Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hate Mail - Fighting the Good Fight

A friend of mine writes articles for area newspapers and has recently published many of her articles in a book. In one of the light hearted articles she wrote about how she would like to be a cow in her next life. She described the way that cattle are treated, and even spoiled, by great producers across our country. She was advocating for agriculture the best way she could. Because of her popularity, she does meet nay sayers and one responded to her article with this comment (please excuse the reader’s inability to put words together correctly or to spell):

“Hope you do not really believe that. In wild Cows live to be 20. The get pregnant maybe twice in their life time. In a farm they live to be 4 or 5, if they produce enough milk. If not they will not live longer than a year or so. The male calves are taken way and sent to the slaughter house before they are weened. There is no law that says they have to be fed in route.
Not finished. If a cow falls and cannot get up they are dog food. If they do not get pregnant or do not produce milk or enough, they go to the slaughter house if they can walk. They have to walk into the slaughter house otherwise they are dog food. They are raped, artificially, as soon as they can get pregnant so they can be milked for ever, with no breaks. They suffer teat problems from being constantly milked and their udders are many times the size for natural. They are feed grains so the get fat and hormones and anti biotic which, wild cattle are lean. So it does not take much for them to get injured being chronically overweight. Organic and range raised are not much better. They are no god if they do not produce milk. So you want to be a cow?”

My friend asked me what I would write in response so I suggested this:

Dear Reader,

I'm not sure where you are getting your information but I am very thankful for your response. I'd love a moment of your time just to shed some light on some of the points that are concerning you.
I am rather unfamiliar with wild cattle herds, mainly because American farmers and ranchers understand that cattle thrive under care. We were made to be stewards of all living things and that, along with feeding you, America and our world, is what we work for every day. I would imagine that in the wild there may be cows that are unable to be bred every year simply because malnourished animals have issues with a proper hormone cycle and the ability to find a bull (male cattle) may be an issue.
The age that cattle grow to be is different at every operation. In our region that age is usually based on the ability for the cow to remain in good health. Just as you might choose to put down your dog if they have cancer, we use our cattle to feed consumers when they've reached an age where 1. reproduction of healthy offspring is not an option or 2. they begin to suffer from medical issues. We do harvest steers (male cattle that have been castrated) around 18 months of age. We handle this in the most scientifically humane way possible. It is apparent that harvesting animals may be something that you take issue with. What one must understand is that facts need to take precedent to feelings. Factually, the nutrition provided by red meat is vital to a healthy human lifestyle. We cannot falsely claim that livestock have a soul like you and me. They were made for our use, what a blessing! You are correct in saying that no law states that the cattle have to be fed en route to harvesting. However, cattle producers care deeply about the pounds of product they send to be processed and that shipping process rarely takes more than several hours. The cattle are fine.
There is actually quite a bit of irony in your second paragraph. Cattle are fed so well in America that they don't have to be malnourished and lean like the straw-man wild cattle to which you refer. Mastitis is an issue that arises in cows that produce too much unused milk. Cows that have calves to drink that milk or milkers to relieve them from complications are actually the healthiest. Cows were intricately designed to provide nutrition via dairy products as well. Again, your claim about the cows being raped is humanizing an animal. That's basing things off of your feelings not facts.
The article I penned was meant to be light hearted and to reveal the excellent treatment of livestock in our country. I urge you to seek more factual information and would be honored to help you on that journey.

- Writer

It can be so discouraging to reach out and stand for anything. My friend asked if I ever receive "hate mail" - EVERY DAY! 
On yesterday's program I talked about the benefits traditional marriage has on communities and culture. I said nothing that would be offensive - unless a highly sensitive individual wanted to handle it that way. And this person did (again please excuse their ability to write): 

To Trinity,

I've worked hard all my life and paid thousands in taxes so all of your
children could get good educations. Respect and dignity is all I've asked
for in return.
I don't know your God who is hateful and full of prejudice.The example of
God through Christ was to love thy neighbor as thyself so judge yourself,
not others.
I will never listen to your program again.Killing bears and discrimination
are works of the Devil so your God must have a tail!

When they mentioned the bear they were referring to me congratulating my husband on air for getting a bear in Canada. 
I knew I had to respond so this was the letter I sent back:

Good morning,
I am always thankful to hear from listeners and your note was good to see. I'm not sure what you intended for the first sentence of your message to say, if it was that my God is hateful and prejudice I would just like to remind you that I would never claim to be the mouth of God. I do understand that as a Christian I have the opportunity to represent Christ and I desire to do that in the most positive way possible.
I am not certain which part of the program gave you the impression that I was judging. I do try to share the truth as I see it and that is one of the main reasons I love my job. The ability to be on air and share truth in a world where feelings are often times more important than facts is truly a blessing.
In response to hunting for bears: to live in a country where we have the opportunity to harvest our food and fill our freezer at a minimal cost is a wonderful. I'm sure it is a priority for you to feed yourself and the people you love. This too is our priority.
I am so thankful to have heard from you and would be honored to continue discussion on these, or any other, topics.
Have a wonderful day, again thank you for your response.
- Trinity

No one ever said standing for the truth would be easy. In fact God tells us it will be hard and we will be persecuted like He was persecuted. Today I encourage you to press on! With God as your guide you have a huge purpose and you can accomplish SO MUCH! 

PS Before you write any hate mail - make sure to use spell check :)

- Trinity Lewis

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