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.
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