Dear Mr Gosling,
Yesterday when I woke up early in the morning before milking cows, I was alerted to your letter, which I took to be on behalf of PETA, to the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in regards to the practice of dehorning cattle. As a dairy farmer who has often been on the business end of a dehorner, I was quite interested to hear what you had to say about the practice. So far as I can remember and IMDb tells me you have never had the experience of dehorning in your life, even as part of a role you were playing. I mean, I am sure you are a great actor. I’ve seen The Notebook, not really my style but I don’t feel the need to write to the Academy of Motion Pictures to ask them to ban the painful experience of Nicholas Sparks from the big screen. I hear you were great in that one movie where you did that thing, I’m sure you know which one I’m talking about. I don’t get to movies very often, probably more often than you get to farms though. I mean, you must be pretty great for People magazine to name you Sexiest Man Alive. Plus you have that whole “Hey Girl” meme thing going on and I only have this one… You might assume that I am going to tell you that you are wrong about dehorning and polled genetics. I’m not. I can’t tell you that dehorning is a practice that is painless and doesn’t phase our calves. I have never met a dairy farmer who has enjoyed having to dehorn calves. It’s not a fun job. It is an important job to protect the people and the other cows from horn injuries and we do everything in our power to make dehorning as painless as possible. I wrote about it HERE, you should read that post.
I am not going to tell you that polled genetics aren’t a valid option to erase dehorning. But we do need to look at the facts. First of all polled genetics are fantastic. I love that I can use polled bulls on my cows and eliminate the worst job on the dairy farm. But I also know that at this point polled bulls can only be a part of the solution to eliminating dehorning.
Back in high school we learned about genetics. The gene that determines if an animal will be born without horns is dominant, which means that if you bred a polled animal to a horned animal, you will have a 50/50 shot at getting a polled animal. But here’s the problem, the polled gene has to come from somewhere. Right now the pool of animals we have to select from with the polled gene is small. While I may love using polled bulls, I am not cool with breeding a cow to her uncle or her half brother just to skip the dehorning process. I don’t think that inbreeding is the solution to this problem. Eventually the polled genetics pool will be large enough that all cows will be able to take a swim without bumping into their cousin but we are not there yet. I mean I don’t think you’re asking dairy farmers to have inbred cows, are you?
So, in the meantime how about you stick to making movies that I probably won’t watch and I will keep taking care of my cows. No hard feelings. I’m sure your agent thought this whole PETA thing sounded like a great idea but you might want to let your agent know that PETA has the same amount of respect out here in the real world as the National Enquirer has in your world.
For more information on polled dairy cattle please check out dairybullsonline.com
I saw that article yesterday & was wondering if you had seen it. Funny how my mind always goes to you whenever I see anything dairy related, probably cause I know nothing about dairy since I’m a pig girl. But I do know enough about cows to know that de-horning is good for the herd. Such a waste though, I sure DID love Ryan. Not so much anymore.
I used to have a super big crush on him until a couple years ago when I learned about his PETA stance – it was a sad day but not surprising.
Thankfully I can be happy in the fact that my first true movie star love Matthew McConaughey (weird love I know, but I can’t help it #sorryi’mnotsorry) is the voice of “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner”. Small victories.
Amen to Matthew McConaughey!
Matthew is kind of crazy but he is pretty good eye candy. Especially in those Stetson Black ads… google it. Trust me.
He is kinda crazy but you have to admit he was *is* pretty good looking. He’s the only celebrity I ever really, really crushed on – although I haven’t the faintest reason why. But that sexy voice in the beef ads… stick a fork in me because I’m done. And thank you for reminding me of those ads, my day is now complete.
Nice Letter Carrie. Love it actually!
Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard)
Can I tag a note on here?
Dear Mr. Gosling,
I DO watch your movies. (Despite a sometimes-prickly exterior, I am a hopeless romantic.) And I do love your face. And your acting abilities. And your adorable affinity for penguins. And your meme. And I believe in good animal care, too. I want our livestock to lead good lives, with as little pain or fear as possible. If you’ve ever seen what it looks like when un-maintained horns get int the way on a dairy, it isn’t pretty. And since cows are social animals with hierarchies and pecking orders, things can get messy. Removing horns is not only a safety precaution for farmers, but also reduces the risk of injury in the hormonal social setting that is a dairy herd.
If you came to Kansas City, we could definitely talk more over a few drinks. I have a few friends with dairies in the area, we could even take a trek out and visit them. Or, if you’re more into the California scene, I have plenty of friends who dairy out there, too. There’s lots of options if you want to see conscientious animal care first-hand! (Obviously, you coming to KC would be my first choice.)
Besides, PeTA is actually responsible for the unapologetic death of thousands of healthy animals each year because of their stance on euthanasia. If you want to protect animals, I’d say you should withdraw your support from PeTA and find local or regional shelters or rescue organizations to work with. PeTA is one of the biggest pro-euthanasia organizations out there — as in, kill now, don’t bother asking questions later.
If we want to talk animal welfare, farmers and ranchers are leaps and bounds ahead of any animals rights organization you might think of!
Love — er, I mean, Sincerely,
– Kelly M. Rivard
Spanked that one outta the park, Dairy Carrie! Spot on!
I didn’t know about Ryan Gosling’s PETA stance until I saw this. I am really disappointed because he is one of the few celebrities I actually think is attractive!
It’s too bad he has chosen to associate with PETA, but if he takes the time to learn a bit about dehorning (like this post here 🙂 ) he will surely see that we are doing the best for our animals.
Love this quote: “PETA has the same amount of respect out here in the real world as the National Enquirer has in your world.” Can I steal it?
Go for it 😉
I liked that one too!! Great job Carrie!
Anita Van der Laan
This is a great post! I was so disappointed to read that Ryan Gosling joined the PETA bandwagon. Like Kelly I love his face and his movies and his memes, but especially his face. He should keep to what he knows best acting unless he is going to offer a valid long-term solution to dehorning, then we can talk.
Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard)
Yes. And his voice.
Unless I can hear his voice spreading PeTA propaganda…
Life in the 50's and beyond...
Nice job …. keep up the good work.
He’s just another pretty face…..
Great post here Carrie! When I first read the supposed letter, I figured it’s more likely that PETA wrote the letter than Ryan Gosling. Wonder if he and numerous other celebrities realize they are supporting an organization accused of cruelty described in this link? – https://imgur.com/gallery/q5awp
Obviously the ” good looks” genetics are stronger than the ” common sense” genetics. Good job Carrie!
Awesome Letter as a beef and dairy farmer I agree with you its a rotten job, what these city folk don’t understand is alot of us farmer’s actually freeze the horn site and tissue around it, therefore trying to make it as painless as possible. City folk forget that they neuter and spay cats as a kindness to their kitties and forget that it too is a painful, rotten job! But one that is necessary for the betterment of the animals welfare much like dehorning is. Funny how we can’t co-relate all these things……..
Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard)
I got my cat neutered this week.
Part of me feels like castration would have been better. Instead of a day or two of discomfort, he’s been recovering from anesthesia and nursing multiple wounds. I just…the “humane” way according to society isn’t always the least-stressful version, I feel like.
Dr. Marybeth Feutz
Kelly – As a vet, I would like to take a minute to respond to your comment. By definition, neutering and castration are the same procedure (although neutering can also be applied to spaying a female). Yes, the techniques and procedures used in “companion animals” are different from those used in farm animals. This is largely due to the way that society views dogs, cats, and horses compared to cattle and other farm animals. The benefit of using general anesthesia in our pets is that the surgery is painless, and typically recovery from anesthesia only takes a few hours before the animal is back to feeling itself. The reason your cat has open wounds after his castration is a medical one – cats (and horses, cattle, and pigs) can develop a lot of painful swelling if the surgery sites are not left open for drainage. (He would still have these wounds if the procedure was done without anesthesia.) Please feel free to contact me (or call your veterinarian) if you have any more questions.
Great response Dairy Carrie!
We can only hope he sees this and can learn. You did a superb job of responding.
I greatly appreciate your humorous take on the issue. I also appreciate how you have shared the rationale in a very relatable way. As a former high school agriculture teacher, I had to dehorn students’ projects. I too HATED it. In fact, I often traded the job to another ag teacher in our program in return for a task he viewed as unpleasant. He had way more experience, having grown up on a dairy, and could perform the practice quickly and accurately. Dehorning was an acceptable practice in our program because of the safety and benefits you outlined soo well. I was always careful to make sure my students understood the rationale as well.
I wonder though, if Mr. Gosling or another skeptic were to read the piece… if they would appreciate the sarcastic tone. Did you really write this for him? Do you feel it will change the minds of others who think like him (or at least expand their perspectives)? I put this out there because I am currently speaking with my Ag Comm class about social media and the responsibility they bear in communicating agriculture’s message. We talked about how to welcome and support good, productive conversation. We spoke about the trust continuum; how we need to post content for the consumption of skeptics, straddlers and sympathizers… since we gain little ground posting for screamers (PETA) and supporters (Ag Industry). How would you characterize this piece? To what audience did you write? I plan to share this post with my class as a springboard to discussing how we deal with the reality and repercussions of our social media presence.
Thanks so much for entertaining my questions. I appreciate all you do!
I wrote these piece with a humorous tone because that’s the way I take on most issues. I could be more polished but that’s not my authentic voice and I feel people can see right through those types of posts. I may not always say the exact right thing but I am 100% authentic to myself. That has been pretty successful for me so far so I don’t see why I should change it. There are a lot of blogs out there that people can read. If they all sound the same what makes one blog stand out amongst the others? I would urge your students to speak with knowledge in their own voice rather than conform to a pattern of how to tell their story.
I’m not sure I would call it sarcasm anyway. More like “friendly banter.” A light-hearted tone to take the edge off. Just my opinion. Fact is, I think you did an awesome job. I certainly couldn’t have said it better myself.
I should also add that I take my responsibility as an agvicate seriously. I hope your comment wasn’t insinuating that this post is an example of what not to do. If you would like to discuss this idea further feel free to contact me at the email address listed in the my “about” section.
Ann, as a friend of Carrie’s, I’d like to add that she uses a writing style that reflects her personality, and that is what works for her. When bloggers begin to be polished, they start to sound more like journalists, and that’s not what works best in social media. Her writing style connects with her audience, sets her apart from others, and gets her message across. There are many ways to approach the issues, and always room for improvement, but that’s what makes having several blogger viewpoints a great asset.
I completely understand! We spoke at length today about how they must share THEIR story, be themselves, and show they care. However, the topic of sarcasm came up as a question in the group. With time and mentoring, I am confident these young professionals will be effective at using social media to share agriculture. Just wanted to get her take.
By the way, we also look at your blog too! I have used it as an example in my Agricultural Instructional Technology course and this Ag Comm class. I greatly appreciate the hard work and willingness to risk of agricultural advocates like yourselves. Thanks!
Reblogged this on Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Country Life and commented:
So…another Hollyweird expert needs to express his dismay…and ignorance, I might add…about farmers, cows (which made both me and Big Boss laugh…they’re cattle folks. Cattle.) Do all of these people HAVE to have a cause? Do they ALL have the urgent need to spout off about “things” with no prior knowledge/information/research? I doubt Mr. Gosling has the foggiest idea on which end of a “cow” he might horns, much less how to care for a “cow” in a humane way. Whatever that might be. Dairy Carrie puts it to him in a humane way. She could’ve really taken him down, but she was ever so nice. Great job Carrie! Right on. Right on. 🙂
Edit: “which end of a cow he might FIND horns.”
Oh Carrie! Your response was educational, ethical, reasonable to the ‘common man’. If all meat and dairy was/were raised as most is here in VT, we could create a healthier nation, in mind and body. Keep up the good work.
Great post! Witty and educational! I am going to have to share this!
Outstanding Carrie! I love it!
Three Cedars Irish Dexters
If only they’d look behind to see how many around the world need to be fed, before they open up their mouth from both sides… and ends.
Ahem, I am too old to really know or care about Ryan Gosling, cute or not….so with that being said, it is PETA that bothers me the most about this whole episode and how they distort the facts to the younger generation by using “sexy” people like Mr Gosling to promote their cause. You did an excellent job with discussing the genetics as I am a retired science teacher.
Now onto better “fodder”… Matthew McC and his beef ads…well being an Angus rancher. . .Beef, you bet it’s what for dinner. Sam had a good thing going to. In my opinion, Sam, indeed, is a real man…not just another pretty face. Hang in there Dairy Carrie! You’re doing a great job agvocating for all of us……
Carrie Chestnut Mess has a great response. It is interesting that ,any dairy farmers do not that polled is a dominant gene or even that Polled bulls exist. I am co-owner of DairyBullsOnline and we are sourcing and encouraging multiple lines of polled addressing Carries concern for inbreeding. In fact Polled could be considered outcross to the mainstream genetics in use today. Carrie outlines proper techniques in this letter and has introduced polled genetics. If farmers are proactive what would PETA have to complain about?
As a dairy farmer, breeder of polled animals for 40 years and advocate of DairyBullsOnline, I appreciate Carries response, even if the facts of polled are not completely understood by most. Use a homozygous polled bull and ALL the calves will be polled. Use a heterozygous bull and 50% are polled. Homozygous polled cows have only polled calves. NMPF and the dairy industry should have taken the lead on the polled issue but they are asleep at the wheel or PETA would have had nothing for Mr Gosling do with his spare time. Fortunately polled genetics are being endorsed, promoted, supported, expanded, elevated, and improved at an exponential rate by more and more dairy producers every day. And polled is endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association!
Thank You Dairy Carrie!!! As I got in my car to go to lunch today I heard Ryan Seacrest on the radio praising Ryan Gosling over his letter to the National Milk Producers Federation. This sent my blood boiling! As a former Dairy Farmer and now an employee of the agribusiness industry I take great offense to this letter. I applaud you for you post! Thank you!
Just to join the herd of commenters (herd. get it? boom). This is great! It relates to so many other things to do with livestock management. Branding cattle, mulesing sheep – it’s done for their own good. Just like how we go to the doctors to have bits removed or to be needled etc. Keep up the good work!
You go, Dairy Carrie! I love your meme, too. 🙂
Reblogged this on Melkveebedrijf Stelling.
Every winter on Saturdays I would go with my Dad and brother to de-horn cattle. We went from farm to farm doing the deed. It was damn hard, dirty, dangerous work that was essential.
One fall day the neighbors came over and asked for some help. They had bought some 30 head of cattle to supplement their herd. After the cows arrived they broke through the fence and got into their woods and marsh. The boys tried for 3 days to get the animals out. We had horses so we saddled up and rode over. Twenty five acres of trees and marsh. After hours of adventures we were able to get the critters rounded up and out. That is all but two. They got into a fight. One was ripped from front shoulder to hip and the other got the horn hooked in the ribs of the other, One died from the wound and the other drowned in the mud.
Is de-horning nice? No. Is it needed? Yes. I still have the shears and ropes we used. Will I go back in the de-horning business? No. One of the benifits of being 60 is not having to do such things anymore. Although if one of these fools who wouldn’t know a cow if she stood on them neededto be de-horned. I’m your guy.