ranching

So unless it’s got a dirt road, leading down to a fishing hole,
With a little piece of moonlight, a couple cans of Bud Light.
Where I can cuddle with my baby and I can pull her real close
I don’t wanna go unless heaven’s got a dirt road.

When Angles Mean All The Difference

arA friend asked me to address this picture because she was curious about if the picture was true or not.

I’m sure many of you have seen the picture known as the “Veal Farm” picture. It has made its rounds on Facebook and I have seen it numerous times in Ag groups from people wanting to know how to respond. It, honestly, looks photo-shopped to many people. Here’s the picture in question:

I’m not going to address the claims made in it. Dairy Carrie does a great job of that here. I suggest reading her post also. She’s awesome and she works with this every day.

This picture is not of a veal farm. Its from a dairy website up in Oregon. These are their calf hutches. Calf hutches are used to keep the dairy calf while they are still too young to be with the rest of the herd and they need the milk. Calves will only live in the calf hutches for the first 2-3 months of their lives while they are still on milk. Some dairies, like my university’s dairy, only keeps the calves in the hutches for a few weeks before all of the calves are out in a pasture together. Calves are put in the hutches to keep them warm, dry, and safe after birth. Most dairy calves are taken off their mother so that she can be milked. In the hutches, dairy workers can monitor the calf to make sure it is healthy and getting enough milk, colostrum to start and then regular milk after the first few days. Dairy calves still get milk, both male and female calves.

Now I’ve addressed what the picture is, but what does the title of this post mean? When angles make all the difference? Huh? I chose this title because the camera angle makes a HUGE difference in the picture. If the picture of these hutches was taken a different angle, it might look something like this…

Or like this…

The picture fails to show the viewers that calves have a little area outside the hutch to roam around in. They are not trapped in the hutch full time and they can choose if they want to be inside or outside.

I do want to address the veal statements though in this post. Calves used for veal are not slaughtered at 6 weeks old. On average, they are 6 months old and weigh in at 500-600 lbs. Not a baby. Very few veal producers use crates. Most of the animals are in pens with other calves or allowed to free roam pastures. I’ll find some resources on veal to post too. Here’s a good article by The Farmers Wife about veal.

Pictures can be posted now without context, or taken at an angle that gives a different context to what is meant. When in doubt, an ag group is a good place to go to find the background or the reasoning behind a picture like the one above.