Hiking down from Zugerberg ,the hiking path marked by yellow signs passes a biological farm.
I live near three biological farms but have never met cows grazing in a more beautiful place nor has a farmer ever taken the time to explain to me certain facts about biological farming,its importance and go through the moral dilemmas of raising animals who will eventually be led to slaughter.
These cows may possibly have the best panoramic view in the world :what a breath taking lake cradled between majestic mountains given the best of care by Toni the biological farm owner.
When we walked by the farm with the intention of asking directions ,there was a young man busy working hard loading hay with a pitchfork.
Toni,a middle aged farmer stood by wearing a bright red checkered shirt watching the lake below and happy to talk about the cows who are his pride and joy .
Confessing that i am a vegeterian i asked the farmer how he feels about the fate of his cared for cows.
Toni expressed sorrow that biological farming faces the danger of disappearing since the biological farms receive too little support from the Swiss government.
Biological farms face a fierce competition from the mass produced meat industry abroad that packs the cows to overcrowded closures that raise the level of stress so that the cows’s immune systems suffer and the cows become ill ,need to be given antibiotics which influences human immunity to bacterias since they receive antibiotics in the meat.
Facts i learned from Toni who has a vast knowledge of the influence of various factors on meat becoming a health risk:
-The cows Toni raises are a local breed Braunfee who are raised to birth calves who are slaughtered at the age of four months.
The mother cows are not killed and live a long life.
-The calves feed off the mothers till the time they are taken from them but the cows are not milked ,their purpose is producing calves.
-The mother cows feels when the calves are taken away and mourn their loss by crying out for a very difficult two to three days.It is a difficult time for both farmer and cows.
-The farmer never accompanies the animals that are slaughtered .It would be difficult to see. He admits.
-when asked what sort of people can slaughter cows,the farmer answered very tough ones.they need to detach emotionally.
-The cows are randered unconscious. The cows are led slowly to their death in the most stress free way possible.Cows that are rushed produce stress hormones that is unhealthy for human beings who eat them.
-One cow the farmer had ,had attacked the slaughterer once she had realized she was about to be slaughtered and had to be shot with a gun ..
-The cows are led to slaughter in a calm way so that they do not realize they are about to be slaughtered.
-The farmer has goats who are milked to produce cheese,they are not slaughtered for meat.Goats live around 7 years . Goats are smarter than sheep.(the farmer has goats but not sheep )
-The role of a donkey is to be a shepherd looking out for the goats or sheep,it reacts to wolves or danger by calling out.
-The farmer’s son has taken on the farm.It is hard work but he enjoys it.
-A breed of cows called “Gurtel”(belt)is a mixed of two breeds of beef cows.(cows who are for meat purposes not milk)
-The farmer feels attached to the animals but he knows this is his work and must therefore detach emotionally eventually from the cows killed .
However sad i feel about cows being slaughtered and especially young animals ,it is good to know the animals are in good hands of a caring knowledgeable farmer.
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