I was asked recently “How do you raise your animals?”
Well, the short of it is we raise our animals to be happy, healthy, and strong.
Animals should be able to live their lives as close to the wild as possible.
They need to be outside with their feet in the soil and the sun in their face.
Healthy animals are at home with the seasons.
All creatures require space to travel, explore, and discover.
They need an occasional opportunity for mischief also.
It’s not our objective to anthropomorphize our livestock, but their conditions for strength and vigor are the same as ours.
Lots of exercise, high quality nutrition, and adequate rest.
Rinse and repeat.
Our job is not to control the animals, but to manage the conditions.
The role of husbandry is largely systems management.
If the system is sufficient to cater to the needs of the animals, then the animals practically raise themselves.
That’s not to say sickness or injury doesn’t occur, because they certainly do from time to time.
Sometimes things are brought on to the farm that the herd has never been exposed to.
In general we don’t treat animals with any medications unless it’s necessary for alleviating suffering.
We have not been in the practice of giving anything to our animals for half a decade.
Instead, our focus has always been a systems approach to creating the conditions where medications are not necessary.
Though there may be a place for some preventative medications in the future.
Specifically some of the vaccines available for preventive care.
Many of which are actually listed as acceptable and encouraged through the Organic National List of Allowed and Approved Substances.
I’m not an early adopter of mRNA technology, it’s still too new and leaves more questions than answers in my opinion.
However, good “old fashioned” cell culture biologics with long proven track records that produce immunization long term could potentially be a tool we slowly incorporate in the coming years.
Especially if further diagnostic testing and working with the vets is showing organisms present that the herd may have trouble developing immunity to in the long term, then a hand up for increased vitality and quality to life may be a fair trade off.
I can’t tell you how many shots the US Army gave me before I got out, but I’m probably immune to everything by this point. lol
At the end of the day we raise our animals in the way that we would want to live if the roles were reversed.
The farm is always evolving itself to ensure the systems and tools we use promote animals that are Happy, Healthy, and Strong.