Hello, just wondering what happens to beef cows after they are looked after at a ranch?
Primarily steers but also cows are raised to about 600 pounds then taken to a livestock exchange building. From there either a backgrounding yard operator will buy them and put on another 400-500 pounds or a feedyard will condition them to a finished weight of ideally 1400 pounds.
At that weight they are taken to a processing plant where the carcass is graded. It is then cut into halves and quarters and eighths and essentially is sold to companies that further cut the carcass into ribeyes, New York strips, T-bones, full and half racks of ribs, briskets, sausage, hamburger, and the like. Utility grade meat is made into dog and cat food. Tallow is used as wax in candles, crayons, soap, and as an ingredient in animal food. Bones that are not included with meat cuts are used as dog food and also ground into bone meal used as a high calcium supplement for swine.
The organs are harvested for food such as the kidneys, liver, heart, and tongue. Tongue, liver, omasum, and heart is often exported to Mexico and Japan where it brings a premium as it is considered a delicacy. Hooves are used as dog treats and collagen is separated to be used in lotions and cosmetics as well as oleo oil and gelatin is also taken. Oil is also used in rubbers and plastics such as on the soles of your shoes and grocery bags. The blood is collected in a huge tank and sold to pharmaceutical companies. The only organ not utilized is the brain due to the possibility of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.
Leather is tanned on site; if a hide was branded it is lower quality and exported to other countries to make shoes. If not branded, it is sold domestically for belts, wallets, vehicle interior, horse tack, purses, and jackets to name a few.
No part is wasted so there is truly no such thing as vegan because if you drive or wear shoes or buy plastic water bottles there is an animal byproduct in all of those and more.
The highest quality of care is put into these animals because it is contradictory to mistreat an animal that is worth over $3/cwt or $1200/he depending on the time of year and influx of cattle on the market. The profession of a livestock producer is one in which we all take humble pride and conduct business in the best ways we know.
Knowledge is handed down through tradition and teaching from our prior generations, learned from trial and error, and even a young entrepreneur gaining knowledge with a goal to have land and cattle of their own.
Eat beef. The west wasn’t won on salad.