Saturday, December 9, 2006

British White Cattle - Let's Keep "Chasing" Pursuit of Hard Data to Present to the Beef Industry

As British White breeders we daily face lack of acceptance in the mainstream Beef Industry as our cattle are white hided and haven't been the subject of University studies. We are likely perceived by some in the beef industry as "chasing" a goal that is unwanted or unnecessary as there are some closed-minded industry perceptions about what works and what doesn't when it comes to beef breeds and beef production, and know-it-alls such as described in the article excerpt below, think they. . . know it all.

As British White breeders we know we have cattle with excellent maternal traits, fertility, hardiness in wide ranging climates, calving life longevity upwards of twenty years, well set udders that withstand the rigors of years of suckling calves without "falling down", excellent carcass quality, genectically gentle dispositions, and more. But, we do need to pursue or "chase" documenting those outstanding qualities through some or all of the following -- Conscientious recording of growth trait data such as weaning weights and yearling weights; establishing Ultrasound Guidelines for the breed and pursuing the capture of yearling bull and heifer carcass ultrasound data by certified technicians; adding to the growing pool of DNA data for the currently identified markers for Marbling and Tenderness; establishing an annual Feedlot test for crossbred and purebred feeder steers and heifers; seeking out Bull Performance tests in our local areas for our bull candidates.

The following is an excerpt from "CAB Cattle Update: The “C” word". Click the Title link above for the text of the whole article.

". . . It’s usually better to lead than chase cattle, but one calorie-counting authority estimates a moderate walk in non-strenuous cattle chasing burns 238 calories per hour for a 150-pound person. At that rate, it would take more than three hours to walk off a Big Mac.

You may be thinking of another idiom: cut to the chase, or get to the point.

Some beef industry pundits proclaim ideal pathways for all logical producers. Dissenters are deluded and must be “chasing” something.

You can sense the judgment and condemnation in the cliché warning, “don’t chase single-trait selection.” It’s such an obvious no-no that the only surprise is that we keep seeing the warning. There is usually an agenda, such as to imply that if you so much as include some popular trait, you are off on a rabbit trail. If you know the phrase at all, you know it’s like saying, “don’t chase your tail.”

Some intense cattlemen lash out with the “c” word. They may include their goals and aspirations, which never include so much as a stray glance at what they own as a senseless pursuit. However, those who see things differently are condescendingly lamented as chasing an illusive and impractical dream.

The most chased-after end seems to be genetic selection that would add value to the beef we sell to consumers. One might as well chase ping-pong balls or a cure for cancer. Critics include the range of those who see any attention to post-weaning traits as silly, to those who see it as a noble, if impossible dream.

When the rhetoric starts flying, a critic may deplore “chasing” something or other. He will usually balance that by pointing out the further errors of “ignoring” and “sacrificing” other things. The implication is that those slighted pursuits are at least as worthy as that being chased after, but the chaser is too blind to see.

It all boils down to bias in the critic. Look at their cattle, their field of study, perhaps their life’s work. They may not realize their bias or the condescending nature of their chase to enlighten others. Or, they could be using loaded words in a calculated manner to sell something. . ."