Sunday, October 11, 2009

Thrive or survive: money vs. ethics

Well here is a subject I cannot believe I have to touch upon, but,for those of you who read this blog on a fairly regular basis must know by now, I am pretty careful and conscientious about my livestock, and, animals in general. The way I see things, animals, like trees, are pretty dependent on what us humans determine is their lot in life. Stick a tree in a lousy spot, in a tiny hole and give it just enough water to survive, well, you get a poor tree, one that's going to just survive. Do the same thing with animals, give them just enough to tough it out and eeck out the very basics of survival, you get an animal that may survive, but will not thrive.
It still amazes me that there are people out there with the mindset that because an animal is of a certain breed or function, (beef, lets say) they are less deserving of the basic creature comforts that every living thing should be allowed. Every animal in the wild will seek shelter in a storm, be it a cave, woods, windbreak or hollow, every animal, no matter how basic it is, will seek out comfort, dry land and shelter when necessary. No animal in the wild will be covered with its own excrement, or stand for days in water, mud or its own manure. Without adequate rest and nourishment, no creature can survive very long under the constant stress and strain of having to fight the elements. To assume that any animal should do that, and, remain healthy and productive, is a fallacy.
When we as human beings domesticated livestock, it became our obligation to provide for them at least as well as they could provide for themselves if wild. To take an animal, give it no opportunity to seek shelter in a storm, or bed down somewhere safe, dry and out of the elements, is, in my eyes, criminal. If one researches old books and farm publications from the turn of the century, there are many pages and illustrations of shelters for the livestock that were out on the great plains of our nation. Simple but effective structures that offered shelter, safety and food for the herds of cattle and sheep that were kept far from any homestead. Most were simple structures built of logs and posts, covered with rough boards, earth or hay and straw, allowing the animals to find food and get out of the elements. Today, cattle out on the western plains range far and free from any man-made comforts, and, if one cares to examine the records, these same animals die by the thousands from exposure and starvation each winter. They are subject to a man induced unnatural environment where they and their offspring simply weaken and die. No animal in nature subjects itself to what us humans will subject them to, and I find that very disturbing.
Now I am not a tree-hugger, and understand that animals are here for a reason, but I also understand that it is our obligation as God given caretakers of these animals to provide for them in the best manner we possibly can. If you cannot provide for your creatures the very basic of accommodations, and that would be clean water, decent and adequate food, dry bedding, a barn or shed for them to get out of the elements and medical attention when needed, then you simply do not deserve to own them. Period.
Thrive or survive, no living creature should have to just survive. Money or ethics? I'll be adding on to my barn before I let any animal go to a buyer with no facilities to care for them properly. I know I will be able to sleep well at night, knowing my animals are safe and comfortable for the night as well.

"A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast..." Prov. 12:10

Sometimes its not just about the money.

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