45 cows killed by single lightning strike near Darby


DARBY – A single lightning bolt killed 45 cattle on a Darby-area ranch last week.

The cows, calves and a prize bull were crowded together under some small crabapple trees when the lightning struck, said rancher Jean Taylor.

The incident happened Monday, July 14.

“It was exactly at 10:28 p.m.,” Taylor said. “The clap of thunder woke me up. Some friends told me they felt the shock in their house.”

The Taylors live south of Tin Cup Road.

The family had spent years building their herd of Black Angus cattle.

“They were beautiful cattle,” she said. “It killed cows and their calves and a bull that we had just bought last spring. It’s very sad.”

Local ranchers helped the family dispose of the dead animals.

No one had ever heard of so many cattle being killed by lightning l”





“Humane Slaughter,” “Ethical Hunting” Both Oxymoronic


After forty-some years in the business, fourth generation Montana cattle rancher Howard Lyman finally saw the light. Now, the author of the bestselling books, Mad Cowboy: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat and No More Bull: The Mad Cowboy Targets America’s Worst Enemy: Our Diet, spends his days promoting veganism.

For the sake of our health and humaneness, for the planet and for the wolves, adopting a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle is a challenge we all must face together. As Mr. Lyman tells us: ”The question we must ask ourselves as a culture is whether we want to embrace the change that must come, or resist it. Are we so attached to the dietary fallacies with which we were raised, so afraid to counter the arbitrary laws of eating taught to us in childhood by our misinformed parents, that we cannot alter the course they set us on, even if it leads to our own ruin? Does the prospect of standing apart or encountering ridicule scare us even from saving ourselves?”

Read More here: https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/fourth-generation-montana-cattle-rancher-now-promotes-veganism/

Reducing Gas Emissions from Livestock Key to Curbing Climate Change: Study

By James A. Foley

Jan 03, 2014

A study published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change highlights both the need for policy changes and greater emphasis on livestock management in order to curb climate change.

Although it’s well known that significant quantities of methane are produced by the burps and excrement of the world’s livestock, the study authors contend that inadequate attention is being paid to to the greenhouse gasses associated with ruminant animals such as cows, sheep, goats and buffalo.

“Because the Earth’s climate may be near a tipping point to major climate change, multiple approaches are needed for mitigation,” study leader William Ripple, a professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. said in a statement. “We clearly need to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to cut CO2 emissions. But that addresses only part of the problem. We also need to reduce non-CO2 greenhouse gases to lessen the likelihood of us crossing this climatic threshold.”

Ripple and his colleagues suggest that an effective way to mitigate the effects these greenhouse gasses have on the environment is to reduce global populations of ruminant livestock.

At approximately 3.6 billion heads, the world population of ruminant livestock is about half the global human population. Moreover, about 25 percent of the Earth’s land area is dedicated to livestock grazing, and a third of all arable land is used to grow feed crops for livestock, the researchers write.

On the basis of pounds of food produced, cattle and sheep generate between 19 and 48 times more greenhouse gasses than protein-rich plant foods such as beans, grains, or soy products, the researchers found.

More: http://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/5514/20140103/reducing-gas-emissions-livestock-key-curbing-climate-change-study.htm#


Did Your Tax Dollars Pay to Hunt Down That Cow?


Hawaii Monitor: Did Your Tax Dollars Pay to Hunt Down That Cow?

By  Ian Lind                 12/04/2013

State investigators are probing whether the History channel’s “American Jungle” violated state rules and regulations while filming. For example,  the episodes broadcast so far have included scenes of night hunting, which is prohibited by state law, and hunting down a cow with spears and dogs, although cattle “are illegal to hunt without a special feral cattle control permit” issued by the state.

Full Story: http://www.civilbeat.com/posts/2013/12/04/20566-hawaii-monitor-did-your-tax-dollars-pay-to-hunt-down-that-cow/

A Bit of Animal Trivia

Everyone likes a bit of trivia. Well, maybe not everyone; you may be the one person who doesn’t. Come to think of it, I don’t really enjoy trivia all that much myself. But anyway, like it or not, here’s some trivia for you…

1) What is the fastest growing bone tissue on Earth?
Answer:  Deer antlers

2) Which wild animal carries a dominant gene affecting their appearance that was acquired from their domesticated cousins?
Answer: Wolves. The wolf got their gene for black fur (found nearly exclusively in North American wolves) from dogs brought over with the earliest people to inhabit this continent.

3) What animal can detect odors up to 5 miles away; can hear both low and high frequency sounds beyond human capabilities and has 360 degree panoramic vision?
Answer: Cows. They also form friendships and are devoted mothers and will walk upwards of five miles in search of their calves.

4) A few centuries ago, this animals’ droppings were considered the best available fertilizer and therefore were protected by armed guards?
Answer: Pigeons

5) Which marine animal can live up to 100 years, uses complicated signals to establish social relationships, and sometimes travels hand in hand, the old leading the young?
Answer: Lobsters

6) When this animal gets injured or sick, his or her mate, and sometimes a comrade or two, will stay by their side until they are able to recover or pass on.
Answer: Canada goose

7) Which animal has the ability to learn the precise details of an area of over 1000 acres?
Answer: The turkey

8) Which dog breed was an American favorite in the early 20th century, featured as a child’s best friend and constant companion on TV and in movies, and can now be found in hospitals and nursing homes as a registered therapy animal?
Answer: The Pit Bull Terrier

9) What creature has some so paranoid that they’ve had protective enclosures—modeled after shark cages—built at school bus stops?
Answer: The Mexican Wolf in Catron County, New Mexico

10) Which animal species secretly communicates with one another through their flatulence?
Answer: Herring. Many species of fish have devised creative forms of communication and recent research has shown fish have a more complex nervous system than was previously accepted.

Bonus Question) While so many others dwindle, which group of animals has been steadily on the increase over  the years, now surpassing 150 billion?
Answer: Those consumed by humans each year.


Just Call Me a Cow Hugger

People often ask if I get a lot of uninvited remarks from anti-wolf or pro-hunting trolls. The answer is, not as many as you might think. It seems the smart hunters (again, not so many as you might suppose) know better than to waste their time writing to this blog, since any pro-kill comments go straight to the cyber-round file never to reach the light of day. I usually know right away which comments are from hunters; they’re the ones that start off with, “You people are all a bunch of tree huggers…” (Guilty as charged.)

But there are others whose comments also deserve being jettisoned off the cyber-map. I’m talking about those single-minded “wolf people” who blame the cows themselves for the persecution of wolves, as though cows enjoy their lot in life and are part of a grand conspiracy against predators, in league with the very ranchers who brand, dehorn and ultimately slaughter them. These one-note wolf folks should know that not only am I a tree-hugger and a wolf-lover, I’m also a bunny, deer and cow hugger.

In an earlier post, entitled “Animal Industry = Animal Abuse,” I wrote of hearing the cows lowing for their calves. Tonight I’m hearing it again. To me, the sounds they make are every bit as mournful as the howling of wolves, and for good reason. Not only are cows raised just to be killed and eaten by humans, theirs is a lifetime of abuse at the hands of man. Forcibly impregnated, many cows see their calves snatched away just as they start to bond with them. Unlike their wild ancestors, they’re never allowed to freely migrate to wherever conditions are more favorable for them. There are always barbed wire fences, or some bully on horseback or four-wheeler bossing them around or telling them where to go.

Taking it out on the cows (as a psychiatrist in Arizona  did when he killed seven cows in his driveway) is like wishing ill on caged elephants because you disagree with zoos or on rabbits because you hate animal experimentation. Slave auctions were repugnant because people were “treated like cattle.” Well, why should any sentient being be bought and sold like chattel? But no abolitionist ever wished harm on the slaves themselves…

The cows didn’t choose to be born in wolf habitat; they’re there because some fourth generation rancher’s forefather killed off the original wolves, claimed the land and stuck cows on it. If you want to blame someone, blame today’s ranchers for continuing the practice.

In other words, pick on someone with your own brain size. Cows know all they need to know to be a cow. A cow will never be born the next Einstein, but by the same token, no cow will ever be the next Hitler, Ted Bundy or Ted Nugent.


Early snow–Not Wolves–kills thousands of cattle in S.D.

This sad story backs up what I wrote about the cruel treatment of cows in my recent post, Animal Industry = Animal Abuse.

It also highlights just one of the many ways that ranchers lose livestock which make the occasional wolf depredation pale in comparison. Because they can’t go out and trap or shoot a snowstorm, they shrug it off and accept their losses in stride. But if a wolf wanders through, it’s panic time. Scapegoating and killing a few wolves and coyotes must make them feel better about their powerlessness to stop a snowstorm.

Also, how many times do the deniers have to hear the word “record-breaking” before they take climate change seriously…


A record-breaking storm that dumped 4 feet of snow in parts of western South Dakota left ranchers dealing with heavy losses, in some cases perhaps up to half their herds, as they assess how many of their cattle died during the unseasonably early blizzard.

By CHET BROKAW Associated Press

Frozen cattle on Monday line Highway 34 east of Sturgis, S.D.

Enlarge this photoKRISTINA BARKER / AP

Frozen cattle on Monday line Highway 34 east of Sturgis, S.D.


A record-breaking storm that dumped 4 feet of snow in parts of western South Dakota left ranchers dealing with heavy losses, in some cases perhaps up to half their herds, as they assess how many of their cattle died during the unseasonably early blizzard.

Meanwhile, utility companies were working to restore power to tens of thousands of people still without electricity Monday after the weekend storm that was part of a powerful weather system that also buried parts of Wyoming and Colorado with snow and produced destructive tornadoes in Nebraska and Iowa. At least four deaths were attributed to the weather, including a South Dakota man who collapsed while cleaning snow off his roof.

Gary Cammack, who ranches on the prairie near Union Center about 40 miles northeast of the Black Hills, said he lost about 70 cows and some calves, about 15 percent of his herd. A calf would normally sell for $1,000, while a mature cow would bring $1,500 or more, he said.

“It’s bad. It’s really bad. I’m the eternal optimist and this is really bad,” Cammack said. “The livestock loss is just catastrophic. … It’s pretty unbelievable.”

Cammack said cattle were soaked by 12 hours of rain early in the storm, so many were unable to survive an additional 48 hours of snow and winds up to 60 mph.

“It’s the worst early season snowstorm I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Cammack, 60.

Early estimates suggest western South Dakota lost at least 5 percent of its cattle, said Silvia Christen, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. Some individual ranchers reported losses of 20 percent to 50 percent of their livestock, Christen said. The storm killed calves that were due to be sold soon as well as cows that would produce next year’s calves in an area where livestock production is a big part of the economy, she said.

“This is, from an economic standpoint, something we’re going to feel for a couple of years,” Christen said.

Some ranchers still aren’t sure how many animals they lost, because they haven’t been able to track down all of their cattle. Snowdrifts covered fences, allowing cattle to leave their pastures and drift for miles.

“Some cattle might be flat buried in a snow bank someplace,” said Shane Kolb of Meadow, who lost only one cow.

State officials are tallying livestock losses, but the extent won’t be known for several days until ranchers locate their cattle, Jamie Crew of the state Agriculture Department said.

Ranchers and officials said the losses were aggravated by the fact that a government disaster program to help ranchers recover from livestock losses has expired. Ranchers won’t be able to get federal help until Congress passes a new farm bill, said Perry Plumart, a spokesman for Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D.

Meanwhile, more than 22,000 homes and businesses in western South Dakota remained without power Monday afternoon, according to utility companies. National Guard troops were helping utility crews pull equipment through the heavy, wet snow to install new electricity poles.

At least 1,600 poles were toppled in the northwest part of the state alone, and workers expect to find more, Grand River Electric Coop spokeswoman Tally Seim said.

“We’ve got guys flying over our territory, counting as they go. We’re finding more as we are able to access the roads. The roads have been pretty blocked on these rural country roads,” Seim said.

“One of our biggest challenges is getting access to areas that are still snowed in,” added Vance Crocker, vice president of operations for Black Hills Power, whose crews were being hampered by rugged terrain in the Black Hills region.

In Rapid City, where a record-breaking 23 inches of snow fell, travel was slowly getting back to normal.

The city’s airport and all major roadways in the region had reopened by Monday. The city’s streets also were being cleared, but residents were being asked to stay home so crews could clear downed power lines and tree branches, and snow from roadsides. Schools and many public offices were closed.

“It’s a pretty day outside. There’s a lot of debris, but we’re working to clear that debris,” said Calen Maningas, a Rapid City firefighter working in the Pennington County Emergency Operations Center.

Cleanup also continued after nine tornadoes hit northeast Nebraska and northwest Iowa on Friday, injuring at least 15 people and destroying several homes and businesses. Authorities also are blaming the weather for a car accident that killed three people along a slick, snow-covered road in Nebraska.

In South Dakota, the 19 inches of snow that fell in Rapid City on Friday broke the city’s 94-year-old one-day snowfall record for October by about 9 inches, according to the National Weather Service. The city also set a record for snowfall in October, with a total of 23.1 inches during the storm. The previous record was 15.1 inches in October 1919.

Animal Industry = Animal Abuse

The cows at the ranch across the road were lowing mournfully again last night. Possibly because their calves were taken from them and shipped off to slaughter. Or maybe because they are stuck out in a half-flooded field while the tail-end of a typhoon dumps on them for the fourth straight day.

As is typical in this modern era, although his is a very small operation, the rancher has a building for his machinery, but the animals have to endure hypothermic weather conditions. Meanwhile, their “owner” sits inside an electrically-heated house, thinking only about what the blue, glowing boob tube tells him to.

And they call cows “dumb animals.”

I’ve always felt sorry for cows. Dehorned, defenseless and fenced into squared off, undersized pastures by barbed wire; they’re lucky if they can find a scraggly lone tree to take shelter under during winter storms or hot summer days. Domestic cattle in North America are not adapted to the interminably wet or subzero conditions they are expected to endure here.

And don’t even get me started on sheep. Talk about defenseless. Sheep ranchers have seen to it over the centuries that sheep are at their mercy, or the mercy of any other predatory species that comes along for that matter. And if said predator is non-human, the ranchers bring out their guns, traps and poisons to put the hurt on them as well.

Animal industry is animal abuse, no matter how you slice it.


Factory Farm Legacy: Animal Torture, Water and Air Pollution and Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs

From: Organic Consumers Association, September 18, 2013

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Factory Farming page and our Food Safety page.

The days of the small farmer raising his cattle, hogs and hens on green pastures are long gone. Today America’s farming landscape resembles a windowless, animal gulag system filled with metal sheds, wire cages, gestation crates and confinement systems.

Factory farms aren’t about feeding the hungry or harvesting healthy food. They’re about maximizing profits for a handful of the world’s largest agribusiness corporations, and the biotech and pesticide companies that fuel their factories and feed their animals.

Today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, are crammed into CAFOs and slaughtered annually. These animals are literally imprisoned and tortured in unhealthy, unsanitary and unconscionably cruel conditions.

Factory farms produce unhealthy animals. And unhealthy people. About 80 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are used on factory farms, either to prevent disease or stimulate growth. Meanwhile, about 70,000 Americans die each year from “superbugs” that have developed a resistance to antibiotics.

Animal Torture Chambers

Over 300 million: The number of laying hens in the United States; of these, some 95 percent are kept in wire battery cages.

67: The average number of square inches of space allowed in each hen’s wire battery cage – less than the size of a standard sheet of paper.

72: The number of square inches of space a hen needs to be able to stand up straight.

303: The number of square inches a hen needs to be able to spread and flap her wings.

2 ft: The width of a factory farm sow cage – too small for them even to turn around or lie down comfortably.

2 ft.: The width of a factory farm cage for calves who are raised for veal.

None: The time provided to chickens and hogs raised in factory farms to spend outdoors, breathe fresh air or experience natural light.

None: The time provided to dairy and beef cattle to graze in a pasture where they could express their natural behavior (and ideal diet).

80: The percentage of antibiotics used in the United States that are given to farm animals, as a preventative measure or to stimulate growth. Growth stimulants are prohibited in Europe, but not here.

23 million: The number of pounds of antibiotics added to animal feed every year, to make the animals grow faster.

875 million: The number of U.S. animals, or 8.6%, who died lingering deaths from disease, injury, starvation, suffocation, maceration, or other atrocities of animal farming and transport.

Endangering Human Health

220 billion: The number of gallons of animal waste dumped by factory farms onto farmland and into our waterways every year.

73,000: The number of E. coli and salmonella outbreaks in 2007.

70,000: The number of Americans that die every year because of force-feeding animals antibiotics that helps breed antibiotic-resistant “superbugs.”

5,000: The number of deaths per year from food borne illnesses in the U.S.

4.5 million: The approximate number of Americans exposed to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water. Agricultural Waste is the number-one form of well-water contaminants in the U.S.

14: The percentage of factory farm chickens that tested positive for
68: The percentage of chickens with salmonella that showed resistance to one or more antibiotics.

40: The percentage of cows in industrial dairies that are injected with genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) to increase their milk yields.

70: The percentage of chicken producers that used the toxin roxarsone in their feed additives between 1995 and 2000.

3: The number of cases of mad cow disease identified in cattle in the U.S. — in December 2003, June 2005, and March 2006.

Over 90: The percentage the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scaled back testing for mad cow disease starting in the fall 2006, claiming that testing was expensive and detection of infected cows was rare.

Nearly 43: The percentage of large-scale dairies (over 500 head) that used rBGH on their cows in 2007, compared to 30 percent of mid-sized dairies, and nine percent of small dairies.

Antibiotics are widely used by U.S. meat industry, Consumer Reports
Report: Bacteria in chicken too high, Consumer Reports
10 Reasons to Fear Your Food Supply, Takepart.com
Factory-Farmed Chickens: Their Difficult Lives and Deaths, Britannica Advocacy for Animals
CAFO’s Uncovered, Union of Concerned Scientists

Zack Kaldveer, Assistant Media Director for the Organic Consumers Association, compiled these statistics.


And From the UK Guardian:

Mad cow, bird flu, pink slime? The bigger threat is antibiotics in our meat

23,000 people die each year in the US from overuse of antibiotics. We should regulate antibiotic use in agriculture


  •  Wednesday 18 September 2013
                                          Beef carcasses at a wholesale meat market in Paris
Beef carcasses at a wholesale meat market. Photograph: Francois Mori/AP

Remember pink slime – that Dayglo-bright mash of ground up meat scraps and cow connective tissues larded with industrial strength ammonia that was being served up in school lunch programs in the United States last year?

More ominously, there was mad cow disease, which has killed scores of people in Britain and elsewhere. Bird-flue outbreaks originating in poultry farms  in China and Southeast Asia have also led to periodic scares. And did I mention salmonella?

But these food-related scourges pale in comparison with another threat, which was the subject of a report released Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control: the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In its first estimate of the scope of the problem, the CDC says that 23,000 people – and possibly many more than that – die in the US each year from infection by microorganisms that can no longer be controlled by our current array of antibiotics.

We’ve known for a long time that our chronic overuse of antibiotics is helping to create these dangerous new strains of bacteria. Public health officials worry that doctors are routinely overprescribing powerful broad-spectrum antibiotics for everything from stomach aches to common colds. The CDC report says that 50% of all the antibiotics prescribed for people are not actually necessary.

But antibiotics are not just overused in medical care; we’re also feeding them indiscriminately to cows, pigs and chickens. Fully 80% of the antibiotics sold in the US are administered to farm animals in their water and feed. The use of these drugs in agriculture is virtually unregulated, according to Keeve Nachman, the director of the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University.

Nachman told me that we don’t know exactly what antibiotics are being used in meat production, or how large the doses that are administered are. Even more critically, we don’t know how much of these antibiotics remains in the meat that we eat. There is no requirement to routinely test for this. Eating meat, even with low doses of antibiotics, he warns, may lead to the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria in our own guts, if the meat is mishandled or undercooked.

There is also ample evidence that the overuse of antibiotics has created resistant bacteria in the external environment. Studies have shown them in water downstream from livestock farms, as well as in the air and soil near facilities where antibiotics are used. Nachman himself published a study yesterday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine that shows that people living near swine production sites are more likely to be infected with the superbug MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

In light of these risks, the CDC report says pointblank:

The use of antibiotics for growth is not necessary, and the practice should be phased out.

Most antibiotics currently used on farms are not for the treatment of sick animals, or even the prevention of disease, but to promote the growth and weight of livestock. Until recently scientists didn’t know how antibiotics stimulated growth. However, a study published in the journal Nature last year helped to clear up this mystery.

New York University researchers found that antibiotics have a big impact on what is called the microbiome, the teeming ecosystem of billions of diverse bacteria that live within the gut. Not only do they kill off many valuable microorganisms, but they also apparently alter the ability of some gut bacteria to metabolize carbohydrates. With the result that mice that the scientists fed antibiotics fattened up, just as as livestock do.

So if animals typically put on weight when they take antibiotics, what about humans? A study published in the Journal of Obesity found a strong correlation between exposure to antibiotics in childhood and later obesity. But that may not be the worst of it. Evidence is also mounting that low microbial diversity in the gut is associated with a whole range of inflammatory illnesses including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

With all of these dangers deriving from our overuse of antibiotics, Keeve Nachman argues that the time has come to get serious about regulating them. He says:

The FDA has proposed a voluntary program in which the pharmaceutical companies are asked to give up their drug approvals for purposes of growth promotion and to relist them for purposes of disease prevention.

But Nachman calls this “essentially a shell game” which will change how the drugs are labelled, but not the way they are actually used in animals.

To solve the problem, he says, we’ll have to ban antibiotics except in actual cases of illness. Farmers should be required to get a prescription from a veterinarian, much as you and I need a prescription from their physician before we can use the drugs.

There are already several European countries that have banned the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in meat production. But so far neither Congress nor regulators in the US have been willing to stand up to the livestock lobby and protect the public’s health.