Welfare of Animals Comes First as Blizzard Rages

Kansas Viewpoint

Workers sleeping on site, working long shifts until storm is over.

Published on: March 27, 2009
All shifts of workers reported to dairies across western Kansas Thursday night as weather forecasters warned of an impending late winter blizzard.

By 1 a.m. Friday, the blizzard was a howling, freezing reality. Twelve hours later, the snow and wind have not abated. It's not as bad as 1987 and certainly not as bad as 1957, longtime Kansas farmers say, but a bad one all the same.

At Royal Dairy near Ingalls, 20 miles east of Garden City, all 45 workers answered the call to come in immediately at 9 p.m. on Thursday and will be sleeping on site until the storm ends. The dairy has a bunkhouse on the top floor, complete with beds, kitchens and laundry facilities.

It is one of more than 20 large dairies in western Kansas, many of which are being affected by the late winter storm. There are another 30 or so smaller dairies in the region.

In times like these, the welfare of the animals comes first. For their human caretakers, it means long hours in  miserable conditions, working to make sure the cattle have food, water and shelter from the storm.

Kind of makes you wish that all the animal rights activists out there could be gathered up to work a shift or two. Maybe they'd come away with a better understanding of just how committed Kansas farmers are when it comes to taking care of their livestock.