Hey. I was trying to think of a clever title, and I didn't sleep much last night. I thought it was cute. 30 seconds later, I read it again and groaned a bit. But I'm not changing it! It's just a few moooosings of my mind. oh wait, that's a better title. dang it!
They're funny creatures. They're massive, and they could knock you around pretty easily, if they wanted to. But - they're eyes are on the side of their heads. And you know what that means.
They are prey.
Our eyes are in front. We are predators.
So if they ever formed a cow mafia - they'd rule the world. or at least the fields. But - they don't. Cuz their eyes are on the side of their heads and they think like prey, not predators.
Yesterday as we were driving home, we passed a CAFO.
If you don't know what they are - that stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation. They're pretty nasty. Smell nasty. Look nasty. And all the animals are squished together in some nasty conditions. The US Dept of Agriculture defines a CAFO as "an intense animal feeding operation in which over 1000 animal units are confined for over 45 days a year."
Over 45 days a year, meaning - it could be (and usually is) 365 days a year.
Here is the picture I took while we were driving past.
If you're not familiar with CAFOs - let me just say, this one is actually not so bad. They have a TON of room, the ground is sloped so run off isn't pooling (so they don't have to stand knee-deep in each other's poop) and there is some shade there (where they are all congregated to escape the 102 degree weather). It's not IDEAL, but - it's kinda like a minimum security prison for cows.
They get their "three meals a day", a yard to mingle, and a bit of space. No freedom - but meh. There are worse places to do their time. If you don't believe me, run an internet image search on CAFOs. There are some "maximum security prisons" where they're all just counting down their days on death row.
In a word - yuck.
Now... this post is a little long, but - I'm having fun letting my mind wander. If you've had enough - thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a beautiful day!
Let's focus a bit on greener pastures.
I love where I live. It is remote, beautiful, and everything that a hermit like myself would love. Best of all, the cows on our mountains are freeeeeeeeee as a bird.
Look at all the space they have to roam. When I tell you that they have ALL those mountains to roam - wow, they do. And they climb all the way up those mountains! It's hilarious to see these massive animals climbing mountains. Goats? Sure. Deer? Of course! But these massive bovine creatures? hahaha YES. they do. They take FULL advantage of ALL the space they have on their incredibly massive ranches.
Awww! See mommy and baby at the bottom of the shot?I think it's hilarious that the mountain cows usually look right into the camera and pose for you hehehe.
In the rainy season (which is very, very short in California haha), these mountains are the most beautiful emerald green. Wildflowers pop up everywhere, and the cows are in heaven.
Or.... are they?
So this got me thinking, actually.
I've seen some cow documentaries. Yes. I have. Cuz I like cows, ok? And some say the cows on the CAFOs are really anxious and jittery and scared. They have no social skills and they won't look you in the eye - and all this affects their hormones, and bodies - and therefore, their meat.
Their never-ending playground
Makes sense. When we get stressed, it affects our bodies too. Can make us pretty sick and could logically affect every system in our body, including muscle texture and... taste, I guess? Sorry. Just drawing a logical conclusion.
But my wondering wasn't about really the quality of the meat based on their location and environment.
Does the cow know how good/bad its life is?
I mean -for me? I see cows on the CAFO, and I'm sad.
I'm especially sad because I KNOW how good a cow can have it!
But they don't.
They are completely unaware of the freedoms that are denied to them, and quite frankly? They don't have to go searching for food, or worry about mountain lions, or find a watering hole. They eat, get fat, eat, get fat, eat, and get fat.
Kinda made me think of people.
How often do we impose our idea of happiness on others who are blissfully unaware that there is anything different than their own experience? I'm not talking about ignoring suffering. I'm talking about befriending someone that is very content in their world, and then dangling "more" before them without thinking of the consequences.
It just made me think, made me question, made me challenge.
Life is a funny thing. We can live in a CAFO, and we can roam free on the mountainside. There's nothing wrong with striving for more, but contentment CAN come despite our situation.
Beef steers go from pasture to plate in about 2 years, and it doesn't matter where they're born. They still end up on a plate, somewhere. Guess I'm just saying - Make the best with what you have, with the time you're given.
But how about something a little lighter for the end of the post?
I got out of the car to take some final shot and these curious cows are NOT like CAFO cows. They didn't run over to me like puppies, but they did wander over to see what I was all about. I reached down beyond their reach to get some of the long grass that would entice them.
They eventually got VERY close, but wouldn't take the grass from my hand. I would have been shocked if they had, but I wanted to give it a try anyway! haha
After 10 minutes, I stopped tempting them with the grass, and just tossed it close enough for them to eat on their own. Within moments of me turning my back there was a mad dash for the tasty treats I had left. All was not a loss - I did get this cool close-up. Enjoy!🐮
I love cows. Pretty sure the feeling is mooooo-tual. yuk yuk yuk. Come on! That one was cute!!!!
All pictures taken by me. Hope you enjoyed the view 😍 and allowed your mind to wander with my silly thoughts! 😁
Are you still here?
The post is over... moooooove along. tee hee hee!
cow emoji from Emojidex