Its time for Bedford to sound off about the Bovine TB case that emerged in Alberta, a province already heavily beleaguered over the past year. That being said, I am of course by no means an expert on these matters. I’m just writing from my own perspective on how I see things and hope that it might present the situation in a clearer light for those people who may not see the severity of this situation in its entirety for the people involved.
Imagine your life being flipped upside down. Everything… gone, just like that. Your whole entire life and life’s work finished in an instant. No warning given and zero time to prepare. That’s something that isn’t exactly easy for people to fathom, myself included. That is however, exactly what could happen to Brad Osadczuk when the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) phoned him up, and told him that an animal from his farm tested positive for bovine tuberculosis. They told him that his farm is under immediate quarantine until further notice and that every animal on the property will be destroyed. The thing that I find frightening is that in all honesty it could happen to me too, as well as any other farmer, big or small, who has livestock.
Right now there are sheep out there someplace. I have no idea where, but they are out there somewhere in the production process. These sheep have a numbered tag that connects them to the farm out here. This tag means they were born on the farm that me and Sarah run. It means that in the event of them testing positive for say, scrapie or any other federally reported disease, the CFIA knows which farm to start their “investigation” at. This program of Id tag identification for farm livestock is NOT optional. If you don’t tag your animals and participate in the program men with guns can show up on your farm and forcefully seize your animals, it’s required by law.
Before I get too far ahead of myself please note that I am not advocating for some type of laissez-faire approach to livestock diseases or that everyone should be allowed to ship animals all over the place without regulation or consequences. I do fully acknowledge the severity of the situation and the extreme devastation that can be brought on by outbreaks of serious livestock diseases. What I am arguing against is the extreme measures the CFIA has in this regard. From what I can gather it’s protocol that if an animal on your farm tests positive for TB every animal on your farm is destroyed as a precautionary measure, right down to your family dog and cat. When a serious situation happens, you are basically at the mercy and whims of the investigating CFIA officers in regards to the fate of yourself and your animals.
Some people have argued that Brad and the other unnamed ranchers whose herds will be culled will be compensated for the financial loss of their animals. However as of the time I’m written this there has been no mention of just exactly what that will be or what it will look like dollar wise. If I had to take a guess, I’m willing to bet based on current market value it will be pennies on the dollar.
As others have said previously this could not have happened at a worse time. It’s late fall, and the grass is dormant. These ranchers will now be forced to feed these animals (possibly for months) when they should have sold them. They have operating loans that are due, some of them might have futures contracts they will now default on. When you make your living like these people do you don’t get a pay cheque every two weeks. You get a pay cheque maybe once a year, and that pay cheque is often dependent on things like the weather, market prices, international and government regulations and a plethora of other factors largely out of your control.
Getting back to the issue of livestock ear tags, it’s literally a program of original sin. Yes the animal that tested positive for TB was born on his farm, but from the time it left that farm, where did it go? What other animals did it come into contact with? What kind of conditions was is kept in? The answer to that is that he simply doesn’t know. Just like I don’t know where the lambs we sold this fall are now. This man did not set out for this to happen, not by a long shot. It was neither the result of carelessness or cruelty or neglect on his part.
Because of this system this mans life will more than likely be ruined, and it will be largely ignored. The lives of the over 30 other producers in the quarantine zone could be ruined as well, again through no fault of their own and once again, largely ignored, cast off by the public at large as “spoiled farmers”.
It’s a forgone conclusion that Brad Osadczuk will lose every animal on his property. That’s 350 cows (plus calves) and over 50 bulls. Horses, dogs, and any other animal on the farm are set to be destroyed as as well. Even the rough math works out to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars if you were to say each cow calf pair is valued at even 1000 dollars (which is -way- low estimate wise). One simply doesn’t come back from losses that steep. Now times that by 30 other producers losses. We are talking dollar figures literally into the millions.
Margins can be slim on cattle and right now the market is sour. Even if the other ranchers in the area ended up spared from a fate of culling their entire herds, the time lost, the late payments, the defaulted contracts and the feed bills will add up fast and could very well put many producers out of business.
No one is saying that this outbreak should be taken lightly. Do we really think that close to 1000 head of livestock are infected with an admittedly rare disease? Bovine TB is an insidious disease that doesn’t always present itself for easy diagnosis. Some animals can carry it and show little to no outward signs of infection. Is it simply easier to just say to hell with it? Steam roll these producers and just move on? I think you known which way I think the narrative is heading towards. And as much as it sickens me to admit it, I do see the logic in an aggressive eradication program. I’m just left wondering truly what “compensation” is actually going to mean. And even if he does get compensated, how does one start again after such a devastating set back?
I told myself when I started writing this that I was simply going to focus on the issue at hand, and not allow myself to get too far off the beaten path with regards to the animal rights PETA types that these stories always bring out of the wood work, but I think that it simply can’t go without mentioning, as this truly is -not- just about the financial side of what is happening in this situation.
It’s not just a matter of loosing animals. It’s not just a matter of “buying new cows”. Most people not directly involved in the livestock industry in anyway are often ignorant to what it actually entails to raise a herd of animals. Even with a commercial herd, there are genetics involved. Producers select what they feel are their best animals to breed together, and they are always trying to continually improve their animals. Good animals, such as cows that raise good calves are often kept throughout their lives and their best daughters are often kept as well. Putting together a good bunch of cows, or sheep or horses, or what have you literally takes years of hard work and planning. It’s not simply easy to just “start again”.
Since it became news of course this has brought out those on the animal rights wagon, those “compassionate” people who are just gleeful with delight that this mans entire life’s work and livelihood have been ruined. People like this insufferable twat right here…
Every animal on Brad’s farm is set to be destroyed. Allow me to take a moment; just one fucking moment to appeal to the masses. Things like logic and rationality seem to be lost on the sorts of folks that flock to the PETA banner so instead let’s play their game for a brief moment. Let’s talk about feeeeeeeeelings.
“They are destroying everything that makes us money and it’s going to take years to build that back up,” he said. “They’ve put a halt on any cattle movement, sales or anything – on or off our ranch. -Brad Osadczuk
Judging by that statement and just by the look of this man I’m going to feel it safe to say that he has ranch horses. Those horses are going to be put down. A lot of time and work goes into a ranch horse. Not every horse is strong enough, or has the temperament to make a good ranch horse. I have a ranch horse, her name’s Cider. I’ve had her with me since she was two. She carried me on my wedding day.
She’s helped me get my sheep returned safely to the corral when they escape (and damned are they professional escape artists) She’s carried me during round ups at neighbors places, and she’s even introduced some people to horseback riding for the first time. She’s a good mare. Do you think based on what I just said that I have no concern for her safety or well being? If I were in Brad Osadczuk’s position, she’s dead.
He likely also has dogs. I bet a lot of you reading this right now have dogs too. We have 4, two of which are “working dogs” Gin our rain hating Kelpie and our guard dog the goofy Samuel P Pyrenees. Some of you reading this have met our dogs. Do we abuse of neglect them? If I were in Brad Osadczuk’s shoes, they are dead, and so are Fat Razzel and Bella our shy and exceedingly gentle mastiff.
I’ve never met Brad Osadczuk. I don’t know him, but what makes people out there think he is all that different from me? The answer is that the people attacking him and ranchers and farmers but proxy simply don’t know any ranchers or farmers. Ranchers are the big bad boogie men hiding out in the country with their fangs dripping in blood apparently. If I have stories about my own animals so do other people, everyone in the rural community does.Do these PETA people who claim to have compassion for all “sentient” beings not see the blatant and extreme hypocrisy in denying a man his humanity simply because he lives a life that they have never lived and know next to nothing about? DO THEY REALLY THINK THIS MAN AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THAT COMMUNITY SPEND THEIR DAYS RUNNING AROUND BEATING, NEGLECTING AND ABUSING THEIR ANIMALS WHILE MONEY SIMPLY RAINS DOWN UPON THEIR HEADS? Sadly, the answer from the camp of my esteemed opponents is basically “yes”.
When it comes to “feelings” all I ever see these animal rights cunts do is rail away with their insane propaganda, counter points and facts brought before them are routinely ignored, or glossed over.
I can’t even believe they published such a blatant piece of misinformation. And what’s even harder to believe is that there are people out there who believe it. Ask many people in the streets nowadays “where does your food come from” I’ll bet a majority of them will respond “from the grocery store”. After all, the shelves are always full, and it’s always there. People have forgotten what it takes to keep them that way. Agriculture and animal husbandry are literally the pillars that civilization itself sits upon. It’s a shame that there are those who hold it in such disregard and contempt.
The problem with agriculture is that we are now 2 percent of the population, people don’t see us really. People often only seem to see what the media throws in front of them. They don’t see Sarah, red eyed and exhausted looking, doing everything in her power not to lose her patience with me because she was up every two hours the previous night checking sheep during lambing season, and I’ve just woken her up again because I need her help with a ewe about to give birth at 2:30am. They don’t see my 80 year old neighbor leaning forward in the saddle because his hips are hurting him while he works his rope horse so his daughter can doctor a sick calf. They don’t see me sitting out by the fire during my nights off because the coyotes are yipping just a little too close to our lamb corrals for comfort. No instead in their world we are only out getting filthy fucking rich off the backs of animals, animals we know nothing about and care little for. Have I mentioned I hate these people? And that, is a problem in and of itself, because they return that hatred in full.
I don’t think many people truly know or honestly actually care about what is happening to the rural landscape of this country, or of North American rural communities as a whole really. Farming statistics are dire in all sectors across the board as more and more people get pushed off the land in one way or the other, and very few young people take their place. Farming, ALL FARMING is literally a profession in steep decline. The average age of North American farmers hovers around 60. It’s a fast aging demographic, and a critical one, everyone has to eat and I don’t think I have to point out how Orwellian it is that food production is increasingly being placed into the hands of a select few mega corporations. Every producer driven out of businesses just further cements that future.
If you are a reader by chance, I’d like to recommend to you one of my favorite books. It’s called “The War in the Country” written by Thomas Pawlick. It’s a great introduction to what’s been happening to the rural landscape over the past decades and it’s remarkably easy to get into, not bogging down with excessive statistics or government policy that can make for dry reading.
I’m going to do my best to keep following this story even after it fades from the public view (I’m giving it about another week). It’s not going to be easy for the people affected by this quarantine, and I fear to say that we will likely see more producers driven out of business because of this. When it comes to the war in the country, its pretty safe to say it’s a war rural people are losing.