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Letters – for Mar. 14, 2011


Many in the cattle industry today may look at the proposed merger of CBEF, BIC and the National Check off Agency being championed by the Canada Beef Working Group as long overdue. I for one, and I believe there are lots more with the same viewpoint, respond with “What a bunch of BS!”

The Canada Beef Working Group has come up with a structure that has been reviewed by three different consultants. All of them suggested the board was too large to be effective. It is rather unusual that the board will be appointed rather than elected. But I suppose that fits with the other critical flaw, which is opting for representation by geography rather than having a skills-based board.

The structure proposed shuts out a large number of exporters who have marketing skills, experience and contacts, and presently have input through the elected structure of CBEF. They also bring $100,000 from membership revenue to the export table. Instead we settle for a board weighted with cattle producers who will perhaps be satisfied with feel good initiatives rather than effective business models. It is the nature of the beast and has been one of the criticisms of the BIC model for quite some time. Producers are inherently lacking in marketing skills domestically, let alone in export markets.

A great deal of money has been spent trying to force this merger that could have been far more effectively invested in the marketplace. It will take quite a few years of potential cost savings to compensate for what has already been wasted, and what is still needed to complete the merger. If you couple this with the uncertainty hanging over the heads of all the staff involved (some will be let go in the process) we accentuate the waste by not being 100 per cent focused on the job at hand.

I expect the effectiveness and effi-ciency of a new organization will be hampered for a number of years by trying to merge the cultures of the two groups and replacing some key people.

It appears to me that the Canada Beef Working Group is willing to sacrifice performance for the sake of power. The threat to substantially reduce funds to export programs is unforgivable. These are areas where our products need to be going to achieve the value adding potential that is out there. CBEF was constructed very deliberately to be at arms length from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association and cattle producers. There was a recognition that in order to become successful (at) exporting we needed a voice and policies that would be free from the petty politics that frequently arise within our industry.

This, I view, as nothing more than (part of) an ongoing power struggle. And just as another satellite organization, the CCIA, was mishandled, I believe this endeavour will have similar results… dismal failure!




I just read your 2011 calving special and congratulate you and your staff for collecting some excellent information.

While reading the “Dealing with dystocia” article I was momentarily puzzled by the statement “If you’re using a calf jack, make sure the calf’s hips are nearly out before you pull downward…” This makes no sense for a normal delivery. However, on review, the previous paragraph describes a backwards delivery and the above statement would fit with that. Maybe your other readers would see that right away but I didn’t so thought I should bring the possible confusion to your attention.

Incidentally, for a normal delivery when the cow is standing, I use the calf jack only until the ribcage clears the birth canal. At that point, if the hips aren’t coming any pull should be downward at a right angle to the cow’s backbone. I will often take off the calf jack and just step on the chains to help the hips come. If that doesn’t work then the cow will have to be dumped on her side and the jack can be used to pry the calf out at a right angle or more to the cows back. Pulling hard at less than a right angle is a no-no.

Once again, keep up the good work.




I saw on the front page of last month’s CATTLEMEN a question like: Why do we tolerate aggressive cows? On the cover we can see a black bear terrified among all those cattle. It had bitten one and they were terrified to. We can see that it was all arranged for the picture. What the hell is this bear doing there? I found it totally sick. Are you out of your mind? It’s absolutely disgusting.

If you want to go crazy, go ahead but please do not use animals that didn’t ask to be your slave. Leave them alone. Perhaps you too would be aggressive if from day one, your life would be a sequence of tortures. Maybe if you would treat animals with respect and dignity and provide them with pure air, real food, and a healthy environment, they would certainly be more peaceful.

The aggressiveness comes from the way men treat animals and they are just reacting to constant aggression. Instead of working on animals, work on yourself, you’ll probably have a better result.



(Editor’snote:Thiswas not a set up photo shoot. The rancher, Wayne Ray, just happened to have his camera handy when he saw a black bear run in amongst his cows.)



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