A cowboy has a special relationship with his livestock. Ranchers are committed to caring for their cattle — that means providing them the essentials of life, including feed, water and shelter. It also means respectfully handling them throughout their lifetime and carefully harvesting them in order to enrich and improve human lives with nutrient-rich beef and thousands of by-products. This is a job we take seriously, and it sums up to one important phrase, “animal welfare.”
Animal welfare is a term that has been hijacked by animal rights activists, who are more concerned with passing costly, careless legislation against ranchers than actually caring for the animals they profess to protect. It’s time for ranchers to reclaim their legacy as animal caretakers and redefine what is true animal welfare.
That’s exactly what I and Jamie May, senior associate editor for BEEF magazine, set out to do at the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show in Denver last week. With thousands of ranchers in attendance, it was the perfect opportunity to visit with producers and ask them for their definitions of animal welfare. Watch the video of ranchers defining animal welfare. You can add your thoughts, too, by sharing your definition in the comments section below.
By the way, if you happen to be in Tulare, CA, today for the World Ag Expo, be sure to stop by and take part in the free BEEF Seminars, featuring myself, Wes Ishmael, and tax strategist and CPA Robert A. Gunther. I will be talking about the importance of agriculture agvocacy. Ishmael will talk about sustainability in the beef industry, and Gunther will wrap up the seminar with a presentation on tax strategies for producers. Don't miss out!