Saturday, June 6, 2009

Cattle Work - more than you want to know?

While Tom and I were gone we had two bull calves born; one to a heifer and one to an older cow.  The calf of the older cow, No. 6, appeared to have an umbilical hernia so that needed to be checked, plus they could get their little steer-making procedure.

Before we went on vacation we had tried a new "steer-making" procedure on one of the bull calves, using an emasculator, aka Burdizzo, an instrument purchased from Premier Supply for use in making wethers of our buck goats.  We tried it on a young steer calf and today, three weeks later, examined the results.  The procedure appears to have worked and testicle growth was stopped.  The procedure was much less stressful on the calf and on the operators (Tom and me) and because it is bloodless, less chance of infection.

Fortunately, the bull calf who appeared to have a hernia did not and was released, as a steer, to his mother.  So we now have two new steer calves.

In addition, we had some 600 lb. calves that needed to be weaned and one smaller calf who was still on the heifer/young cow.  So we have six calves in the pen now for weaning.

It is my opinion that people, me included, who choose to eat and enjoy the benefits of meat, should also be aware of the actual cost of the meat to the animal and to the environment.  I don't believe the bulk meat in the typical grocery store covers the actual cost of the work required by the initial rancher and encourages less humane treatment of the animals and of the environment, especially feed lots.  The large meat packers and the large Agri-businesses make the most profit from the animals.

I do concern myself with the concept of "Do no harm" and feel that my partaking of meat does cause harm (of course, just existing as a human does "harm" to some resources of  this planet.)  However, I am doing my best to cause less harm when I choose to enjoy the nutritional and flavor benefits of beef.

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