensationalism used in these stories is getting harder to watch as a second generation farmer whose family has cared for our animals comfort for nearly 40 years. I feel the media and activist groups use isolated incidents to create a sense of a major problem when quite the opposite is true. In the video I listened to the farmer say he does not stand for the improper care of animals and has previously fired employees for just that. I only wish he was able to express whether the employee(s) in this incident had been let go. If you want to see a video of animals on an average dairy you can see avideo I did for Evernote. the California Milk Advisory Board also has put together some great videos of average dairymen and dairy families throughout California.
The dairy farmers in the United States are working toward implementing a best care practices program for animal care called the National Dairy FARM Program. when this program is in place we will have an animal care manual that all dairy farms can use to continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals.
A great friend of mine Jeff Fowle, a cattle rancher from northern California has a great post on his blog Common Sense Agriculture discussing animal rights versus animal welfare and why we should pay close attention to the difference.
In addition the post I made on this topic in September of 2009 is still pertinent as is the post referenced below from Dino Giacomazzi.
September 29, 2009
Below is a link to a blog post by a fellow California Dairyman Dino Giacomazzi. Dino does an awesome job highlighting the unnecessary pressure and sensationalism some Animal right groups are using to ban the docking of Cattle Tails in CA. This is all unnecessary because no farm or dairy group opposes the ban and one group even supports the ban now that the farmer can provide prompt care for an injured animal.
I’m not a farmer but I play one on TV!