My Farmer and Me–Doing the ‘right’thing.

farmersI feel I need to clarify my last ‘My Farmer and Me’ post in my own defense. As someone said we should have sold Mama Says to someone where she could have basically lived out the rest of her life on green grass or just have put her down ourselves and buried her.

The reality in deciding what to do was based totally on our farm and how we felt about our options. Years ago , someone may have had the where-with-all to take her and rehab her ENOUGH to allow her to live a few more weeks. Yes,weeks.

All farmers do not have such options as this now days; to me we would have prolonged the inevitable and because we knew this animal and how she responded to treatment of the abcesses ( the last couple of months having perhaps 3-5 days relief then starting all over again, lame and off feed because she did not feel good. We also stopped milking her and let her dry off so she was less stressed over all and had only been fresh for a couple of weeks but knew this was best.

Please just look at the big picture in this situation: having a sibling with this same problem tells me it probably ran in that family, treatment worked”ok” for a year or so the first time, but the last two years or so she never really completely healed. Gave us two more babies in that period, milked and was happy to a point with life. Once lameness set in and would not go away with meds and foot treatment we just knew her time here was limited. Time any place for that matter.

My post on the loading up and saying goodbye was meant to show how these decisions effect the animal AND the farmer at the very least on BEJOSH. If asked whether we made the RIGHT decision, Yes, we did, given the circumstances of this  particular situation and our options. NO TWO FARMS operate exactly the same in the same situation.

6 Comments

  1. It seems simple to assume that anyone who sends a older, sick dairy cow to auction cannot possibly care about the animal. It also seems simple to think “I could never do what you and Ed do”. But you know what? I eat dairy products and in order to have those products, people like you and Ed do the job you do. And that job includes the difficult task of dealing with the experience of the end of the animal’s life. I want to thank you for your work and your willingness to talk about it. And mostly for the care you give your animals.

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  2. That is the kindest thing we can do for our animals is know when it is time to let them go. Of course not ever having lived on a farm I don’t know what that is like, but I have had to make that decision for a dog. We know when it is time to let an animal we live with and have taken care of in health. I respect and support your decision 100%.

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  3. I thought a long while about your post, remembering my grandmother and great-uncle, who kept dairy cows. I thought about the wonderful great draft horses my uncle kept to haul wagon loads of logs for his saw mill in Massachusetts. I thought of my mother’s gently spoken stories to us as small children about how, when these large animals could no longer work or had become infirm, they would be taken “into the woods” and shot. Years later I came to think of that as a kindly end for the lives of such large creatures whose lives are linked closely with the humans, farmers, small business people. But nowadays it’s not a simple thing to leave an enormous carcass in the woods. So you take the next best choice. Nobody ever found it easy to shoot the animals, my mother’s stories made that clear. Her brothers had to do that occasionally and they had a terrible time over it. I felt your sorrow at Mama Says’s illness and departure, and I think you two deserve to be in peace about it. There are far, far worse things that could happen with a pain-ridden senior cow.

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  4. Any one who knows you and Ed would know you did the best for Mama Says. And anyone with any feelings at all could hear and feel how painful it was for you to have to send her to auction.

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  5. I understand your thoughts & actions exactly. It is a hard decision, especially for those of us who care about our animals!! Sometimes the most difficult action is the most humane & right thing to do. .The fact that your cows are named shows how much you care. I never cease to be amazed or shocked at the ignorance of those non-farmers who want to be so judgemental! Thanks for sharing your life & stories in such a meaningful way. I enjoy your blog. Mary Ann Cauthen down in GA

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  6. It is a hard decision when an animal becomes sick or lame. I use to have a research project in a slaughter house in PA. Most of the animals that were slaughter were dairy cows. They were old and infirm. If the farmer had kept the, too much longer he could only sale the animal for meat and bone meal. No money in that, however selling them at that particular time in their life the farmer does make a little money and we import less hamburger from a foreign country. Thanks for sharing your story.

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