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Monday, 16 August 2010 09:43

On The Edge of Common Sense Two Kinds of Dairymen

Written by  Baxter Black, DVM
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The Hindu dairymen, represented by the Hare Krishna (HK) in the United States, have much in common with dairymen from California, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The HK dairy is in West Virginia and is called New Vrinaban. They refer to themselves as a cow sanctuary. The big distinction is they never cull a cow. Granted, this sounds familiar to many a ranch wife who has often heard her husband shout over the noise of the preg' checkin’ chute, “I know she’s open and got no teeth, but let’s run her one more year!”

When you hear that the HK cowmen sometimes name their cows, that’s not remarkable. I can recall Nicole, Two Dot and Dallas from my own bunch!

The HK comment that “… cows are very dear to us, we take care of them like our own family.” How many hundreds of times have you ‘normal’ cattlemen missed dinner, stayed up all night, nursed calves in the bathtub, ridden into a blinding blizzard, fired up the generator to keep milking, gone into debt and put your human family second behind a cow in distress?

The HK dairy cows eat grain while they are being milked twice a day. They preach the ‘power’ of cows to provide everything from milk for their children to manure for their farm. They make butter, yogurt and sweets. DITTO for traditional dairymen.

But the paths of these two dairymen diverge in a profound way when the HK states, “slaughtering an animal is not natural for human beings.” Have they not seen the paintings on the cave walls? Where do they get these ideas? Why did they invent the sharp knife and BBQ sauce? For cole slaw?

So how do these HK dairymen earn the approximately $100,000 a year they say is required to pay for the hay, the barn, the workers and property taxes on an 80-head operation where cows are never culled and less than 10% are in the milking string?

They fund raise. That’s right. Just like PETA, the Sierra Club, HSUS, the Farm Sanctuary and other ANTI groups who rattle their bells and beg on the fringes of American’s abundantly productive agricultural symphony. “Adopt a cow!” is their plea. I suspect they think their cause is as worthy as cancer research, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the ALS Foundation, who are competing for that same dollar. In truth I don’t begrudge eccentrics and entrepreneurs who are trying to make a dollar. The HK say they worship cows. Yet they still keep them in confinement, breed them, milk them and profit from their sacrifice. I sense a twinge of hypocrisy in their righteousness.

I’ve kept old horses long after their usefulness has waned. However, I don’t beg money from the government or my friends to support my personal whims.

Is it just me, or did somewhere along the way we get our priorities out of whack? “Milk … it’s what’s for Dinner!”

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