Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Animal Care is Priority

Sadly, it's happened yet again.  An animal rights group has posted a horrific video of a calf being abused.  As a farmer in animal agriculture, I'm angered, appalled and downright mad.  Who ARE these people?  It's bad enough that there are disturbed people who will harm animals (and other human beings) for amusement, but I find it equally disturbing that there are people who will film it instead of stepping in to stop the incident and report the abuse...immediately. 

My husband & I were raised on farms and have chosen this as our careers.  We have also chosen to raise our children much like we were raised.  At no point do we find it amusing to see an animal be hurt or suffer.  I can't think of a fellow farmer who finds animal cruelty acceptable.  Our animals are our livelihood, so why would we want any harm to come to them? 

We have spent countless hours over the years with our animals.  When a cow is calving, a calf is sick, a horse is lame or our farm dog isn't feeling well, we make them our priority.  Over the years, we've left family gatherings early (or got there late) to make sure everything is okay with one of our cows.  I left my great-aunt's 100th birthday party early to check on a cow who decided it was a good day to have a baby (everything  turned out just fine).  I can't count the many nights we've gotten up at midnight to check on a sick animal or expecting cow.  We cut our anniversary weekend short one year because there was hay to bale; the cows would need hay in the winter.  These are just a few of the things we do because we take caring for our animal seriously.  This is what responsible farmers do.  We don't abuse animals for the fun of it, nor do we find watching garbage like that entertaining.

Before you pass judgement on all farmers because of a sensationalized video on the Internet, take the time to check out a real farm.  There are numerous farmers on facebook, twitter and other sites that have pictures and stories to share with you.  You might start with and get the facts about dairy farming.   

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Biscuit!

My little Biscuit is a year old!  I can't believe it!  This time last year, I was making trips to the barn every 2 hours with a bottle of warm milk to feed our tiny preemie calf.  After the third or fourth night in barn boots, pajamas and a coat, I was pretty tempted to get a large pet carrier and keep her in the house at night.  We don't have premature calves very often, in fact the last one we had this small that I can remember was when I was in high school (and no, we're not going to start counting years).  Preemies can be difficult to keep alive, so the fact that she's a year old is a pretty big deal.

Biscuit - already a year old
Raising cattle can bring many different challenges and every day seems to bring new problems &/or accomplishments.  Dairy farming can be even more difficult at times because we commit so much time to our animals.  Taking a time off requires planning; a lot of planning.  Some dairy farmers I know are fortunate enough to have employees they trust their farms and animals with while they get away for a day or two.  We don't have any employees, so our time away from the farm is usually savored.  The milking still has to be done twice a day, every exceptions.

I know my kids take living on a farm for granted at times, but having a preemie to care for definitely gave them a new appreciation for the huge responsibility we have.  It doesn't matter that Biscuit is a beef heifer and not dairy; we take the best possible care of all our animals.  We did give her some extra grain instead of  cake and ice cream (although she may have eaten the ice cream - she's quite spoiled).  I thought about trying to get a picture of her with a party hat but I'm pretty sure she would have tried to eat it.  Oh well, maybe I can get one of her with a Santa hat for Christmas.  Hmmm...