To those who do not understand Agriculture

In light of all of the recent tragedy and crazy storms there have been many people talking about the “neglect, mistreatment, and lack of care for farm/ranch animals.” A fellow Facebook friend wrote this article and I feel it is spot on. Please feel free to share giving due credit to Douglas Falls Creamery.

Over the last several years I have heard so much misinformation and negativity about farming of all sorts and sizes. As I have said before, I have seen the largest of farms take detailed and immaculate care of their animals and the smallest of farms neglect and mismanage their animals in deplorable conditions. It really comes down to the character of the farmer as in any profession, whether it be doctor, teacher, grocery store owner or neighbor. Recently, with the twin tornadoes that touched down in Nebraska yesterday (June 16, 2014)killing two people and destroying a cattle feedlot operation, the topic of feedlots and what is ‘natural’ has been blamed for causing the death of over 300 cattle. I ended up writing this opinion piece in response to the blame claims and figured I would also share it here on our farm page. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for supporting not only our farm but the rest of this country’s hard-working and caring farmers.

Not sure how raising beef cattle in feedlots is not how “nature is supposed to be”. Who said that humans cannot farm animals? Ants ‘farm’ aphids and many animals parasitize off other animals. Many animals take the prey from another predator or eat the eggs and young of other animals. Many animals eat other animals and rely on them for their very life.

I am so puzzled that so many folks claim we are animals and then restrict our activities towards animals. We explain animal behavior as natural but the humans behavior isn’t “natural”. We revere animals and nature as the model and standard, yet if we did an accurate comparison, we would have to include all of the atrocious acts that animals do to themselves and other creatures.

Animals eat each other, eat their own babies, kill for territory, dominance and mates with no regard or respect for life. They sometimes abandon their young and they reject the weakest and injured. They certainly don’t provide shelter and feed and medicine to those less fortunate. Predators don’t provide anesthesia to those they eat alive. Animals are also at the whim of the weather where floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and wildfires kill thousands and destroy habitat. Disease carried by parasites cripples and sometimes wipe out entire communities. They are constantly being hunted by other animals, constantly searching for food and water and battling the elements. This IS how nature is.

Humans intervene and provide consistent care and feed which results in benefits for both. Again, who really is to say that humans cannot look to animals as a livelihood, a food source and a means of interest, pleasure and in some cases transportation and work? If we look back, there has been thousands of years of humans on this planet with animals that have been a source of shelter, clothing, food, transportation, and income and it can only be considered ‘natural’.

Is it possible that some confuse the concern over the welfare of animals with the very idea of ‘owning’ or raising animals? Ethical treatment of animals is necessary and required to raise content and healthy creatures, but restricting our interaction with animals to just viewing them as wild and untouchable creatures is mythical and imaginary. The facts remain that humans always have and will continue to rely on animals as a food source and companionship. Safety and efficiency for both humans and animals works with confinement and restrictions like corrals and fences, similar to a child in a yard or bedroom or school grounds. One could point to the millions of people living in cities and apartments and working in factories and office buildings as not how ‘nature is supposed to be’. But in reality, humans as well as animals adapt to many different conditions and we need to strive for the care and comfort for all.

Those that are concerned about cattle on feedlots need to go to the slums of India and begin to build homes, go to Africa to dig wells for those that have to spend their entire day walking for water and to any number of countries to care for the orphans and abandoned children that are housed in groups in deplorable conditions with little or no food, battling disease, malnutrition and a lack of love.

We aren’t living in the Garden of Eden, folks. And I am so proud of those farmers who despite the growing and popular misconceptions about farming, are still working hard and caring for their animals and their land. Those of you who espouse the idea of somehow that farmers and their practices are somehow not sustainable and inhumane really need to volunteer on a ranch or farm. Quit believing the smack that is being spread. Put your hands and feet to work and open your heart and mind to what it really is like to be a farmer, if you have anything left after dealing with what you find in India or Africa or Haiti.

Please feel free to add your comments and share!

2 Responses to To those who do not understand Agriculture

  1. Brenda Jones says:

    Justine,

    I would like to share this on Facebook, this is very good! You certainly hit the nail on the head.

    Hope all is well with the Kougl’s!
    Brenda

    • Brenda,
      Go ahead and share! I wish I could take credit for this but I cannot! Another Agvocate I have met wrote it and it was perfect, so please share and give her page credit. The Douglas Falls Creamery. She writes some great things! Glad you enjoyed it!

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