– John F. Grimes, OSU Extension Beef Coordinator
Hypocrisy can be defined as the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. In other words, a hypocrite says one thing and does another. I’m sure all of you reading this article can think of examples of hypocrisy in our everyday lives. I will offer a few examples that tend to hit a nerve with me.
Hypocrisy in Society
1. The general public complains frequently and loudly about legislation and other policies enacted by local, state, and national government. However, when given the chance to express their opinions about politicians and issues, the general public typically shows up to vote in low numbers.
2. The national restaurant chain Chipotle proudly promises that they source their food ingredients from farms rather than factories and try to source responsibly raised meats and produce for the benefit of their customers. Unfortunately, these lofty goals have not extended to food safety as they’ve failed to prevent dozens of customers from experiencing food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.
3. Members of the general public endorse the concept of requiring farmers to follow certain animal welfare practices that insure humanely raised meat products. Then, these same members of the public complain about higher food prices and may purchase the more economically priced products.
4. The mainstream sports media for years have said that the Cincinnati Bengals can’t win a playoff game with Andy Dalton as their quarterback. Now that he is out due to injury, the same media outlets fear that the Bengals can’t win in the playoffs without him. Note: This is the opinion of an overly-sensitive Bengals fan that believes the media can’t have it both ways!
Hypocrisy in Agriculture and Beef Production
1. Agricultural producers get upset when non-farm clientele don’t believe or respect the story of traditional agricultural production. Do we as agricultural producers give the same respect and consideration we expect from others when we are asked to hear the story from groups that are polar opposites in terms of their beliefs about food production?
2. Farmers will build barns to store tractors and equipment but store bales of hay uncovered on sod ground.
3. Farmers try to get grain crops planted as quickly and efficiently as possible in the spring but will calve beef cows 12 months a year because they don’t have a place to house the herd bull separately from the cow herd.
4. Small herds that utilize one bull for both their cows and heifers will focus on buying a bull with calving ease for the limited number of heifers retained for replacements, but fail to select EPDs suitable for the majority of the females in the herd that are mature cows. The producer then complains about the lower weights on their feeder calves on sale day.
5. Numerous beef industry surveys indicate that March is the most common month of the year that producers will include in their calving season. This is a tradition that has carried across generations of producers even though March typically possesses the most highly variable weather patterns with some of the most stressful calving conditions throughout the year.
6. Club calf producers design matings to produce steer calves with extreme amounts of muscle, bone, and hair that target a “perceived” ideal terminal market animal. These producers often keep the females from these same matings with the hope they will make productive brood cows.
7. The OSU Extension Beef Coordinator encourages beef producers to put an emphasis on aggressive reproduction and culling practices. This same person manages to find excuses for his daughters ex-show heifers that may not live up to the same lofty standards that he encourages other producers to adopt. Note: This is a painful confession from a person that knows hypocrisy when he sees it!
Some of the beef-related hypocrisies mentioned in this article will be addressed in the second session of the upcoming 2016 Ohio Beef Cattle School that will be held on Tuesday, February 2 starting at 7:00 p.m. Remember, the School begins with the first session on Tuesday, January 19 and concludes on Tuesday, February 16, and is being hosted in many locations across Ohio, plus one each in Indiana and New York. More information on the 2016 Ohio Beef Cattle School can be found at the OSU Extension Beef Team’s web site at http://go.osu.edu/BeefSchool .