- Posted September 14, 2012 by
Leave Our Beef Be
There has always been the debate of meat vs. no meat. Vegetarian vs. vegan. We live in a free country so we have the ability to choose if we want that cheeseburger or not. But one thing that I feel needs to stop is the vilifying and condemnation of farmers. These men and women are the unsung heroes of the world. Yes, the world. Think of the last meal you ate. Where did it come from? Unless you pulled it from the ground yourself or watched as the butcher slaughtered your most recent steak you have no idea. So those farmers that work 30 hour days 9 days a week to try and put food on your plate do not deserve the attacks, the hate and the condemnation from those who eat the food but have no idea what it takes to make it in agriculture.
Mother Nature is unforgiving. Anyone who has ever seen a flood, a twister or an earthquake can testify. Could you imagine if your livelihood, the survival of your family depended on this twisted, finicky old broad? Less than 5% of the nation’s population can attest to that. The cattle farmers watched their numbers plummet during the BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy aka Mad Cow Disease) outbreak a few years ago. Pork farmers saw hoof and mouth wipe out generations of hogs. All it takes is one drought or plague of grasshoppers to wipe out wheat, alfalfa, corn you name it. Every day for farmers is a gamble because they honestly have NO CONTROL WHAT SO EVER. They breed their animals and sow their seeds and pray that this year, maybe this year, will be a good year. So when they are slammed and berated for selling their animals to a feed lot or for using a new genetically modified breed of corn, they are trying to do what every other human is trying to do; survive.
And yes, there are those out there who do not seem to have a problem with animal cruelty. These are the people that need to be stopped. But punishing a farmer because he chose to take over his family’s four generation cattle ranch is also that, cruel. Give these people a break. They are already fighting Mother Nature every second of every day, they don’t need a bunch of yuppies that have never set foot on a farm bitching and breathing down their necks about whether or not to use antibiotics on that sick cow.
So those who commute to their desks, unwrap their salads and whisper with their coworkers about whether or not the boss is in a bad mood, have no idea how hard it is. Yet so many of these people have set themselves above the “simple” farmers because they don’t adhere to the exact standard of living that so many vegans and vegetarians expect. I understand that I’m generalizing here, not every vegetarian out there hates beef farmers. In fact most people respect an honest day’s work, no matter what the work is. But those who insist on being vocal, shouting from the top of their soapboxes that eating meat is cruel and immoral, please do us all a favor and shut up for just a minute and listen. We are just trying to earn a living the only way we know how. Don’t tell me to go get another job when our cattle ranch has been in the family for four generations. Don’t tell me I’m a bad person because I choose to consume meat. Why else are these creatures here, hogs, cows, chickens, fish? We can cry about domestication as much as we want but it’s done and over with and is not something that can be undone. And the next person that suggests turning all the pigs at pork farms loose is the person who can go live in the wild with them. Hogs breed rapidly, can be very aggressive and destroy agriculture and woodland. Ask anyone in Hawaii about their feral hog problem. It’s ugly. The state of Texas hires hog wranglers to cull hogs that are causing problems for livestock – some have been known to kill and eat calves- and there is a reason it is an open season on them in California.
They say do not condemn someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes. Well, our boots are well worn and dusty but please, I’d love to give someone the chance to see really how hard it is, instead of scooping up a handful of organic greens at the supermarket.
**And before anyone jumps on the accusation wagon, yes I have lived on a farm. I was up early every morning almost my entire childhood to feed our family’s livestock. I was raised in an agriculture community, was a 4-H and FFA member in high school, with my younger sister following in those footsteps. My family still raises hogs; we split a steer with the neighbors every year and have a coop of chickens in the backyard. My father is a farmer and has been for 35 years. I now work in a position that allows me to market my town and our industry, to help promote the lives and survival of our farmers. So please, folks do us all a favor and buy local.
Have you eaten today? Hug a Farmer.