by Lee Pitts
How can anyone on earth say something derogatory about an animal that produces milk, filet mignon, cheese, ice cream, hamburger and leather while at the same time they are mowing weeds, producing fertilizer and reducing fire danger?
I’d imagine when you mention the word “cow” to city folks the animal they think of is a dairy animal. They may even have a coffee mug with the familiar Holstein color pattern on it. Although they are of the same family, beef and dairy cattle are as different as night and day. Black and White. Here are just some of the ways they differ.
Dairy cows get milked two or three times a day; a beef cow gets milked any time her hungry brat tugs at her flanks.
Beef cows know their own calf 10 days after it has been weaned off. Dairy cows don’t know their own calf ten seconds after it’s born.
The worst enemies of beef cows are cowboys, flies, barb wire, squeeze chutes, sheep, hot shots, auctioneers, lassos, gomer bulls, cutting horses and heavy handed veterinarians. Dairy cows don’t care for semen salesmen, tallow trucks and big-fisted AI technicians.
A beef cow will try to kill you if you attempt to kidnap its calf, whereas a dairy cow will thank you.
Dairy cows get regular pedicures while beef cows get their horns sawed off.
Urban and urbane cartoons like “The Far Side” and “Rubes” feature well-fed Holsteins while the cows drawn by Ace Reid, Mad Jack, Jerry Palen and Earl more often look like they’ve been surviving on Prickly pear, brush and mesquite.
Dairy cows are responsible for more fertilizer, bankruptcies and suicides, while beef cows produce more heart attacks, rustlers and team ropers.
A beef cow has to graze 20 miles per hour to meet her daily nutritional requirements while dairy cows have their food delivered. Dairy cows get more than their fill of corn and the best leafy alfalfa at an all day free buffet, while beef cows must survive on rained-on moldy oat hay that their calves have tinkled on.
When a dairy cow’s calf dies before a cattle feeder can pay WAY too much for it you could call that a “Godsend”. A beef cow that doesn’t produce a calf is called “hamburger.”
When dairymen ogle their cows the first thing they look at is their bags; cowboys are far more interested in big butts on their bovines.
Beef cows get bred by real bulls that are featured in full color ads that appear in the centerfolds of Playbull Magazine. Foreplay to a dairy cow is when an AI technician greases up his plastic sleeve.
Dairymen round up their cows two and three times per day. Many of my friends in the cattle business don’t round up their cows that often in a year. I’ve seen some in the deserts of Arizona that don’t get rounded up that much in their entire life.
Beef cows enjoy meeting new cows, traveling and exploring new places, like the neighbor’s sprawling ranch. Milk cows get to travel too, back and forth, back and forth, to the milking parlor. The only time that changes is when she makes THE BIG TRIP, as it is known by the gossipy cows in the loafing shed.
Dairy cows are bilingual, understanding English and Spanish whereas beef cows understand only one language: cowboy cussin’.
Beef cows turn grass into hamburger and shoe leather while dairy cows turn water and hay into milk, cheese and ice cream. No matter whether they’re beef or dairy cows, add up their contributions to mankind and you get the most productive animal on earth. ▫