Drugging our Livestock

By what miracle do we have any animals on our farms?  I am exasperated by the constant call for livestock to be drugged to prevent this malady or that threat to their health.  How is it that these animals have come to us, how did they survive before the pharmaceutical industry came to their aid.  Is it reasonable to believe that without a constant health care regiment there would be no livestock?

The really strange thing is that I have witnessed the seeming inability of some farm animals to survive without these drugs.  But how can that be, where then did these animals come from that once they are with us they become weak?

I have discovered that the answer has at least two divisions.  Foremost, these animals are not the same as those that first populated the earth; they are products of our having domesticated and re-engineered the original animals for our purposes.  Having some experience with engineering I understand that if you take a certain device, one that was created to do a specific thing, and try to make it do something else, there will be problems.  Therefore, if you take a turkey and decide that you want it to provide you much more meat than its body was designed to carry and re-engineer that turkey, there will be problems.

Another reason some livestock require so much intervention is that they are out of place, they are not adapted to live on our farms.  A popular goat here in Ohio is a glaring example.  These poor creatures require regular worming and don’t do well in very cold weather yet they provide for large meat carcasses so people raise them here.

One other issue that must be looked at is how these animals are sometimes kept.  Feedlots are an efficient means of bringing livestock to the desired weight in minimal space.  If you decide it is not cost effective to give your cows the needed acreage of pasture, and put them all in a pen where they effectively live in their own waste, there will be problems.

As I said before, what really pisses me off is that these drugs are presented as the standard and accepted way of raising livestock.  This is what you are suppose to do, buy these drugs and give them to your animals.  It is more accurate to say, because we have created animals that are inherently susceptible to disease, and we routinely practice poor animal husbandry because it is more efficient, we must drug them or they will die.

It is true that these methods provide us with vast amounts of cheap meat; here in America we can eat meat every day and it is more a matter of choosing not to eat meat three times a day that makes any difference from one person to the next.  Of course it wasn’t always like that and may be again before too long.

Here on Cota Farms we use little or no medications for our animals and are happy to provide this higher quality meat for those that prefer it, and yes for those that can afford it.  Once again I will say that we are not crusaders and don’t call factory farms out of their name but we also don’t shirk at calling them what they are.  It is the deception that bothers me, that is where the real danger lies.  If we are told this is the way things are and it is good and right, then there will be no need to analyses it and consider other options, but that of course is the goal.

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