This weekend I took my dad with me (Happy Father's Day!) back to 5 Bar Beef. I had visited a little bit ago and talked about it in more depth here, along with some of the nutritional benefits of eating 100% grass-fed beef here. The rancher, Frank Fitzpatrick, called me up saying he was corralling some bulls for harvest because with this drought we have going on here in California, his livestock are left with very little to eat so he needs to scale back a few to save the rest. He is completely transparent about his ranch because he has nothing to hide so he actually appreciates this urban dweller showing up with a camera and a notebook.
Frank's herd of over 800 head are all bulls which means they have not been castrated as steers have. He says they don't need to be because they are able to freely move around on over 800 acres, and so they don't get agitated or aggressive like those that are confined in commercial ranching and therefore need to be manipulated in this way. He effortlessly maneuvered a good 50 of them into a corral with firm gentleness on his horse.
"I'm the alpha here so they do what I want them to," he explained. He corralled them twice just to show me how there is no cruelty in his method at all, no nipping dogs or pokers or punching, no contact whatsoever as with factory farming, just an inherent skill and understanding of how to manage them.
Cows enjoy eating when the weather is moderate in the morning or evening because the flies are less persistent and the grass tastes sweeter. Then in the afternoon, as was the time of my visit pictured here, they have their social hour where they "chew their cud". "Cud" is grass that has been partly digested and brought up from the first stomach (cows have three stomachs) for further chewing and digestion, and the process neutralizes stomach acids. Factory farmed cows are fed plastic pellets to counterbalance the acid build up that occurs from being denied this natural process. Read more on the alarming practices of factory farmed cattle here.
Since Frank's herd have not had any stress in their lives and are allowed to forage for their own diet on plenty of space, they were very calm and let me get close enough to them so that I didn't want to leave. These bulls, their horns intact, their coat shiny without any stench whatsoever, they truly are a majestic sight to behold.
|Photos: Tara Maxey|
As I've said before, we should all eat less meat so that we as a country can meet the demands to raise all livestock humanely and in the most natural way with the least amount of pollution like Frank does. As a very busy catering company that cooks for beef eaters, this is the kind of rancher we want to support. We highly encourage you to as well, for your health, for our environment and because we are only as kind and decent as we treat those who can't defend themselves against us. We can all make a difference with our purchasing power.