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Published June 09, 2010, 12:00 AM

Cattle farming’s inhumane practice nothing to celebrate

“The smell of burning rawhide cuts through the morning air” and “it’s a social event” is a disgusting combination when combined for the same reason in The Forum article “Branding: A Way of Life” in the June 7 edition of The Forum.

By: Roz Abramovitch, West Fargo

“The smell of burning rawhide cuts through the morning air” and “it’s a social event” is a disgusting combination when combined for the same reason in The Forum article “Branding: A Way of Life” in the June 7 edition of The Forum.

Add to this two photographs showing red-hot irons searing the flesh of two calves, and one of a terrified calf being dragged by a rope tied to one leg, and by a cowboy’s hand to the other to the branding station, and you have succeeded in displaying some of cattle farming’s cruelest and most inhumane practices.

There is no reason why calves cannot be tagged on their ears with identification numbers, and the difference in their level of pain and fear would be immeasurable. Just because it was done “in the days of the Old West” and they feel that “brandings are a necessity” does not mean this form of animal abuse should continue in the name of tradition.

It is also stated “what makes these brandings special is friends, family and neighbors all pitch in to help get the job done.” It sickens me to think of all these people gathering to celebrate and assist in this archaic and inhumane “event” of 547 calves while at the same time causing fear and intense pain to their animals that are regarded as nothing more than inanimate, unfeeling objects.

These farmers could still have their big parties and social gatherings while working together to properly identify the hundreds of calves on their ranches, while not continuing the tradition of the horror that has taken place since the early 1900s.

Many things have changed in our history over the past 100-plus years; most of them in order to improve and repair the way things were done while modern technology and awareness took their place.

Perhaps these cowboys, and many like them, could begin a new tradition in the way they treat the animals in their care. They could call it “compassion.” Now that would be a wonderful reason to celebrate.


Abramovitch lives in West Fargo.

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