By Lee and Jennifer Brown
On a recent trip to SeaWorld in San Antonio, my family and I witnessed a display of protest against the company for its practices. Those protestors claimed SeaWorld used practices that are cruel to the animals they house.
But what about all of the animals they save? If they hadn’t been rescued by SeaWorld, they probably wouldn’t have survived in a wild habitat.
A couple of years ago on a Texas Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Fall Tour, we had the opportunity to take a “behind the scenes” tour of the San Antonio facility. We saw the tanks they use for rehabilitation and performance shows. It was pretty amazing.
We also learned about their conservation efforts to help create new and maintain existing animal habitats that are sometimes destroyed by progress—construction projects. SeaWorld spends a great deal of time and money to help ensure there are habitats worldwide for species to call home, thriving in the wild for generations to come.
We were able to relate to the staff, because they address similar issues farmers and ranchers face. They want to be transparent, but oftentimes their actions are perceived differently by various individuals. It’s what my wife and I face as ranchers. It’s what agriculture faces every day.
We must be vigilant in our day-to-day tasks, always aware that others will question our practices. Just as they question Sea World. But we want to be open with our consumers and build relationships with them—with you.
We want you to know we are family farmers and the environment is important to us. Inhumane treatment of our livestock is not an option. We assure you our cows are humanely raised, are well fed and watered and are looked after when sick. My income—and your choices at the meat counter—depend on it.
Yes, we are a bit cautious when sharing information. That’s because oftentimes it’s taken out of context and used against us. But we are at the table and ready to talk. What questions do you have?
*Lee and Jennifer Brown are small cow-calf ranchers from Cleveland and represent Texas Farm Bureau District 11 on the Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee.