rambles

humane

This tag is associated with 9 posts

Lazy Summer Morning


Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.

Cows chilllin

A few of our cows enjoying the cool morning before a hot summer day here in Central California.

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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Making the Cow Beds


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.

image

With use the cows tend to mess up their beds, we keep trying to get them to make their beds but to no avail.

Cow Beds

The first thing we do is put down Hydrated Lime to dry out any wet spots, yes cows do occasionally wet the bed.

Cow beds.

Next we mix the Lime in with what we call the Freestall Groomer, we use this piece of equipment 3 times a week to re groom the beds.

Cow Beds

Here is what the beds look like after being groomed.

Changing Cow sheets.

The next piece of equipment adds more bedding to the stalls.

Cow Beds

This is the finished product a clean soft bed for the cows to lie in.

Compost

We use a process similar to composting to dry and sterilize the bedding prior to it's use.

Water therapy for cows.


Water therapy for cows

Using water to help heal injuries

image

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.

Is going Vegan the answer to farm animal abuse?


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 

Update on the Animal Rights activists use of sensationalism

 
 

Farmers who care about animals.


Here is a compilation of blogs I have seen in response to the Mercy For Animals video of calf abuse from Texas. Coming from those farmers who care greatly for their animals the common themes all the posts have is outrage, anger and disappointment towards those committing the cruelty.

(If I have missed any responses please leave a comment with the link and I will add them)

Ray-Lin Dairy Is going Vegan the Answer to Animal Abuse?

Haley Farms No Mercy For Animal Abuse

Agriculture Proud  Quality Food Begins With Quality Animal Care

Agriculture Proud Video – Ranchers Care About Animal Welfare

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

Reflections from a Country Boy We Care For Our Livestock!

Loos Tales Interview with the owner of E6 Ranch

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

Curios Cattle

These heifers are getting nosy with the camera!

We Need Your Story!


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”!

Agriculture needs YOU to tell your story!

Building Bridges, Connecting Communities


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:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

 

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.

 

Curious about the camera

Excited to see farmers speaking up


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:

Farm Experience:

  • Dark Secrets of Farms by Michele Payn-Knoper — Michele provides insight into her personal experience on hundreds of dairy farms.  She talk about the common practices she’s seen employed on dairy farms.
  • Animal abuse: It’s disgusting by Tessa Curti Hall — Working as a vet, Tessa sees several dairy farms and urges people to understand the footage seen recently is disgusting and reflects a very rare occurrence.
  • Drama on the Farm, Farmer Attacked by Chris Chinn —  There are hazards in farming to that threaten the lives of farmers as they care for animals at times. This is the story of a nearby farmer caring for his herd when an accident took place.
  • Why I’m mad as hell by Connie Lechleitner — Connie talks about the emotions she went through as she watched the video and continued to think about it.  The reality is caring for animals only makes sense for farmers and anything else is unthinkable.

Community:

  • Hell yes, I’m mad by Jeff Vander Werff — Jeff provides some tips on the objectives groups have when they release video critical of agriculture achieve certain goals and why it requires individuals respond, whether the attack is personal or not.
  • My Thoughts On The Ohio Dairy Farm Abuse Video by Troy Hadrick — As a life-long cattleman, Troy outlines his thoughts around the veracity of things on the internet, importance for legal followup and how insulting it is that anyone could believe this is part of the community he belongs to.
  • Hey! Quit Picking On My Friends. Why I Thank A Farmer! by Eliz Greene — Eliz talks about how she has gotten to know farmers through stress management training.  She highlights how important it is for people to consider fairness and honesty as well as to question what they see by asking farmers for their perspective.
  • Zero tolerance needed on animal abuse by Mike Barnett — Mike says this should serve as a call to action for farmers to make it clear that agriculture doesn’t accept such abuse in its ranks and will pursue legal prosecution of anyone engaged in it.
  • Now More Than Ever by Kelly Rivard — The importance of community for agriculture is the focus of this post, starting with the neighbor across the fence and continuing to ag neighbors own the road and further afield.
  • I Just Can’t Get It, Don’t Want to Either by Janice Person — Having been on vacation when the news of abuse broke, Janice had a contrast of images running through her mind. She cannot understand the motives for such behavior and has decided to build on the images most common in ag even if she can’t forget.

Responding:

  • This Week’s Column: Farmers Hate Animal Abuse by Andy Vance — As an Ohio farm broadcaster and cattleman Andy has a unique local view into the motivation of groups like Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the US when it comes to the legal process.
  • Guest Post: Undercover Agendas by Mike Haley — Ohio farmers are among those most appalled by the behavior seen in the recent on-farm investigation and Mike talks about the thoughts that haunted him in the days after seeing the video and the questions it raised.
  • Mercy For Animals Ohio Dairy Farm Video Outrages the Agricultural Industry by Shaun Haney — Shaun provides an overview of the video, his thoughts, and links to the video, other blogs and imbedded the video comments by Ohio ag commissioner.

Different undercover footage same reaction from me: Outrage


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:

Update on the Animal Rights activists use of sensationalism

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.

Sensationalism and the Animal Rights movement

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!

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