Stevie West is a rancher, single mother and all-round badass. She gets a lot of questions about her work in ranching and around the farming industry in general. She doesn’t suffer fools or wimps. After being asked about the cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industry’s treatment of animals, Stevie decided to go off in an epic Facebook post, which we’ve lifted and reprinted here.
Oh, and it’s pretty damned informative too. Enjoy! *This post is reprinted with the permission of Ms.West.
Shit happens on giant factory farms that’s definitely not ideal, but most of our meat and dairy comes from family farms, and most of the horror pictures you see are bullshit. For example, I saw one of a pig lying on her side with metal bars on her belly holding her down. The caption was “This is where your bacon grows up!” or something nonsensical. In reality, it’s a feeding chute, so the sow can’t roll onto and then smother her piglets when they’re feeding (which she will do, and then she will eat them. Pigs are dicks.) So it looks horrible if you don’t understand what you’re seeing, but it causes no pain or discomfort and pigs don’t live in them. The farm where I worked in high school was primarily a dairy farm but they also slaughtered cows for beef. The cows ranged on 500 acres. They were rounded up every twelve hours for milking, which was done by machine which is not painful, but soothing. A lot of them fell asleep while being milked. Then they went back out to pasture. I never saw any slaughtering; I did the milking and took care of the calves, but it’s done instantly and humanely. The way animals are killed affects the taste of the meat, so if they’re in pain, nervous, etc., they tense up and won’t taste as good.
Farmers have a financial incentive to be humane.
“Cage free” or “free range” are mostly feel good terms. Cows can’t survive in a cage. Anyone buying “cage free” beef is being swindled. All cattle are cage free. “Free range” chickens can mean anything from chickens roaming about in idyllic meadows to flapping their horrible wings and touching you with their nasty chicken feet inside a pole barn for their whole lives. Chickens living their entire lives in cages simply does not happen on family farms. The vegans posting pictures of caged chickens are likely looking at birds about to be transported.
As far as feelings, chickens are too stupid to have feelings. I literally have more chickens who drown in their 1/8 inch of water every year than I have chickens that survive. They drink and then can’t figure out that in order to breathe again, they need to get their retarded beaks out of the water.
Cows are prey animals, obviously, and herd animals. They don’t have feelings like we have feelings. They understand dominance, submission, and respect. One cow looks to the next to see what cow things he should currently be doing. That cow is looking to the next one, etc. The herd leader decides what cow things everyone should currently be cowing. If a cow is not cowing properly, a cow higher in the herd will make him cow right. When a human enters the equation, he controls the herd by becoming the herd leader. And also by castrating most of the bulls because fuck trying to tell a 2200 pound hammer what to do. The ones that aren’t castrated are safely segregated until breeding season. Their lives are basically- be born, eat all day, grow, breed if no asshole in a cowboy hat banded his balls, be milked if lady cow, eat constantly, die. Everything they do is instinctual, and it’s always at the direction of the herd leader.
Lettuce eaters act like the cow about to be slaughtered is thinking, “Maybe I’ll go back to school, really study this time and actually get my degree”. No. He’s thinking, “I was just eating grass and I would prefer to be eating more grass”.
Farmers and ranchers are master stewards of our land and animals. The land and animals are our livelihood and our lives. I do NOT camp, but I’ve slept outside IN THE WINTER for thirty minutes at a time to care for a colicking horse. I’ve delivered calves in my church clothes. I’ve forgone luxuries and vacations and upgrades to my house and on and on for the sake of my herd. Every farmer and rancher I know has done the same and much more. The big operations are obviously very lucrative, but there are much easier careers that bring in more money. The reward is much more than that, and it’s indescribable. It’s a passion, and a labor of love. I realize there are horrible exceptions to this rule; I’ve seen a lot of them in the horse world. But by and large, this abuse and mistreatment and cruelty simply do not happen.