Thursday, October 22, 2015

The 11.5 inch Pissed Off Everyone Sub

Yes I know I have people that have been waiting since January for me to finish the vegan series. Maybe slamming out this blog will inspire me to finish that up, but for now......lets start with this momma cow and baby in March....and the same pair today...isn't Mother Nature amazing??? I can already tell this is going to get long winded but just pretend it is 10 separate blog posts and we will both be happy!

So here we go again, another big discussion related to Subway deciding to use meat from animals that have "never" had antibiotics beginning in 2016. As expected lots of quick and passionate reactions from all directions either cheering this decision or bemoaning it. Now I could give my slanted opinion on this and get the support and scorn of some sides or I can be honest and probably piss off people from every direction. Lets go ahead and piss everyone off in the interest of honesty, the world is sorely lacking in honesty. I am also approaching this purely from a beef producer standpoint. Your pork or poultry experience may be different, but I will say I consume both and don't blink an eye about them from a food safety or antibiotic view. Full disclosure here, I don't understand why anyone would go to Subway anyway when you can buy a loaf of bread and a head of lettuce and make your own comparable sandwich on your own dirty counter without subjecting yourself to poor customer service from a skateboarder in a hairnet but that's just me. Anyone pissed off yet?

Lets start by defending Subways decision.(Maybe lost a lot of the choir already) Not defending it on solely the merits of the decision but from a outsider looking in perspective. Lets remember Subway owns this business, well their shareholders do anyway. For what I suspect are lots of reasons, including some based in reality, some based on consumers stupidity and gullibility, some based on what some "expert" has told them etc. they have made this decision. I say GO Subway!! (more people pissed off) I really don't like anyone telling me how to do my business so I respect their decision to make their own business decisions. The beauty of capitalism is smart decisions are often rewarded, while poor decisions are often devastating but highly educational. Will this decision invigorate a brand that has really struggled of late eventually pay off? That is yet to be seen. Remember Subway came to prominence by the "Eat Fresh" idea and that the then fast food industry was dominated by those "evil" burger joints like McDonalds (Oh the humanity). Subway offered a "healthy" and "fresh" alternative. It also got a huge boost by Jared and his Subway "diet" and the marketing campaign that followed. Again, I am not against this but now we know "allegedly" that Jared's weight loss may have been partially attributed to chasing teenagers around playgrounds as much as eating sandwiches.(more people pissed off) Either way it was a brilliant marketing program that paid huge dividends and resulted in massive growth for Subway at the time. Lets face it, these days Subway needed a facelift, and this is the path they chose. Now let's relate that decision back to me as a beef producer at the cow/calf level.

We do not use antibiotics on this ranch, well let me qualify that, we don't use antibiotics unless an animal needs it. If an animal gets pinkeye, foot rot, a respiratory issue or something else that puts them in distress then we do. Do I use antibiotics because I want antibiotics in meat, or because I support antibiotic resistance, or because I don't want Subway or any business not serving my beef? NO! I do it because it is the RIGHT thing to do from both an animal welfare standpoint and honestly an economic standpoint. Yes, the last few years I have been paid a premium for "natural" cattle that have never had an antibiotic. That being said, SICK cattle don't pay the bills, no matter if they are "natural", "antibiotic free" "gluten free" "organic" "grassfed" "predator friendly" or otherwise! Do I catch every animal that needs treatment? Again NO! Does every one I treat recover and survive? NO! The reality is that 99% of cattle on this ranch never see an antibiotic, but when they need it, when I see they need it, then they are going to get it. This is not going to change no matter what fluffy marketing program ANY brand has or promotes. Doing the right thing is timeless. What happens in a range cattle operation when an animal gets sick and doesn't get antibiotics? Below is what happens. Now I doubt anyone that supports "never had antibiotics" supports this? Maybe I am wrong, humans are some weird creatures. By the way, the calf in the below picture is "everything free" if anyone is interested in purchasing, I'll make you one hell of a deal but I wont take a "with shrink" price. Number of people pissed off rising rapidly......

 When we do use antibiotics we have label directions, rules of use and withdrawal times that we follow which means a consumer does not get beef that has ANY antibiotic level in it, in reality this is what you are getting from Subway (and everywhere else that serves beef) right now. In 2016 you wont be getting anything different other than a signature or a series of signatures. Your beef won't be any more "antibiotic free" than it is today. Now to explain this "only getting a signature" reality. Which of the calves below has received any antibiotics in their life? For those still reading that are not pissed off.
   The one with the ear tag in the left ear in the first picture? The one with the ear tag in the right ear in the second picture? (Actually that is just the way we easily keep steers and heifers identified) Just the solid black ones? Just the ones with white on their faces? All of them? None of them? Yes, shockingly no matter what the media tells you NONE of them have EVER had any antibiotics! Will they receive antibiotics before they become beef? Possibly, but most likely not as any type of "mass" treatment but in rare INDIVIDUAL decisions based on oversight and symptoms of disease manifesting itself. When we do treat a calf with antibiotics we notch their ear tags as well as making a written and computerized note. These calves will not go into a "natural" or an "antibiotic free" system but when they do become beef they wont have ANY antibiotics in them just like their "natural" and "antibiotic free" brothers and sisters. You see, antibiotics have a withdrawal time in which they can no longer be detected. So how do you as a consumer know you are getting beef from calves that have "never had antibiotics"? You DON'T. (Pissed off quite a few right there) You are trusting that Subway, their beef suppliers, feedlots, stocker operators and the original producer (me) are honest and trustworthy and that our signature on a piece of paper has some honesty and integrity behind it. By the way 99.999999999999% will be honest because there is little to nothing to be gained by being dishonest. For me it is really SIMPLE, would I feed my OWN family what I am sending into consumer channels, the answer IS and has ALWAYS been 110% absolutely. No amount of marketing whether based in reality, fluff or fear mongering is going to change this reality. More people pissed off.....

So lets break it down. Just like many things in life this announcement doesn't really mean much when the rubber hits the road. Cattle producers, stockers, feedlot owners and yes even packers I understand your frustration with fear based marketing and ease with which consumers fall for internet memes and misinformation. I am amazed how people will believe someone with a website and a brand name who has never raised a single bovine about how safe beef is instead of asking actual beef producers. It is no different than me giving advice to NASA and them believing it and taking that advice because I was an astronaut for Halloween in 1973. Just remember if everyone was really intelligent and hard working they could be successful cattle producers instead of easily pandered to consumers.There are also a multitude of outlets for beef that are only going to increase as the planet keeps breeding and living longer (weird I know given how "dangerous" the food system is) That being said, the reality is this announcement wont really change the way good operators are conducting business. I would never advocate not treating a sick animal, but at the same time, examining your practices, your vitamin and mineral program and vaccination protocols is something you should always be doing in my opinion. It not only can improve animal welfare but add to your bottom line as well. I also know the vast majority already do this or they would go broke. A few more people pissed off....

  Consumers, the wholesomeness, quality and safety of your beef isn't going to really change. Hell, I have yet to see a Subway sandwich that has enough meat on it to make a difference one way or the other but what meat they do have is safe today, and will be safe tomorrow and in 2016. How about the veggies, are they "antibiotic" free? Oh you didn't know that some vegetables and even fruits have antibiotics applied to them??? Got FireBlight???  The reality is we have a food supply that is as safe and as cheap as anywhere in the world.That is a good thing! The sad part is it makes many people susceptible to misinformation. A full belly makes it easy to be a self righteous food snob. Yes, I know you saw that headline that said "3 kids sickened by E coli in beef" My question is why wasn't the headline "200 million kids ate beef today and nobody got sick?" It is because reality and honesty just doesn't sell in a market that thinks "reality TV" is reality. The honest reality here is MORE people will die or get injured this year driving or riding in a vehicle going to Subway (or any other food service business) than will ever die or get injured actually EATING any beef. We are a society that has enjoyed a safe and abundant food supply and becoming paranoid and stupid really makes zero logical sense. Ask someone who lived through the great depression or has suffered from hunger what kind of food they want and most likely they are not nearly as paranoid but are just happy with the many choices available. 

I was once traveling with an old cowman and we stopped to get some beer. When he handed me the cash I felt it was polite to ask him what kind of beer he liked.......He narrowed his eyes, stared at my whipper snapper beer snob ass and said..."Cold beer!!". I am sure I missed lots of points I was going to make in this post but I hope I hit lots of high points. As always I appreciate civil debate, comments and questions but I warn you it better be "bullshit" and "stupid" free. I am also heading down south for a friends bachelor party at the end of the week so although I may not respond rapidly any hopes of me "going dark" or "running away" is as dumb as eating lettuce sandwiches. Enjoy your food choices folks, we are very lucky to have them, even if you do get pissed off now and again! #EatBeef

Today's Cowman music selection is Alan Jackson singing "You can always come home" Dedicated to my baby girl that is off at her first year of college. Also all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Part 3; The Numbers, no vegans or animal rights activists deserve my time

So as I count down in reverse order the top 5 reasons I no longer engage animal rights activists and vegans we arrive at blog post number 3. For a review, number 5 was I support food choices and number 4 was the incessant anger.  Numbers, when we think about it numbers are a very big part of our lives. Just in the course of a day there are so many numbers that I am focused on. What is the temperature outside?
What is the price of diesel fuel at the Indian reservation store?
How many RPMS am I pulling up this hill,? Do those calves weigh 500 pounds or closer to 550? Where did I put the phone number of that really sexy barrel racer? Ok, that last one isn't true, but I do have the number of a 4 time married, Marlboro smoking, former 1982 rodeo queen (this part has not been confirmed) that wants to come help gather cattle sometime, and that isn't for nothin!  The point is numbers MATTER and is exactly why crazed animal rights activists and vegans do NOT matter. Well wait I am already going to change that, SOME numbers matter. 

Remember that numbers are only as good as the source that provides them and the context of those numbers. The ARA vegan community will proudly tell you that their numbers are increasing! Yes, wonderful, if they continue to increase at the current rate the whole world will be vegan in about 278.391 Billion years. Admittedly, I am using just 1 source here, but clearly the number of vegans is still very small. This is why they are so shrill and angry. They know that the only way anyone hears them is to scream very loud.They really are insignificant! There is a reason that there is a McDonalds and not a Veganonalds. 

Here is another number that matters. In the last 24 hours, one global revolution, the number of people needing to eat increased by 189,985 mouths. I am pretty confident many of those will choose to eat meat protein if given the chance. (This is a fun site by the way
Let me put this in perspective from a cowman logic perspective. If Mike the meat eater has 2 flat tires and Vincent the vegan has 1 flat tire who will travel the most miles in a day? Well, at first glance you would think Vincent. However, when you discover Mike has 2 flats on 2 outside duals of his semi trailer tandem and Vincent has 1 flat on his unicycle things change. Not to mention the fact that Mike is at the tire shop and has purchased 2 new tires, while Vincent is still hoping to get enough donations to his GoFundMe account so he can buy a bag of free range, certified green raised, organic, GMO free quinoa, yet alone afford a new tire.

Detractors will point to the fact that individual meat consumption in the USA is declining. This is true, however would you rather have 100 people consuming 1 pound of your product, or 300 people consuming a half pound of your product? The fact is global meat consumption is increasing and likely will continue. Notice an animal rights activist will seldom mention that we are now producing far more meat protein with far fewer animals than in previous years? Most people love the taste, nutrition density, affordability and availability of animal protein.  

I want to stress again if you want to engage these people it is your choice. Personally, I choose not to. I am much more focused on being available to answer questions about what I do, how I do it, and why I do some things a certain way from people that purchase my product. To close this post I sold a few calves today. In the course of them being sold, 4 different individuals placed bids on them. I confirmed that NONE (there is a number, zero, none, nil, nada, nothing) of the bidders were vegan animal rights activists hoping to buy them and let them live forever at a sanctuary. (Just in the interest of full disclosure these calves will be put out on grass until late summer and then put in a feedlot to be finished) I mean, with so many of these people you would think at least 1 of them would care enough to put their wallet where their non consumptive mouth is? Nope! Fluff and rhetoric are very low in nutrients. Remember folks all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them.

Today's cowman music selection is Ed Bruce singing "Last cowboys song" This was written in 1980. It is a wonderful song, but the cowboys I engaged with today would laugh thinking any cowboy (I use this as a wide ranging term as I myself prefer to be called a stockman or cattleman)  is anywhere near the last one. Things change, methods change, but raising animals in a sustainable, holistic, responsible and caring way continues and will continue. Wrap your kale around that steak baby. We ain't going anywhere.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why I dont engage vegans and animal rights activists Part 2 the anger

Anger, we all face it sometimes, sometimes it is our own anger, sometimes we see anger in others, but we all know it when we see it. I think most of us would agree that anger is a pretty ugly emotion, while also agreeing that sometimes it is a very valid response to certain issues or stimulus. Rational people would agree that if possible anger is a good emotion to try and limit or steer clear of. It is just the opposite in the animal rights activist world. Anger is celebrated and often is the primary emotion that defines their world and life. I want to give a little nod here to the vegan world vs the animal rights activists world, often two worlds that intersect. I have met some vegans that are not angry 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I have yet to meet an animal rights activist that doesn't have one of two life statuses at any given moment, pissed off or asleep.
There are many reasons constant anger is not a good idea. Constant anger probably wont help your cause with the majority of the world. They will just see you as the bitter person you are. I mean when you make comments like the above as a response to a picture of a teenage girl with her first deer the only person that is probably going to want to be around you are those studying psychopathy. I mean who wouldn't want to have a chat with these two lovely individuals just to see if they couldn't learn some valuable nugget of enlightenment?
 Surely the vast majority of consumers will take what this person says as the truth and follow their lead in their food choices.

Another reason anger is so useless is because it often will keep you from making a rational and coherent argument no matter what side of an issue you are on. An example would be something like this.

ARA vegan; F*ck you killer!!

Rational person; Sorry ma'am what are you referring to?

ARA vegan; the picture of the cow you killed

Rational person; I didnt kill it, it died from sickness, and that's a horse ma'am

ARA vegan; F*ck you horse rapist! I am .000003% Native American and a horse is my spirit animal!

Rational person; That's nice, How many horses do you own?

ARA vegan; None, I never would own any animal.

Rational person; Who owns the 7 cats you are holding in your profile picture?

ARA vegan; F*ck you, you corpse munching scum, go get some mental help, you are a psychopath!!!!!! We are done here!

Alrighty then.

Often the ARA activists are angry with each other. 
 While this level of anger is their personal choice, it is certainly not the kind of people that I or most rational people want to be around. The vast majority find them vapid and of little value to be around. When these people understand this reality it just makes them more angry as they see that 99.9% of the world is laughing at them.
I think you get the picture. Why anyone would waste their time engaging someone with this level of anger is something I see no practical use for. As I said yesterday, you are free to engage if you wish, this is just the path I have chosen for myself. Enjoy your day folks, yes even you angry ARA activists. Maybe this will help you smile?

If that didn't help I don't know what will. That's funny right there I don't care who you are. 

Todays cowman music selection is from John Conlee. Lyrics like this make this an awesome song!
"If you'll hand me my crayons
I'll be glad to take your name
In case I run across that guy you knew
But I don't remember loving you"

Monday, January 12, 2015

5 reasons I dont engage vegans and animal rights activists any longer (A series) Part 1 Reason #5 Supporting food choices

Hello blog world. Hell of a blogging year I had in 2014 eh? 3 whopping posts! I suppose 1 blog post for every $1 a pound that 400 pound calves were worth is sufficient. $*$ChaaaaaChingggg$*$! Thank You beef consumers worldwide! If I get through this series I will already have more posts in 2015 than 2014.

 So for those of you not involved in agriculture or on Twitter a little background. A young Canadian farmer and dairyman started a hashtag #farm365 in an effort to connect with consumers about how things work in the food growing world. A fairly regular and sometimes heated discussion continues on Twitter using this hashtag but the animal rights activists and vegans have jumped in with their usual drama. This is what inspired this blog series of why I don't engage with the animal rights or vegan activists. This is a reverse order of the reasons that I have chosen this path for myself. I am not suggesting this is the path for all people who produce food. To each their own, engage at your own chosen level, these are just my reasons for the path I have chosen.

I sort of accidently stumbled into the world of vegans and animal rights activists and the deep drama that it entails when I was Washington Cattlemens President (much more on this in tomorrows post). I always knew this element was out there, I just didnt know how batshit crazy much of it was. I suppose since I am offering reasons why I don't engage them I should also point out a few advantages of being aware of this cult.

1. They are highly amusing! I mean who knew that steers (a male bovine that has had his testicles removed) could have babies? Facebook names were removed to protect the I mean the stupid and because they seldom use a real name anyway.
2. They are really gullible and will often post a meme or picture in which they have zero idea of what it represents and think it advances their drama. Like this newborn, healthy, normal calf that has just stood for the first time and is still covered in amniotic fluid.  But, but it is sick from GMOs! Buhahaha Raise your Triple, Venti, GMO free, soy milk, no foam, Latte in protest

 So, reason #5 why I dont engage them. I actually SUPPORT their individual food choice. Often I don't agree with their reasoning for their choice but it is THEIR choice. I think it is great that food is so plentiful in the first world that people have so many food choices. Many people will tell you the food system in the USA and much of the first world is broken. While I agree it isn't perfect it is very efficient, very inexpensive and the choices are wide and AMAZING. When a grocery store in a town the size of Othello, Washington USA population 7634 has a freezer 6 feet tall, 4 levels, and with a linear distance of 47 feet (conservatively estimated by cowboy boot strides) of NOTHING but frozen pizza choices it shows just how wide and diverse our food choices are. Hell, I will look next time, there may even be some vegan pizza choices in that freezer! Yes, maybe it isnt all 100% healthy but I think a few people in many parts of the world would just love to have a shot at trying to decide between a Red Baron, Tonys, DiGiorno, Tombstone, Jacks or Great Value pizza instead of the 2.69 beetles and a golf ball sized lump of rice they have eaten the last umpteen meals. Isn't a huge and cheap food supply a wonderful way to allow us all to have so many food choices? A full belly, in a food secure part of the world sure makes it convenient to be a food preacher full of fire and brimstone as well as allowing judgment of those that make a different food choice from your own! I could be wrong but I am pretty confident that PETA doesn't have a whole lot of Ethiopian addresses on their mailing list of supporters and donors.

Now when I say I don't engage animal rights or vegan activists that doesn't mean I wont "accidentally" blow a few Copenhagen grains in their eye now and again for fun. (For those that don't know Copenhagen in the eye burns hotter than an animal rights activist half way through a tofu burger and learning "Tofu" was the name of the cow that provided the delicious burger)
Again, freedom and choice are such wonderful things!
Thank you all that made it this far. I appreciate all my readers, even vegans and animal rights activists. Remember all pictures can be viewed full size by clicking on them. Now if you will excuse me, I probably have an inbox full of anger that I have to laugh at and not respond to. Heh! And probably a few reasonable people that have some questions about how, what and why I do what I do for a living and how they can exercise their food choices and enjoy safe, wholesome and nutritious beef for their families.

Todays cowman music selection is from the venerable Waylon Jennings singing "Working without a net"

Well, unless of course you are a dolphin hunter in Taiji, Japan then a net is probably preferable.

"Up on the high wire, I hear the crowd begin to call, some want you to fly, some want to see you fall" 

Freedom and choices folks!