Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

January 27, 2010

In Response to the Nightline Story ~

In response to the Nightline airing last night depicting the dairy industry in a negative light, I feel I must post a response. All dairy farms I know treat their animals with the utmost compassion & care. Cleanliness, comfort, and as distress-free of an environment as possible are priorities. I remember the first time visiting our dairy ranch when Dominic, my husband, and I first met. My first impression upon seeing the dairy up close was that the cows were treated royally and that the milk barn looked and smelled clean. The cattle were treated with respect and kindness, they were kept comfortable even in the heat of summer, their bedding was kept clean routinely, they were fed on time, and they ate a highly nutritious diet. I was very impressed. A dairy farmer constantly strives to maintain a healthful environment for his or her cows. Now, years later, knowing many more dairy ranchers, I believe that they all treat their own cows with the same respect, kindness, and care that I first witnessed on my husband's farm. One of the topics on last night's Nightline was in regards to tail docking. Tail Docking has been banned in California. The only animals I know, personally, to have docked tails are dogs. Tail docking is frowned upon in the dairy industry. Most all other dairy farmers nationwide do not oppose a ban on tail docking. Tail docking is a practice that was experimented with 10 years ago or so to see if there would be a benefit to milk quality. It was soon discovered there was no advantage to the dairy farmer, the cow, or the milk so the practice soon ended. Unfortunately, there are a select few dairies out there that still practice this. Somatic Cells was another topic~ Somatic cells are white blood cells. All milk naturally contains some somatic cells. Somatic cells are present in milk to guard the udder against infection. If bacteria, makes its way to the udder, white blood cells take care of that before infection can become established. All farmers and milk processors routinely test their milk for somatic cell counts in accordance with strict standards set by the state and federal Pasteurized Milk Ordinance regulations. All milk is tested routinely before it goes into the food supply. Dehorning was another topic~ Dehorning or disbudding has been used for decades and the method shown last night is the least painful method. Dairy farmers ensure as much comfort as possible and safety of an animal during the disbudding process. All cows, males and females grow horns. The reason for disbudding is to protect the cows from injuring one another and their human caretakers. Dairy farmers, milkers, veterinarians, hoof trimmers are in close contact with cows most of the day. Cows are not mean spirited by nature, but they do tend to rub their heads on everything from fences, other cows, tractors, gates or they can quickly move their head from one side to the other. Horns can be very dangerous. The process of disbudding~ A calf is put into her feed stanchion so she can not back away. A heated dehorner is then used to burn away the budding horn tissue. This takes a couple of minutes. She is then released back to the herd where she immediately acts as though nothing has happened....she eats, drinks and plays like she normally does. We have always been and will always be for the humane treatment of all animals. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Pin It
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