Friday, February 4, 2011

Why Do I Provide Humane Care?

As American producers (farmers) constantly work through this crazy winter that we have been seeing it is amazing to think that so many of them found time on Tuesday to participate in agchat. This was my inaugural agchat participation and  had a blast leaving comments and discussing briefly some important animal welfare issues. The weather has taken its toll on everyone but producers remain avid about their production and their advocation of safe food. 

Tuesday's agchat conversation was focused around some important issues dealing with animal welfare, proper animal care & how to build stronger connections about these issues with the general public and consumers.

 Before I say anything else I want to give a link to the summary of agchat from the week so that you can see what the questions were and what was said. Just click on a question listed to see all the answers for that question.

The biggest question that keeps popping up in my mind is "how do I justify the care I give my animals?"

The answers were debated a little during agchat but I think that in my mind I came to the conclusion that as a pork producer, I am driven to provide a product DEMANDED by the consumers. If the consumers demand a leaner pork product and the market value for that product goes up, than of course I am going to provide a leaner pork product. This leads to a change in genetics, which makes it extremely hard for pigs to survive outdoors. So we moved pigs inside, in temperature controlled environments, feed controlled rations and most importantly disease control! 

As you can start to see from this, as a producer I provide care for my livestock because it is good for them and they benefit from it. As a Christian, a producer and an American I have a duty to care for the livestock and the environment. My care is not mandated by the government. The care provided by me is mandatory by God's law, not man's law. I will not let an animal hurt, be kept in an unsafe environment or mishandled.

So you can see that even though we (producers) are pressured by the HSUS and other groups to provide a specific type of care, a government forced type of care. I think that even under these circumstances you will see a superior amount of care given to livestock, not because we are legally required to, but because we want consumers to know, trust and believe that their food is being raised in the most safe & healthy environment for it. 

These thoughts are a little bit scattered, but I think that you can get an idea of what I'm trying to say. Here's a Bible verse to end my reflections for today. 
" . . . they (all animals) are placed under your authority. Every living creature will be food for you; as I gave the green plants, I have given you everything." Genesis 9:2-3

*Thanks to Mike Haley of Haley Farms for finding this Bible verse & also for moderating our agchat conversation on Tuesday.