My heart broke as I watched a few minutes of a video released by Mercy For Animals (MFA) that depicted horrible acts of animal cruelty on a dairy farm. I felt sick to my stomach, and I will never be able to understand how people can abuse others, be it a child, a spouse or animal. Bad apples like these must be held accountable for their actions. Period.
Undercover videos on farms have been the topic of legislation in many states across the country, and the discussion of private property rights vs. the rights of animals has been a huge debate as of late. No matter where you stand on the topic, I think it's important to note that MFA didn't report these abuses immediately, and the group's main goal is to push a vegan diet -- a politically-charged lifestyle change aimed at eliminating U.S. farms and ranches.
Below the video clip on its website, MFA writes, "As MFA continues to expose the unconscionable cruelties of animal agriculture, and to diligently pursue justice by aiding prosecutions of animal abusers, consumers still hold the greatest power of all to end the needless suffering and death of calves – and all farmed animals – by adopting a compassionate, vegan diet."
As a rancher, I grew up eating the meat and produce we raised on our family-owned farm, and I was confident that these foods were grown with ethics and sustainability in mind. The photos posted in today’s blog are of my sisters and me with our cattle. Rain, snow or shine, I’m personally invested in our business on a daily basis, and I have a deep love and compassion for every calf on our place. Animal welfare, environmental stewardship and sound business practices are a model we follow closely, with the care of the animal a top priority.
Watching this video is as devastating to my family and me as it would be to anyone, and it’s important to note that veganism isn’t the answer, nor is applauding the efforts of extremist activists. Animal cruelty isn’t the norm in livestock production, just as most children aren’t abused, or most pets tortured.
As a consumer, I hope you will continue to support the hard-working, animal-loving, green-promoting, food-producing Americans who are dedicated to feeding the world, caring for animals and conserving our natural resources. Because I’m a rancher, many might think that I’m only saying these things because it’s my livelihood, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Just in case you are thinking that way, however, check out this great testimony from Miss America Teresa Scanlan, Why All Americans Have a Stake In the Success of Our Farmers and Ranchers. She is working hard to spread the word that farmers and ranchers are doing what is right for the animals, for the U.S. economy and for a growing population that needs to eat. Please read her testimony, and tune in to BEEF Daily next Tuesday, where you can read an exclusive interview I had with the lovely Miss Scanlan.
Animal abuse is unacceptable, despicable and just plain wrong, but please don't let it change the way you view all of us farming and ranching families. We have our hearts in the right place, and I hope you will give us a chance to tell our story. In fact, you can check out what animal care looks like at most farms and ranches by linking to the BEEF Daily Calves and Cowboys Photo Gallery! These photos portray ranchers who love what they do and calves who are well taken care of. Thanks for your support!
Read additional blog posts on this subject:
Special Report E6 Calf Ranch, Hart, TX by Trent Loos
Animal Abuse In Agriculture by Crystal Young
The Tears I’ve Shed… Animal Abuse by Michele Payn-Knoper
Livestock Producers: The Facts And Fictions Not Seen By Consumers by Monica Wheelus
Just a quick reminder that today is the last day to vote on the finalists in the BEEF Daily Calves and Cowboys Contest. Thanks for your vote!