Does Wilderness Ranch use them? What are our thoughts and practices?
These are negative buzz words around meats these days, and rightfully so! The agriculture industry has changed so much in the last fifty years that we no longer eat the same quality of foods we did back then. Even much less only 100 years ago! With the advent of industrial agriculture, equipment getting much larger, automation and so on... now 1 farmer can look after hundreds, even thousands of animals! The days of the mixed spread of livestock are gone! In fact its not acceptable anymore to mixed species of animals mixed together! The main stream agriculture society has regulated this! Gone are the symbiotic relationships between species and the synergy that can create!
Can you can see where this is going?
Many farmers, due to pressure to conform, and stay in the business of farming, (which they have done possibly for many many generations) are specializing there operations. To stay viable and support their family, and possibly get the next generation into the farm business, they now need to double or triple the size of their operation! This requires mass numbers of animals. To look after these mass numbers of animals, they are usually housed in large barns or large feedlots where management becomes much easier and mechanical intervention is at its peak. The down side to this is, when you place large numbers of animals in a concentrated area, they can get sick very easily. This is especially a problem in the beef industry where most calves are born on pasture, then when the are about 6-8 months old, they are usually placed in a feedlot for backgrounding and finishing.
In Canada, most of the cows that produce the beef we consume are located in western provinces like British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In Ontario, we simply don't have enough cows to produce the number of calves required by farmers to fill their barns or feedlots. Thousands of calves each year are loaded on trucks and shipped to Ontario where there is lots of feed and farmers looking to feed these cattle to finished weight. Since these calves get trucked so far they are at a higher risk of getting sick. So, to protect their investment, many farmers will feed low-level antibiotics in the feed to keep them healthy. They will also give them antibiotics on arrival at the feed lot as preventative measures so they don't have an outbreak of disease that can be fatal for the animal and the farm business.
Can you blame them? Not really, Their lively hood is invested in these calves and they can't afford to have them die!
So What does Wilderness Ranch do different.....?
Well..... we do a lot of things differently.
You're probably wondering about our thoughts, opinions and use of Antibiotics and Added hormones?
Taking this all into consideration: With our management intensive grazing and our cattle being outside year round. We have little, to no disease! The problem begins when you crowd large animals like cows into confined areas and expect them to stay healthy. It simply doesn't work! Well, it does if you use enough antibiotics.
At Wilderness Ranch we have tried to mimic nature and how the large herds of buffalo used to roam the west. With movement of animals across our pastures we have achieved much better grass, better soil health, and more importantly better animal health!
If you have any further questions please contact us! We would be happy to answer your questions! Or check out our About video to learn more about us, and how we do things, on this tour around our ranch - move the cows and join in the fun in this video. Wilderness Ranch is a family run ranch were we do our best to take great care of our land and animals! We manage our grasslands with intensive grazing practices, mimicking the great herds of bison and elk that used to roam the land. Should you decide to order some of our Black Angus 100% Grass Fed and Grass Finished Beef, we are confident you will enjoy it.