By J.W. Robinson
Summary: A scathing, two-part report detailing some of the tragic consequences of the “profit at any cost” policy of twentieth-century animal husbandry. By 1963 in the United States, strange and novel diseases such as dwarfism, infectious abortion, and various bizarre viral infections had become epidemic among the country’s cattle, and the reason, writes author J.W. Robinson, was simple. America’s ranchers, by straying from basic natural law in animal breeding, had invited unnatural problems in their livestock. Citing numerous warnings from the Bible against ignoring the natural principles of animal husbandry, Robinson paints a picture of greed and ignorance that portends the factory-farm disasters of today. From The Plain Truth magazine, 1963. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research reprint 136.[The following is a transcription of the original Archives document. To view or download the original document, click here.]
And Now—A New Crisis in Farming, Part I
Government reports reveal that disease, dwarfism, and birth troubles in livestock are suddenly increasing! What has gone wrong with our livestock? What is it doing to our food? Your health is at stake! Read the astounding facts…
Cattlemen and poultrymen have now been told by government reports that there is something drastically wrong with the livestock industry. Within a few years, it will affect our food supply. Troubles are reaching epidemic proportions in many areas—in spite of medical science, mechanization, and feed additives.
The Official Statistics
During the last few years, we have been shocked by many news releases and government reports that cast a pall of gloom over the whole livestock picture. Some people have tried to ignore these troubles and hope they would go away. Not so! Livestock losses have reached tragic proportions that no one even dared dream of twenty years ago.
“Animal diseases are on the loose, exploding throughout the world,” admits the Los Angeles Times. An “overeating disease in sheep—enterotoxemia—is now costing farmers an estimated $10,000,000 a year in sheep losses. The disease is triggered by a diet of rich feed…which sets up rapid multiplication of the disease organism” (Press Enterprise).
Cattle are also hard hit by varied destroyers. From the Science page of Time magazine comes this report concerning the three leading beef breeds:
“Cattle breeders are in a fluster about dwarf calves, which are being born in ever-increasing numbers in the U.S. and Canada. Some unfortunate herds have produced 12 percent [dwarfs]. Considerably less than 12 percent can bankrupt a cattleman. Cattle experts believe the epidemic of dwarfism may be a result of breeding beef cattle for squat, spraddle-legged, ‘blocky’ figures.”[Photo of cow and dwarf bull, with caption:] His father may have been a champion, but this coming-three-year-old dwarf Hereford bull will never amount to much. The best of the dwarfs are used almost entirely for ground beef. Most die early.
Most people who live in towns or large cities haven’t been conscious of what’s happening on the farms of our nation. Two decades ago dwarfism was a rarity. Today it is widespread among Shorthorn, Aberdeen Angus, and Hereford herds. Dwarfs rarely reach slaughtering age. When they do, their inferior meat is fit only for hamburger. The modern dwarf is a degenerate freak. It is not small by natural heredity, like the superior-quality Dexter and Brittany cattle, Shetland ponies, and Bantam chickens.
A leading cause of losses in commercial dairy herds is Bang’s disease, or infectious abortion, which is just as destructive as dwarfism. The disease is increasing in spite of liberal use of “miracle drugs.” Mastitis is also one of the most plaguing troubles that many dairymen have to battle continuously.
To go with all the old troubles and diseases that our cattle have had for [the past] ten or fifteen years, new ones are cropping up all the time.
Bluetongue, blackleg, hoof-and-mouth disease, “lepto,” “cow asthma,” rabies, anaplasmosis, and now vibriosis (which causes sterility) are already too prevalent for comfort. In many herds the disease-caused mortality rate of newborn animals is 20 to 40 percent. This can mean disaster.
Dangerous to Humans
Not only are these diseases a major threat to the farm economy, they are also endangering the health of the consumers! Notice: ”Of the 200 or more infectious diseases that affect animals, upward of 100 (fully half) can be passed to humans, Dr. Steele [U.S. Public Health Service veterinarian] said” (The Denver Post, April 8, 1959).[Photo of bull, with caption:] This prize-winning bull makes a fine impression in the show ring. But cattlemen are now learning that his type of blocky build promotes dwarfism.
Diseases and dwarfism are not alone in destroying our livestock. Many cows, especially in the highly competitive commercial dairy herds, have become too weak to give natural birth. This situation has developed in just the last few years. Fifteen years ago [this was] almost unheard of. Today, fully half the calves in many herds have to be forcibly extracted, causing great damage to the cow—sometimes even death—and many times bringing death to the calf. Although increasing rapidly, this problem is rarely reported since it is not a “disease.”
Not only are the varied losses heavy, but they are increasing:
“Virus diseases of cattle are increasing in the United States.
“Before the outbreaks in the past 13 years (since 1946), the United States was singularly free of virus disease of any consequence in cattle.
“Recent changes in handling animals…may have upset the natural balance!”
—California Farmer, October 1959 (emphasis ours throughout article)
Take note of the surprising warning that the farmer’s own methods of animal husbandry may be responsible for his grief!
All these major losses—diseases, dwarfism, and birth difficulties—are increasing so rapidly that at the present rate they could soon bankrupt the whole commercial livestock industry. Some producers are already on the verge of bankruptcy, and in a few tragic cases farmers have lost every animal to disease.
The total loss in all livestock, including poultry, is astounding. From Washington, D.C., AP reported in 1958:
“Even in this day of miracle drugs and scientific advances, the nation loses more than $2,000,000,000 a year through livestock diseases and parasites…This staggering loss is equivalent to about 15 percent of this year’s farm income.”[Photo of cattle, with caption:] Between 150 and 200 Canadian cattle, infected with hoof-and-mouth disease, are being herded into this slaughter trench to be shot by RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] constables. One man’s total herd of 40 cows is in this trench. But no amount of animal slaughter can prevent a recurrence of this dread disease.
These troubles hit at the highest producers—the blockiest beef breeds, the milkiest dairy cows, the laying hens with faster early production. The most advanced strains within the affected breeds suffer most. Yet there are some very productive breeds that are almost untouched by any of these ailments. Some farmers almost never have livestock losses; they always show a profit. Why this difference?
Why should Shorthorns, Herefords, Aberdeen Angus, Holstein-Friesians, and Guernseys have greater onslaughts of trouble than Brown Swiss, Jerseys, and Devons? Why are there such differences in losses from herd to herd even within the same breed? And why should Scotch Highlanders, Brahmans, Galloways, Dexters, and others almost never have troubles of any sort and consistently return a profit to their owners—and health to the consumer?
Why is it that some commercial dairymen can count on only five or six years of production from a cow, while other, very productive milk cows can be expected to produce well until they are fifteen or more years old? Why is it that most commercial laying hens produce for only one year, while many backyard flocks that produce almost as well are still going strong when six or eight years old?
Is there a logical answer to these perplexing problems? Yes, there is. And it is of vital concern to all because it concerns the source of your health.
Many popular misconceptions contribute to man’s mismanagement of his livestock. It is assumed that man has many inalienable rights and no responsibility to God or neighbor; that the world owes us a living; that the majority is always right; that if it makes more money, that makes it better; that cattle have to be bigger to be better; that an idea has to be popularly accepted to be good. These errors are so strongly implanted in the minds of the masses, so taken for granted, that even when a man starts repenting and trying to obey God, he may still unknowingly continue ruining the health of his livestock and the consumer—in addition to wrecking his economy.[Photo of cattle, with caption:] Spring roundup shows this Kansas stockman has a good calf crop. His own principles of husbandry may well determine whether he continues to earn a profit or has his whole herd wiped out by some dread epidemic.
It is high time we study the principles that govern animal husbandry and avert disaster. You can change your methods so that you shall have no need for worry! And the consumer can then eat your products without misgivings.
Remember, noted veterinarians recognize that methods of animal husbandry may have upset the natural balance and thus caused these problems. What are the principles involved? Did you know that your Bible has something to say about this very problem?
What the Bible Says About It
There is a cause for prosperity and a cause for every sickness and disease. Notice what God promises for our cattle if we follow the right laws of agriculture.
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments…Blessed shall be…thy fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine (cows), and the flocks of thy sheep” (Deut. 28:1-4).
The same promise is given in more explicit detail in Deuteronomy 7:11-15: “Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments…He will also bless…the increase of thy kine and the flocks of thy sheep…There shall not be male or female barren among you or among your cattle. And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness…[including cattle sickness].”
Notice that this all-inclusive promise of unrestrained success in life is dependent on one factor: obeying God. God’s ways were designed for the express purpose of automatically bringing success and happiness. One who believes what God says and obeys Him finds it impossible to be a failure.
But our people have not obeyed God. We—and that includes farmers—have forsaken Him on a grand scale. Notice what is to happen to us as a penalty for this rebellion:
“But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments…Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep…The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do until thou be destroyed and until thou perish quickly because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me” (Deut. 28:15-21).
Notice that a quick end is prophesied for our prosperous society because of our rebellion against our maker. God is no respecter of persons. A quick end came upon the prosperity of our people of old. And our prosperity today is about to terminate just as quickly for the same reason! A hasty downfall such as herein described could come only at the death throes of an empire or nation—when sin reaps its devastating penalty after God’s patience runs out.
Today’s mounting surge of livestock losses commenced in the middle forties—just after God started warning this heedless nation through “The World Tomorrow” broadcast. God always warns His people before sending punishment upon them (Amos 3:7).
When men rebel against God’s ways, their own clouded thinking and consequent wrong decisions bring most of their grief upon them.
God has given us instructions and examples to show us how to manage our affairs. But this darkened society has taught us to turn our backs on God’s word, the Bible.
Physical Creation Originally Perfect
A strong delusion has gripped the whole Anglo-Saxon world in regard to the principles of livestock husbandry. We have supposed that we have been improving our cattle to a now-near-perfect state. But near-perfect cattle do not suddenly “go to pot,” as ours are doing![Photo of farmers with cow and calf, with caption:] Cows are usually considered old at eight years because high-pressure production methods wear them out prematurely. But this 29-year-old cow, “Old Snowball”—shown with her 25th calf—is still a good milk producer because her owner did not try to force an abnormal profit out of her.
When God created man and the animal world, He did not create scrubs, as men have thought. He did a good job of His work (Gen. 1:24-27). He created physical perfection. Any scrubs that have come along since are a result of man’s mismanagement—of physical sins.
God reminds us: “I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?” (Jer. 2:21). “They have perverted their way” (Jer. 3:21).
God gave us the standards by which man could have maintained that perfection. But man guesses and supposes, out of his own imagination, in order to devise his own standards of supposed excellence.
Quality of Feed Affects Livestock
Modern methods of producing feed crops and feeding animals have had considerable impact on the present livestock distress. God gave us a rich, bountiful land full of a great variety of forage crops for our livestock and wildlife. Animals that are allowed to instinctively graze and browse in native grasses, weeds, and bushes will never become ill if they have good heredity as well.
But men, in the interest of greater, temporary profits for the moment, have in many cases cleared away the God-intended herbs and bushes that are vital in balancing the diet of livestock so that they can plant a few quick-growing grasses and legumes. At first glance this looks good—if the farmer has his eye on money only.
But it is a well-known fact that a limited diet makes an animal more susceptible to disease, just as it does us humans. Healthy cattle that have been allowed to browse and graze at will on bushes, weeds, and grasses are likely to become susceptible to sickness within two or three years after being moved to a pasture containing only limited grasses.
Some veterinarians tell us that a sick animal or barnyard bird, if not too far gone, will usually recover if turned out to shift for itself among native plants. Even the feed companies admit this if they are honest.
Notice this quote from pages 3 and 4 of Ace Hi Feed Company’s manual on the care and feeding of pigeons: “One little tip: if by any chance you have a very special bird that is off feed or listless, remove it from the pen and let it forage for itself. This method surpasses anything else you can do.”
Not only variety but also quality of feed is important.
In pasture fertility experiments at Missouri Experiment Station, 1946–1949, Dr. William A. Albrecht, Chairman, Department of Soils, University of Missouri, at Columbia, Missouri, came up with some startling facts:
A dairy herd that began the experiment with only 25 percent conception rose to 75 percent and then 100 percent in three years of treating devitalized soil with major and trace elements. Bang’s disease (infectious abortion) dropped from 29 percent to 20 percent during the test, and heifers raised during the test had no Bang’s disease at calving time—and their calves were likewise free from infection (Soil Fertility and Animal Health by Dr. Wm. A. Albrecht, p. 167). The cows, which due to poor soil grew up with weak constitutions, were gradually building health. The calves, having always had a good diet, grew up with sound health.
Another of his carefully controlled experiments proved that trace amounts of copper in soil lets an animal build its antibiotic protection, which will prohibit worms from staying in its digestive tract (Albrecht, p. 150). A healthy animal tends to repel both body parasites and contagious disease. There are cases in which one man’s cattle are victims of anything from cattle grubs to hoof-and-mouth disease, while his neighbor’s unmedicated cattle, just across the fence, are untouched.
For years modern man has been developing and raising all sorts of new varieties of hybrid corn in order to squeeze a few extra bushels out of each acre—and put a little more waste fat on animals in the feedlots. But is this endeavor motivated by brotherly love? A desire to increase quality, as we are told? Definitely not!
In an experiment on 16 farms in Illinois, hybrid and open-pollinated corn were grown in neighboring strips under the same conditions and the produce was tested by Armour’s Institute of Research in Chicago. The open-pollinated corn tested 12 percent protein. None of the hybrids showed more than 8 percent. All the hybrids were short on 7 to 9 minerals, and all failed completely to pick up cobalt, whose deficiency is one cause of Bang’s disease. By rapidly using some trace elements and leaving others untouched, hybrids unbalance and thereby poison the soil ten times as quickly as open-pollinated corn, horticulturists now admit. It is no wonder that God forbids the growing of hybrids (Lev. 19:19).
When Mexican farmers in the U.S.A. try hybrids for home use, they usually quickly give them up. Hybrids, they discover, are simply no good for tortillas. The flavor, color, texture, and consistency are ail inferior to that of open-pollinated corn. Those interested in quality prefer natural varieties and natural methods of production. Shortcuts to riches are not good for anyone. Lust leads to downfall.[Photo of chickens in an industrial henhouse, with caption:] Some poor hens are forced to be only egg laying machines, driven to their utmost production for one year by drugged feed and nightlights. Do you wonder why market eggs are pale, watery, discolored, and tasteless?
Every Corruption a Health Hazard
Whenever a food or forage crop is corrupted in any way in the interest of unnatural, greedy, excessive profit, the animal or plant proteins are one of the first factors to be diminished. The carbohydrates are, in turn, increased. Is it any wonder that many of us have difficulty building muscle while others have problems with an excess of fat? “Protein deficiency in a parent animal causes a one-generation mutation, a degeneration, in the offspring—a loss, not a gain. Choosing breeding stock for fattening ability, with its failing physiologies, rather than for health and survival degenerates a species” (Albrecht, pp. 199–200).
We must build both health and character; they cannot be bought. In addition to the protein loss, there is also the loss of trace elements when the soil is depleted or when the heredity of plants is forcibly altered. Many of the trace elements are vitally needed to help the animal or human body make proper use of all the nutrients in food. In some cases experimenters have recently been able to tell us that certain deficiency diseases in animals and humans can be caused by the loss of certain trace elements. But man does not yet know to what extent our multitudes of new diseases are brought on by these deficiencies.
In some cases both degenerative breeding and deficiency are associated with the same disease. Degeneration weakens the animal so that it is more likely to become ill by malnutrition.
Instead of using manure and natural rock fertilizers containing major, minor, and trace elements in proper proportions, men have tried to offset soil depletion by use of water-soluble chemical fertilizers containing unnatural combinations of major elements, which deposit in the soil poisonous residues ranging from washing soda to sulfuric acid (Make Friends with Your Land by Leonard Wickenden, pp. 63, 117).
Antibiotics Can Harm You
In a vain attempt to offset the harm he has brought upon his livestock, man has resorted to chemicals and drugs, which have no food value and serve no actual beneficial purpose. Doctors readily admit there is no drug without harmful side effects.[Photo of emaciated cattle, with caption:] Mineral starvation can bring on a multitude of diseases, even if the animal is able to maintain normal weight.
Dr. Harry E. Kingman Jr., Executive Secretary of the American Veterinary Association, stated that medications in feed have done about as much harm as they have done good.
“Livestock owners are [now] being encouraged,” he continued, “to look to feed additives as disease-control agents. This is an area where feed additives can do more harm than good (even from the viewpoint of veterinary medicine).
“Continued administration of drugs is inclined to produce resistant strains of bacteria, so that when you really need treatment, the drug is not as effective as it could and should be.
“[There is also] the residual problem in which these drugs are found in human food, either in the milk or in the meat. People who are sensitized to these drugs can have severe reactions to antibiotic-contaminated foods” (D-X Sunray Farm Information Center, #312, July 24, 1959).[Photo of man reaching into a hole bore in the side of a cow, with caption:] In the quest for additional, abnormal profit from each animal, researchers have cut windows in the sides of tranquilized animals in order to study digestion and learn how to better stimulate animals to turn more feed and chemicals into money.
It has been proved by government backed and private experiments that chemicals in foods are partly responsible for many of our modern allergies, which were virtually unknown in the last century—before the advent of all these corruptions.
Just how harmful are the chemicals in your meat and milk? Notice this admission from Western Farm Life:
“The presence of antibiotics in market milk is recognized as a danger by the Food and Drug Administration.
“Accumulation of antibiotics in the human system reduces the immune response of nonspecific infections. This could mean more colds, more influenza, more pneumonia, more of almost anything. [And that is exactly what we have been having.] [Comment by article author.] Coupled with this is the fact that the use of antibiotics to cure mastitis is not killing the bacteria but simply breeding more resistant strains. The most dangerous of these is a staphylococcal microbe (Staphylococcus aureus), a human killer.
“Thus, as antibiotics are lowering our resistance to disease, their use on animals is also creating more dangerous disease bacteria.”
With such a drastic double risk forced upon the consumer, is it any wonder that we have so much sickness today? Who can blame those few hardy individuals who have turned against today’s system and have moved out to the suburbs to produce their own food?
Why Use Chemicals
Some ask, “Didn’t the authorities prohibit the use of harmful additives in raising livestock?” The answer is a definite no. What the Food and Drug Administration specifically prohibited was not antibiotics or chemical additives in general but stilbestrol pellet implants in chicken necks. When it was proved that growth stimulants used in the feed of 80 percent of our cattle and poultry causes cancer, the government made the feed manufacturers reduce [stilbestrol’s] use to supposedly safe levels. Stilbestrol is frequently disguised under the innocent sounding term “plant sterol.” Being a plant derivative does not make a chemical harmless. Many of our potent poisons, drugs, and chemical contaminants are derived from plants.[Photo of cows being sprayed with insecticide, with caption:] Many cattle herds are sprayed en masse with DDT and other insecticides, which breed resistant strains of insects and also build up poison residues in the animals’ fat and internal organs. Some farmers avoid this contaminant by having healthy cattle that do not suffer from pests.
Some will wonder why chemicals known to be dangerous are used in the production of our food supply. The answer is—money!
“Cost of stilbestrol is low with respect to its average return. Each dollar spent for stilbestrol can be expected to return about $15 to the producer. No other feed additive has given as large or as consistent benefits in beef cattle supplements. Its use is almost standard practice in feedlots over the nation” (Gulf Farm Review). These artificial hormones rob men of virility and make men effeminate and weak willed.
A whole host of chemicals, however, are profitable enough to make their use prominent despite these dangers. Experimenters in Mississippi State College proved that “use of a tranquilizer fattened steers 14 percent faster and gave a 23 percent decrease in the amount of feed required per pound of fat.”
Experimenters and producers alike are interested in money—and in fat because it makes more money. If God had intended livestock to be just moneymaking machines to satisfy the lusts of men, He would not have said, “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12:10). Most men are not interested in the welfare of their livestock, and they have also forgotten that Christ commanded, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matt. 22:39). Men are legally selling as food many products that are not fit to be put in the human system.
We have too long been told that to be “well stuffed” is to be healthy. Proof of the opposite is all around us. Many supposedly well fed people in their thirties and forties are dropping dead of heart attacks all around us. Livestock are even more susceptible than man to corruptions that are standard in our diets. In a herd of 28 fine cattle, 13 dropped dead in three years when fed the degerminated grain so universally used in our nation (Annals N.Y. Academy of Science, 1948, vol. 52, pp. 256–259).[Photo of a sickly calf, with caption:] This poor calf, horribly deformed by rickets, is a victim of malnutrition.
God created foodstuffs in a perfect, harmonious balance. Everything in nature—mineral, plant, and animal—has its working partners in the whole interdependent creation; nothing is complete when isolated. God is the author of cooperation and community spirit of a right sort. His whole creation eloquently attests to this fact. Soil feeds plants; plants feed animals and man; by-products of plants and animals decompose in soil and feed myriads of microorganisms that turn inert minerals into balanced plant food. Then the cycle is repeated.
All foodstuffs are composed of many mutually helpful component parts. Many times one part is useful only in helping the human or animal system use the other parts. But men want to isolate everything and then call it “pure.” When one part is taken away by soil depletion, hybridization, chemical pollution, processing, or any other factor, there is a chain reaction of sickness and inadequacy throughout the whole interdependent life cycle. By actual test even the manure of a poorly fed animal has been proved to produce plants of inferior quality (Albrecht, pp. 179–182).
We cannot breed plants to tolerate a starvation diet of chemicals and depleted soil. Neither can we breed animals to tolerate a starvation diet of corrupt forage crops. An animal of degenerate heredity cannot be made totally healthy by good feeding. We must have both fertile soil and good breeding in order to produce good animals and foodstuffs fit for human consumption.
God holds the producer responsible for growing quality foods. He intended that farmers should be studious, progressive, well-educated individuals fully capable of handling the responsibility of properly nourishing humanity. Health is important!
God intends the farmer to be a pillar in his community. One who doubts this has only to study the complicated structure of the agricultural laws in the Bible. No other secular occupation has been given a set of Biblical laws even remotely comparable to the laws of agriculture.
These laws cannot be fully understood without considerable educational progress. The production of the food that gives either health or degeneration is certainly an honorable position worthy of the dedicated effort of top-quality men. God commands, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Cor. 3:17).
In these days of utter corruption, many consumers will be willing to throw up their hands in defeat and cooperate with producers and processors—by continuing to use foods that are making the populace effeminate, cowardly, sick, and crippled. But it is still possible to obtain quality food if one is willing to put forth effort.
The world’s system was just about as corrupt in Christ’s day as it is now. Leprosy and other degenerative diseases ran rampant. Yet Peter was able to boast that he had never eaten corrupt food (Acts. 10:14). Peter had been blessed with parents who were diligent in their efforts to rear healthy children. His resultant physical virility enabled him to accomplish great things in the New Testament Church. Are you doing as much for your children?
To be continued next issue, with proof that wrong methods of selection and breeding are now critical factors in this crisis…
By J.W. Robinson. The Plain Truth, April 1963.
And Now—A New Crisis in Farming, Part II
This second and final installment uncovers a startling crisis in agriculture and little-known facts about the new problems confronting livestock breeders today.
The specter of a new crisis in farming is here. Government authorities, veterinarians, and university departments of animal husbandry all tell us something is drastically wrong with our livestock. In the previous issue, we saw the schemes men have devised to force unnatural profits out of livestock. We saw that dietary shortcuts are bringing on mounting diseases. And drugs and medicines, instead of relieving these distresses, have increased them by lowering the natural resistance of livestock. The California Farmer magazine admitted, “Recent changes in handling animals may have upset the natural balance.”
We also saw that health-endangering chemicals fed to livestock are rapidly increasing the sicknesses of consumers. Then there is the mounting problem of dwarfism, birth difficulties, and sicknesses due to bad breeding practices.
Our bodies are made up of what we eat. Our health is regulated in large part by the quality of our food. This shoulders upon the farmer and rancher a serious responsibility. If he loves his fellow man, he will be concerned for the quality of the foodstuffs he is producing for the tables of others.
We are told by many that modern selective breeders have been improving the quality of livestock. They usually cite as proof increasing size and quantity of production. That this is erroneous animal husbandry is proved by the fact that the supposedly most improved herds generally have the greater health problems—eventually affecting consumers’ health.
Our supposedly superior beef cattle are not naturally as tender as they should be. Hence the widespread use of tenderizers. “Today, 80 percent of the nation’s beef cattle get stilbestrol,” states Time magazine. This chemical—related to the spread of cancer—makes cows grow faster, which supposedly tenderizes them and makes for a “better” market animal. But does it, really?
Chemical and Engineering News states, “Buyers and consumers are demanding better quality and more uniform [meat] products.”
One factor constantly mentioned in reports on the beef market is that customers are demanding less waste fat and more of the marbling that gives meat its natural tenderness.
Producers of dairy products tell us they also have been giving us better quality. But Dr. Murray C. Zimmerman, MD, in an article in the A.M.A. [American Medical Association] Archives of Dermatology, admits many [people] are sensitive to penicillin because of the ever-increasing amounts of it we are getting in milk. A chronic itching rash is often the result. Penicillin is used to combat mastitis, which is one of the most persistent of dairymen’s problems. And in the testing of commercial milk samples, measurable quantities of penicillin have been found in as high as 96 percent of tested samples.
If breeders have been steadily improving the quality of livestock all these years, why do we have all these complaints about the milk and meat? And why does the meat of most beef animals have to be artificially tenderized? Shouldn’t beef be naturally tender, like most wild game?
Just what are the principles by which men have been supposedly “improving” their cattle and our food supply? Could these principles have anything to do with our own health problems—as well as the health problems of commercial cattle herds?
Notice the facts![Photo of cow, with caption:] When wrong breeding is practiced, the final result is too often scrubs. Bad breeding habits are producing cattle that give watery milk and tough meat that needs to be artificially tenderized.
How the Trouble Began
Let us start at the beginning. Here is how modern selective breeding developed—and the principles it employs.
Much has been written on this subject. But one of the most readable, authoritative, brief summaries of the development of the modern cattle industry is The Taurine World, a special cattle issue published by The National Geographic Magazine in December 1925. The author, Alvin Howard Sanders, DAgr, LLD, is a noted author and editor of several books and magazines dealing with animal husbandry. In The Taurine World, he drew upon facts published by many noted authorities in addition to his own vast store of knowledge.
The Taurine World informs us that about two centuries ago Robert Bakewell, a pioneering farmer from Leicestershire, England, discovered he could, through many generations of animal incest, concentrate the traits of one preferred-type animal in his or her offspring and thereby establish a few isolated characteristics that were being sought. He bred a bull calf from an especially good cow back to his mother—and their offspring back to the mother again. He repeated such matings for several generations, until the desired qualities were fixed. So successful was Bakewell that King George III took a deep personal interest in his work. Immediately he had a following.
It was through Bakewell’s methods that all new breeds have been established—and by which a few old breeds were forcibly changed to fit man’s concept of what animals should be.
Livestock authorities recognize that there are very real—though sometimes hidden—dangers in animal incest. But some characteristics are commonly considered by breeders worth the risk—if there may be money in it! (Dual-Purpose Cattle by Claude H. Hinman, past president of the American Milking Shorthorn Society, pp. 37–38).
What characteristics did Bakewell and his followers desire? Mr. Sanders states, “He [Bakewell] found that breeding from close affinities [incestuous inbreeding] tended to reduce size and vigor and set up a certain delicacy of form that experience taught was favorable to the process of fat secretion” (The Taurine World, p. 620). [Brackets per original.]
Thus Bakewell and his protégés knew that when they bred for a few isolated characteristics, they had to neglect and lose other qualities.
Notice these two facts—that Bakewell knew he was reducing vigor [and] knew he did it to get more fat, which makes more profit. Being motivated by greed for money, he knowingly and willingly sacrificed quality! Bakewell’s principles were applied to dairy cattle by concentrating on udder development (The Taurine World, p. 621).
Cattle authorities admit that “all cattle measuring up to the modern human idea as to what they ought to be are most assuredly not improved from the standpoint of the animals themselves” (The Taurine World, p. 621).
Improvement was not under consideration. What was so diligently sought by Bakewell and his followers was more money! The records prove these men bred only for big udders or blocky frames and much fat. Nothing was considered so important that it could not be sacrificed in the interest of a greater inflow of the almighty pound or dollar. Cattlemen know this brand of “improvement” results in a loss of hardiness. One of the most universally recognized facts of breeding is that species untouched by man are always more hardy! But men consider “progress” to be worth the price.
Many honest farmers have been skeptical of these principles of deliberately corrupting cattle in the interest of money. Some of the animal breeders interested in greater profits had to practice their perversions in secret so their neighbors would not ostracize them. Yet these men made such notable changes and gained such international fame that the breeds they developed—usually from crossbreeds—caught on and gradually became popular. Most of our major beef and dairy breeds were developed in this way, the genetic alterations and loss of qualities varying from breed to breed and herd to herd according to the degree to which Bakewell’s system was applied. Breeds that were not so altered remained normal but obscure.
Selective breeders in England became so famous for changing the very hereditary nature of livestock through many generations of incestuous matings that Emerson was led to comment:
“The native cattle are extinct, but the island is full of artificial breeds. Bakewell created sheep and cows and horses to order and breeds in which everything was omitted but what is economical. The cow is sacrificed to her bag; the ox to his sirloin.”
Emerson’s analysis was, in principle, correct. The things that were omitted because they were not considered of importance were quality of meat and milk, vitality, adaptability to extremes in weather, disease resistance, intelligence, gentleness, and other desirable traits that still remain in older breeds that were not developed by the Bakewell system. All modern livestock authorities who mention these obscure breeds commend their hardiness and other qualities.[Photo of cow and breeder, with caption:] Emerson’s analysis of modern selective breeding techniques was: “Everything was omitted but what is economical. The cow is sacrificed to her bag; the ox to his sirloin.” These principles are generally employed by most breeders to this day.
Modern experts know the trend started by Bakewell is dangerous. Yet many modern Bakewell followers perpetuate unnatural livestock by breeding for isolated characteristics. A leading livestock authority states: “The use of that criterion of only weight increase has crowded the life stream of our growing, young animals so badly that the stream is about to be dried up through an increasing crop of dwarfs! There is a higher percentage of them where the stream of life has been more carefully guided by us according to particular pedigrees” (Soil Fertility and Animal Health by Dr. Wm. A. Albrecht, Chairman, Department of Soils, University of Missouri).[Photo of selectively bred miniature stallions, with caption:] These savage 24-inch-tall stallions are not Shetlands. An Argentine ranch family spent over half a century selectively breeding standard-sized horses down to this size—forcibly altering their hereditary nature, giving them unnatural characteristics. The viciousness shown here is not characteristic of Shetlands, which are small by natural heredity.
Men have imposed upon their livestock many limitations that God did not impose at creation. They look around and see what our animals are now like and assume they are the best ever—thinking we are evolving better and better all the time.
Many Britons, Australians, and Americans feel “it has to be bigger—or have greater capacity—to be better” and have disregarded all other factors in preference for capacity production in all types of livestock. Then they adamantly insist they have increased the quality of their product. But what is the result of this “improvement”?
A few years ago, a high concentration of nitrates in forage crops in Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin poisoned and killed many hundreds of cattle. Dr. Arthur A. Case, MS, DVM, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at University of Missouri, reported on this tragedy in the Haver-Glover Messenger: “In most instances, by the fifth day several of the largest and best cows were found either dead or very sick. Almost all of the sick animals were dead in 24 hours.”
Notice that the largest and supposedly best cows—the most “improved” individuals—succumbed first, because they had the lowest resistance to poison. The gain in size had been a loss in hardiness. The human body, fed by these inadequate animals, is reaping the same results.
In recent years most dairymen have had a mania for increasing the size of their cows in order to further increase individual production and have assumed that increasing the size also increases the strength. Their newest technique in choosing herd cows is to use wither height only as their guide to quality. Now these dairymen are wondering why these abnormally larger cows are suddenly having difficulty giving normal birth, whereas their smaller ancestors fifteen years ago gave birth without distress.
Many dairymen claim a bigger cow gives proportionately more nourishment in her extra gallons of milk. But milk tests have proved that this increased capacity does not give a proportionate increase in the nourishment—that the increase is practically all water, which the dairyman then sells to the customers at milk prices.[Chart, with title:] Latest Data That R.D. Stewart Has Found Available (9/1/62) on the Percentage of Nutrients in Different Breed Milks. [See original for data.] [Text accompanying chart:] If a dairyman pours a gallon of water into each can of milk he sells, it is a crime. But this chart, which shows the percentages of nutrients in the milk of the more popular breeds, proves that some unwittingly have been breeding their cows to unnaturally put more than that amount of extra water in the milk. (Chart released by R.D. Stewart.) [Chart, with title:] S.N.F. [Solids-Not-Fat] Project—Cow Summary Total to Date. [See original for data.] [Text accompanying chart:] This production record chart from a top-production herd of Guernseys convinced the owner that breeding for increased capacity does not bring a proportionate increase in nutritional content. Notice, for example, that cow No. 7 gave almost twice as much milk in 183 days as did cow No. 19 but [with] a much lower percentage of butterfat (BF) and other nutrients commonly termed solids-not-fat (SNF).
Men claim that cattle were originally scrubs and had to be bred for capacity. But this is not true. God created good livestock, not scrubs (Gen. 1:24–27). In ancient times when God’s people were taken into captivity and a few poor people were temporarily left in the land, a large family was able to get an abundance of milk and butter from one young cow and two sheep (Isa. 7:21–22).
Laying hens are even more distorted than cattle. The modern egg has a pale, flat, sick-looking yolk and a watery white that splatters all over the skillet—with the flavor missing! Such an egg is not remotely comparable to that produced by a nonpressured hen in a backyard flock—with its rich, flavorful yolk and firm, healthy white.
Does this mean selective breeding is wrong? Most assuredly not! It only means selective breeding has been misapplied and wrongly used.
God saw fit to preserve in the Bible the example of the patriarch Jacob’s selective breeding technique. Scholars recognize that Jacob had an amazing amount of knowledge and skill in livestock breeding.
Jacob agreed to herd Laban’s cattle and take as his pay all the odd-colored animals, while the standard colors were to be Laban’s (Gen. 30:27–34). Because Laban changed Jacob’s wage frequently in order to enrich himself with Jacob’s labor (Gen. 31:7), God performed a miracle to cause the animals to produce a fair wage for Jacob, as described in verses 6–12.
The account makes it obvious that Jacob bred for strength as regards hardiness, vigor, and virility, which perpetuates quality in general. In his quest for quality, he trusted God to provide the quantity in the right color patterns. Jacob did not fix a particular color pattern or other unnatural characteristic by incest, as modern breeders have done, but left hereditary qualities as they were. He picked the most virile males and corralled them for breeding with the more virile females in order to produce quality—and as a result God rewarded him with a decent wage (Gen. 30:37–39, 41–43 and 31:38).
As a constant safeguard against inbreeding, Jacob maintained a flock ratio of one male to ten females (Gen. 32:13–14). Modern authorities unwisely recommend one male to thirty or forty females—or one male to thousands of females in artificial insemination, admittedly a calculated risk!
Dr. C.O. Gilmore of the Ohio Experiment Station, in a report in The Rural New Yorker, stated that artificial insemination has already begun to produce many heritable defects that are becoming a public concern. With 90 percent of our dairy cows now being artificially inseminated, a few more years of such a practice could lead to sudden degeneration of entire herds.
Men have departed from God’s way and in their greed have bred their cattle and poultry for isolated characteristics according to man’s desire for each particular breed: excessive fat; blocky, big-rumped frames; excessively rapid growth; abnormal amounts of milk and eggs; unusual or unnatural color patterns; and other hereditary distortions.
The present livestock crisis—of disease, dwarfism, and birth difficulty—is abundant proof that modern breeders have been wrong in their judging of what constitutes quality and what is profitable, in the long run, for human health. Then why were bad breeding practices introduced in the first place? What did these men want to accomplish?
Bakewell and his followers lived in England’s fertile valleys, which had attracted settlers with varied sorts of cattle. The cattle had been allowed to promiscuously crossbreed until the land was full of mongrels.
Bakewell thought the way to improve those cattle was to take local individuals that looked good and, through incestuous mating, develop a new, supposedly superior, breed by concentrating on developing certain desired characteristics. He and his followers did not generally consider going to other areas and buying good-quality pure breeds for foundation stock.
The practice temporarily worked so well that some tried it on pure breeds to increase the size, milk capacity, or fattening ability. Because farmers were paid for quantity, their reasoning easily told them quantity meant quality! What actually happened was that quality was sacrificed for quantity—all in the name of quick profits.
But in other areas good breeds of pure cattle were not changed by this system. Their owners were satisfied with the natural and just profit their stock produced. These breeds, though profitable, were neglected by Bakewell and his followers because they were either too small or they were in areas far removed from the productive plains and valleys that inspired the use of Bakewell’s system.
These neglected natural breeds have generally retained their natural hardiness since creation. They do not suffer the losses from disease, dwarfism, and birth difficulties so common in the artificial breeds. This fact and their superior digestion make them generally as profitable as the artificial breeds. They produce meat and milk—or eggs in the case of poultry—that are of noticeably superior quality.
The meat of the old, natural breeds, according to all authoritative comment, is not tough and stringy, as some have assumed. It is tender and well marbled without heavy layers of waste fat, is of superior flavor, and is very highly prized by the consumer. These breeds have rugged constitutions but tender meat. Men who switch from new breeds to the old breeds are always surprised at their many good qualities.
The natural breeds came from areas where conditions were rugged and farmers could not afford to use a breeding technique that caused a loss of hardiness and quality. They left their cattle as God created them. And in many cases owners of these natural breeds have been “old-fashioned” enough to be honest—to recognize, and strive for, true quality in livestock.
The meat of natural breeds does not have to be artificially tenderized, as the unnatural breeds usually require. Corruption is a chain reaction: one sinful practice requires another, and then another, to cover up. Now the whole land is full of the wretched result of such actions. The ultimate result is our own sickly bodies.
To better understand the qualities all cattle should have by nature, notice the traits of some of the natural breeds that have been bred for overall quality and hardiness instead of for one or two isolated characteristics. The best market beeves of the natural breeds—such as Scotch Highlanders, Brahmans, Galloways, Dexters, Red Polls, and Charolais—can be counted on to dress out a carcass weighing 58 percent to 64 percent of live weight with very little or no waste fat!
But the artificial breeds dress out no more than 60 percent to 65 percent of live weight—only a very little more—and they have a considerable amount of waste fat; and many times they have a considerable amount of hard, unmarbled lean [weight]. The evidence amply demonstrates that the natural breeds actually produce a higher percentage of lean beef that [is] of better quality and flavor. It is a widely known fact that the natural beef breeds give their calves a better supply of rich milk than most cows in the artificial beef breeds.[Photo of Charolais cow, with caption:] Huge Charolais cattle—because they have been normally bred and are large by natural heredity—have none of the dwarfism associated with the three major beef breeds mentioned in the previous installment. The Charolais are not bothered by pinkeye, which plagues most other light-skinned breeds. Note the bulging muscles that indicate much lean meat and very little waste fat.
Natural breeds do not have to be finished on the feedlot—they are good and tender fresh out of the pasture, and grass is much less expensive than grain. When put [them] in the feedlot, the natural breeds put on tender lean [meat] instead of waste fat.
In regard to commercial milk production, Mr. Sanders and others inform us the old, natural breeds, such as Dexters, Red Polls, and Kerries, have long been noted for both quality and richness of milk and for profitable production. At the Model Dairy contest conducted at Buffalo in 1901, a Red Poll cow placed second in individual competition for profitable production.
All the Red Polls entered were from one herd, but in most other breeds contestants were picked from numerous herds scattered all over the country. Thus the first place winner, a Guernsey, had a decided advantage (The Taurine World, pp. 683–684). Red Polls, though still not numerous, have won many similar dairying honors since that time.
Another ancient breed is the Irish Dexter, smaller than a Jersey but almost as beefy proportioned as an Aberdeen Angus. Big-cow enthusiasts who look with contempt on the Dexter’s small size have to ignore several vital factors that prove it does not have to be bigger to be better. They are such good foragers that they eat young bushes and dry cornstalks from top to bottom, which increases their health and profitableness. Even though tiny, they give up to three gallons of very rich milk a day.
Those who have raised these tiny cows many years affirm that “they produce both milk and beef more economically than the strictly beef or dairy breeds.”[Photo of a young boy leading a Dexter cow by a leash, with caption:] They do not have to be bigger to be better. Dexter cattle have a tiny but beefy frame and weigh from 600 to 900 pounds. Like all the normal, ancient breeds, they produce a fine carcass of excellent, flavorful, tender beef. The gentleness of this bull is typical of the breed. Although completely unaccustomed to a leash, he was very cooperative, even with this four-year-old boy.
Dexters are so gentle and affectionate it is not uncommon to have children do the milking and feeding—even caring for the bulls (which I have personally witnessed). Some families actually give Dexters the dog’s place as household pet.
But this does not make them delicate: Dexters can take extremes of heat and cold without discomfort. In England, where most other dairy cattle are put in snug barns in winter, Dexters are commonly housed in sheds open on three sides without loss of production. Even though short legged, they are so agile on foot that steep, rocky terrain offers no problem (The Dexter Cow by W.R. Thrower).
These factors of hardiness, which are common—in slightly varying degrees—to all the old, natural, pure breeds whether large or small, contribute greatly to their profit-making capacity. When exposed to wintry cold, any of the hardy breeds get a better start in the spring and are not adversely affected by sudden spring storms.
People who are familiar with only the artificial breeds assume that the natural breeds are just as limited and just as adversely affected by distresses. But this is not true. The natural breeds consider such things as sudden weather changes to be normal.
Scotch Highlanders, for example, are not, as some suppose, just northern cows. They are so adaptable that they do not appear to suffer from the heat of Southern California summers. Big, gentle Brahman cattle, assumed to be suited only for hot climates, adapt more readily to Canadian winters than the light dairy breeds and frequently spend their time in the open in below-zero weather, even when a barn is available, according to reports from northern breeders.
Charolais cattle—another big, extremely gentle breed—are noted for hardiness; for milk that tests up to six percent butterfat; and for fine-quality, tender beef. Having long been bred in France for hardiness and lean meat, these cattle did not have their nature distorted in the interest of unnatural profit.
The ancient, natural beef breeds are usually better milkers than the artificial breeds. Brahmans are sometimes used as family milk cows because of their abundance of rich milk that tests over five percent butterfat. Devon cattle are such heavy milkers that they used to be considered dual-purpose cattle. Some writers still list them as such, although the Devon Cattle Club lists them as strictly beef cattle.[Photo of foraging Dexter cows, with caption:] Dexters, even though tiny, produce an abundance—up to three gallons a day—of rich, sweet-flavored milk with small fat globules. These rough foragers are as good as goats at cleaning up weed patches. Their terrific digestive system makes them economical producers of both meat and milk. This stocky cow had just been turned out to pasture after milking. Dexters are almost entirely free of diseases.
Gentleness and Courage
Many people assume that gentle animals must be indolent cowards and that certain animals, like watchdogs and dairy bulls, must be vicious and dangerous in order to be good. Such an assumption is the height of folly! God did not intend any domestic animal to be dangerous. He commands that a dangerous bull should be kept penned and that if this does not keep him from harming people or other animals, he should be killed (Ex. 21:28–36).
Men have not obeyed God. They have carelessly bred such belligerent natures into dairy bulls that big-game hunters always list the domestic dairy bull as the most dangerous animal on the North American continent. This is true, but it is a perversion. Viciousness is not an essential part of courage. Some of the most docile cattle are noted for their courageous protection of their young. And there are several breeds of medium and large dogs—gentle as lapdogs—that have for centuries been used to guard sheep and cattle. They are so courageous they will fearlessly fight off wolves or bears.
Viciousness in cattle is not a trait created in them. It is a rather recent development caused by mismanagement, crossbreeding, and breeding for a few isolated characteristics while neglecting the overall quality.
Throughout the Middle East, where our ancestors and our cattle originated, all species of livestock have been noted for gentleness ever since the earliest recorded history. Both the Bible and secular literature speak of young boys and girls caring for the family flocks and herds in ancient times. And the modern traveler in Crete who mentioned “a small yellow-haired girl, driving a flock of sheep, goats, cows, and one pig under the shadow of the trees” in National Geographic Magazine (November 1943, p. 564) was only reiterating what many other recent travelers throughout the East have said.
Those flocks of cattle, sheep, and goats, together commonly seen throughout the unfenced East, normally include a few male animals, all docile. Those people could not afford a vicious animal. But when our ancestors started migrating and indiscriminately mixing different breeds from different areas and breeding for abnormal profits, many strains lost their normal docility, along with some other qualities.[Photo of smiling young boy with bull, with caption:] Many people assume that all bulls are dangerous and that Brahman bulls particularly are outlaws fit only for rodeo escapades. They got this impression from a few abused outlaws, usually crossbreeds. Brahman bulls, when properly reared in the presence of people, are gentle as kittens and very responsive to kindness.
Many breeders recognize that crossbreeding many times causes a loss of docility as well as quality. It is no wonder God forbids crossbreeding (Lev.19:19). From the beginning He intended that each species should reproduce “after its kind” (Gen. 1). Crossbreeding recommendations are made primarily by theorists and not by quality-minded cattlemen.
Age Old Qualities Still Profitable
All the natural breeds—which originated by the branching out of the original stock—have inherited many of the desirable traits in common because these are the traits God put in the original perfect cattle. These good traits were bred out of the others as a sacrifice to unnatural profit.
As an illustration of the day-to-day economic usefulness of these diversified qualities that good cattle have, notice the rare qualities listed in this enthusiastic report from a rancher who hauled a few Scotch Highland cattle 3,000 miles from Vancouver, Canada, to Ross River, Yukon Territory:
“They gained weight on the trip. I gave them lots of room and hay…To unload at night I would back up to a bank and call them and out they would jump. In the morning the same thing: just walk in with some hay and they would follow…[What manageability!] [Comment by article author.]
“These cattle, alongside others, have horse sense. Loose on the range, other cattle I have known will walk into bog holes, fall into holes, wedge into trees, and in fact are always in trouble. Not these little guys. They walk around bogs and open water in the river; you can’t drive them near a dangerous spot. They nonchalantly feed on sidehills that a horse would break his neck on; in fact we are sold on them…It gets very cold, down to 70 below…”
Another rancher reports: “It got down to 20 below, [with] a strong northwest wind. The Herefords broke through the fence and came home, and a couple of Highland cows came with them. I rode out the next day; the rest of the Highland cows and the yearling Highland heifers were out there by themselves and didn’t seem to be a bit perturbed. We have no natural shelter here…”
With performance such as reported by these ranchers coupled with disease resistance, good calf crops, twenty years of productivity, and no dwarfism, it would be difficult to lose money. Low overhead and good production is a combination hard to beat. These are the qualities all cattle would have if they were bred and fed properly.
Some of the long-neglected hardy breeds are gaining more public attention and favor, especially from cattlemen who have been suffering losses. Regrettably, some breeders are using the hardy breeds only for crossbreeding or are trying to quickly make them fatter or bigger in the rump by using Bakewell’s techniques. Thus they are headed for the same degeneration, through the same mistakes, all over again. Indiscriminately striving for larger frames, more fat, heavier rumps, more milk, or a particular color pattern will lead to neglect of the overall quality and can quickly degenerate any breed.[Photo of young boy with Brahman bull, with caption:] Gentleness was omitted in the artificial breeds. Brahmans are not only gentle but also affectionate. They love people, as do the other normal, intelligent breeds that have not been high-pressured into viciousness or indolence.
A Recent Case History
A typical example of rapid corruption occurred in the Brittany peninsula of France, long famous for its tiny, hardy, excellent milk cows. Several decades ago, “progressive” farmers on the fertile coastal plain began to import Shorthorn bulls to increase size—and Ayrshire and Jersey bulls to increase milk production—of the Brittany cows. The latter did not increase the already good milk production, but the former did increase size, so they continued to use Shorthorns and discontinued the others. However, in the poor, rugged, hilly southern part of the peninsula—Morbihan Department—the farmers would have none of this crossbreeding and kept their cattle pure and small (The Taurine World, p. 656).
What is the outcome of this unfortunate experiment with the Shorthorns? Dr. Ghislain Gielfrich reports that “pure Brittany cattle are perfectly adapted for poor land,” and he adds that “purebred animals are now in the minority in the peninsula, but certain crosses are as unfortunate as they are indefinable” (L’approvisionnement en Lait de la Ville de Rennes, translated by Ambassador College French Department, p. 17).
Dr. Gielfrich further informs us, on page 41, that brucellosis, or Bang’s disease, is prevalent in the northern part of the peninsula (the coastal plain where crossbreeding had been practiced) and that the hilly southern section (where cattle were kept pure) has healthy cattle to this day.
Crossbreeding did not directly cause Bang’s disease but weakened the constitutions of the animals, so they became more susceptible. Greed for unnatural profits always brings its eventual retribution. In this end time, when a speedy downfall has been decreed for a rebellious society, that retribution will come more quickly.
The susceptibility of livestock to degeneration from mismanagement also implies another factor. The degenerate breeds, if not hopelessly decadent, can be regenerated—not by crossbreeding and use of feed additives but by following Jacob’s breeding principles and by use of proper feed and forage.
By culling out weaklings and breeding hardy, normal individuals—beef cattle with the normal, not-so-blocky appearance and slightly smaller, natural rumps, and milk stock with normal udders giving a natural amount of rich nourishment instead of excessive gallons of water—and by seeking quality first, following the teachings of the Bible, some [ranchers] can rebuild the health of their cattle soon enough to avoid catastrophe.
Changing the principles of management will rebuild the health of livestock more quickly than it will give normal tenderness to the beef of the tougher-meated modern breeds. For that reason some have already found it necessary to change breeds, but many will not find such a drastic move necessary.[Photo of Scotch Highlander cow, with caption] Many assume the Scotch Highlander is only a novelty cow because of his unusual appearance. But they are proven profit producers. Neither cold nor heat worries these gentle animals. These cows are noted for superior carcasses of tender, well-marbled lean beef and for their resistance to disease and other troubles.
Knowledge Requires Action
We may not previously have known these principles of animal husbandry. God held off the crisis until the proclamation of the penalty for sin was sent to this heedless people on a nationwide scale through The World Tomorrow broadcast.
After God warns us, He requires us to obey His instructions (Ezek. 3:19; John 13:17). We should be satisfied with the prosperity God built into the natural heredity of good livestock. God’s standards of excellence are best for both producer and consumer. A greedy desire for more brings less in the long run and poor health.
Some claim they cannot afford to correct the abuses in their livestock. But neither can they afford to stand idly by and watch a plague of livestock losses descend upon them like a storm. One who follows God’s principles will always prosper without indulging in drugs, growth stimulants, and tenderizers—and need have no fear of disease, dwarfism, or birth difficulties.
It is time to quit deceiving ourselves into trouble and rely upon God and His ways for our prosperity (Deus. 28:1–6; Mal. 3:8–11; Mat. 6:24–34). God’s promises are not the idle dreams of righteous men of old; they are the sure and practical ways that work.
All our errors can be eliminated—and a livestock tragedy can be prevented—but only by changing man’s motives and practices. We must learn to act upon the living, working, sure laws of God Almighty.[Photo of Devon cow, with caption:] Many cows in the artificial beef breeds have difficulty giving enough milk for their calves. But the natural beef breeds have not had the milk capacity unnaturally bred out of them. The excellent udder on this 16-year-old “run of the herd” Devon cow, a beef breed, amply demonstrates this fact. [Photo of Brahman bull in snow, with caption:] Many assume that Brahmans are suitable only for hot southern areas. But, like all old, unexploited breeds, Brahmans are very adaptable. In cold climates they grow downy hair under a long outer coat, and their loose folds of skin shrink and thicken to give them added protection. This Brahman bull shows no discomfort in snowy mountains.
By J.W. Robinson. The Plain Truth, May 1963. Parts I and II reprinted as single publication, Reprint 136, by Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research.
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