After watching Oprah’s vegan challenge and seeing the flurry of tweets and emotions it brought out in people on twitter, I have decided to change my thinking. (I do ponder if this show was her way of getting a dig at the Texas ranchers who sued her. She stated that she would continue eating meat, yet had “experts” on who push not eating meat. hmmmm…….)
As ranchers, we struggle with the fact that cattle prices have not changed very significantly in the last 50 years. Yet, input costs have changed a lot. Fuel for the machinery to make feed for the cows for winter has gone up. Cost of the machinery itself has increased a lot. the land prices so my cows can graze and enjoy space has gone up significantly too. Medicine if the cows get sick has increased. Yet what we take home when we sell our animals has not changed very much. I remember as a kid celebrating when we got over a dollar per pound for our steers at auction. Same celebration today. Over 30 years later.
Instead of focusing my energies on how to increase my cattle cheque, I have decided to let the past be the predictor of the future and accept it is not going to change. Instead I am celebrating that we, as ranchers, are able to provide a service to the world by supplying raised with love beef to feed families. I may not be paid in money, but I believe in karma so I know I am paid in other ways. Mainly being able to hang with Mother Earth and enjoying the animals and land in a natural state and being able to have horses is the best reward.
Sure, we do have to have other sources of income to support the ranch, but that is a sacrifice we are willing to make. I am very thankful for my husbands oil patch job. Although, when I am feeding the cows in a blizzard and getting stuck in the snowbanks I am a little less thankful and do wish he was home to help. but… I get over it.
When I have to wrestle a chilly 120 pd calf into the calf sled to haul him to the calf warmer box to ensure his survival on a chilly winter day, I am again wishing my husband was home, but I get it done anyway. That is the Cowgirl in me. We just get it done, and be creative about it. Creative ranching is my strength. I do love patching holes in the fence by parking my 79 Chevy a truck in the gap. It works.
So I am saluting myself, my family and all the other ranchers out there who are feeding the world. Now that you know it is not because it is overly profitable, I hope you will have more respect for us. Go vegan if it feels good for your body, but do not do it just because someone is marketing their book on a TV show. Also, if you are going to go vegan because you cannot bear the thought of eating an animal, then do it properly and give up leather shoes and clothing. Do not be hypocritical about it. An animal still has to be used to make that leather. I love the fact that when beef animal is slaughtered 99% of the animal is used. Recycling and being green at its finest.
Beef~its what’s for dinner.