My husband, Tyler, and I welcomed our first child, Scarlett Davy Radke, to the world on June 3. We’re enjoying every minute of our new lives, and I was excited to share the news with the 40,000 readers of BEEF Daily.
I’m no stranger to opposing views, but I wasn’t expecting the perspective painted by one vegan’s response to my baby announcement. She wrote:
“Congratulations on your new baby. There is nothing stronger or more sacred than a bond between mother and baby. This bond is not specific to humans, but all mammal life including cattle and horses.
“Does it not even enter your mind that you are specifically breeding babies to be torn from their mothers and end up being brutally murdered and carved for money? ... Is there anything more horrendous that we humans do — selling precious life for a bigger house or new car?
“Change places for one minute with these mothers and feel their pain and anguish, being a new mother yourself. … I regard all animals as children, completely innocent, trusting and vulnerable, and it pains me so much to see them exploited in the worst way.”
Her words upset me. The more I considered them, the further I entered into that state that Sarah Palin describes as “mama grizzly.” I decided I could either ignore the comments or calmly explain my side. I decided to respond:
“I appreciate your courage in stating your thoughts about beef production, and I can tell you speak from the heart. I hope you will also appreciate that my sentiments also come from a heartfelt place.
“Being a steward of our cattle is one of the best gifts God has bestowed upon me. As a caretaker of my livestock, I get to see baby calves born each spring, watch them grow and ensure that they have everything they need to thrive — grass, water, health care, feed and shelter. I’m also responsible for the mothers, and we wean these calves at an appropriate time so that the mama cows can continue to thrive.
“As a rancher, I understand the circle of life, and I don’t take lightly the contributions of my cattle toward making human life better. Their contributions consist of much more than just high-protein beef products. The byproducts from cattle that touch our daily lives include leather, health products like insulin for diabetics and replacement heart valves for humans, paint, pet food, tires, asphalt, building products, etc. The normal human would find it hard to go a day without a cow helping them in some way.
“Ranching is more than just about making money. We do it because we truly love caring for the land and the livestock. Caring for our cattle comes before our own needs. It’s a way of life. And that’s the life I want to pass on to my daughter.
“Last night, we went for a drive through the pasture, and I introduced her to our cattle for the first time. It was such a beautiful memory to take a photo of my daughter with her herd of cows in the background. I feel very fortunate that she will be able to work with multiple generations on our ranch, and that she will be lucky enough to live and work in the great outdoors, serving as a caretaker for God’s beautiful bovines.”
I doubt that my response changed this reader’s mind, but I think it’s important to always take the high road and speak from the heart with our detractors. We never know who else might be forming an opinion about the type of people ranchers are. I hope after other readers pondered my thoughts, they walked away knowing that ranchers really do care about the land, their livestock and their children.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of Penton and the Farm Progress Group.
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