The Boss Man and his Wife returned from their annual vacation around a week ago. Even though the Uncle is still around, I do promote myself to Boss Man Junior at this time and inform all the livestock and pets that I will answer by that moniker only (and yes, I did say “moniker”). With the lack of conversation during those couple of weeks, my brain is usually on overload and this time was no different.
How fat is too fat?
Yep, I can’t get this one off my mind. I’m female, so one of my first arguments every morning is with the lovely bathroom scale. Most mornings I leave the pad of torture with a smile, but some mornings you can just call me Garfield. We have become a nation focused on obesity, but why hasn’t that carried over into the Beef Industry?
Let me start at the beginning with this train of thought. So there I was sitting in the feeder tractor at the lot waiting for a load to finish mixing. I usually have a couple of magazines in the cab to pass the time, and the magazine of choice for the day was the new issue of TIME magazine. I lean right, and I’m well aware that TIME is not right, but hey, it was free. TIME had an article about the new “American Nightmare” which is a generation of children that may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of obesity. The article went on to talk about how being overweight or obese at a young age can expose children to higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis and that they are twice as likely to develop certain cancers. It also noted that premature aging of the obese/overweight young body can cause signs of chromosome wear and tissue damage seen only in older generations. It was an interesting read, and I didn’t think much about it until I started reading the next publication in the stack.
The next publication was a well-known ag newspaper that provides seedstock sale reports. I’m reading through the reports and one that probably wouldn’t of caught my attention normally, this time preoccupied my mind for the last week. The report talked about a production sale that was selling bulls some of which weren’t even a year old that weighed 1500lbs. That was a little discerning in itself that year old bulls, whose purpose is to chase cows around a pasture weigh the same as a finished feedlot steer. The kicker?? The reporter followed up by saying that there was no loss to longevity or soundness.
Okay, somebody please explain this to me. How can I read an article that talks about scientific studies done in animals and humans where being overweight/obese leads to the list of issues above, but an overweight/obese yearling bull is going to have soundness and longevity?
I’m well aware that pounds sell in today’s industry, but maybe it’s time to look at the internal damage we are doing to livestock that are pushed too hard too fast and expected to stay in herds for years.
I’m still a firm believer that I would like to be reincarnated as a feedlot steer. Who wouldn’t want to sit around and eat all day? But, maybe we need to start looking at those whose purpose in life is to not sit around and eat all day and ask ourselves are we really doing what is best for the animal…and ourselves?