Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Family Farm?

“Well, if it’s a family farm it can’t be so bad.”

Megan has never been on a farm. Never.  Never ever.  Megan lives in a town of 13,000 people in a rural state, and I was the first person in production agriculture that she ever even talked to.  But back to the family farm topic. Megan followed up by asking whether or not we were good to our cows.  I explained that our cows are comfortable, well cared for, eat a diet that is more balanced than most humans, and get on site health care.  The follow up questions were these. “This isn’t very common is it? What I’ve read, it says most milk comes from factory farms where cows are treated like machines, given drugs, and have to be kept pregnant to be milked. Isn’t that kind of wrong?”

So where does this information come from? Pretty simple, PETA has done a tap dance on us in production agriculture. When someone who knows nothing about farms, can quantify how bad a farm is strictly by how large it is, we have a problem.

I explained the reality of treating animals with drugs. Drugs cost money, get used only as needed, but are used to keep animals healthy. Not much different than how people should use drugs. The other thing that seemed to be a surprise was the fact that we try to reduce stress as much as possible. Stress costs us production and thus money. It’s in our best interest to make life as care free as we can.
And keeping cows pregnant?  Sort of.  One of the things that isn’t mentioned in any PETAarticles is the dry period.  We need to take back the language of agriculture. As of today the dry period is a cow-cation.  Cows really have a great life, they don’t need to worry about child care, and we take care of that for them.  Their to do list, consists of what do I eat?, What do I drink? And where do I sleep?    Sounds like a trailer park full of snowbirds in Tucson, AZ.

And where did this list of questions come from? PETA talking points.

Let’s make our own list of talking points, and we had better get started soon.

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