We have three dogs, five cats, and two horses that live at our house. Of those ten animals, four of them were stray animals that adopted us. I have a soft heart, and my pets receive loving care and attention. They are, quite literally, part of the family.
Early in the fall, Shellie (one of our dogs) got into something that made her really sick. When I rushed her to the vet (at 8:00 on a Friday night—thank goodness for small town veterinarians!), two kittens ran in front of my vehicle outside of the vet clinic. I got out of my vehicle to move them out of the way. Instead of running away from me, the kittens jumped into my arms.
I have close to 3,000 beef animals that live at my feed yard. While these animals are food animals and not pets, they still receive quality care and attention. They require different care than my pets at home, but that does not lessen my personal responsibility for them.
I am an animal lover.
I go to work every morning at 6:00am so that every one of my beef animals can have breakfast delivered by 9:30am. I honestly do not remember the last time that I was still in bed when the sun came up.
I put in 70 hours at the feed yard last week because that was what my animals needed. I ran a scoop shovel, I vaccinated and exercised/acclimated three hundred newly arrived animals, I put out more 60# small square bales of prairie hay than my back wanted me too…Needless to say, it was a “calorie deficient” week for me and I may have to start cinching my belt up a bit tighter as my jeans are getting looser!
I am a dedicated animal lover…
I believe that it is an admirable vocation to raise food animals…
I believe that I can be both an animal lover and a food animal farmer…
I believe that harvesting beef animals to feed to my children fulfills my duty as a parent to provide nutritious and wholesome food. It is also my duty as an American farmer to provide food for other people’s children as well as my own. I believe that my beef provides a unique protein source which ensures that my children (and yours) have enough zinc, iron, and protein to grow strong and maintain good health.
Although my cattle will be harvested for food consumption, I have a high standard of care that I give to them while they are in my feed yard. A standard of care that exemplifies my definition of humane care as I make sure that each animals’ needs are met on a daily basis. As a prelude to Thursday’s post where I will define humane bovine care (bovines are cattle!) and explain in more depth why I believe that I can both love animals and raise them for food, I would ask that if you have not followed Feed Yard Foodie since its inception that you go back and read two of my early posts. They are necessary “back ground” information for our discussion of humane care.