• Why Animal Abuse?

    Posted on April 21, 2011 by in livestock care


    Yesterday I wrote a post in outrage about a video I saw showing very horrid animal abuse and neglect to calves on a large farm in Texas.  I don’t, nor does the industry support such acts of animal abuse by anyone.  If you are interested in what other farmers have had to say about this video please see the list that my friend Ray Prock has put together here.  If it’s not bad enough that animals were being treated this way, it's worse that this is not the first time in the past few years that videos have shown such abuse. I am humiliated to think that the individuals that perpetuated those acts of cruelty would ever consider themselves a farmer. 

    In the end I am left asking myself why this has happened. Is it a new phenomenon that  has emerged with the onset of “factory farming” or has there always been isolated cases of animal abuse throughout the country but just not highlighted to the point that it is today.  I can speculate that it is the latter, but the fact is I don’t know. What I do know is that it's not about profits, greed, or a flawed system.  I have visited several farms that would be classified by animal rights as a “factory farm," and in fact I believe most would even classify my 30 cow operation as one.  What I have found is that no matter if a farm is large or small, farmers care about their animals as they spend every day making sure they are well fed, watered and as content as possible.  Only at last resort would any farmer result to euthanasia as that would mean a loss of profits.

    Why Animal Abuse

    The fact is I don’t know why animal abuse keeps occurring, but it really bothers me that animal rights groups have succeeded in several states to pass laws that force farmers that are taking good care of their animals to adopt practices that are proven to be a less effective and costly animal husbandry practice.  The result, several farmers call it quits. Looking at veal alone, these laws have forced all the veal farms out of California and other states, leaving them to ship their calves to other states or out of the country to be raised.  I am not saying that these calves are sent somewhere that cannot adequately care for them, but that if we continue to restrict farmers ability to properly care for their animals, we may not have enough farmers left in the United States to continue to provide proper animal welfare to properly feed our country, leaving us to rely on other countries that may or may not care about the welfare of animals to raise our food.

    As I wrote yesterday, it is time to accept responsibility for the bad actors in our industry and seek new ways to find and report them to authorities.  Until we prove to the public that we do not condone this type of activity in agriculture extremist groups will have no problem convincing voters and lawmakers to regulate the good farmers out of business





  • http://twitter.com/farmerswife30 farmerswife30

    I agree! I often wonder what would become of all the animals involved in agriculture if there are no more farmers left to care for them.

  • Pingback: Farmers who care about animals. « Ray-Lin Dairy

  • http://iafarmwife.com Liz

    I think that animal abuse issues can be likened to the recent phenomenon of teachers developing inappropriate relationships with students.  Both issues highlight the bad actors in a system, and reflect badly on the system as a whole.  I would say that the best solution to both problems is to make sure that offenders are swiftly punished and to educate those in the system as to what proper conduct is and is not.  It sounds so simple and obvious, but I'm afraid there's just not a magic solution here.  Condemnation of the bad actors by their peers sends the strongest message.  But we can't stop there.  We must be proactive in preventing these heinous acts in the first place.  Perhaps we need to start taking a page from the activists play books and start installing our own surveillance cameras?  Or the commodity groups can ramp up efforts in their quality assurance programs?  Maybe there needs to be more formal licensing for those handling livestock?  ( All of these solutions could be twisted  to the teacher-student issue as well.) 
    I agree, one way or the other, we farmers have to do something other than react. 

    • http://flavors.me/farmerhaley Mike Haley

      Thanks for you comment Liz.  Very good suggestions, hopefully agriculture is ready to stand up and take the next step and be more proactive to limit this kind of stuff from happening again.