Ask any farmer around and they’ll be the first to tell you they’re not in it for the money. Some of them have a passion for the outdoors… some of them care about clothing and feeding the world… and you might even find a handful that love animals. In fact – make that most of them love the animals they raise. When a farmer goes out at 2 in the morning to pull a baby calf – and then brings the calf into their home to keep it warm until morning - that is pure love.
How far will a farmer go to keep his livestock happy? As a huge animal lover, animal welfare is very important to me. Livestock owners often get a lot of slack from the media for the treatment of animals involved in production agriculture. There is controversy over naturally fed cattle, pigs raised in pens vs. pastures, and cage sizes for chickens – the list goes on and on. Now I could really care less if the cheeseburger I ate was once “organically” fed, but something that is important to me is the quality of life the animals had on the farm.
So back to my question: how far will a farmer go to enhance the quality of life for his or her livestock? An article posted on our first year vet school message board caught my attention. There is now a machine that washes your cows, similar to a car wash. And over 30,000 of these Swedish machines have already been sold. That’s a lot of clean dairy cows. If the “cow-wash” makes the cows happy, they produce more milk – now I’d say that’s a win-win situation for all. Check it out for yourself!