Friday, April 11, 2008

Cows & Cowboys are Obsolete?

Here is a letter to the editor that was published in the West Yellowstone News. This is a perfect example of the lack of knowledge about agriculture that some of our consumers have. He shares a host of misconceptions in this letter that all of us need to try eliminating. Livestock production will always be a key component to feeding the world. There are a few of us writing rebuttals to this letter. Please join us in doing so by going to the following website.

To the Editor:
Cows, cowboys and cattle ranchers are obsolete. Only they don't know it. A kilogram of grain fed beef takes 100,000 liters of water to produce; thirty times as much as a kilo of chicken meat. Feed prices are now sky high because America is burning grain in its cars. The same kilo of beef takes fourteen times the fossil energy input as chicken. What's the price of gas?

Our supply of hamburger often arrives contaminated. Beef itself is not a healthy food for those prone to heart and vascular disease. Feedlots generate enormous ground water, river and estuary pollution from animal waste, hormones and antibiotics. Cows are susceptible to brucellosis, for which there is no effective vaccine. Many cattle ranchers say they can't operate profitably without subsidies in the form of cheap grazing rights on our public lands. Then, because they can't protect their cows and calves out on the range, they want to wipe out whole species of carnivores.

If I were in the cow business, I would stop corrupting our political system, stop asking the government to stifle the competition, stop lobbying the DOL to kill more bison, stop stonewalling the life cycle tracking of individual cows, stop raising artificially fattened animals, stop shooting wolves and start looking around for a new occupation. Sell the ranch and retire. Open the range to free roaming bison. Set up a wind farm. Lease land to the Hutterites. Or, take a look at a land trust.

If I were in the cow business, I would do some strategic planning, for the sake of my family, before I miss the boat completely. When the market can no longer hide the true price of beef, the only option will be to turn toward Washington and pray for a taxpayer bailout. By then, the investment banks will have beat me to it.

Jay Moor


No comments: