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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tailgate Lectures: Good Stockmanship

Grandpa told me to stand on the fence watching while he entered the pen. He looked back at me and said, "You know a good stockman can sort the baby calves off from the mama calves without saying a word. Good stockmanship takes practice." I was amazed as the old man stood in the pen of cows and calves and moved slowly, raised a hand here and there, shifted his body, and kept a calm voice and demeanor while one by one the cows ran into the left pen and the calves grouped in the right. I could see that he cares for the well-being of his animals and let them do the work.

That day in the pasture, I understood the importance of stockmanship practices that promote animal well-being. I've noticed that these buzzwords in the media, especially referring to TV media, are oftentimes misused. The misuse of a word or phrase can lead to consumer confusion and ultimately lead to choices and opinions that are not based in fact. When I hear these words like Animal Rights or Animal Welfare, I go back to that day of working cows with Grandpa. It's that memory that clears up the confusion for me. I thumbed through a dictionary to look at a few definitions to help clear up the confusion for you.

  • welfare - noun: the good fortune, health, happiness, prosperity of a person, group, or organization.

  • well-being - noun: the state of being happy, healthy and prosperous

  • rights - noun: that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles

  • animal rights - plural noun: the rights of animals, claimed on ethical grounds, to the same humane treatment and protection from exploitation and abuse that are accorded to humans.

You'd have to search pretty hard to find someone who doesn't agree with the idea of animal well-being or welfare. It is our human responsibility to provide health, happiness and prosperity to an animal in which we come in contact with. I believe in this responsibility as a human and take comfort in knowing that agriculturists around the world, especially those involved in animal agriculture, take this responsibility very seriously.

I do not believe that the same inalienable rights that are accorded to humans and have been fought for throughout history, are due to any animal by just claim, legal guarantees or moral principles.

You see while animal rights is a social movement in my mind, animal well-being is a practice. It's a good and important practice that is being utilized by stockmen across the country.

I'm always interested in hearing other opinions on this debate and welcome that discussion.

My best,


1 comment:

  1. Great post, Tera! I especially like the part where you say you don't believe animals have the same inalienable rights as humans. Far too many people tend to anthropomorphize animals and that's a big mistake.



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