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From the News Archives...

Confessions of a feedlot cowboy

We recently received a letter from a ranch hand at a medium-sized US feedlot. Like most modern day cowboys, his job is more likely to involve injecting cattle with steroids than herding them on horseback. His comments give a rare, behind-the-scenes look at some of the current practices in animal feeding operations.

"What really alarmed me is when I put $5,000 worth of shots in 500 head of heifers. I gave shots of Dectomax, which is a pesticide and is very thick and oily. I get the impression that it's a pesticide strip inside the cow. I'm told that it leaves the animal over the course of 6 months or so, but I'd think some of it stays in the fat. And then some kind of 7-way vaccination. Then I put in some kind of hormone implant that is so strong it was recommended to wear gloves. Other times, I have given Lutalyse, which synchronizes the heifers so they all cycle at one time. I truly think those of us in the cattle market can do without all this stuff, except maybe a 4-Way vaccine to prevent black leg and a couple of other things that can wipe out your herd."


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