Old Problems Call for Time-Tested Solutions

Published on: 13:20PM Apr 03, 2013

It seems like some problems just won’t go away.  Some may think cattle rustling only happens on those old black and white western movies and TV shows, but it is a reality in southwest Missouri.  Cattlemen have seen an increase in the number of thefts in the last year and are looking at ways to stop it.  Law enforcement officials can’t be everywhere all the time but they are working with cattlemen to encourage them to take all the steps they can to reduce or eliminate the thefts.  Modern technology such as video surveillance and microchips can help but more and more cattlemen are going old school and returning to branding to identify their animals.  Criticized by animal rights activists, some producers have cut back or stopped the practice altogether in recent years perhaps fearing consumer backlash.  As we’ve seen in other livestock production debates,  loss of proven practices are often costly both to producers and consumers.  Current problems are often new versions of old ones.  Branding won’t stop all cattle rustling but taking the option away from cattlemen could be the most costly theft of all.  Sometimes the old ways are still the best.