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Grazing the Net

RSS By: Greg Henderson and Friends, Beef Today

Our editors spend some time roaming the web looking for stuff cattle people and others in agriculture might find useful or entertaining. 

The Incredible Shrinking Cattle Industry

Dec 06, 2013

Unfortunately, this story doesn't star Lily Tomlin nor is it much of a comedy. According to a report from Canadian Cattlemen, the cattle industry is likely to shrink if COOL rules stay in place. John Masswohl, director of government and international relations for the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, had some very good points. He says some U.S. packers could close up shop due to excess capacity, and Canadian producers could be influenced to switch to growing grain, making the cattle sector even smaller than it already is. Of course, this is one of those farm bill to-dos, but since progress has been so S-L-O-W we wouldn't suggest holding your breath on this issue. However, we will hope for the best—and that this gets sorted out expeditiously.

Speaking of the Farm Bill ...

Breaking news: There is still no farm bill. We know, it's a shocking turn of events but it seems everyone in Washington is just chock full of optimism. Rep. Mike Conaway is optimistic we'll have a farm bill by January. Rep Randy Neugebauer is optimistic that they are "moving in the right direction" and that we're getting closer to having a farm bill. Getting closer?! For as long as they've been kicking this bill around, we hope they would have made some progress ... any progress. But with all this optimism, there needs to be some reality thrown in. Marin Bozic, a University of Minnesota economist, does just that, giving only a 60% chance that a farm bill will pass. Bozic notes that despite the optimistic politicians claiming they want a farm bill, there is no real incentive to pass one. We'll stay cautiously optimistic.

Got Semen?

If you've got pig semen, you might want to hold on to it—it could be worth something. So, what is pig semen worth? To China, quite a bit. Time reported that London struck a deal with the country to export $73 million worth of pig semen in order to help with China's demand for pork. Experts predict China will be the world's largest per-person consumer of pork by 2020.   

Have We Reached Peak Chicken?

That's the question Grist.org is asking. We have to ask a question, too. Since when is it better to airlift 1,150 elderly laying hens—at a cost of $50,000—to a sanctuary instead of using them for food? We have no doubt that these hens are a delight to be around but is airlifting these birds—where they will live out the rest of what we're sure will be a productive life of pecking dirt—a sign of true compassion or utter insanity? Of course, we must note that the animal sanctuary spending the $50K on chickens is Animal Place. They strongly advocate the vegan lifestyle, while we strongly advocate flightless birds and juicy steaks.

Operation Dead-Mouse Drop

This is too funny not to share. Visual image: Thousands of dead mice (pumped full of acetaminophen), equipped with tiny parachutes, cascading from the heavens as they are airdropped from a helicopter in order to poison and ultimately kill the invasive brown tree snake. That's right! Apparently USDA recruited Wile E. Coyote to help with a snake problem at a U.S. Air Force base in Guam. We can't make this stuff up.

Other News Bites ...

HumaneWatch.org is unpacking the HSUS gravy train for all to see. It's basically the same thing we've known for a while: Wayne Pacelle still makes nearly $400,000 with this "non-profit" organization, they still give less than 1% to actually helping animals in shelters and HSUS is still giving money to questionable organizations. Shocking!

Move over gluten-free, step aside organic, because kosher could be the next big food trend. If only they could get organized ...

Another ridiculously, stupid, bad idea: A trash can designed to give animals your leftovers. Anyone who knows anything about raccoons knows they really don't need extra help. 

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