Not waving but drowning
“I was much further out than you thought and not waving but drowning,” are lines from Stevie Smith’s 70s-era poem. This week those words have carried particular weight.
This week has been incredibly challenging for the livestock producers in a huge swath of the country and they’ve all been in my prayers.
With the legislature returning here in Colorado, we were keeping a watchful eye on stock and fighting to keep them fed and watered while bills were introduced that take aim at agriculture, decision makers unilaterally made decisions that directly affect producers, and a ballot proposal is floating around that flies in the face of science with no regard for the industry.
If this isn’t a wake up call, then I’m not sure what will snap you awake.
After last week’s note about the First Gentleman Marlon Reis’ use of his official social media platform to shine a light on what he and I can both agree is poor treatment of backyard pets, a ballot proposal about animal welfare has surfaced and goes to hearing soon.
Reis said no ranchers had reached out to him to understand his stances on what he wants to see become law regarding animal welfare. So I did.
Despite several emails back and forth, I’ve not been granted a call with Reis. This is particularly frustrating given his status as a government official.
I hope the governor’s office will reconsider allowing me an interview because there’s no doubt that penning legislation without the input of those affected is irresponsible.
Colorado Sen. Jessica Danielson’s Farmworker’s Bill of Rights was released to ag groups just days before it was introduced. You can read more on pages 8 and 9 but this bill should prompt a call to your trade organization, senator, or Danielson herself.
Oddly enough, it was one of two ag bills that weren’t assigned to the ag committees. Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg’s meat bill was also assigned elsewhere. Remember when Sen. Kerry Donovan said she was the only Democrat that could spot a post hole digger? Neither of those bills will be heard in her ag committee.
Finally, I’ve already received one angry phone call about how I can possibly support the use of live animals in terminal teaching surgeries at vet schools. If I have to choose between a young practitioner attempting a surgery for the first time in a controlled environment with one of the nation’s top surgeons teaching the procedure using a cow bound for slaughter that is under anesthesia and euthanized, or a young practitioner attempting a surgery for the first time in an emergency situation, potentially alone, in working conditions common to large animal veterinary emergencies on someone’s pet or valuable livestock, I’ll choose the first option every time. Suicides among veterinarians are wildly increasing and the shortage of rural large animal practitioners is dire. This could be a turning point for a young person, especially one who is “not waving but drowning.”
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.