Colorado Judge Upholding Animal Abuse Decision Deserves Pat on Back

Western Ag Vignettes

If farm livestock misuse cases go unpunished, they will continue.

Published on: September 18, 2012

We’ve followed the case of livestock abuse in Colorado for some time, continuing to mention in our editorials in Western Farmer-Stockman that we support punishment when it is deserved.

While we held our breath when the Logan County District Court against Gilbert Dean Schuman came up for appeal, we can now exhale with a smile. The Colorado Court of Appeals judge reaffirmed the sentence that Schuman could not own, manage, tend or possess cattle.

Call me a cow hugger, but I simply cannot tolerate seeing any living creature mistreated. I know the industry faces new and costly standards to enhance animal welfare, and we want to work with you in offering ideas on how you can comply and continue to stay in business.

My take is that when the livestock industry does right by its stock, consumers will respond favorably. It is win-win for the animal and the owner.

I realize that some critics have gone overboard in terms of what you must do to care for your animals, and I feel in some cases that demands are unrealistic. Most of these comments come from those who have no idea what the animal industry is about.

In my travels about the West I have seen mistreatment of livestock that is not only inhumane but stupid. Isn’t a happy cow a better cow?

It seems that Colorado is somewhat of a template resource for good treatment of livestock, particularly with good people like state vet Keith Roehr and Colorado State’s Temple Grandin speaking out for kind animal treatment.

The state can be proud not only of its official condemnation of mistreatment of animals, but for its aggressive pursuit of those who violate the Animal Protection Act the state legislature has

It is an act with teeth to bite offenders where it can hurt.

I know of no person in the livestock industry who does not uphold humane treatment of farm animals. That they come out vocally when animals are abused is a credit to their profession and their character.

On another issue, let’s applaud USDA for all those drought relief efforts via the Risk Management Agency. I am having a hard time keeping up with all the western counties which are becoming eligible for assistance. Government can be good.

At the same time, we have to congratulate CoBank in Denver for launching a program that offers quicker loan service to stricken producers. Additionally, the bank put up $1 million to help feed the hungry who may be having a harder time with rising food prices triggered by drought and other factors.

Isn’t it nice to know there is help out there in these critical times?

Living in Washington, it is hard to identify with drought since our rainfall is pretty constant on the west side of the state for 10 months a year. It is interesting to look at the drought maps and note that when Oregon or Washington are included, they’re usually a lot greener than the rest of the West, Midwest and South. Doesn’t mean we’re not worried about the dry regions, and that we won’t respond with as many drought assistance articles as we can find.