Animal welfare happens… even in the cold

I was home in Colorado this past week when the blizzard hit. Blizzards in Colorado aren’t uncommon; usually they contain very little snow, but a bitter, cold, gusty wind. This one, however, it was lots of snow, and that bitter wind. When most of us want to stay curled up inside by the fire, or putting together a puzzle while drinking hot chocolate, or watching bowl football games, livestock producers are taking care of what’s so important to them.

For my family, we run two cattle herds of black and red angus. I didn’t get any pictures of the reds, but just looking at this picture of the black herd can be chilling. Many of you might think this is inhumane, but livestock are created to withstand this type of weather. Even though they have snow on them, they have layers of thick, winter hair, plenty of condition (aka fat) and the protection of hills and windbreaks to keep them warm. These ladies were hungry, even though we fed them just the night before, but eating helps them warm up. The hay we fed will double as feed and bedding. They day after this picture was taken, the sun came out, and the ladies were able to push through the snow to find the nutritious grass and were just as fat and content as they were when this picture was taken.

Many others cared for their livestock throughout this blizzard that affected many states. You can read Janice’s blog, who posted The 2009 Blizzard through Tweets by Two Farmers, where she shares about two producers in Nebraska who tweeted while taking care of their land and livestock. This picture, by one farmer, Debbie, shows how hard the wind was blowing and drifting the snow.

Some others of you might know Trent Loos, author of Loos Tales. Trent’s blog, Truth Be Told, shared many pictures from this past storm and how he cared for his cattle, hogs and horses.

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He was out on Christmas day braving temperatures at 20 below and checking on his cows who sought protection from winds in excess of 30 mph which lasted over 3 days. He even shows a video of his hogs outdoors and spoke for them that without a factory farm, they were not enjoying Christmas when normally they would be in a temperature-controlled, heated barn. You can watch it here.

Livestock owners took care of their animals even before celebrating Christmas with their families. They are practicing true animal welfare. What are you doing to practice animal welfare? Share your story with others, especially those who want to destroy this industry.

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