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View Full Version : NY Dairy farmer kills herd, himself



Guin
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:00 AM
This is terrible.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100123/ap_on_re_us/us_dairy_cows_suicide

:no:

aspenlucas
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:07 AM
I rent an old dairy barn. The owner has said it's a horrible time to be a dairy farmer. She thinks most farmers will sell out when the price of cows goes up a teeny bit. It's just sad someone would feel their life needed to end over that. I'd like to think he was concerned about his cows starving once he was gone, or where there would go. Hopefully it was more a compassion kill before he took his own life. Hard to judge when you don't live in his shoes.

Lady Counselor
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:19 AM
:cry:

talloaks
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:21 AM
So sad.:cry:

Daydream Believer
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:22 AM
When I lived in Watertown NY back from 1999 to 2001, we had a similar situation except the farmer did not kill himself. He just decided one day that he did not want to milk anymore and he quit going to the barn. Some 60 head of dairy cows died standing in their stanchions from starvation or perhaps dehydration...not sure what got them first...but they were found all dead with him in his house watching TV.

This man was tried for felony animal cruelty but only served a few days in jail and got a very light sentence and fine. I think he could not own animals for a few years or something ridiculous. My landlord then was a dairy farmer and the local farmers were just outraged at what he did. Apparently those cows were worth some money so to just let them die from neglect was a terrible waste as well.

It is a rough time now to be a dairy farmer. Some dairy farming friends of mine from S. Dakota recently sold out their herd of about 80 cows. I guess the small dairy farmer will go the way of the other small farmers and soon all of our milk will come from mega factory dairies.

I toured one of those farms in NY when I lived there. The cows are born, raised and milked in those big "free stall" barns. They never go outside until they are used up (fairly young) and sent to slaughter. The ones I saw had their tails docked also so they could not mess up their udders with manure. That is the future of the dairy industry I guess. :-(

AppJumpr08
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:25 AM
:(

Unfortunately the choice for dairy farmers these days is get big or get out. :no:

Our new farm is an old dairy - they sold out last fall.
Our closest neighbor is an elderly (late 70s) woman who has had a dairy her whole life. She's currently making roughly $35 per day on her milk sales. BEFORE feeding her self, the cows, or paying her hired help as she broke her hip and can't care for the animals by herself anymore. She has a gravel pit on the property, and that is the only thing keeping her going at all...
It really is heartbreaking.

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:26 AM
Agriculture is being attacked from all sides, from pseudo-intellectuals that never laid foot on any other than a well manicured golf course or park, but have an opinion how farmers should farm, to all those with agendas to push, like the animal rights people, making every little fault they can find to be the poster child for all that is wrong with that part of agriculture.

It is hard to be honestly doing your best to produce whatever it is you produce, spent a lifetime learning how to do it better all along and then, because it fits someone's agenda to bash what you are doing, without recourse to tell your story and be heard, become society's pariah and second class citizens as a group and individually.:no:

I am sure the fellow had plenty of personal problems, but the environment all in agriculture have to work in today, having to be defensive against absurd attacks, would drive anyone with mental problems to do strange things.

I hope he at least was a good shot, so the cows didn't suffer.
Very glad that his craziness didn't drive him to kill people also.:eek:

AppJumpr08
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:29 AM
Bluey, while I get your point, I'm not sure I agree that he was crazy to do what he did.. it's possible that with the price of milk (low), the price of hay and grain (high) that he just didn't see how he could make ends meet anymore... I saw (maybe on COTH?) that most dairy farmers are losing money every day... there is only so long that someone can take that before all hope seems lost.

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:35 AM
Bluey, while I get your point, I'm not sure I agree that he was crazy to do what he did.. it's possible that with the price of milk (low), the price of hay and grain (high) that he just didn't see how he could make ends meet anymore... I saw (maybe on COTH?) that most dairy farmers are losing money every day... there is only so long that someone can take that before all hope seems lost.

I see your point, but realize that everyone is in the same boat, but not everyone shoots all their cows and themselves over it.:eek:

When the stock market crashes big time, a few stockbrokers also jump off windows, but the majority don't.

Sadly, there is something a little bit wrong with anyone that, well goes off the deep end.:(

KSAQHA
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:42 AM
A person doesn't have to be insane to take their own life. Depression, hopelessness, and despair can drive a person to end their pain...especially when they see no way out.

AppJumpr08
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:45 AM
I see your point, but realize that everyone is in the same boat, but not everyone shoots all their cows and themselves over it.:eek:

When the stock market crashes big time, a few stockbrokers also jump off windows, but the majority don't.

Sadly, there is something a little bit wrong with anyone that, well goes off the deep end.:(


Oh I agree completely. I guess what caught me up was "crazy"... mentally unstable? Depressed? Absolutely possible. But crazy? I'm not sure... of course, I suppose that's getting a bit nitpicky when it comes to choice of words... At the end of the day, farmer or not, there comes a point where things seem too much to handle for some people.
There was a hay farmer in the northern part of Maine who killed himself last summer when we had rain for months... I think your point is a good one that farmers have been busting their butts with little thanks, and when their business doesn't do well (or is barely scraping by), it must make it that much harder to take.

It's just such a sad situation for all involved... I can't even imagine how he managed to get through shooting 51 cows that he had cared for every day, let alone shoot himself :(:(

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:49 AM
A person doesn't have to be insane to take their own life. Depression, hopelessness, and despair can drive a person to end their pain...especially when they see no way out.

Mental health is a continuum, you may call the deep end, insanity, crazy, whatever you want when someone is not any more quite rational enough to be sensible about where they are in life.

I don't think that shooting all your cows and yourself would be considered "normal", but fall into some kind of pathological state.

Suicide can be rational, as in someone with terminal cancer, but they won't go shooting their animals or other humans before they kill themselves, as the ones with mental health problems do.
The article hinted that the fellow had some problems previous to what he did.

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:53 AM
Oh I agree completely. I guess what caught me up was "crazy"... mentally unstable? Depressed? Absolutely possible. But crazy? I'm not sure... of course, I suppose that's getting a bit nitpicky when it comes to choice of words... At the end of the day, farmer or not, there comes a point where things seem too much to handle for some people.
There was a hay farmer in the northern part of Maine who killed himself last summer when we had rain for months... I think your point is a good one that farmers have been busting their butts with little thanks, and when their business doesn't do well (or is barely scraping by), it must make it that much harder to take.

It's just such a sad situation for all involved... I can't even imagine how he managed to get through shooting 51 cows that he had cared for every day, let alone shoot himself :(:(

To kill that many cows, well, you think that if he was the least rational at all he would have woke up after the first few and stopped and rethought what he was doing.

That he kept shooting I think indicates that he was very determined, to the point of not really being sensible any more.:eek:

AppJumpr08
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:56 AM
To kill that many cows, well, you think that if he was the least rational at all he would have woke up after the first few and stopped and rethought what he was doing.

That he kept shooting I think indicates that he was very determined, to the point of not really being sensible any more.:eek:

Or maybe in his state he felt he was doing the right thing by them... that if he wasn't going to be there to take care of them, he couldn't promise their care and comfort anymore, so he did the only thing he could think of. To take them with him :no:

I just can't imagine... :no::no::no:

KSAQHA
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:58 AM
Suicide can be rational, as in someone with terminal cancer, but they won't go shooting their animals or other humans before they kill themselves, as the ones with mental health problems do. I'm not debating the fact the farmer who killed his cows may have been mentally 'off'. I just don't want to see suicide generalized as something only 'crazy' people do...speaking as someone who lost a beautiful 20-yr. old son to the act.

aspenlucas
Jan. 23, 2010, 10:00 AM
Or maybe in his state he felt he was doing the right thing by them... that if he wasn't going to be there to take care of them, he couldn't promise their care and comfort anymore, so he did the only thing he could think of. To take them with him :no:

I just can't imagine... :no::no::no:

AppJumpr08, I like to see the best in everyone. That is what I am hoping too. That is was compassion for them that made him shoot them. You see had he had them all put down, people would be ok with that. I've heard a correct shot is sometimes more humane, and cheaper.

aspenlucas
Jan. 23, 2010, 10:00 AM
I'm not debating the fact the farmer who killed his cows may have been mentally 'off'. I just don't want to see suicide generalized as something only 'crazy' people do...speaking as someone who lost a beautiful 20-yr. old son to the act.

KSAQHA, *hugs* to you, my heart goes out to you.

KSAQHA
Jan. 23, 2010, 10:05 AM
KSAQHA, *hugs* to you, my heart goes out to you.Thanks, Aspenlucas. It really changes your view on the subject...opening your eyes to the stereotype and stigma surrounding the tragedy of it all.

CosMonster
Jan. 23, 2010, 10:07 AM
This is a very sad article. I do kind of respect the man for making sure his animals had a good end, and not letting them die slowly in the barn if it took awhile for him to be found.

I don't think it's good to stigmatize people who commit suicide as being crazy. Makes it hard on the families, and makes it harder for those who need help to seek it out. Depression is a mental illness, but "crazy" is a pretty loaded term. I'm not offended by the use, but I do think we should examine our word choices when talking about something like mental illness. There is a huge stigma still on any form of it, and I would hope that's something we all want to get rid of.

This man may well have been acting rationally in the circumstances as he saw them. I'm speculating of course since the article was so small, but he may well have been in financial ruin. When you wrap your whole life up in something and put everything you have into it as most farmers I know do, it's hard to just walk away. He may have seen no way out other than what he did. Very sad. :no:

ETA missed a few posts while I was typing. KSAQHA, I'm sorry about your son. I lost a good friend to suicide while we were in high school. It is so shocking and so sad and it definitely changes your attitudes about many things.

ManyDogs
Jan. 23, 2010, 10:07 AM
Maria,
To kind of hijack the thread-how is Ian doing?
Carol

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 10:16 AM
I'm not debating the fact the farmer who killed his cows may have been mentally 'off'. I just don't want to see suicide generalized as something only 'crazy' people do...speaking as someone who lost a beautiful 20-yr. old son to the act.

I didn't say mentally ill people are crazy as a derogatory term.
I think I explained that mental health is a large area, including rational suicide.
I studied and worked in the mental health care field and am familiar with some of it, but my definitions are out of date with current nomenclature.

I am sorry your son was one of those that made that decision, as it is always so extremely hard on those left behind.
I am sorry this story is bringing this part of your son back for you.:cry:

CatOnLap
Jan. 23, 2010, 11:08 AM
back to dairy cows- last week, there was a HUGE news story about a small raw milk producer in a canadian province who has just been found not guilty of selling raw milk. He's a very small dairy, and the organic raw milk market is both underground and illegal in Canada. But its a way to make a living without sucking at the corporate teat. Why is it such a big story? Well, why would anyone want to prosecute a small producer who sells a bit of milk to his neighbours? It ought not to be a crime, our judicial tax dollars ought not to be wasted on this, but the coroporate lobby demands the prosecution for this "offence", which has hurt no one, except the herdsman who had to defend himself. I bet that beggared him. So probably the corporations got their way anyhow.

Factory dairies have a very strong lobby and have been succesful in putting small producers and independant dairies out of business in most places. No independant producer can compete with corporations who think nothing of destroying a small farmer like the one in the OP.

On my island, the corporations have imported factory milk and sold it for years at about 30% less than locally produced milk. It costs the big stores more than they charge to sell it, and it is what they call a "loss leader" but it absolutely destroys the local producers in short order. Same with factory eggs. organic free range eggs are about $4/doz- factory eggs are about $2.50. Except it isn't illegal to sell organic free range eggs. it IS illegal to sell organic free range milk unless it has been inspected and pasteurized.

There has been so little problem with small producers selling raw milk and there is no need for it to be illegal except that corporations have lobbied to protect their profits and make us dependant on imported food.

Around here, groups of families are now getting around the law by purchasing a "share" in a cow, which allows them as owners of the cow, to use the raw milk produced by their cow, without inspection or paying into a corporate dairy marketing board. The cows are held by a single herdsman on a small dairy, usually, only a few cows.

SMF11
Jan. 23, 2010, 11:41 AM
This happened one town over from me. The farmer who hays our land is a dairy farmer. He said he hasn't taken a paycheck since April . . . :-(

Mali
Jan. 23, 2010, 11:44 AM
I know of a local farmer that is currently borrowing $800 PER DAY to keep his dairy operation up and running. Granted, this is a very large operation, but I can't even imagine how quickly it's adding up! We sold our dairy herd about 5 years ago, and now hubby just raises a few steer. Even that's a bad market now. One farmer we know paid $600 each for a few feeder cattle, raised them up, then sent them to market. He got paid $650 each for them. Definately not a viable market right now. I'm thankful that hubby and I each have jobs off the farm.

mvp
Jan. 23, 2010, 12:00 PM
The part that makes me most sad is that this farmer had probably spent a lot of time making his decision a "rational one." I'm sure circumstances helped him get there, whatever observers want to say about his "mental health status."

But he had to shoot 51 animals he knew well, with a plan to end is own life ultimately. That takes awhile, giving ample opportunity to change one's mind. I think he must have felt backed into a very dark corner for a very long time in order to do this.

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 12:04 PM
We had a small goad dairy and had to quit when they made the regulations too expensive to follow, requiring special equipment to process the milk.

In a way, it is better for the consumer and safety for all, as some of the problems the USDA inspectors find today, with some people getting sick, the latest I heard about in NY state, is in raw milk sales.

There are trade-offs to all we do.
If people want to take chances selling unpasteurized products today and others want to take chances consuming them, do we want big brother to say they can or can't?

As a producer, we sure didn't want to be liable, because you know that people will sign releases, but if their kid gets sick and they have a better attorney than you have, they will win, release or not.:(

The world is getting more and more complicated, it is not easy to decide what is good or better or why, because much of it is just "it depends".:yes:

SMF11
Jan. 23, 2010, 12:09 PM
I don't think the problem is so much that there are too many regulations, it is that the price of milk is set artificially low while the cost of the inputs go up. If the farmers could charge market price for their milk -- i.e. raise prices when their costs go up -- they wouldn't be as squeezed as they are now.

AppJumpr08
Jan. 23, 2010, 12:15 PM
I don't think the problem is so much that there are too many regulations, it is that the price of milk is set artificially low while the cost of the inputs go up. If the farmers could charge market price for their milk -- i.e. raise prices when their costs go up -- they wouldn't be as squeezed as they are now.

THIS.

When I was down the road earlier this winter, I was told the price was $10 per hundred pounds of milk. I have no idea what the conversion of feed to milk is, but the small scale place we live next to is producing about 350 pounds per day.... It's just scary how little they are making for all the effort involved with having dairy cows.

ThatScaryChick
Jan. 23, 2010, 03:27 PM
Very sad all around. :(

JSwan
Jan. 23, 2010, 03:38 PM
I cannot begin to imagine the sense of hopelessness and despair he must have felt. That poor man.

My condolences to his family. And I do hope his wife manages to keep the dairy going.

stoicfish
Jan. 23, 2010, 04:58 PM
back to dairy cows- last week, there was a HUGE news story about a small raw milk producer in a canadian province who has just been found not guilty of selling raw milk. He's a very small dairy, and the organic raw milk market is both underground and illegal in Canada. But its a way to make a living without sucking at the corporate teat. Why is it such a big story? Well, why would anyone want to prosecute a small producer who sells a bit of milk to his neighbours? It ought not to be a crime, our judicial tax dollars ought not to be wasted on this, but the coroporate lobby demands the prosecution for this "offence", which has hurt no one, except the herdsman who had to defend himself. I bet that beggared him. So probably the corporations got their way anyhow.

Factory dairies have a very strong lobby and have been succesful in putting small producers and independant dairies out of business in most places. No independant producer can compete with corporations who think nothing of destroying a small farmer like the one in the OP.



In Canada we have a quota system, you buy quota in order to be able to sell milk. Part of the reason the guy was in so much trouble was health legislation about unprocessed milk. There are many small, organic farms that are approved, this guy just choose to not follow the regulations. Not to say that I am in total favor of the rules, but there are always regulations concerning food and sales.
Our dairy farmers, for the most part, are doing better than the rest of the Ag. people. Our neighbors just sold a cow for over a million. They are a huge barn. There are several large barns in the area and are run like a business. Having said that they are still family/farm people that run them, it is just that it has to be done with more emphasis on business instead of lifestyle.
The bad part of it is that the byproduct of the milk process is cheap beef and expensive hay. They tend to hurt beef breeders. Not intentionally of course.
http://www.producer.com/Livestock/Article.aspx?aid=14557 Million dollar cow
Quota explaination https://www.msu.edu/~brandera/portfolio/quotasystem.pdf

ReSomething
Jan. 23, 2010, 04:59 PM
County also told a story of a fellow who just abandoned the cows to die in their stanchions. I would feel better doing as this fellow did. I truly wish he hadn't felt it necessary to make the choice in the first place.

My prayers and condolences to his family.

Huntertwo
Jan. 23, 2010, 05:12 PM
County also told a story of a fellow who just abandoned the cows to die in their stanchions. I would feel better doing as this fellow did. I truly wish he hadn't felt it necessary to make the choice in the first place.

My prayers and condolences to his family.

To leave these poor cows to starve and dehydrate in stanchions is just plain cruel and heartless.

Sadly this man took his own life for reasons we do not know, yet did the right thing and didn't abandon his cows to starve. I too would rather see a well placed bullet and an instantaneous death (hopefully) as opposed to the former.
Condolences to his family.:cry:

cwill
Jan. 23, 2010, 05:32 PM
I cannot begin to imagine the sense of hopelessness and despair he must have felt. That poor man.

My condolences to his family. And I do hope his wife manages to keep the dairy going.

This.

spotmenow
Jan. 23, 2010, 05:56 PM
Reminiscent of the stockbrokers jumping out windows when the market crashed in 1929...agriculture in NYS is SUFFERING big time. And, NYS is getting taxed to death on top of it. We often talk about leaving the state...

fivehorses
Jan. 23, 2010, 06:13 PM
I think the whole thing is tragic.
I think of suicide as a person's choice when they feel their is no hope, no way out of the situation they are in. Just basically the worse kind of despair.

It seems lately, there have been an awful lot of suicides involving farm animals lately.

I think its best not to judge or label or whatever, and remember, but there for the grace of God, go I.

It is tough times, and the news does not seem to be any better.

Take a moment to smile or to ask someone if you can offer them help.

Guin
Jan. 23, 2010, 06:47 PM
Here is a more indepth article.

http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=892270

Bluey
Jan. 23, 2010, 07:19 PM
This story made our local news, clear in the TX Panhandle.
They said, as the articles mention, that there was no reason given.

Condolences to his wife and the rest of his family.:cry:

AppJumpr08
Jan. 23, 2010, 08:49 PM
The whole thing is beyond tragic :no:

The man who owned our farm apparently sold due to some mental health stuff... makes me wonder about the chemicals used to clean the milking systems...or methane from the cow manure... obviously it's a high stress job with a huge amount of pressure from never being able to vary from your schedule, but... maybe there is something deeper than that...

Just awful.

foundationmare
Jan. 23, 2010, 09:48 PM
Reading the article in the Times Union is enlightening, particularly as it relates to his children. Doesn't sound like any of them were willing to take on the family farm. It's not necessarily an indictment of them, but lends support to the frustration/solitude he may have been feeling in the final days.

My take is that he was a "normal" (who amongst us is that?) guy who struggled to maintain his herd while the market was crumbling around him. He probably loved them enough to spare them a more prolonged demise. Clearly this is a sad, sad story and isn't a solitary event. When the food is scarce, all too often the animals are deprived.

WaningMoon
Jan. 24, 2010, 07:21 AM
I rent an old dairy barn. The owner has said it's a horrible time to be a dairy farmer. She thinks most farmers will sell out when the price of cows goes up a teeny bit. It's just sad someone would feel their life needed to end over that. I'd like to think he was concerned about his cows starving once he was gone, or where there would go. Hopefully it was more a compassion kill before he took his own life. Hard to judge when you don't live in his shoes.

It is a terrible time to be a farmer and HAS been since the early/mid 80's. First they offered the program to reduce milk production, then the "whole herd buyout program". Then the gov started sending checks, nothing is getting better though. We went out in the late 80's. We did the milk reduction program but sold out on our own, didn't take the whole herd buyout route. We had jerseys, and once they stopped paying us the butterfat surplus, that was it. If you recall, there was one suicide after another back then. "Rain on the Scarecrow, blood on the plow", farm aid concerts, everyone tried to save family farms. The only ones doing well are the "factory farms' with 600 plus cows. The smaller ones go everyday, and the big ones keep cropping up. We have several right here, but to find a small family farm, you would have to do some looking anymore. Sad, sad,sad.

Bluey
Jan. 24, 2010, 07:46 AM
It is a terrible time to be a farmer and HAS been since the early/mid 80's. First they offered the program to reduce milk production, then the "whole herd buyout program". Then the gov started sending checks, nothing is getting better though. We went out in the late 80's. We did the milk reduction program but sold out on our own, didn't take the whole herd buyout route. We had jerseys, and once they stopped paying us the butterfat surplus, that was it. If you recall, there was one suicide after another back then. "Rain on the Scarecrow, blood on the plow", farm aid concerts, everyone tried to save family farms. The only ones doing well are the "factory farms' with 600 plus cows. The smaller ones go everyday, and the big ones keep cropping up. We have several right here, but to find a small family farm, you would have to do some looking anymore. Sad, sad,sad.


Farming has always been hard, living from year to year, rain to rain, crop to crop, disease to disease that wipes your crop or animals.

Here we started in 1889 and by around 1902 had a brucellosis outbreak and had to shoot all the cows.
Did other, like run a "mercantile store", the supermarket of those days and in 1910 started this place, that also had it's many tough times, including a national depression and dust bowl, at once.:eek:

In 1986, when the dairy herd buyout happened, the government helped dairy farmers sell out, as there was overproduction and very low prices and guess what, many beef producers went broke when all those dairy cows were dumped on the beef market practically at once and now we had way too much hamburger meat around for the demand.
Beef prices fell and no one from the government sent us checks, not that any were expected.

We need to put in perspective several factors to how agriculture works.
Agriculture is one of the success stories of our country, where, because of how it has evolved, it can with very few people and extremely efficient techniques and technology using the resources at hand, fed all here and have a surplus to trade to other contries.
That permits us to buy what they sell and improve those countrie's economies, which in turn gives us a more stable world.

Because people now are free to do other than subsistence farming, they are also free to have time for their own pursuits, including a horse hobby.:cool:
Not everyone is happy farming and those many now free from farming become consumers, of all kinds of goods, which also provides to our society many of other jobs and products than farming only, like, say, the computers we are posting on.:cool:

The government intervenes for it's own reasons in any we do, but there are no actions without consequences.
Help one part of the economy and another may hurt.

The way I see it, farming is and has always been the ultimate gamble, why go to Las Vegas?:lol:

When we contemplate what happened here, I can say that, terrible as this was, it is not typical of farming itself, it is typical of some people having mental problems and so not acting rationally, be it farming or in any other tough situation in our lives.
That fellow may have fallen on hard times, but in the end, there are many other ways to solve his problems for someone thinking rationally.
What he did, no matter how some want to excuse it, was just not rational, because there was way too much for him to live for.
Evidently part of his problems was that he felt he was beyond help, which is very common in suicides.

I feel terrible for all that his suicide and the way he went at it will impact, that is the saddest.:cry:

Tamara in TN
Jan. 24, 2010, 07:52 AM
[QUOTE=Bluey;4636624]

It is hard to be honestly doing your best to produce whatever it is you produce, spent a lifetime learning how to do it better all along and then, because it fits someone's agenda to bash what you are doing, without recourse to tell your story and be heard, become society's pariah and second class citizens as a group and individually.

well said...thank you




I hope he at least was a good shot, so the cows didn't suffer.

I think that is why he shot the milkers..in skipping being milked they would have suffered and died from mastitis...and if they had only ever been handled by him,they would not have taken that change well

that would have crossed my mind as a logical conclusion...to spare them that

Tamara in TN

WaningMoon
Jan. 24, 2010, 07:58 AM
When I lived in Watertown NY back from 1999 to 2001, we had a similar situation except the farmer did not kill himself. He just decided one day that he did not want to milk anymore and he quit going to the barn. Some 60 head of dairy cows died standing in their stanchions from starvation or perhaps dehydration...not sure what got them first...but they were found all dead with him in his house watching TV.

This man was tried for felony animal cruelty but only served a few days in jail and got a very light sentence and fine. I think he could not own animals for a few years or something ridiculous. My landlord then was a dairy farmer and the local farmers were just outraged at what he did. Apparently those cows were worth some money so to just let them die from neglect was a terrible waste as well.

It is a rough time now to be a dairy farmer. Some dairy farming friends of mine from S. Dakota recently sold out their herd of about 80 cows. I guess the small dairy farmer will go the way of the other small farmers and soon all of our milk will come from mega factory dairies.

I toured one of those farms in NY when I lived there. The cows are born, raised and milked in those big "free stall" barns. They never go outside until they are used up (fairly young) and sent to slaughter. The ones I saw had their tails docked also so they could not mess up their udders with manure. That is the future of the dairy industry I guess. :-(

I inseminated cattle for 12 yrs and had a dairy myself. OUr cows were allowed to keep their tails. But the biggest reason behind docking, it too keep pissy cow tails from hitting the milker in teh face as far as I know. Or this is why it is done in this area anyhow. Bags and teats are washed and disinfected with each milking anyhow. I can tell you one thing. It is quite a feeling for an insemintor to walk up behind a cow, grab her tail, and have it come right off in your hand. Yup, nauseating it was, once the initial shock wore off.

It is sad how cows dont go outside anymore. OUrs went out each day except in winter. Keeping them in , they expend less energy and make more milk, which is what they care about today, not so much how happy the cow is or how the exercise is good for her. Most farmers today, well know the benefits of breeding artificial and take advantage of that to breed better conformation than there used to be, and the cows seem to be standing up to being inside cows quite well. I do not like the idea, but they seem to be doing well with it. Most have feeding stations now days too in the free stall barns. The cows have as id tag on them, which the feeder reads, and gives her a portion of her daily ration of grain each time she goes to the feeder. So there are advantages too, of being inside, as far as production goes. And milk is where the money is. I do see pastures though, that were formally for cattle grazing going to crap. They aren't the kind of field you can hay (rocks, unsmooth ground etc), and now there are no cows to graze. These pastures are returning to woods, at an alarming rate.

farmgirl88
Jan. 25, 2010, 01:33 PM
When I lived in Watertown NY back from 1999 to 2001, we had a similar situation except the farmer did not kill himself. He just decided one day that he did not want to milk anymore and he quit going to the barn. Some 60 head of dairy cows died standing in their stanchions from starvation or perhaps dehydration...not sure what got them first...but they were found all dead with him in his house watching TV.

This man was tried for felony animal cruelty but only served a few days in jail and got a very light sentence and fine. I think he could not own animals for a few years or something ridiculous. My landlord then was a dairy farmer and the local farmers were just outraged at what he did. Apparently those cows were worth some money so to just let them die from neglect was a terrible waste as well.

It is a rough time now to be a dairy farmer. Some dairy farming friends of mine from S. Dakota recently sold out their herd of about 80 cows. I guess the small dairy farmer will go the way of the other small farmers and soon all of our milk will come from mega factory dairies.

I toured one of those farms in NY when I lived there. The cows are born, raised and milked in those big "free stall" barns. They never go outside until they are used up (fairly young) and sent to slaughter. The ones I saw had their tails docked also so they could not mess up their udders with manure. That is the future of the dairy industry I guess. :-(

I'm a young dairy student/farmer seeking a job in the dairy industry and i work on a dairy farm. I will say that the main reason's why tails are docked is because their tails collect manure. when this collection of manure gets all over the udder, it can lead to a mastitis infection. These infections can be extremely painful and if bad enough; can lead to the death of a cow of the decision to ship a cow for her meat. Dairy farmers want to keep their cows healthy and mastitis free. if cows have mastitis, all of the milk they give everyday has to be dumped and farmer's, espcially right now, can't afford to dump that milk.

The other reason for docking tails is to keep them from smacking you in the face while your hooking the milking claws to the teats. their tails tend to get pretty crapped up from them laying in their clean free-stalls with their tail hanging out into the manure. I dont ever have aproblem with getting smacked in the face by their tails and we don't dock tails. I think tail docking is an old practice but in reality; as long as you keep the taill hair trimmed short; and you use proper post and pre-dips before milking and keeping their free stalls dry and clean everytime you milk, there's not much of an issue with mastitis.

To you, dairy cows could be shipped fairly "Young". we have cows in our herd who were born in 01,02,03 and they are OLD gals. They have trouble getting around after awhile, their udders are now of poor quality and hard to milk, and they cant get up and down as easily. They are still wonderful producers and we do our best to keep them happy and healthy as long as they are producing well.

In reality; most dairies try and keep old, good producing cows around as long as possible. those cows are their livlihood and a testiment to a good breeding program (soundess, longevety, and good production).

Cows with frequent health problems, more and repeated infection of mastitis, and soundness issue will be shipped at a younger age. cows who have no been bred back within a reasonable amount of time will be shipped at the time of their next drying off period. Its a sad thing; and its difficult to deal with sometimes; especially with those farm favorite cows, but its part of the business and we have to be thankful for ALL of what our cows have given us.

Our cows are used in a nice, open aired free-stall barn. the bigger, bred heifers are turned out on pasture in summer and supplimented with hay and grain. For those most part our dairy cows HATE to be outside. they hate the heat, they hate the cold, they hate the bugs, etc. they are pretty miserable. Most dairy's dont have enough pasture to turn the herd out for pasture inbetween milkings. land is expensive and the land they have is used for growing hay and corn.

An added problem is the fact that most dairies milk 3x daily and you cant be chasing herds of cows in from the field 3x a day because cows produce better when milking this way. its just not feaseable and its very time consuming to have to turn cows out inbetween milkings. But like i said; the majority of all dairy cows in the country who are raised in barns; would much rather be in the barn than outside in the elements. they are princesses after-all.

The problem with dairy farming right now is the government controls how much the FARMER can get when he sells his/her milk. Almost all farmers sell their milk to a co-op like wal-mart, hood, agrimark, etc. These coops pay what the government regulates. these co-ops then bottle the milk and then jack up the price that you see in the supermarket and make the million dollars while the farmers are back home making pennies. the government doesnt control what the co-op can charge for the milk they just bought for the farmers.

We have small farms in CT ( 80 cows up to 2,000 cow dairies) who are just plain struggling. they are loosing 60-90cents per gallon. just do the math. But the thing is; these farmers love their way of life, they love their cows, and they genuinely love what they do each day. if they didn't; they wouldnt struggling to keep their heads above water and continuing to run their farms; even if they are going farther and farther in to debt.

I would recommend that anyone go and visit your local farms. Talk to the farmers; visit the cows, etc. I think most people who havn't been on a dairy in quite a few years would be pleasantly surprised at just how advanced dairy farming has increased int he past years and how much planning, etc goes into keeping their operation running. Remember, everytime you eat ice cream, milk, cream. whipped cream, or any dairy products; just remember how much hard work and devotiong went into that product both from the farmers and their cows....:D:D

poltroon
Jan. 25, 2010, 01:47 PM
THIS.

When I was down the road earlier this winter, I was told the price was $10 per hundred pounds of milk. I have no idea what the conversion of feed to milk is, but the small scale place we live next to is producing about 350 pounds per day.... It's just scary how little they are making for all the effort involved with having dairy cows.

And yet, I pay $5 for a gallon of milk.

farmgirl88
Jan. 25, 2010, 02:52 PM
And yet, I pay $5 for a gallon of milk.

blame it on those co-ops and the government for screwing over the dairy farmers. we have a farm a town over who has been in business for hundreds of years. they have a herd of several hundred cows (of all different breeds) and they have they're own bottling plant and deliver everything themselves. they don't deal with the co-ops like all the other farms have to. they're milk is still $1.85- $2.50 a gallon and can be purchased almost every gas station and supermarket. Yet there are still people who wil go and buy hood or great value brand, etc at wal mart. WHY? i have no clue.

its really honestly disgusting. if you guys want to support your local farms; buy local. ask your local farms who they sell their milk to and support them by purchasing from the co-op. don't buy the walk mart/stop and shop brands. these brands come from the 4-5,000 cow herds in california and out west. they dont come from your local, small-town farmer. they come from the farms owned by the co-ops....support your local agriculture folks. it will be gone before you know it!!

AppJumpr08
Jan. 25, 2010, 02:54 PM
And yet, I pay $5 for a gallon of milk.

It's pretty disgusting isn't it? Screw the folks who are actually putting the time money and energy into producing a product so the middle men can get rich. (and yes, that is a blanket statement and perhaps a bit extreme... but....)

poltroon
Jan. 25, 2010, 03:07 PM
Just to clarify, I am buying milk from a local northern California dairy, Clover/Stornetta, with a pretty decent reputation for treating its cows and farmers well. But that's a mainstream price. Maybe I pay an extra 10 cents or so.

http://www.sustainablenorthwest.org/stories/clover-stornetta-farms-inc/


Still, no one in the dairy industry is getting rich these days, because commodity milk prices are so low. Says Dan, “I don’t know if there has ever been enough economic return to dairy families in this country. Right now they are realizing – I don’t care if its Portland or Petaluma – the lowest prices they have ever had. Two years ago milk was at $17 a 100 weight, right now milk is at about $12 a 100 weight. That is huge difference on a monthly paycheck to a producer. So when we pay our producer an additional 50-75 cents a 100 weight, sure it’s more than anybody else, but in the grand scheme of things it is still small when you are trying to keep your head above water.”

The downturn in the milk market has not stopped Clover from paying its producers relatively well. Says Dan, “We have promised our producers from year one that as we make more money, they will make more money. So I think it is probably safe to say that they are getting paid more than any other dairy in California right now, as a group.”


In spite of dramatic fluctuations in the price of milk, Clover’s revenues have consistently grown. While conventional milk consumption continues to decline, Clover’s conventional milk sales have grown by 5% in each of the last seven years. Their organic milk product sales have grown annually by 20% since Clover introduced them four years ago. At $80 million in revenue, Clover is one of the smallest independent dairies left in California. “We’ll never be as large as those dairies in the central valley and elsewhere in the U.S., but we darn near better be the best!”

Dan gives much credit back to the dairy families. “They are an incredible group of individuals – they are progressive, they are proactive, they’re the best. When you are the best, you get the spirit of wanting to do more. You do better work, you follow better practices, and you are going to stand out and be rewarded for it. That is something that is not happening enough in agriculture in this country.”

poltroon
Jan. 25, 2010, 03:23 PM
Just a public service reminder to any of you feeling hopeless: we'd rather feed your animals and help you out with a solution than have to deal with the carcasses of you and the beasts. 'K? ;) I'm sure his wife would have been happy to take a turn at the milking, especially compared to the alternative.

sisu27
Jan. 25, 2010, 03:32 PM
Maybe it is something with Nordic cultures (Don't show a Finlander a rope in March) and SAD or something but it makes sense to me. If I had to I wouldn't want to risk my animals not being cared for or being a burden to those left behind so I'd take them with me too.

I think he liked the cows he shot best.

Sad though for his family.

Wheel Whip
Jan. 25, 2010, 03:55 PM
This really hit close to home (ten miles from here). He did shoot his best stock so they would not be a burden on his family. Farming is tough on a family and getting worse. Kids have more options today and resent a hard life they didn't choose. There are plenty of divorces here on dairy farms (most farms are losing money at a frightening rate $8000 a month for a local friend). I pity the wife and kids for the guilt they will feel and I will say a prayer for a broken man.

tkhawk
Jan. 25, 2010, 04:14 PM
It is just sad now. Only the small and middle income folks are being hit. Corporations just walk away and it is business as usual. GM filed bakruptcy, wen't in with 90+ billion dollars in debt and came out with less than 20 billion dollars in debt. Wiped out 70 billion in less than 3 months. Their executives are still flying around in private jets . Today a real estate firm that bought 4 billion + worth of real estate in N.Y , while putting only 100+ million down just walked away and gave the keys back. No consequences for the individuals involved.

But if you are a small individual , then this affects your credit , your livelihood, ability to buy a car and basically puts your lives on hold for so long. Lets hope this mess clears soon, although looks more and more like a long cold winter ahead.

Just sad. Hope his family makes it through ok. Can't imagine being that wife. My cousin comitted suicide a few years ago when he was in his twenties. he had a big fight(well had a lot of problems before) wen't to the fields and called his sister in another village from his cell phone and said he was committing suicide and blamed his parents and then hung himself from a tree. Everyone rushed to the fields, but it was too late-very gruesome to see your son like that. It broke my uncle and aunt and they have never recovered from that. Just sad how one moment of emotional turbulance can wreck so many lives. Well at least the cows didn't die a slow death from starvation.

Guin
Jan. 25, 2010, 04:16 PM
And yet, I pay $5 for a gallon of milk.

I pay $2.79 for a gallon of milk, and I don't think the New England dairy farmers are getting rich off of me.

farmgirl88
Jan. 25, 2010, 04:26 PM
It's pretty disgusting isn't it? Screw the folks who are actually putting the time money and energy into producing a product so the middle men can get rich. (and yes, that is a blanket statement and perhaps a bit extreme... but....)

nope its not the extreme, its just the cold-hearted truth that very few out of america's population is even aware of. Remember folks; Farmers Feed You 3 times a day!!! (sometimes more than that) and i think thats what mostpeople have forgotten. people inamerica today are so far removed from their food sources its mind boggling. they just expect the food to be there on their table whether it be eggs and bacon or a hamburger and salad. people just sit down and eat without ever paying a second thought to just how much dedication and work it took to make that meal.

Tamara in TN
Jan. 25, 2010, 04:34 PM
[QUOTE=sisu27;4640947] If I had to I wouldn't want to risk my animals not being cared for or being a burden to those left behind so I'd take them with me too.

I think he liked the cows he shot best.

yes that was my thought as well...it made perfect logical sense when I read it...

Tamara in TN

Tamara in TN
Jan. 25, 2010, 04:35 PM
I pay $2.79 for a gallon of milk, and I don't think the New England dairy farmers are getting rich off of me.

$3.59 about 20 min ago here

Tamara in TN

Mara
Jan. 25, 2010, 04:47 PM
Thanks, Aspenlucas. It really changes your view on the subject...opening your eyes to the stereotype and stigma surrounding the tragedy of it all.


More hugs. I lost a 38 year-old sister to suicide a year and a half ago. When someone starts up with that "oh, it's the most selfish thing anyone can do" refrain, it's all I can do to keep from punching them.

tkhawk
Jan. 25, 2010, 06:10 PM
Every case is different. In my cousin's case, my uncle has been a farmer for ever. But it was discovered in the last decade or so that all the fields around and his too were heavy in limestone. Don't know the exact chemical, but they make cement out of it. As a result, several cement factories sprung up around them and land became extremely valuable. In under 15 years, it transformed from a sleepy old village to a somewhat urban area . But my uncle had farming in his blood. Still has his oxcart and his bull and his cows and goats and chicken and goes to the fields everyday at 73. He hitches up the oxcart himself and goes and comes back everyday.

Income wise he isn't rich. but due to the boom in land , he is very rich- a multi millionare by Indian standards. None of the kids wan't to continue farming. This one just fought and fought-he wanted to sell the land and get his portion, buy his own house and start his own business. The fight had been going on for years and finally one day, my uncle got mad and said as long as he was alive, he would never sell the farm and he would have to wait. That was the day my cousin decided to hang himself and he called his sister and told her and said it was his parent's fault. It hurt them terribly-because they really felt it was their fault. The sad thing is my uncle has now lost all interest in farming. He still does it, but kinda in an empty way.

No one blamed him-he was only in his twenties-but it is just sad overall. He was smart kid, good looking, nice chap,but didn't have a higher education, didn't like farming and they were just locked in a generational dispute. All his cousins , me included were all living the life(or so he thought) and he was sititng on land worth millions(in Indian value) and his father still insisted on working the fields and hitching up oxen and feeding the cows etc. In a fit of rage, did what he did-very sad. Plus my uncle and aunt live in a village and unlike here everybody is just nosy and comes and gives their opinion and advice and how they should have handled it differently etc.-so it is tough. OTOH, different people do it for vastly different reasons. I don't know , sometimes I wonder life goes on smoothly and then suddenly something happens and you wonder if it is all an illusion like the old religions say ...

Anyways I hope the dairy farmer's wife and kids make it through ok-poor lady not only has to deal witht he death of her husband, but probably all the debt, the bills, being widowed-it must be like a tornado just hit her.:cry:

AppJumpr08
Jan. 25, 2010, 06:37 PM
Just to clarify, I am buying milk from a local northern California dairy, Clover/Stornetta, with a pretty decent reputation for treating its cows and farmers well. But that's a mainstream price. Maybe I pay an extra 10 cents or so.

http://www.sustainablenorthwest.org/stories/clover-stornetta-farms-inc/

When I can, I buy milk from a local family who sells it for $6/gallon. But it's lovely rich organic Jersey milk, and totally totally worth it :yes:

I just think it's a crime that the retail prices are SO Much higher then what the farmers make.
it's not much better in the seafood industry... a few years back some of the shrimp boats around here were not even covering their fuel costs, yet the price of shrimp per pound in the market was 8 or 9 times what the boats were getting.

foundationmare
Jan. 25, 2010, 07:20 PM
I've been reading this thread with a sort of morbid curiosity. What happened to this man and his family is a cautionary tale of the time. I think that his widow may be comforted to read much of what has been posted here.

The death knell for small, family owned businesses has been sounding for a long time and the days of farming the land and raising livestock on a smaller scale with the entire family pitching in....is over with. The exception may be in niche markets, e.g. artisinal cheeses, free-range chickens, high-end organic produce, etc. But no longer will dairy cattle be seen grazing on pasture outside between early a.m. and early p.m. milkings.

I grew up and, to a large extent still live in, a largely agrarian area. My parents moved our family to the Finger Lakes region of New York State 50 years ago. We came from Cleveland! There was a bit of culture shock for my older siblings, but I embraced the wide open spaces and, later, when I could appreciate such things, the charm and neighborliness of the family farmers who dotted the rural landscape. My dad, an engineer and my mom, a country club frequenter who played golf and "did lunch", made fast friends with a couple who had a small family farm. Charlie and Kitty knew nothing of the life my parents lived. In many respects they were polar opposites, but our families became entwined. Friday night euchre games, with whiskey sours and martinis, were a staple of my growing years. To this day I recall the camaraderie, the banter and laughter that lulled me to sleep, knowing that all was right with the world.

While my parents could pretty much dictate the course of their days, Charlie and Kitty had very predictable and very regimented days. Up early, every.single.day of their lives, to feed and milk the cows. Repeat 12 hours later. Go to bed early. Repeat 12 hours later. And so on.

For them, the farm and the cows were the compass that guided the trajectory of their days, their weeks, their months and years. To my knowledge, they never had a vacation until many, many years after we became "family" and that was when they spent time in the Bahamas with my parents who had purchased a home there years before. Finally, they had convinced Charlie and Kitty to make some time for life away from the farm and they had semi-retired at that point, so they took the leap.

Charlie and Kitty had two boys....two really good boys who are superior craftsmen and artists now, but I was "their" little girl. Charlie would enfold me in hugs against his big, barrel chest and laugh and laugh and poke fun and I knew I was safe there. He taught me that brown cows give chocolate milk and white cows give vanilla milk. He supplied me with kittens. I'm pretty sure that he was one of my earliest prototypes for the dignity and value of a solid work ethic.

Charlie and Kitty were never rich people, at least in material matters. But they lived a simple, good and honest life and they provided sustenance to all of us who depend on farm products to feed our families. They were a dying breed then, and they just managed to hold on before the small farmer gasped its last. They both died shortly before their first grandchildren were born and that is still a source of sadness for all who knew them. Those grandkids missed two really, really special people.

Alas, the wheels of progress take us in new directions, some of them good, some of them not so much. I think that the small family farmer falls in that latter category. I fear that it's a loss we have not yet fully grasped.

tkhawk
Jan. 27, 2010, 01:02 PM
Going off on a tangent here. But saw this about one of those exposes that the AR groups did on the biggest diary farm in NY. I thought it was the usual, but was surprised. I haven't been in a factory dairy farm, but this looked rather bad-well some parts of it. Is this standard in big, commercial diary farms??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KwNJKoF-OE

ReSomething
Jan. 27, 2010, 03:04 PM
Foundationmare, that is lovely.

Blueskidoo
Jan. 27, 2010, 03:41 PM
I haven't read it yet, but just the title is quite a though provoker

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture

SmartAlex
Jan. 27, 2010, 04:14 PM
OK, 4 pages later, and no one has even suggested that this guy sell the milk cows. So, you don't want to burden your family with having to milk twice a day... call the local auction house and have a herd dispersal. Are producing milk cows going so cheap these days that that would not have been a viable plan? Even if they went for slaughter, how is that more tragic than shooting them yourself in their stancions. Sounds to me like there could have been a bit of bitterness over his family not wanting to milk and continue on with the family business. One wonders if he intended to destroy the young stock too and just couldn't work out the logistics with them not being in stancions.

Yes, it's hard to sell a herd that you've bred for generations. You know the cows pedigree back a dozen generations. I know it's hard. I sat in the auction barn and watched my grandfather sell his herd many years ago. I kept my pet heifer, and I milked her by hand every day. That's more than a little PITA when you're a teenager with a holstein. I had forearms like Popeye. So, yes I know.

And just a word on docked tails. I've been slapped in the face enough times to appreciate the reasoning behind it, but I still feel really badly for the heifers in the pasture with no fly swatters. I heard on the news that California outlawed it this year. I wonder if they will actually enforce it.

farmgirl88
Jan. 27, 2010, 05:52 PM
Going off on a tangent here. But saw this about one of those exposes that the AR groups did on the biggest diary farm in NY. I thought it was the usual, but was surprised. I haven't been in a factory dairy farm, but this looked rather bad-well some parts of it. Is this standard in big, commercial diary farms??

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KwNJKoF-OE

please do not believe what was shown on NITELINE ABC last night. They generalized an entire industry based off the abuse at one farm. My entire aricultural university is in a uproar right now over it; even the non dairy students. It was a disgrace to everyone who honestly does right by their cows.

I am currently on the hunt for an active niteline email address as i am horribly disappointed. while i think animal welfare is a big problem, its just as big of a problem in any other industry involving animals and their coverage last night basically stated that the entire dairy industry is full of heartless cow abusers. it was sickening and a disgrace. a basic slap in the face to everyone who does this for a living and loves what they do and loves working with their cows

Bluey
Jan. 27, 2010, 06:13 PM
please do not believe what was shown on NITELINE ABC last night. They generalized an entire industry based off the abuse at one farm. My entire aricultural university is in a uproar right now over it; even the non dairy students. It was a disgrace to everyone who honestly does right by their cows.

I am currently on the hunt for an active niteline email address as i am horribly disappointed. while i think animal welfare is a big problem, its just as big of a problem in any other industry involving animals and their coverage last night basically stated that the entire dairy industry is full of heartless cow abusers. it was sickening and a disgrace. a basic slap in the face to everyone who does this for a living and loves what they do and loves working with their cows

There are plenty of people right here on COTH that agree with those animal rights groups that find some way out there abuse and brand the whole industry for it.
How can you defend yourself from being accused wrongly, when you don't have access to the media, they won't listen, they have their own agenda?

It is a bad eye for all when any abuse is found, in a nursing home, a teacher, a rescue, in slaughter.
We need to curb abuses, but the media has a field day with those stories and the general public takes it and runs with it, just read some of what is posted on COTH sometimes.:no:

This fellow here was a dairyman and a good one, but I think that him killing those cows and himself was not because he was a dairyman, a good or bad one, dairymen don't go around doing that, he had personal problems and they were reflected in what he did, that happens to be run a dairy.

Tamara in TN
Jan. 27, 2010, 09:48 PM
[QUOTE=SmartAlex;4645710]OK, 4 pages later, and no one has even suggested that this guy sell the milk cows. So, you don't want to burden your family with having to milk twice a day... call the local auction house and have a herd dispersal. Are producing milk cows going so cheap these days that that would not have been a viable plan?

there is no way to move milking cows from a parlor w/o disrupting the milking cycle and giving them mastitis and killing them in an ugly painful way...miss one milking and you set the cycle in place...

you can't just turn off the faucet, and if you could they are now dry cows waiting to calve and worth even less than milking cows...

think about it,have you ever seen entire milking herds for sale and moved ? even in the buyouts they went to the killers not to other parlors....

freshening heifer(maidens),sure,heifer calves,sure,embryos,semen, but high milk producing milk cows past some backyarders project cow? no...

you can buy a whole dairy set up and milking the herd but you are not going to move the herd from their home but the title to the home to someone else...

milk cows are really really sensitive to their handlers and their surroundings...despite PETAs claims to the contrary mishandled dairy cows are not the norm as they produce less milk....when I milked my cows wanted no part of others on their teats,near the chutes,w/in 15 feet of them :) and that is not cause Jersey's are overly opinionated ;)

I've said before I understand and agree with him...if I knew my end were coming next week/tomorrow (from whatever) I would have my oldest ( and market useless) horses killed before I went....every one and if I could be there to see them on their way I certainly would....

they do not deserve the disruption to their lives and the worry of a new home and the chance that they end up in the Fugly blog as another poor wretched creature...

I owe them more than that....

Tamara in TN

JSwan
Jan. 28, 2010, 09:54 AM
[quote]



I've said before I understand and agree with him...if I knew my end were coming next week/tomorrow (from whatever) I would have my oldest ( and market useless) horses killed before I went....every one and if I could be there to see them on their way I certainly would....

they do not deserve the disruption to their lives and the worry of a new home and the chance that they end up in the Fugly blog as another poor wretched creature...

I owe them more than that....

Tamara in TN

Amen.

SmartAlex
Jan. 28, 2010, 11:08 AM
[QUOTE]
think about it,have you ever seen entire milking herds for sale and moved ? even in the buyouts they went to the killers not to other parlors....

Ummm... yes. I believe I said in my post I sat in the auction barn and watched my grandfather's entire herd sell at dispersal. They were shipped in the morning. We gave the auction guy the particulars on each cow. He milked them at the auction barn (little shabby old thing, not modern and fancy by any means, but had milking lines) until sale time the next day. We knew several of the farmers that bought the better cows. Not a one that I know of came down with mastitis. I'm sure some of them went to slaughter, but most of them were home and milked that afternoon. Yes, I know cows are sensitive to their surroundings and handlers, but a whole lot of dairy show cows seem to handle the disruption of being milked at the fair.

Granted, It would take a heck of an auction barn to deal with 51 heavy milkers, so, an on site auction may have been a better idea so as to not disrupt the works. Heifers ready to freshen would be a much easier and better investment. But, believe it or not, milking cows do change hands in my part of the country. Perhaps not ideal but a lot better than being shot all at once in the barn. Even with the right caliber gun and a good shot, I can imagine in 51 cows there was more than one bad death. Ugghhh I can't even imagine it.

Sure, he saved his family the hassle of milking (which they obviously didn't like) but he left them with 51 dead cows to deal with. Personally, I'd have preferred to milk them for a few days, then take the money even for slaughter prices, over having them in a mass grave.

I should probably add that I live in a quiet, old fashioned dairy community where some people still don't have parlors (actually CARRY the milk, which is hard work day in day out) and there is also a largish Amish coimmunity that will buy milkers. Which is why I wondered at the overall price of milk cows being cheap. It ceratinly would be if they were all going straight to slaughter.

farmgirl88
Jan. 28, 2010, 04:43 PM
[QUOTE=Tamara in TN;4646405]

Ummm... yes. I believe I said in my post I sat in the auction barn and watched my grandfather's entire herd sell at dispersal. They were shipped in the morning. We gave the auction guy the particulars on each cow. He milked them at the auction barn (little shabby old thing, not modern and fancy by any means, but had milking lines) until sale time the next day. We knew several of the farmers that bought the better cows. Not a one that I know of came down with mastitis. I'm sure some of them went to slaughter, but most of them were home and milked that afternoon. Yes, I know cows are sensitive to their surroundings and handlers, but a whole lot of dairy show cows seem to handle the disruption of being milked at the fair.

Granted, It would take a heck of an auction barn to deal with 51 heavy milkers, so, an on site auction may have been a better idea so as to not disrupt the works. Heifers ready to freshen would be a much easier and better investment. But, believe it or not, milking cows do change hands in my part of the country. Perhaps not ideal but a lot better than being shot all at once in the barn. Even with the right caliber gun and a good shot, I can imagine in 51 cows there was more than one bad death. Ugghhh I can't even imagine it.

Sure, he saved his family the hassle of milking (which they obviously didn't like) but he left them with 51 dead cows to deal with. Personally, I'd have preferred to milk them for a few days, then take the money even for slaughter prices, over having them in a mass grave.

I should probably add that I live in a quiet, old fashioned dairy community where some people still don't have parlors (actually CARRY the milk, which is hard work day in day out) and there is also a largish Amish coimmunity that will buy milkers. Which is why I wondered at the overall price of milk cows being cheap. It ceratinly would be if they were all going straight to slaughter.

tha majority of all herd dispersal's right now end up in a slaughterhouse. the majority of the heifers and the good cows will go on to new farms but the aged, or other cows will end up in the slaughterhouse. its the sad fact with todays economy and the fact of the matter is that most dairies are struggling emensly right now.

equinelaundry
Jan. 28, 2010, 06:23 PM
May his soul rest in peace. He did what he thought was best in his moment of darkness.

That's a lot of gunshots. And nobody around to save him from himself at that moment. So very sad on many levels.

sidepasser
Jan. 28, 2010, 06:58 PM
My dad's family were dairy farmers back in the 30's through the 80's. My dad hated milking cows, hated the farm and so lied about his age to join the Army. Stayed there as a lifer and then bought a farm..we still have the farm and I use it to retire the old horses. It's a beautiful place but has never had any livestock on it other than my horses. Dad refused to even have a beef cow - said farming was too much work, too hard on families (his mom died young with her 11th child..sigh..) my dad was the next to the youngest of ten children. All the kids were worked heavily on the farm milking. Now the farm lies idle (by the way, it is near Potsdam NY) the fields are barren and used for hay by neighbors.

I bought goat's milk for my son when he was found to not be able to tolerate cow's milk nor formula. Paid 3.00 a gallon for it back in 1990. Bought it straight from the farmer and there was no "rules and regs", milk was wonderful and I bought from the old fella until my son was around 4 years old, then bought my own milkers and milked goats for the next few years. Never pasturized, just made sure to handle the milk properly, kept everything sterilized and very, very clean as milk will pick up "off" flavors if not handled properly. Goats were from a CAE free herd and were bred once a year. I used to get a couple of gallons a day from my small herd, some of it was made into cheese, yogurt, and butter. Toggs are good for butter as they are like the Jerseys of the cow world, high butterfat content.

I quit milking when I changed jobs and had to be gone most of the day..milkers need a good deal of care and milking took me about an hour twice a day, plus doing up the milk (chilling, seperating, etc.).

I feel for the farmers these days, although I understand many small homestead farmers are making a go of things, it is the middle sized farmers that are struggling. Seems that either you have to go micro and market well or go factory and put up with the government. I prefer micro myself and have done ok with that over the years.

But run a dairy for the public - no way. Too many regulations and costs too much for the small family farmer.

BTW - I hate docked tails..they are there for a reason and cows need them as much as Belgian horses do..my poor Belgian has no tail and I have to cover her with a fly sheet in the summer, use lots of fly spray and some days she is still miserable.

Many of my friends own milkers, they buy the older stock from commerical dairies as they don't need quite as much milk as what the dairies need to produce. Some of those old gals are producing at age 12. Nice old cows they are.

So sorry for the family of the man who felt he had no options (I believe that is what it would take to do what he did, but don't want to put "reasons" out there). Sad for the family and now they have a farm but no cows to milk - wonder what the wife will do now? It is a lifestyle and now her lifestyle and her family are gone.

Very sad.

sidepasser
Jan. 28, 2010, 07:02 PM
[QUOTE=SmartAlex;4647112]

tha majority of all herd dispersal's right now end up in a slaughterhouse. the majority of the heifers and the good cows will go on to new farms but the aged, or other cows will end up in the slaughterhouse. its the sad fact with todays economy and the fact of the matter is that most dairies are struggling emensly right now.

Wonder if the dairymen know that homesteaders will buy their still producing older cows for family cows? Many of my homesteading friends buy cows from the dairies to either have for meat (the bull calves) or the older, not so productive but still producing cows. Many try to find "nurse cows" that will raise more than one calf and sell one and keep one for meat for the family.

It's not a huge market, but one that is worldwide..at least our membership stretches worldwide and the most amazing are the folks that homestead in Alaska, talk about a short growing season!

SmartAlex
Jan. 29, 2010, 10:33 AM
Many of my friends own milkers, they buy the older stock from commerical dairies as they don't need quite as much milk as what the dairies need to produce. Some of those old gals are producing at age 12. Nice old cows they are.

My step grandfather had a Jersey cow that was still producing at age 27. Not well I'm sure ;). One of my own cows, an angus/holstein that we kept to raise calves off of, lived to be 27 but stopped producing in her teens. My husband suggested we ship her and I was mortified. She's buried behind the barn.

Sadly, the big commercial farms are much like the egg farms. The cows have a very short producing life. I miss our old fashioned farm, and the days when you could stand on the hill and see at least four other small dairies. My grandfather made a very prosperous living for his family on 22 milk cows. Now there is only one dairy left and it's not small anymore. They have two parlors and milk around the clock. I've often thought I would love to have a milk cow again. I certainly wouldn't want a big producer for both time and over supply reasons. But it makes it tough to sleep in on Sundays....or go on vacation.

Bluey
Jan. 29, 2010, 11:26 AM
We had a beef cow live to 27, Doodlebug.
She had a calf every year, even at 27, by her own choice, she slipped thru fences and found a bull each year, even when we didn't want her to any more the last few years.:lol:
She had a heifer the first year, all bull calves after that and a heifer the last year.

She passed away when that last heifer, Little Doodlebug, was three months old.
Since Doodlebug was not giving hardly any milk, we had already been bottle feeding LD, so she made a quick transition.
Here is Doodlebug at 27 and Little Doodlebug as a yearling heifer:

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a298/Robintoo/2323232327Ffp4383Enu3D32353E6893E73.jpg?

Our neighbor just lost a 32 year old cow.:cry:

Those are rare ages for cows, most don't live that long naturally, because they start losing molars by ten and so have trouble eating well.:eek:


I still can't believe that he stood there and kept shooting his cows.
Not wanting to offend anyone, but that to me is a little bit over the top behaviour.:no:

kookicat
Jan. 29, 2010, 04:20 PM
Very sad for his family. :(

Who knows what was going through his mind? We really can't judge from the outside.

RU2U
Jan. 29, 2010, 06:46 PM
My Cow King wants to get into milking. I tell him build a bigger barn and we'll talk.

We have 4 angus heifers. I never knew the love of a cow! When we first went to look at the little heifers. She caught my eye - I caught her eye and it has been true love ever since. She was about 4 mon. when we got her and she is now 8 mon. She sees me and will actually sqeal. She comes running to see me and gets her petting. These cows were never worked with by humans. They were born, they got milk from there mom's. They came to us shy as deer. But She LOVES ME! She was the first to learn about petting and head rubs. She wraps her little tongue around my hand and trys to steal licks of my hair. These are the beginnings of our herd. They will be bred and will be the start of our cow adventures. FLUFFY already has a forever home. The others not so much. But I understand the love of a cow.

Eventually we may get a holstein for milking. One day someday...


On the other hand. I don't know a whole lot about the milking industry. I do have a neighbor who is a holstein dealer. He brags he does over 3 million dollars worth of business a year. He does not milk cows, but he does have adult cows of all ages, all adults very few babies on the teat. He ships mostly over seas. Alot to Japan China Korea and Mexico. He admits he is not doing as well, his inventory is low, prices are down. He still has semi trucks coming morning, noon and night. I am thinking that with hormones there is away to keep them in production, there must be a way to shut down production. His cows are not milked at all. His holsteins do not go to slaughter. He sells to private individuals/businesses. He amazes me as he ships out in semis or occ. to small farmers, he doesn't even own a trailer. He doesn't even grow his own hay. He buys cows from all over the country, ships all over. Sad thing is he's in his 70's and wants to retire and can't find anyone to take over the business. Life always looks better from this side of the fence.