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Guest Opinions

All-heifer system

Written by Bonnie Bath Epler

To the Editor:

I wanted to comment on the article “All-heifer system eliminates cowherd, provides potential for profits.” Wow. Since PETA already feels that, as producers, we exploit our animals, they will really eat this one up. An article of this sort presents the research as coming from someone who does not care about their animals as anything other than factories for meat production.
For those of us who care greatly for our animals, the system seems like it will just add another reason for people to think about their consumption of beef, waste of resources, exploitation, etc.

  Indirect costs according to the article are considered to be “carbon footprint, greenhouse gases and potential pollutants.” I am sure the author is referring to the proposed system reducing a burden to the environment. This type of statement infers that the proposed system will be more environmentally friendly but really? Are other types of producers who enjoy their animals, strive to provide the best care possible and enjoy seeing genetics come to fruition damaging the environment to a greater degree? Or are we damaging the environment at all? 

I don’t think this concept that the author perceives as more environmentally friendly to use these heifer factories benefits other producers who prefer to select a heifer, develop the heifer and strive to produce an excellent product.

While calving ease bulls are used on these heifers, does this continual use of calving ease bulls do anything to improve the quality of the beef produced with muscling and marbling?

Producers face an uphill battle in raising beef at a level that is profitable. We need to maintain or increase quality while providing a product that is viewed as something the consumer will purchase. Does the beef industry want to be viewed with a factory farm view?

I invite you to go to the PETA website to view some of the films and statements. They have gone after the sheep industry with their viewpoints that shearing should be eliminated. They have attacked the leather industry and urge no leather usage. Films are, shown which demonstrate how milk cows' calves are taken from them, and cow chasing after a pickup truck to get her calf back. 

The PETA website even says, “Legality is no guarantee of morality. Who does and doesn’t have legal rights is determined merely by the opinion of current legislators. The law changes as public opinion or political motivations change, but ethics are not so arbitrary. Look at some of the other things that have at one time been legal in the U.S. – child labor, human slavery, the oppression of women.”

I would caution anyone to think carefully about implementing the all heifer system.

“If you call one wolf, you invite the pack.” – Bulgarian proverb

Sincerely,

Bonnie Bath Epler