Frances Aleman wrote the following prior to her death in 1983 at the young age of 72. I am guessing that this was written in the 1950s or 1960s from what she had to say about transportation for sheep. The railroads ended hauling of sheep early 1970. I posting this today as I think it is very apropos on the livestock industry today and the bad publicity it is receiving, both for sheep and cattle.
“If the events of civilization could be traced throughout the ages, there is one animal that has followed the footsteps of man more perhaps than any other, and that is sheep.
Very apparent as the provider of food and fiber in Biblical times, sheep have also been a part of the American scene.”
“Certainly within the past 40 years the emphasis has changed. In fact, about 75 percent of the income from sheep now comes from the meat, with 25 percent from the wool, which is often referred to as nature’s miracle fiber.” (Author’s note: This is because of the low price for wool and fewer people wear wool even though there are great benefits to wearing the fiber and it is a product that is good for the environment. I have written about this in an earlier blog)
“Sheep production today directly reflects the dramatic changes that have taken place in the modern world. At one time the center of the sheep industry was the Midwest, but as more intensive farming came to that area sheep raising shifted to the mountainous areas of the Rocky Mountain Region, yet with smaller farm flocks scattered throughout the United States. Sheepmen still graze large flocks in the rangeland of the nation, putting to good use the grasses and browse that might otherwise be waster. The livestock man is the nation’s number one conservationist, and wise land management allows him to continue to stay in business. He would be foolhardy to destroy these resources that preserve his way of life. Not only that, but his good land and water use encourages more wildlife to survive. The sheep not only help to improve the grassland, but they keep the forests cleared of underbrush that could contribute to the deadly forest fire.”(Author’s note: It would be an interesting study to track the demise of the sheep industry and the increase in western wildfires!)
“Added to all this is the economic impact which the sheep industry lends to our nation, providing jobs not only on the production side, but also for railroads and truckers, meat processors, salesmen, wool mills, garment manufacturers, retailers and countless other spinoffs from this basic animal industry.” (Author’s note: Sheep numbers are now at just a little over 5 million in the United States where at the time of WWII, there were 55 million. Foreign governments that subsidize their sheep industry can ship meat cheaper to the United States then American sheep raisers can produce it. Every time, an American buys sheep meat that is from Australia or New Zealand, that person is harming an sheep raiser here in the United States. There are benefits to having sheep on the land as has been stated in this blog)
“In addition, the sheepman works closely with conservation groups to preserve the soil, water and wildlife and to allow multiple use of the land for fishing and hunting, hiking, camping, skiing, snowmobiling, and for those interested in preserving our heritage through wise use of the land.” (Author’s note – before you claim that livestock hurt the environment or put out methane gas, I hope you will check scientific facts and not be misled by the uninformed. In addition, if you call yourself a true environmentalist then you would be wearing natural fiber, i.e. WOOL!)