On the morning of Oct. 22, I woke up, made coffee turned on the TV to my favourite news channel. The first thing I saw was the story on the landfill at Brooks, Alta., and the truckloads of meat being dumped and buried there.
My first reaction was shock as to what a million pounds of beef is in terms of volume. Then it brought a tear to my eyes as I realized what it really meant. It meant that nearly 1,333 head of cattle were wasted, and some of those wasted animals could have been ones that I raised.
As a rancher, I have a social contract with my animals. I provide feed, water and shelter to them and in turn, they provide their young to feed Canadians. As part of the contract, I am to be humane to them, not to abuse them or mistreat them, to care for them if they are ill, to provide assistance if they need it during birth and, above all, to ensure their young are cared for and that their short lives are not wasted.
Now, through an act of man’s greed, these some 1,333 lives were wasted. These were living beings that gave their lives to nurture us — not to be dumped as garbage into landfills.
We have a moral responsibility to ensure we do not mistreat or waste these animals. They deserve better. Canadians must get involved and demand accountability for this wanton waste and demand our food system be restructured so that no more XL’s occur. Write your MLA, MPP, MP and county and city councillors and demand change — and demand to be part of that change. And yes, please light a candle and place it in your window for those 1,333 wasted lives.
National Farmers’ Union
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 25, 2012