The abhorrent acts at the E6 Ranch have caused a tremendous uproar among the animal agriculture and animal rights crowds. Squabbling about whom should be punished, the timeliness of the video’s release and legislation that would forbid undercover videography have been rampant across the World Wide Web. I’ve been relatively active in the ‘comments’ section of many articles and have also been fielding comment traffic on this blog. One topic that seems to be resurfacing time and time again is the supposition by anti-agriculturalists that farm animals should be treated like dogs, cats and other household pets. Below are some comments highlighting these thoughts (commenter’s names have been omitted):
We gain much more by being responsible stewards of the lands and raising beautiful legumes and vegetables. Farm animals should be kept as pets only. This would create a better world for all of us.
- ‘Who Will Protect the Animals’, Mark Bittman
I imagine a large percentage of your readership, if they look deep in their own hearts, have at various times questioned the standard industry practices which cause physical and mental pain to creatures that have done nothing to deserve it. Many of you have at sometime in your life made the connection that a cow, pig, lamb, or even a chicken, have the same primal desires as the pets you relate to as family. It must be very difficult to find yourself in a livelihood that over time has accepted practices that are more and more cruel in order to improve the bottom line. I wish each of you strength to rediscover your innate kindness, and offer it to those most at your mercy.While I’ll ignore the blatant accusation that agriculturalists, particularly livestock farmers, have lost our ‘innate kindness’, I would like to broach the subject of ‘farm animals are pets.’ That just isn’t true.
- Five minutes with Nathan Runkle Executive Director of Mercy for Animals, Chuck Jolley
I showed livestock in 4-H from the age of seven to twenty and while I’ll admit forming a bond with my animals, I fully understood that pigs are for pork, cattle are for beef and chickens end up on the Easter Sunday dinner table. Am I a black hearted person? NO. I’m an agriculturalist and future producer who knows firsthand the importance of meat in any diet. Ninety-seven percent of the U.S. population eats meat and that meat comes from American farmers and ranchers.
Hyatt and I were recently Skyping with my sisters-in-law, who show cattle and hogs in Ohio, and asked how the hogs were doing and of course we asked if any names had been chosen. The youngest daughter said, “Breakfast, lunch and dinner.” These girls take care of their animals by exercising, grooming, cleaning their pens and feeding them daily. They practice exemplary animal care and do, in fact, very much love their livestock. I know this because I’ve witnessed their tears as they say ‘goodbye’ at the state fair. However, they know that livestock are for meat consumption. If not for meat consumption, then why are they here?
Before I go on, and further anger a few readers, I want to reiterate that farmers and ranchers provide the utmost care for their livestock because it's the right thing to do. The incident at E6, while extremely unfortunate and horrible, is a rare incident and should NOT be considered a standard for the rest of the animal agriculture industry. There is no room in the industry for inconsiderate care as seen in the MFA video and it should be very clear that farmers and ranchers are just as outraged as consumers at the blatant disregard for animal well-being.
Let’s imagine that farm animals are indeed intended to be domesticated pets. What exactly are we to do with them when their lives end? Where do we house them – in the backyard? One must wonder if the individuals advocating for cattle as pets understand how expensive it is to raise and feed a single bovine. The economics of raising livestock as pets simply don't add up.
Furthermore, while I completely agree that we all should include fruits, veggies and whole grains in their diets, I know that meat is a more efficient way to obtain the daily requirements of protein and certain vitamins and minerals.
- Half the daily protein you need in your diet comes from only 3 oz of beef. If it’s 3 oz of lean beef, only 130 calories
- It would take 6 times as much peanut butter to get the same amount of protein as you would from one 3 oz piece of beef.
- Beef is a good source of essential vitamins and nutrients.
o Zinc - brain and immune function
o Protein – builds muscle; helps fuel active lifestyle
o B6 – energy
o B12 – energy
- You'd have to eat 8 stalks of celery to get the same amount of iron from 1 - 3 oz portion of brown sugar cured ham.
- Beef and chicken have almost no carbohydrates. Of the few cuts of pork that do contain carbs, each cut has less than 3 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
- There are 5 cuts of chicken that have fewer calories from fat than 1 ear of sweet corn.
- One sweet potato contains more calories than one 3 oz serving of roasted pork tenderloin.
Calorie comparisons for 25 grams of protein in different foods:
Peanut Butter - 7 tbsp – 670 calories
Black Beans 3- ½ cup servings – 374 calories
Raw Soy Tofu – 1 ¼ cups – 236 calories
Cubes Lean Beef – 3 ounces – 180 calories
I hope that these nutritional facts have provided some insight into the importance of meat in our diets.
In closing, I’m sharing a quote from a VERY reliable source that will be the subject of a later post. For now, I think it sufficiently sums up the purpose of livestock on Earth.
Genesis 9:3 - The Bible
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.
Get ready for some controversy on Buzzard’s Beat, folks.
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~
Labels: agvocacy, animal wellbeing, farmers, health, livestock, meat, Mercy For Animals, ranchers