As Samuel woke up and began to cry I noticed a sign on the highway advertising a farm. I told Steve to pull off and we could check it out while I nursed Samuel. Upon getting out of the van the SMELL hit us. As I looked around I told Steve that I didn't think this was an organic farm, I thought it was probably a factory type farm. Surely in an organic farm the smell wouldn't be quite as overpowering. He argued with me that I was being presumptuous. I bit my tongue.
When we arrived they were just about to give their last tour of the day. Apparently it was a dairy farm. They own about 2000 cows on the farm. As we walked down the path the tour guide spoke some words that I distinctly remember, "We try to be good stewards of the cows" and that the cows didn't graze out in the open fields because they prefer the "holiday inn" that they keep covered and cool with large circulating fans. She said they give more milk when they are "happy". I was interested to see what these "holiday inn's" were like. Could they possibly be better than wide open spaces, lush green grass, the feel of a summer shower or the grass underneath their hoofs?
This was where some of the babies live. She told us the babies didn't get to stay with their mothers long enough. I pressed her with the question, "how long do they stay with their mothers?" Hesitantly she said, "A day or two." How sad.
Here are where the youngest babies stay for a period of months. There tiny crates were referred to as "play pens". I can't imagine how they can play in those.
Eventually they graduate to this, the "holiday inn". I was crestfallen.
Why do the cows look so thin and scraggly if they are fed such a superior diet?
This is where the cows are milked twice a day. She said they cows are very eager to be milked. They give 8-12 gallons each milking. I'm sure that takes quite a load off.
This was the area where cows who are preparing to give birth stayed.
Isaac and I were both upset by what we saw. I could be wrong, but this doesn't appear to me to be good stewardship. It seems like the cheapest way to make the most profit.
We need more small family farms. We need to buy local. We need to know where our food comes from. We need to care.
"The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
but even the kindest acts of the wicket are cruel."