This hasn’t really been on national news, or really any news. I just wanted to share this link on a story about the hell that western South Dakota is dealing with right now after an early winter storm. Hurricane winds mixed with record amounts of snow caused the death of around 75,000 cattle, sheep and horses. Some ranchers lost a small percentage of their livestock, while others lost upwards of 90 percent of their herd. These herds are not just “cows” to the ranchers. These herds are the result of blood sweat and tears. Hard work and years of careful breeding, management and care. Cattle are not only the rancher’s income producers, they are like family.
Livestock had not yet grown their thick winter coats. They also were all still out on summer pasture because according to the calendar it wasn’t time to bring them home. I have seen comments posted on articles about this tragedy with people saying things like “they should have just brought them home, they knew the storm was coming!” Well that would have been a great idea, but do you realize how long it takes to bring the cows home? It isn’t a quick process. And it’s not like you can just load them up into a trailer. I’ve seen people ask “Why weren’t they in barns?” Again, while it sounds like a great idea, many animals that were in shelters were killed with the snow collapsed the roof on top of them. And getting barns big enough to hold a couple hundred cows comfortably just isn’t something that all ranchers have the luxury of having. People who are so far removed from farm and ranch life can talk all they want. Livestock are different than having dogs and cats. They are big, they aren’t trained and basically they do what they want. And unlike moving a dog or cat, you can’t just move 20 or 50, or 100, or 1000 cows easily and quickly.
The stories from ranchers contained in this article are not the stories you hear about when you hear people protesting the “plight of the modern farm animal”. The sad cows in tiny boxes portrayed in Chipolte’s new
short film called “Scarecrow”. These animals are the pride and joy of the
ranchers that raise them. They know everything about each heifer, bull or calf
on that ranch. In the videos about "big ag" or "factory farming" you never hear these stories or see images of the big fat happy cows we have here, that live on acres and acres and acres of wide open prairie. You won't ever hear these stories about absolute heartbreak of real ranchers
who some lost almost all of their lifetimes worth of work. The baby calves that
were brought in and nursed back to health in their homes only to be lost to a
unexpected early storm a few months later. You'll never hear the shaky voice of someone talking about losing their horses, and cows. But I am getting way, way, way off topic here. Check out this link and hopefully you won't be a crying mess like I was reading it...
And if you are curious you can check out this link but be warned.... It is very, very graphic and shows the devastation that is occurring out in the West.