Range Beef Cow and Calf Health and Welfare
DOI link for Range Beef Cow and Calf Health and Welfare
Range Beef Cow and Calf Health and Welfare book
In order to understand the health and welfare challenges beef cattle face in the US beef cattle industry, it is important to first understand how beef production systems operate. The primary producers of commercial beef animals are called cow/calf producers. These are the foundation of the beef industry because they own and manage beef cows with the purpose of breeding them and raising their calves. An important aspect of cow/calf production is that the final product a producer markets is the calf. In other words, a commodity rather than a finished and differentiated product bought directly by a consumer. Calves are priced by their weight, with little difference in the value of each calf beyond its size. Cows are capable of becoming pregnant at any time of year—they are not seasonal breeders like sheep and goats. The cattle on a cow/calf operation represent both genders and a wide variety of ages and life circumstances.