Monday, April 22, 2013


ComparisonsFamily milking cows

One way to gage the moral character of a civilization is to observe how they husband their livestock.  Typically speaking, a group of people will take the same caution and care of their animals that they take for their family, friends, neighbors and fellow man.  Another way to say this is that if a careless disregard for animal life is observed in one's culture a careless disregard for human life will also exist.  And the opposite is true.  One objection to this statement many times comes from the long time farmer who makes the statement or asks the question remarking why would he mistreat his animals that earn him money?  His emphasis is stressed that mistreated animals would certainly have a negative effect on his profit margin.  There in fact may be some truth to this last statement but that reasoning in itself will never be the guiding armor required for good animal husbandry alone.  There must exist a far deeper reason for raising animals in a respectable way, just as there is a non-profit motive for treating our fellow humans with high regard.  
I see many similarities between common farm production methods and our current model for raising and managing a family whether being raised on a farm or in a more urban environment.  What comes to my mind at this time is the comparison of the confinement dairy farm to the typical young urban family going their busy way at working, raising children, eating, and just general lifestyle.  In today's culture it has become quite the norm for both parents to hold down at least one full time job for each parent.  Mom has her career and dad has his career.  With each parent working full time, the commute, lunch time, late meetings, etc., each will average well over ten to twelve hours away from the home each day.  One of the parents will leave home early enough to drop the baby off at the daycare center, and somehow get the other two kids to school in time for their first class.  The daycare center will manage anywhere from six to thirty or more runny nosed, sucking on the door knob, pooping and slobbering all over the furniture rug rats.  Being the youngsters that they are their immune systems are extremely underdeveloped.  And because of their parent's hectic work schedule and lifestyle the family's nutrition, or should I say the lack thereof, generally comes in the form of stamped out fried fake chicken or some other frankenfood handed out through the window of a building into the window of their car on their way home or to work or school.  So now we have a bunch of preschoolers who constantly infect each other due to this unnatural rearing imparted on by their parents who put their own needs ahead of their children.  One of the many ill effects we now see from this parenting model is extreme increases in poor health among the children and adults coming out of this program.  We have off the chart increases from most all of the autoimmune diseases known to man, not limited to cancer, diabetes, MS, etc., as well as moderate to extreme obesity.  One of the most recent diagnoses for thirty-year-olds of today is that their health is comparable to a forty-five-year old of years past.  I hope I wasn't that unhealthy at forty-five.  
In comparison to the modern confinement dairy farm, the adult cows don't take any more responsibility for the rearing of their young than do the human contemporaries.  Milk cows are immediately put into the dairy barn after calving, kind of like the mother when she goes back to work.  The baby calves are put into individual partitions generally referred to as calf hutches in solitary confinement or, daycare.  There they are fed a non-dairy dry product mixed with tap water, infant formula, to replace the only natural healthy food capable of fully developing the rumen in that animal, mother's milk.  Sickness and death loss can exceed fifty percent.  I visited with a diary not too long ago that because of such high death loss in rearing their calves in this manner, they choose to shoot every bull calf the day that it is born.  The heifers that do survive to the milking barn age on average only stay productive for about one and one half lactations before being taken to the butcher.  This is an average life time of about four or five years old.  As a comparison it is not uncommon for grass-fed calves raised on their mother's milk to stay in production for twelve, thirteen, fourteen, or more years.  This, in comparison to the thirty-year-old who now looks forty-five from a health prospective.  Another report I read stated that children born today have a shorter life expectancy than of their parents.
There are many more comparisons between how a culture treats its animals and its fellow humans.  And the result of that care is monumental.  I have provided only a short description of only one partial example of how we treat dairy animals and how we raise the youngest of our fellow human beings and related it to only one simple fragment of nutrition.  The psychological, educational, cultural outcome and sustainability of these systems have not even been addressed in this short essay.  The manner in which we choose to treat our elderly is even more disturbing.  I share that when humans become unattached to the rearing and practicalities of animal husbandry in their daily lives they simultaneously become comparably inept at human relationships.  The quality caring for animals is best learned as a young child and is stepped up with responsibility as age appropriate.  This learning process is carried forward into their adult life to be continued in a similar manner when they start their own human families.  It is inconceivable to think that a young parent with very little proper instruction for caring for the young could excel in such an important part of civilization as raising children if they had no or very little instruction or practice preferably on animals as a child.  
This comparison between the farmer and the young parent is not intended to only show evidence in the lack of compassion for our children and the lack of responsibility among parents.  It is also intended to show the total disregard for caring animal husbandry practices that gleam across this entire country not only from dairy farms, but confinement chicken growers, hog growers, feed lots, etc., and other industrial agricultural models that are not really farming at all but commercial manufacturing houses with little to no real animal husbandry practices in place.  And the unhealthy condition of these animal facilities and their practices extend into the lack of poor nutrient quality of the food stuffs being processed there.  And the consequences to civilization even surpass the necessities for nutrient dense food.  They may even contribute negatively to the sustainability of a civilization regardless of the food consequences.   We really do need at least six million more real farmers in America right now.  @real farm