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How were cattle cut out in the 19th century?

How were cattle cut out in the 19th century?


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In the largest cattle raising countries - Australia and the USA, huge free ranging herds were kept. Nowadays, we use yards and crushes for husbandry activities such as drafting and calf marking (castration, etc). Small herds can be pretty tame, but it must have been painstaking to cut calves out of a 1000 head herd with defensive mothers out in the open, keeping track of your progress and stopping them from running back in. Was this the case? Or was there a particular way? Corrals/round yards may hold the manually separated animals, but what might free grazers have done without any facilities?


Then and now, the trained cattle dog.

Most of the large herds running in Australia were not as free as the question implies. Large cattle stations and runs in Australia did have conveniently located infrastructure like yards, paddocks, and dams for concentrating and holding animals for processing. Herds would be moved over long distances and divided as desired into manageable batches with skilled horsemen and highly trained cattle dogs. A genuinely rootless drover, to the extent such actually existed, would simply have to be very good at improvising or borrowing facilities along their way as needed. A trail-blazer would build with an eye to future requirements, a free-loader would borrow or make temporary improvizations. With good dogs and skilled riders, isolating and controlling the animals would be the least of their problems.


I've seen here in UK demonstrations by U.S. cowboys of cutting into a herd with a larriot, and very effective it is. So many of the cowboy films show herds being driven at speed for miles, which is far from the truth. WE presumably are talking about domestic breeds rather than buffalo, even if they are roaming in a wild context. The stock would never get any flesh on them if they were constantly being run all the way to the rail-head. So, cattle being quite curious, will not charge away unless the stockman charges at them, and I daresay for branding and castration it would not be too difficult to take out stirks from quite a large free-ranging herd.


The process of collecting and separating free-range cattle in early California was the rodeo (which later gave its name to a sporting event). These were held at specifically suited locations; place names in both Northern and Southern California refer to the practice.

Several Indian cowboys on horseback (often they were the only Indians locally allowed to ride horses), moving faster than the cattle, could force these into a dense, round whorl with the wranglers at the perimeter. They would then extract individual cattle from the rodeo, for branding or slaughter, by lassooing them with a horsehair lariat (reata).

There are a few details in Burcham's "Cattle and range forage in California: 1770-1880". Also see Cleland's "The Cattle on a Thousand Hills".


Australian cattle industry was part of the frontier wars and settler process. It was a capital intensive form of guerilla and economic warfare, and was backed by massive state-capital apparatuses in capital cities.

Cattle runs were sold or leased in head to extremely rich well connected families of old British capital, or extremely successful second generation Australian capital. The Downers of the 19th century in South Australia are an example of this kind of group.

Leasees in chief or owners would sublet on the basis of a certain body of cattle having to be on the run by a certain time. These anticipated growth requirements involved the destruction of aboriginal nations' economies and domestic economies, and this usually involved informal warfare. Sub-lettors would hire station managers as employees with profit sharing arrangments to actually live remotely. These station owners would recruit men, including out of country aboriginal men, to actually conduct the day to day business and warfare.

This was capital intensive industry requiring complex difficult to maintain beasts, moveable tools (rifles etc.), fixed capital infrastructure, and skilled and semi-skilled labour.

The concentrations of water, and the presence of capital goods allowing for coralling at watering points, or stock movement points, allowed for concentrated separation, including capitalisation through fixed plant and equipment.

Transport, being via fixed allowance driving routes also allowed for concentration.

Finally the chief gambit for agricultural companies was capital seizure not rent. The sub-tenant would fail stocking requirements and their stock and improvement seized via bankruptcy. The successful station manager would finally buy his lease from the company, instead of being an employee on profit sharing. And drought would wipe them out and the tenant in chief would bankrupt them and resume their ownership with all the improvements made. At the heart of this strategy is capitalisation, not a romantic wilderness, but pounds and shillings of wire and wood.

Noel Butlin is the seminal economic historian of the industry for the 19th century, though more recent works have developed the role of cattle capital in massacre and economic warfare.


Cowboys and the Cattle Industry

Cowboys and cattlemen are a fundamental part of Utah’s economic and social heritage. They were in Utah before the first Mormon pioneers arrived and endure today as part of a western legacy that strongly influences contemporary attitudes and lifestyles of many Utahns. Cowboys and cattle influenced Mormon settlements and culture, rode side by side with the state’s developing mining and transportation industries, and followed patterns that were at times unique to Utah and at other times part of the national and international developments in cattle and investment.

All of Utah fell under the domain of the cowboy. Cattle ranches were located in all parts of the state–from the rugged Canyonlands, Blue and LaSal Mountains of southeastern Utah to the Grouse Creek and Raft River Mountain Ranges of northwestern Utah from the Arizona strip and Pine Valley Mountains of southwestern Utah to Flaming Gorge and Brown’s Hole in northeastern Utah from the Uintah Basin, Book Cliffs, and San Rafael of eastern Utah to the Deep Creek Mountains and West Desert near the Utah-Nevada border and a hundred other mountain ranges and valleys in between. Cowboys trailed animals to winter or summer pastures and searched the vast deserts and rugged canyons for strays. They drove cattle to railheads at Nephi, Marysvale, Thompson, Price, Colton, Milford, Ogden, and Salt Lake City. They also built and mended fences, cut hay and grass for the animals, and developed riding and roping skills that were exhibited in rodeos and wild west shows. Most cowboys hoped to own herds and ranches of their own, and some took advantage of the isolation and wide-open spaces to “liberate” or “rustle” animals for their own use.

The term “cowboy” did not become commonplace in America’s vocabulary until after the Civil War when former soldiers, ex-slaves, fugitives, and others in search of jobs found work on Texas cattle ranches. 1 The name cowboy was applied to those who worked with cattle and horses and the name was popularized during the 1870s by the pulp fiction writers of the day who made the cowboy a national hero. Before that time, those who worked with cattle were called by the Spanish term “vaqueros,” or more commonly drovers or herders.

Often the noun cowboy is preceded by an adjective that indicates the person’s nationality, ethnicity, place of origin, religion, sex, occupation or other distinguishing status. In Utah there are or have been Mexican cowboys, African-American cowboys, Indian cowboys, Texas cowboys, Colorado cowboys, Wyoming cowboys, Nevada cowboys, Mormon cowboys, Outlaw cowboys, Full-time cowboys, Part-time cowboys, Modern cowboys, Rodeo cowboys, Urban cowboys, Hollywood cowboys, and feminine individuals usually called cowgirls.

Cowboys could easily be distinguished by their clothing and equipment. James H. Beckstead writes:

The clothing worn by the Utah drovers was derived from the attire of Spanish vaqueros who worked on the ranchos of California. Leather pants called chaps protected legs from brush and thorns and the horns of the cattle. A wide-brimmed, low-crowned hat protected them from the scorching sun and kept the rain off their heads. A colorful kerchief work around the neck could be placed over the mouth and nose as protection from dust raised by the cattle. Huge spurs with spiked rowels were work over the high-topped leather boots. The jingle of the rowel helped prompt the horse on without a real application of the rowel….The rawhide reata, or lariat, first introduced by the vaqueros, remained basically the same for many years. In time, hemp lariats became more popular. The length of the lariat varied from 60 to more than 100 feet. The saddle used by the drovers had a rawhide tree covered by a machila, two pieces of thick leather handsomely and fancifully worked or stamped joined by a running throng in the center, and open to admit the pommel and cantle. The pommel was high, which allowed the lariat to be attached to it….

The primary weapon used by cowboys was a single-action Colt revolver, usually a .44 .40 calibre or a .45 calibre. Remington revolvers were also common on the frontier. Winchester repeating rifles were by far the most common of the long guns used by cowboys. These weapons could be purchased throughout the territory in gun shops and dry goods stores….

Leather goods [harnesses, bridles, saddles, saddle scabbards, cartridge belts, holsters, leather cuffs, and chaps] could be purchased at saddle shops in many of the towns in the territory. Most of these saddleries were small businesses known in the trade as “buckeye shops.” 2

Utah’s first association with livestock came with the opening of the Old Spanish Trail between New Mexico and California in 1829. The trail swung north looping through the southern part of Utah. For two decades New Mexican woolen goods–primarily serapes, rugs, and blankets, were transported over the 1,120 mile long trail to California where they were exchanged for horses and mules. The traders returned to New Mexico driving herds with as many as a thousand animals.

The first livestock herds in the Utah territory were those of former fur trappers Jim Bridger and Miles Goodyear established in the 1840s. Bridger’s cattle operation was part of his Fort Bridger complex and took advantage of the excellent grasslands on the north slopes of the Uintah Mountains. Goodyear’s operation was centered along the Weber River and was part of his Fort Buenaventura which became part of the Mormon settlement of Ogden after it was purchased from Goodyear in November 1847 four months after the arrival of the vanguard Mormon pioneer group under Brigham Young in July 1847.

Cattle were a critical element of the fledgling Mormon economy and a crucial bartering item when thousands of California-bound gold seekers trekked through Utah beginning in 1849. The first Mormon settlers brought with them 2,100 head of cattle including 887 cows and 2213 working oxen. By 1850, the number of cattle in the Utah territory had increased to 12,000 head and by 1860 the number was 34,000 head. 3 The number of horses also increased and a Mormon horse herd was kept on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. Mormon leader Heber C. Kimball described the round up of horses on Antelope Island in the early 1850s:

At 10 o’clock in the morning of the roundup, dust was seen toward the north end of the island. It had the appearance of a whirlwind moving south at the rate of 25 miles an hour. Nothing could be seen but dust, until it had reached to within two miles of the house. Everybody was on tiptoe and the excitement was running high. Here they came—the speediest animals on the island, all of them white with foam, panting like chargers. There were about seventy-five of them in all some of them as fine animals as could be found anywhere….

Lot Smith and Judson Stoddard, with their partners, mounted four large and beautiful horses and entered the corral where the herd stood snorting like elk. Lot led the chase with his partner close behind him, followed by Judson Stoddard and his partner. While these wild animals were on the run around the large corral, Lot threw his lariat over the front foot of one of them, and at the same moment, his partner lassoed the same animal around the neck and with their lariats around the horns of their saddles, and in less than a minute’s time, had thrown the horse and dragged it over the smooth surface of the corral, a distance of several rods, to a place where the fire and branding irons were, and in, another half-minute, the horse was branded and turned loose. They had no more than gotten out of the way before Judson Stoddard and his partner had another horse ready for the finishing touch. So it continued until the band had been disposed of and turned loose on the range to make room for the next one, which was expected at any moment. 4

There were two primary sources of cattle during the first decade of Utah’s settlement. Mormon pioneers continued to bring animals with them as they crossed the plains to Utah. California-bound emigrants found the Salt Lake Valley a good place to trade their trail-worn animals for fresh ones—usually at a ratio of two for one thereby increasing the number of cattle and oxen in the Utah territory.

Another potential source of cattle was California. While more cattle were taken from Utah to California after the gold rush began, shortly after Salt Lake City was founded, a group of Mormons led by Jefferson Hunt journeyed to California where they purchased 200 cows and 40 bulls to help supplement the Utah herds. However, most of the animals died during a difficult crossing of the Mojave Desert. 5

A fourth source of cattle was from Texas as Mormon converts from that state brought herds with them. James Whitmore brought 500 longhorns with him from Texas to Utah in the 1850s. Whitmore settled in St. George, but lost his life to Navajo Indians near Pipe Spring in 1866. His sons continued the livestock business and by 1880 they owned about 15,000 head of cattle. The McIntyre brothers, William and Samuel, were converts to the Mormon church in Texas who came to Utah in the late 1860s. When their father passed away in Texas they returned to settle his estate and purchased 7,000 head of longhorn cattle for $3.75 each with their inheritance. They drove the herd to Utah and wintered the animals on the west side of the Tintic Mountains south of Utah Lake. The next spring the cattle brought $24.00 a head. 6

In early Utah the large herds of the Whitmores and the McIntyres were uncommon. Most cattle owners had only a few head of cattle which were usually placed in a community cooperative herd. Weather sometimes threatened the livestock, such as the winter of 1855 when an estimated half of all cattle in the Utah territory perished. Indians were another threat. During peaceful times a few head of cattle would be taken for food by local Indians, often as a replacement for the wildlife which had been displaced by the cattle. During times of conflict, such as the Black Hawk War of the 1860s, Indians stole cattle from Mormon settlements in the Great Basin and drove them hundreds of miles eastward to Colorado where the cattle was sold for consumption by the newly arrived miners and other residents of the area. 7

The completion of the transcontinental railroad to Utah in 1869 marked a significant change in Utah’s cattle industry. In time, the railroad became the means for transporting cattle out of the state to eastern markets. Immediately the railroad brought an increasing number of non-Mormons to Utah, some of whom made their livelihoods in cattle. The railroad also stimulated economic investments in the West by eastern and foreign capitalists. Many of these investments were made in livestock and during the 1870s and 1880s the number of cattle increased dramatically in Utah. In 1870 there were 39,180 cattle in Utah. By 1880 there were 132,655 head and a decade later, in 1890, the number had jumped to 278,313. 8 Some speculate that the number of cattle was much greater than these statistics suggest because they are based on tax information and cattlemen notoriously under counted the number of cattle for tax purposes.

The number of cattle not only increased, but the quality of livestock as well. Beginning in 1870 shorthorn cattle from Canada were imported to help improve the Utah cattle stock. During the 1880s Hereford cattle were imported and other breeds followed.

The expansion of Utah’s cattle industry during the 1870s and 1880s was built upon four cornerstones that included small operations throughout the state, the cattle barons–ranchers like Preston Nutter, B. F. Saunders, James W. Taylor, the Whitmores, and the McIntyres whose animals numbered in the thousands, Mormon cooperative enterprises some associated with United Orders and others such as the Bluff Pool in southeastern Utah which grew in response to outside threats by the Lacy Cattle Company to take over rangeland and control access to water and other resources, and corporate cattle companies who tapped resources in Great Britain, Pittsburgh and other eastern cities, and even Utah investors to found such companies as the Carlisle Cattle Company, the Pittsburgh Land and Livestock Company, the Webster City Cattle Company and the Ireland Cattle Company among others.

The corporate cattle companies usually brought in managers, foremen, and cowboys from outside Utah–especially Texas and Colorado. 9 But often Mormon foremen and cowboys from the farms, ranches, and rural towns of Utah were employed as well. A few of them followed a trail that crossed from legitimate work as cowboys to illegal acts as outlaws. Matt Warner and George LeRoy Parker—alias Butch Cassidy—are two who gained national and international reputations for their exploits.

Cattle rustling was a persistent problem in Utah throughout most of the nineteenth century. In 1860 Territorial Governor Alfred Cumming in his report to the legislature noted that the “northern part of the territory is infested by bands of cattle thieves, who commit depredations upon the ranges and dispose of their plunder in the vicinity of the military reserves.” Eighteen years later, Territorial Governor George W. Emery informed the 1878 legislature that a serious problem for the Utah stock industry was “the men who drive out of Utah annually large numbers of stolen cattle and horses.” 10 Utah cattlemen sought to deal with rustlers through various means. Livestock associations offered rewards for the capture of rustlers. Cattlemen supported the passage of the Branding and Herding Act of 1886 which made it illegal to sell or slaughter unbranded animals within the Utah territory. “Some of the larger cattlemen hired gunfighters to scare would-be rustlers away, and many hired known rustlers in the belief that they would not steal from the hand that was feeding them. None of these means was totally effective.” 11

Rustling cattle was a complicated process. Cattle were usually taken from the open range—miles away from the owners. If the cattle had already been branded, the rustlers had to rebrand the cattle so as to alter the existing brand so it would not to be recognized. Usually cattle were branded during the open range roundups but those that were missed were to be branded by cowboys who carried a running iron with them. These “mavericks” as they were known were supposed to be branded with the owners brand, but on the isolated range far from the owner or foreman’s scrutiny some cowboys applied their own brand and began to build up their own herds at the expense of their employers or other cattle owners. More often, however, the stolen cattle were driven out of Utah to military camps or mining towns to be sold.

For some cowboys such as Butch Cassidy and Matt Warner, it was an easy step from cattle rustling to robbery. Rustling hideouts such as Robbers’ Roost in Wayne County were used by the outlaws including Butch Cassidy following the 1897 Castle Gate Payroll Robbery.

While rustlers were an irritation to Utah cattlemen, harsh winters, severe drought, and weak markets brought economic disaster for many especially during the hard winter of 1886󈟃 when some ranchers lost half or more of their herds and the mid 1890s when the market price for cattle was extremely low making it impossible for many to even clear expenses to say nothing of seeing a profit on years of hard work.

As the 21st century dawns, there are still cowboys throughout Utah. They have preserved much of the lore and culture of their nineteenth century predecessors while adapting to the modern day realities of pickup trucks, television and computers. The cowboy persona persists because cows still need to be herded and cared for but also because of the images that books, magazine articles, movies, television, and county and western musicians continue to foster.

1 . James H. Beckstead, Cowboying: A Tough Job in a Hard Land (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1991), 29.
2 . Beckstead, Cowboying, 9, 123.
3 . Donald D. Walker, “The Cattle Industry of Utah, 1850�: An Historical Profile,” Utah Historical Quarterly Summer 1964, 184.
4 . Beckstead, Cowboying, 12-13.
5 . Beckstead, Cowboying, 6-7.
6 . Beckstead, Cowboying, 52, 56.
7 . John Alton Peterson, The Black Hawk War, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1999).
8 . Walker, “The Cattle Industry of Utah,” 189.
9 . For a discussion of these companies see Chapter 5 “The Corporate Cattle Companies,” in Beckstead, Cowboying, 71�.
10 . Beckstead, Cowboying, 133.
11 . Beckstead, Cowboying, 133.


Texas Longhorns: A Short History

Texas Longhorns and the long drives northward to market made such an imprint on the 19th-century Western landscape that for many Americans today nothing else better defines the Old West. In his classic 1941 book The Longhorns, J. Frank Dobie writes that the Chisholm Trail, from Texas to Kansas, ‘initiated… the most fantastic and fabulous migration of animals controlled by man that the world has ever known or can ever know’ Between 1866 and 1890, some 10 million cattle were driven on the Chisholm and other trails out of Texas. ‘Without the Longhorns and the long drives,’ writes Don Worcester in The Texas Longhorn, ‘it is unlikely that the cowboy would have become such a universal folk hero.’

The roots of the Texas Longhorn go back to the late 1400s. Cattle were not indigenous to North America, but were introduced by gold-seeking Spanish conquistadors. The first Spanish explorers turned their dark, thin-legged, wiry Moorish-Andalusian cattle loose on the Caribbean Islands. These Andalusians, known as ‘black cattle,’ also produced Spanish fighting bulls. Left on their own, the cattle strayed, grew larger and soon turned wild. In the wild they thrived, growing heavy-boned, skinny and swift. Their long legs and long horns provided offensive weapons and defensive protection. They also developed a fiery temper and a malicious cleverness.

In 1521, Spanish sea captain Gregorio de Villalobos, defying a law prohibiting cattle trading in Mexico, left Santo Domingo with six cows and a bull and set sail to Veracruz, Mexico. The explorer Hernando Cortes also set sail with Criollo, or Spanish, cattle to have beef while on his expeditions. He branded his herds with three crosses-the first brand recorded in North America.

As more Spanish explorers headed north, their crippled and exhausted cows were left behind, loose on the trail, to fend for themselves. These Spanish explorers held to the Castilian tradition that grass was a gift of nature. Spanish cattlemen did not fence in their fields or their herds, and cattle easily wandered off to join the wild population. In the 1820s, settlers in Texas, then part of Mexico, primarily raised European breeds of cattle. The Texas Longhorn is the result of the accidental crossbreeding of escaped descendants of the Criollo cattle and the cows of early American settlers, including English Longhorns.

The easily identifiable result is a wild, slab-sided, ornery, multicolored bovine weighing between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds and having a horn spread of 4 to 7 feet. A Longhorn was considered mature at 10 years, and by then averaged 1,200 pounds. The combination of these characteristics made Longhorns hearty and self-reliant. One of their drawbacks was their meat. It was known to be lean, stringy and tough, but was still better than beef from Criollo cattle. The New York Tribune, on July 4, 1854, described Longhorn beef: ‘The meat is fine-grained and close, somewhat like venison. It is apt to be a little tough.’ These feral cattle, being excellent swimmers, easily crossed the sluggish Rio Grande, but generally were stopped by the more turbulent Red River. By the Mexican War, 1846-1848, the Texas Longhorn had become a recognizable type. Worcester, however, points out that the real Texas Longhorn was ‘a fairly distinct type that appeared in South Texas in large numbers only after the Civil War.’

The Longhorn did not have many enemies. Native Indians did not hunt the wild cattle they preferred the meat of the tamer and easier to kill buffalo. The Indians also found more uses for buffalo hides and bones than they did for Longhorn leather. Wolves that followed the migrating buffalo herds remained shy and wary of the mean and often deadly Longhorn cattle. With the waning of the buffalo herds, the prairie grasses from Mexico to Canada became fodder for this new, more marketable animal. Most non-Indian Americans never developed a taste for buffalo, and more and more people were taking a liking to beef. A single Longhorn cow needed 10 acres of good plains grass a year for feed, 15 if the ground was dry and scrubby, and there were millions of acres available. Living on the rich Texas plains, a cow would normally have 12 calves in her lifetime, ensuring a steady supply for the new market.

During the Civil War, the unattended Longhorns proliferated. By 1865, about 5 to 6 million Longhorns resided in Texas, and most were unbranded. Many Confederate Army veterans returning from the war built up herds by claiming unmarked cattle and branding them. At that time a steer was worth about $4 in Texas-that was if you could find anyone with the $4. In Chicago, Cincinnati and other meat-packing and market towns up North, that same steer sold for about $40. The problem was getting the steers to market. More than 250,000 steers were driven toward Kansas and Missouri in 1866, but many didn’t make it because farmers, worried about tick fever, would turn them back, and thieves would strike the herds. In 1867, Abilene, Kan., at the railhead of the Kansas & Pacific, opened up as a major market and became the first of the cow towns. For the next two decades, Longhorns hit the trails on long but generally profitable drives. There had actually been long drives earlier-such as to New Orleans in the 1830s and to California during the gold rush-but the era of the great trail drives did not begin until after the Civil War.

To build up herds, cattlemen often hired young ‘brush poppers.’ For $10 a month plus board, they combed the sage brush, popping out cattle as they went. After the spring roundup, the cattle herd was driven north. For this dangerous work a cowboy would earn $30 a month. A drive often covered 1,500 miles and took four to six months. The hours were long, the conditions brutal and the dangers very real. The outdoor work, mostly in the saddle, appealed to a certain breed of men-the American cowboy.

Unpredictable weather and swollen streams would break up the routine on the trails, and no single word could shake up a cow camp quicker than ‘Stampede!’ Every cowboy that ever trailed a herd was concerned about the threat and hazards of a stampede. It wouldn’t take much to get the Longhorns to run -a yelp from a coyote, the rattling of the chuck wagon’s pans, the hiss of a rattlesnake, a cowhand’s sneeze, the flair of a match. In Frederic Remington’s The Stampede the cause was lightning. ‘Stompede was the old Texian word, and no other cattle known to history had such a disposition to stampede as the Longhorns,’ writes Dobie.

In an instant, a calm herd could become a solid wave of nearly unstoppable alarm and panic. Normally a Longhorn steer would not target a man on horseback, but neither man nor horse was safe during a stampede. The steers themselves usually were at great risk. In Idaho, an 1889 stampede led to the deaths of one cowboy and 341 Longhorns. In Nebraska, in 1876, four cowboys tried to head off 500 stampeding steers. Only three of the men made it all that was found of their friend was the handle to his revolver Another herd took to running when a tobacco shred from a cowboy’s pouch stuck in a steer’s eye. That unfortunate crew lost two cowboys, and a score were injured. Out of their herd of 4,000 head, 400 cattle were killed. One of the worst stampedes occurred in July 1876 near the Brazos River in Texas. Almost the entire herd plunged into a gully more than 2,000 head were killed or missing.

When cattle stampeded they did not utter a sound, but a cacophony was raised by the clashing of horns and the crashing of hooves. The heat that the massed herd emitted was phenomenal.

Charles Goodnight, one of the 19th century’s most famous cattlemen, once described how the heat ‘almost blistered the faces’ of the men on the lee side of the herd. On a hot night, a steer that ran 10 miles might lose up to 40 pounds. There was only one thing, agreed most cowboys, that could be done to gain control of a runaway herd. That was to ride hellbent for leather toward the head of the herd and get the leaders milling, so that the herd would circle around into itself. The cowboys hoped the cattle would exhaust themselves during the process. The men would wave hats or slickers, beat ropes against chaps and sometimes fire pistols into the ground to try and keep the animals from running. A herd in flight could spread out over a vast area. If the herd ran for 25 miles, the cowboys might have to ride 200 miles rounding up the strays. Working alone, each man fanned out and began riding toward the herd’s new bedding ground. Sometimes small groups of cattle would be found and started back, but finding and driving singles was more often the case.

Every trail herd had its dominant steer, which by instinct strode to the front of the bunch to lead the way. Good lead steers were particularly valuable when crossing a river because hesitant leaders would cause most of the others to stop. If a steer did the job well, it would not be sold it would be brought home to lead the other herds north. Charles Goodnight owned such a valuable steer in Old Blue, whom he had bought from cattleman John Chisum. During eight seasons, more than 10,000 head followed Old Blue to Dodge City- a one-way trip for them but not for Blue. Goodnight put a bell around Old Blue’s neck, and the other steers learned to follow the familiar ringing. Old Blue, according to range legend, ‘could find the best water, the best grass, and the easiest river crossings, and could even soothe a nervous herd during a storm with his reassuring bawl.’ After his last drive, he was retired to a permanent pasture and lived to be 20 years old. At his death his horns were mounted in a place of honor in the Goodnight ranch office. A good day’s progress for a herd was about 10 miles. Under favorable conditions, Longhorns put on weight while on the trail. Water was the most important necessity during a drive. A Longhorn could drink up to 30 gallons of water a day. Without plenty of fresh water, the cattle became irritable and would stampede.

The Texas cowboy admired the Longhorn because it fought him. An old bull when roped and mad could, with just a twist of his head, easily snap two ropes thrown over his horns. When a cowboy referred to a steer as ‘gentled,’ he meant the steer had become accustomed to the sight of a man on horseback, but was nowhere near tame.

The very success of the Longhorn led to its replacement. A trail drive often made a lot of money for the cattle owner. A steer sold for an average of $40, and trail expenses were about a dollar a head. The larger the herd, the larger the profits the average was about 2,000 head. One of the biggest herds ever recorded left Texas in 1869 with 15,000 head. With so much money being made and such a large amount of beef being exported to Great Britain, wealthy investors from England and Scotland started looking at American ranches as investments. From there it was a small step to introduce their black Angus and white-faced Herefords in order to produce a beefier cow. Also, Shorthorns were brought in to upgrade herds of Longhorns. The Shorthorns were meatier but the Longhorns hardier, the Shorthorn-Longhorn cross produced a more marketable animal. By 1885, the old Longhorns seemed on their way to being bred out of existence. The end of the open range contributed greatly to the decline. Fenced pastures made it more economically sound to raise breeds that produced more beef and better beef, since hardiness and self-sufficiency were no longer nearly as important.

In the early part of the 20th century Longhorns neared extinction, but the breed was kept alive because a few Texas ranchers held onto small herds for largely sentimental reasons. And now Longhorns are making an amazing comeback. They are not just surviving symbols of the Old West but are cattle that are much in demand. ‘They are attractive to breeders today for the same reasons they were successful a century ago-their resistance to disease, ease of calving, longevity, and ability to thrive on poor pasture,’ Worcester writes. And there’s a new reason, too: They provide health-conscious Americans of the 21st century with lean beef.

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Beef Cattle Farming

The origins of beef cattle farming in Canada can be traced back to the import of dual-purpose cattle breeds as live sources of food for French and British fur trading posts. By the 17th century, cattle were raised as a source of draft power, food (dairy and meat) and hides by the French-speaking habitants on mixed subsistence farms along the St Lawrence Valley and the Bay of Fundy. Later, British colonials used cattle for the same purposes in the present-day Maritimes and Southern Ontario. Cattle were one of the mainstays of mixed farming that spread across the country with rural settlement, and ranching became particularly important in the rangelands of Western Canada.

While the number of beef cattle farms has been declining in a trend that can be traced back to the 1941 Census of Agriculture, average herd size on beef cattle farms is increasing. In the wake of the discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in 2003, the total number of beef cattle in Canada dropped between the years 2005 and 2016.

Beef Cattle Breeds

Distinct breeds of cattle emerged in the 19th century. The British beef breeds were the first to arrive in most parts of Canada and some are still commonly recognized: Shorthorns were the first beef breed to become established in Canada in 1832 white-faced Herefords have a reputation for hardiness that is well suited to the rigors of Canadian climates and Aberdeen Angus are best known as being polled and jet black in colour (although there is also a Red Angus). Angus breeders have been successful in having their beef differentiated as a premium quality meat product.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a number of European breeds, collectively known as “exotics,” gained entry to Canada. With origins in France (Charolais, Limousin and Blonde d’Aquitaine), Germany (Gelbvieh) and Switzerland (Simmental), exotic cattle breeds transformed Canada’s pastoral landscapes. While pure bred cattle with long and exclusive pedigrees are still esteemed in some circles, most commercial herds emphasize the importance of more functional attributes such as their ability to graze in rough conditions, efficiency of feed conversion to beef and the “hybrid vigour” associated with cross-breeding.

Beef Cattle Production

Most of Canada's beef cattle farms may be classified into one or a combination of three phases of beef cattle production: cow-calf operations that produce weaned calves stocker or backgrounding operations that feed calves to maturity on forage and finishing operations that feed cattle intensively to reach slaughter weight. These activities may be integrated on a single farm, but most large scale cattle farms specialize in just one of the three phases.

Cow-Calf Production

Cow-calf operators maintain a breeding herd of beef cows and oversee their reproduction. There are over 60,000 cow-calf farms across the country. Canada's beef-cow herd is estimated at approximately 5 million head. Breeding herds range in size from as few as five to 10 cows on small mixed farms to several hundred or more on large ranches. The breeding herd consists of cows and heifers of a single breed or crossbreed that are carefully selected for maternal characteristics such as mothering ability, ease of calving, milk production and beef quality traits of their offspring. Performance-tested, purebred bulls from breeds noted for the desirable characteristics of their offspring make up the male side of the herd one bull can typically breed with about 30 cows (see Animal Breeding).

Most breeding takes place in summer when cows are exposed to bulls for a period of one to two months. Yearling heifers are bred with sires known to produce small and easily-delivered calves and give birth at about age two. Unlike dairy production, which relies on artificial insemination, most cow-calf producers use live bulls to detect which cows are in heat (i.e., ready to mate) in an open pasture environment. Most calving takes place from February to March, and a radio frequency identity tag is fastened to the calf’s ear as soon as possible after birth to facilitate identification and trace back to its herd of origin.

Calves remain close to their mothers until they are weaned at about 275 kg (600 pounds). In the late spring the cow-calf pairs are rounded up and the calves are briefly separated from their mothers. If calves are not naturally hornless (from a polled breed), they are usually dehorned and males are castrated to become steer calves. Calf processing typically includes vaccination against common diseases (e.g., blackleg), and an artificial hormone pellet is implanted in the ear (which is never used for human consumption) to stimulate growth.

When calves are weaned in the autumn, the herd is typically separated into groups, each with different feed and management requirements. Pregnant yearling heifers and heifer calves for breeding the next spring may benefit from being separated from mature pregnant cows. Stocker calves (both steers and slaughter heifers) may be sold to specialty backgrounders to add weight and frame size as quickly as possible. In large herds, the bulls are also fed and managed separately from the cow herd until the optimal time for breeding.

The western orientation of Canada’s beef farms is explained by the importance of pasture and rangeland for cow-calf operations. The production of winter feed (hay and silage) is a labour- intensive activity in both summer, when forage is cut and baled, and in winter, when it must be delivered to the cattle. Winter feed is vital to cattle production and if home-grown supplies of forage are insufficient, additional hay must be purchased and shipped to the farm, often at considerable expense.

Concentrated in Québec and Ontario, Canada’s dairy herd also makes a contribution to beef production. Male dairy calves and heifers that are surplus to milk quotas contribute about 10 per cent of Canada's veal and young beef supply. Cows that are culled from the dairy herd when they are too old to produce milk efficiently are slaughtered and used mainly for ground beef.

Stocker Operations

Stocker production, sometimes known as “backgrounding,” is a period of growth between weaning and finishing for slaughter (six to 12 months), which is aimed at maximizing growth of muscle and bone. It requires substantial pasture to facilitate summer-time grazing and winter-time feeding on hay and silage sometimes supplemented with grain. Stocker specialists typically buy weaned steer and heifer calves which are fed a low-energy diet of forage to build frame size before they are ready to be resold to feedlot operators.

Finishing Operations

Finishing, the final step in preparing animals for slaughter, aims to increase body weight and value of the finished animal. While some cow-calf operators may finish their own cattle in one fully-integrated process, most finishing is now done in specially designed units. Mixed farms in Ontario and Eastern Canada traditionally fed up to 200 cattle per year to enhance the value of home-grown crops and to provide a winter occupation and source of revenue. However, much larger feedlots with a capacity of 10,000–25,000 cattle are found in Alberta and Saskatchewan. These large-scale feedlots are equipped with feed mills to mix a precisely formulated ration, large bunker silos to prepare hundreds of tonnes of corn and barley silage, and specialized mixing trucks to distribute precisely measured feed rations in the long feed bunks that line each pen.

Profit Margins

Backgrounding and cattle finishing are described as margin businesses. Profits come from two sources: price margin, i.e., the difference between the buying and selling price (e.g., the original 300 kg weight of a steer purchased for $1.80/kg and sold for $2.00/kg would yield a profit of $60.00 through the .20/kg price margin) and feed margin, i.e., the difference between the cost of a kilogram of gain and the selling price of that gain. For example, if it cost $1.90/kg to put on 200 kg in the feedlot and the 500 kg finished steer sold for $2.00/kg, the operator would gain $20.00 through a .10/kg feed margin.

Astute buying and selling may govern price margin profits, but the feed margin is dependent on cattle that are efficient users of feed, and on the skill and precision with which rations are formulated to maximize weight gain per dollar of feed. Six-to-eight month old calves are the most efficient converters of feed (6–8 units of feed per unit of weight-gain), but the slowest weight gainers (1.0–1.1 kg/day) and may be in the feedlot for as long as 180 days. Yearlings are less efficient (8–9 units of feed per unit gain), but gain faster (1.1–1.3 kg/day) so they may require as little as 90 days in the feedlot before they are ready for slaughter. Heifers gain slightly more slowly in the feedlot and finish at lighter weights than is the case for steers.

The type of feed provided to beef cattle varies enormously from region to region, and throughout the life course of the animals. The large number of cows and small number of bulls required for reproduction are fed on standing grass during the growing season, and on cured hay and silage when grass is dormant in the colder months of the year. Summer grazing of the cow herd is managed carefully by a spatial distribution of watering facilities that encourage the cattle to graze evenly and over the broadest area of pasture. Cattle are attracted to salt blocks which provide trace minerals to supplement the diet and these too can be strategically located in areas of pasture that might otherwise be under-grazed. Rotational grazing is also managed using electric fences which can be easily moved to avoid over-grazing. While winter grazing may augment the diet in some parts of Canada, winterfeeding with home-grown hay or silage from grasses, legumes or cereal crops, possibly supplemented with grain or a commercially prepared protein meal is the norm. The cattle will congregate where winter feed is supplied. Thus the distribution of cattle in the field is the outcome of a variety of feeding practices that are planned for sustained use of the pasture and feed resources on farms.

The key in finishing is a high-energy feed ration (e.g., barley or corn) combined with roughages (chopped barley and corn silage with some hay and straw). In local areas, by-products (such as dried distillers' and brewers’ grains, sugar beet pulp or unsaleable cull potatoes) may become an important part of the blend at different times of the year. Roughages are usually used in the early part of the finishing period while a high-energy feed is dominant in the ration as animals approach slaughter weight.

For many years, and in most parts of Canada, finishing cattle on grass alone was considered uneconomical. The carotene in grass gives beef a thin, yellow fat covering — something consumers found unappealing. Traditional cattle feeders still insist that grain finishing is essential to achieve the creamy white fat colour and marbling that consumers demand both in Canada and overseas. However a growing market segment prefers grass-fed cattle, believing that their meat products offer health benefits and have superior palatability. Connoisseurs of grass-fed beef claim that they can identify subtle regional and seasonal differences in the various grasses, forbs and legumes consumed by cattle which affect the taste of the meat. A relatively small but growing number of cattle farms finish cattle exclusively on grass and hay. Grass-fed cattle are typically slaughtered at small provincially inspected abattoirs and the beef is sold at the farm gate, at farmer’s markets, and in specialty meat stores. While this is still a niche market supplied by a small number of boutique cattle producers, it is viewed by some as a promising opportunity given the overall decline in average beef consumption per capita in Canada.

Ethical Beef Farming

It has been suggested that cattle ranching is the most ethical of all forms of animal agriculture and the most unchanged among animal production systems. Like sheep and goats, cattle are raised outside and grow most of the way to slaughter weight in relatively natural surroundings that often have no alternative use as a food-producing land resource. And while cattle finishing is certainly an intensive form of confined animal production, it is nowhere nearly as intrusive as the conditions in hog or poultry barns. Feedlot cattle can express many of their natural behaviours despite being confined in a pen. Nonetheless, castration, dehorning and branding are deeply problematic from an animal welfare point of view. The environmental impact and health effects of large concentrations of feedlots in Southern Alberta, most notably in Lethbridge County, have led to calls for greater regulation of cattle finishing as a rural land use. Combined with concerns about the human health impacts of artificial hormones in beef cattle production, excessive use of antibiotic pharmaceuticals, and E-coli contamination of beef and the streams that flow through farms, these factors have led to rising public scrutiny and social concern with the conditions of cattle production and beef processing, a level of consciousness that did not exist just a few decades ago. At a global scale, methane emissions attributable to ruminants and their manure appear to make a considerable contribution to the anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases ( see Climate Change ). For these reasons, conventional cattle farms are being challenged as never before to justify their practices while organic, natural, and grass-fed beef producers are building mainstream markets out of what was once considered a niche.


People of the Ranch, Range, and Trail

In the American imagination, the classic cowboy is a tough-talking outsider who looks like John Wayne. In reality, the Texas ranch, range, and trail were home to a diverse network of cowhands, men and women alike.

The vaqueros had been herding and driving cattle and wild horses for hundreds of years before Anglo American ranchers arrived in Texas. But they didn&rsquot disappear. Instead, they became essential to the growth and modernization of a national industry. By the mid-19th century, vaqueros were so renowned for their skills that the cattleman Richard King traveled to Mexico to recruit entire families to work on his Texas ranch. These families became known as Los Kineños, King's people. Through generations of service, they revolutionized the cattle and horse breeding business and helped build the King Ranch into the legend it is today.

African Americans were among some of the earliest cowhands on Texas ranches. In 1840, 62-percent of Coastal Prairies taxpayers who owned 100 or more cattle were enslavers. Some historians believe that most ranching labor of the period was performed by enslaved Black cowhands. Despite this, some Black cowboys were able to experience a relatively greater degree of equity on the open range. A number of them, such as Daniel Webster Wallace, even purchased their own ranches following emancipation in 1865 . A formerly enslaved woman from San Antonio, Julia Blanks lived with her husband on the Adams Ranch in the Frio Valley. Blanks assisted with roundups, planted crops, raised animals, and cooked large meals during brandings. Her daughters took after her she later recalled, &ldquoMy oldest girl used to take the place of a cowboy, and put her hair up in her hat. And ride! My goodness, she loved to ride."

Blanks was far from the only woman to work on a ranch. The wife of legendary rancher Charles Goodnight, Molly Goodnight became known as the &ldquoMother of the Panhandle." The couple founded the JA Ranch in Palo Duro Canyon, where Molly hosted parties for cowhands, cared for them, and taught them to read. She also led efforts to conserve over-hunted bison. The Goodnight Buffalo Ranch eventually grew to over 200 bison, and Molly even had a bison herd under her own brand, Flying T. Johanna July was a Black Seminole vaquera born in Mexico and raised in Brackettville, Texas. Growing up on her family&rsquos ranch in the Rio Grande Valley, July learned to hunt, fish, and raise stock. She took over management of the family&rsquos livestock and horses when her father died, and she worked in the business for the rest of her life. Margaret Borland was the first woman to lead a cattle drive. After the death of her husband in 1867, Borland became the sole owner and manager of their large Victoria ranch and 8,000 longhorns. Within six years, she had grown that number to 10,000 cattle. In 1873, Borland led 2,500 longhorns, her three children, and several cowhands up the Chisholm Trail to Kansas, becoming the first-ever female trail boss.


Categories:

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jimmy M. Skaggs, &ldquoCattle Trailing,&rdquo Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 17, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/cattle-trailing.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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5 Trial By Ordeal

The trial by ordeal was a method of punishment known as judicium Dei (&ldquojudgment by God&rdquo). At a time when it was difficult to gather decisive evidence, people appealed to God&rsquos will to determine a suspect&rsquos guilt or innocence.

The court would decide on the type of ordeal used to test the accused person. Supposedly, each ordeal could only be passed through a miracle from God. If the person did pass, it meant that God had spared the accused and that he was innocent of the crime. If he failed, God had forsaken him and he was guilty.

Nasty examples of this type of punishment include the ordeal of the duel in which the accused had to make it through a fight. The ordeal of hot water required a person to dip his arms into hot water to retrieve a stone. If his arms were still scarred three days later, he was guilty.

However, some ordeals didn&rsquot need much of a miracle to pass. The ordeal of the cross had both the accuser and the accused stand in front of a cross with their arms outstretched. The first person to drop his arms lost the case.

The ordeal of bleeding required a suspected murderer to stare at the corpse of the murder victim. If the corpse began to bleed again, the onlooker was the murderer. With the ordeal of the blessed morsel, the accused had to eat some blessed dried bread and cheese. If the person choked while eating, he was guilty.


Historical Timeline

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8000 BC-63 BC

8000 BC - Origins of the Domestic Cow

Artist rendition of an Auroch.
Source: WOLDS Historical Organization, "Wymeswold's Ghosts," hoap.co.uk (accessed July 10, 2013)

Aurochs, the wild ancestors of modern cows, once ranged over large areas of Asia, Europe and North Africa.

Aurochs were first domesticated 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent area of the Near East and evolved into two types of domestic cattle, the humped Zebu (Bos indicus) and the humpless European Highland cattle (Bos taurus).

Some scientists believe that domesticated cattle from the Fertile Crescent spread throughout Eurasia, while others believe that a separate domestication event took place in the area of India and Pakistan.

Straus Family Creamery "History of the Cow," www.strausfamilycreamery.com (accessed Oct. 23, 2007)

4000 BC - Early Evidence of Milking Cattle in Neolithic Britian

Ancient neolithic cooking pots.
Source: Discovery Channel, "Early Brits Were Original Cheeseheads," dsc.discovery.com, Oct. 10, 2006

Discovery Channel "Early Brits Were Original Cheeseheads," dsc.discovery.com, Oct. 10, 2006

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) "Early Man 'Couldn't Stomach Milk'," www.bbc.co.uk (accessed Oct. 30, 2007)

3000 BC - Evidence of Dairy Cows Playing a Major Role in Ancient Sumerian Civilization

Image of a stone carving at the ancient Sumerian temple of Ninhursag showing typical dairy activities.
Source: Dorling Kindersley, The Visual Dictionary of Ancient Civilizations, Nov. 1, 1994

Although there is evidence of cattle domestication in Mesopotamia as early as 8000 B.C.E., the milking of dairy cows did not become a major part of Sumerian civilization until approximately 3000 B.C.E.

Archaelogical evidence shows that the Ancient Sumerians drank cow's milk and also made cow's milk into cheeses and butters.

The picture to the left is of a carved dairy scene found in the temple of Ninhursag in the Sumerian city of Tell al-Ubaid. The scene, which shows typical dairy activities such as milking, straining and making butter, dates to the first half of the third millennium B.C.E.

Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat, PhD Daily Life In Ancient Mesopotamia, 2002

3100 BC - The Domesticated Cow Appears in Ancient Egyptian Civilization

Aancient Egyptian stone carving of milking a cow.
Source: Tour Egypt, "The Diet (Food) of the Ancient Egyptians," touregypt.net (accessed July 11, 2013)

At least as early as 3100 B.C.E., the domesticated cow had been introduced to, or had been separately domesticated in, Northern Africa.

In Ancient Egypt, the domesticated cow played a major role in Egyptian agriculture and spirituality.

Attesting to its central role in Egyptian life, the cow was deified. The Egyptians "held the cow sacred and dedicated her to Isis, goddess of agriculture but more than that, the cow was a goddess in her own right, named Hathor, who guarded the fertility of the land."

Ron Schmid, ND The Untold Story of Milk, 2003

2000 BC - The Domesticated Cow Appears in Northern Indian Vedic Civilization

Image of the sacred cow from the Bahagavad-Gita.
Source: Sri Acharyaji, "Sama Darshana: The Nature of True Equality in Sanatana Dharma," dharmacentral.com, July 8, 2010

By 2000 B.C.E, the domesticated cow had appeared in Northern India, coinciding with the arrival of the Aryan nomads.

The Vedic civilization that ruled Northern India from about 1750 BCE to about 500 BCE relied heavily upon the cow and the dairy products that it provided.

The heavy dependence on the cow was reinforced by the Vedas (the religious epics of the Hindu religion) wherein the cow was considered a sacred animal.

1700-63 BC - Milk in Ancient Hebrew Civilization and the Bible

"The ancient Hebrews. held milk in high favor the earliest Hebrew scriptures contain abundant evidence of the widespread use of milk from very early times. The Old Testament refers to a 'land which floweth with milk and honey' some twenty times. The phrase describes Palestine as a land of extraordinary fertility, providing all the comforts and necessities of life. In all, the Bible contains some fifty references to milk and milk products."

Ron Schmid, ND The Untold Story of Milk, 2003

1525-1776

1525 - The First Cattle Brought to the Americas Arrive at Vera Cruz, Mexico

"The first cattle to arrive in the New World landed in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1525. Soon afterword, some made their way across the Rio Grande to proliferate in the wild. They became known as 'Texas Cattle.' Soon after, some of the [Spanish] settlers transported cattle to South America from the Canary Islands and Europe. More followed, and cattle multiplied rapidly throughout New Spain, numbering in the thousands within a few years."

Ron Schmid, ND The Untold Story of Milk, 2003

1624 - The First Cattle Brought to New England Arrive at Plymouth Colony

The first cows were brought to Plymouth colony in 1624.

"The cattle present in 1627 in Plymouth included black, red, white-backed and white-bellied varieties. The black cattle may have been of a breed or similar to those today called Kerrys. Kerry cattle are descended from ancient Celtic cattle and were originally native to County Kerry Ireland."

Craig S. Chatier, MA "Livestock in Plymouth Colony," Plymouth Archaeological Rediscovery Project website (accessed Oct. 9, 2007)

1679-1776 - Milk and the Spanish California Missions

"The Jesuit Priest, Eusebio Kino, introduced cattle to Baja California in 1679 as part of the missionary effort to establish mission settlements. Milk became a blessing to missionaries in time of need."

During a food shortage in 1772, Junipero Serra stated that ". milk from the cows and some vegetables from the garden have been [our] chief subsistence."

In 1776, at the Mission San Gabriel, Father Font wrote that "The cows are very fat and they give much and rich milk, which they [Native American women at the mission] make cheese and very good butter."

Robert L. Santos "Dairying in California through 1910," Southern California Quarterly, Summer 1994

1800-1899

Early 1800s - Milk Maids and the Compulsory Smallpox Vaccine in the United States

Drawing of a man being vaccinated for smallpox, by Sol Ettinge.
Source: United States National Library of Medicine, "Smallpox A Great and Terrible Scourge," nlm.nih.gov, Oct. 18, 2002

In the 18th century it was common folk knowledge in Europe that milk maids (women who milked cows) seemed to be immune from the smallpox plagues when they swept through Europe.

In 1796, English physician Edward Jenner developed a vaccine for smallpox based upon this folk knowledge.

"Recognizing that dairymaids infected with cowpox were immune to small-pox, Jenner deliberately infected James Phipps, an eight year old boy, with cowpox in 1796. He then exposed Phipps to smallpox-which Phipps failed to contract. After repeating the experiment on other children, including his own son, Jenner concluded that vaccination provided immunity to smallpox."

In the United States, compulsory smallpox vaccination was introduced on a state by state basis, beginning in the early 1800s.

National Library of Medicine "Smallpox A Great and Terrible Scourge," nlm.nih.gov, Oct. 18, 2002

1840-1920s - Milk Production and Distillery Dairies in the United States

Image of the Gooderham & Worts Distillery/Dairy from the 1850s.
Source: Raw Milk Facts, "Distellery Dairies, Deadly Milk," raw-milk-facts.com, June 21, 2012

In the early 19th century, the alcohol distillery business in the United States began to grow. Large amounts of swill (spent-grains) were produced as a byproduct of whisky and other alcohol production. Many distilleries opened dairies and began feeding their dairy cows with the waste swill. The low nutritional content of the swill lead to sickness in the cows and in the humans who drank their milk.

"Confined to filthy, manure-filled pens, the unfortunate cows gave a pale, bluish milk so poor in quality, it couldn't even be used for making butter or cheese."

Raw-milk-facts.com "Distellery Dairies, Deadly Milk," raw-milk-facts.com, June 21, 2012

1822-1895 - The Process of Pasteurization is Developed by Louis Pasteur

Image of Louis Pasteur.
Source: "Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)," bbc.co.uk (accessed July 11, 2013)

French chemist and biologist Louis Pasteur, considered one of the fathers of microbiology, helped prove that infectious diseases and food-borne illnesses were caused by germs, known as the "germ theory."

Pasteur's research demonstrated that harmful microbes in milk and wine caused sickness, and he invented a process - now called "pasteurization" - whereby the liquids were rapidly heated and cooled to kill most of the organisms.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) "Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)," bbc.co.uk (accessed July 11, 2013)

Mar. 23, 1883 - The New York Milk War

Image of a New York City milk seller during the 1883 "milk war."
Source: New York Times, "On This Day: March 31, 1883," nytimes.com (accessed July 11, 2013)

In 1883 a struggle known as the "milk war" broke out between milk farmers/producers and milk distribution companies in New-York.

Milk farmers demanded a higher price for their milk. When the distribution companies refused to pay more the farmers organized "spilling committees" that blocked roads, seized shipments and dumped out their own milk instead of selling it to the distributors.

These "spilling committees" created a "milk famine" in New York City in an effort to force the milk distribution companies to pay the farmers higher prices for their milk.

"In late March, 1883, a temporary settlement was reached between committees of the striking dairy farmers and the milk retailers, the latter representing about 800 of their fellow businessmen. They agreed to set the price of milk at 2½-4¢ a quart, depending on the season. Disputes between milk producers and dealers would resurface at times over the years, the most notable of which were the milk strikes of the early 1930s during the Great Depression."

New York Times "On This Day: March 31, 1883," nytimes.com (accessed July 11, 2013)

1884 - First Glass Milk Bottles Patented

"One of the first glass milk bottles was patented in 1884 by Dr. Henry Thatcher, after seeing a milkman making deliveries from an open bucket into which a child's filthy rag doll had accidentally fallen. By 1889, his Thatcher's Common Sense Milk Jar had become an industry standard. It was sealed with a waxed paper disc that was pressed into a groove inside the bottle's neck. The milk bottle, and the regular morning arrival of the milkman, remained a part of American life until the 1950s, when waxed paper cartons of milk began appearing in markets."

How Products Are Made "Milk," www.madehow.com (accessed Oct. 22, 2007)

1893 - Dr. Henry L. Coit Forms the Medical Milk Commission to Certify Raw Milk

Dr. Henry L. Coit's "Baby Keep Well" clinic in 1906.
Source: Raw Milk Facts, "A Brief History of Raw Milk," raw-milk.facts.com (accessed July 11, 2013)

In the mid-to-late 1800s milk-born illness was a major problem.

Milk produced at unhygienic production facilities (like distillery dairies) served as a medium to spread diseases like typhoid and tuberculosis. These diseases created a public health crisis that led to skyrocketing infant mortality in the cities.

As a result, "[i]n 1889, two years before the death of his son from contaminated milk, Newark, New Jersey doctor Henry Coit, MD urged the creation of a Medical Milk Commission to oversee or 'certify' production of milk for cleanliness, finally getting one formed in 1893."

Raw-milk-facts.com "A Brief History of Raw Milk," raw-milk.facts.com (accessed July 11, 2013)

1895 - Commercial Pasteurization of Milk Begins

In 1895, commercial pasteurizing machines for milk were introduced in the United States.

International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) "Important Dates in Milk History," www.idfa.org (accessed Oct. 8, 2007)

1899 - Milk Homogenizer Is Patented

"In 1899 Auguste Gaulin obtained a patent on his homogenizer. The patent consisted of a 3 piston pump in which product was forced through one or more hair like tubes under pressure."

Homogenization breaks down the large fat globules in milk into tiny ones.

The process prevents the cream from separating and rising to the top as it does in un-homogenized milk.

Dairy Heritage "History," www.dairyheritage.com (accessed Oct. 8, 2007)

1900-1949

1913 - Typhoid Epidemic in New York City

The New York Times reported that a large typhoid epidemic in New York City was attributed to contaminated milk.

New York Times "Bad Milk Causes Typhoid," Sep. 19, 1913

1914 - The First Milk Tanker Trucks Are Introduced

1928 Oshkosh Milk Tanker Truck.
Source: John's Old Car and Truck Pictures, "The OSHKOSH," oldcarandtruckpictures.com (accessed July 11, 2013)

International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) "Important Dates in Milk History," www.idfa.org (accessed Oct. 8, 2007)

1917 - Mandatory Pasteurization of Milk Begins

"By 1917, pasteurization of all milk except that from cows proven to be free of tuberculosis was either required or officially encouraged in 46 of the country's 52 largest cities. The proportion of milk pasteurized in these cities ranged from 10 percent to 97 percent in most it was well over 50 percent."

Ron Schmid, ND The Untold Story of Milk, 2003

1922 - Capper-Volstead Act Passed

Congress passed the Capper-Volstead Act, allowing producers of agricultural products, such as milk, to "act together in associations" to organize collective processing, preparation for market, handling, and marketing of milk and other agricultural goods.

The act was of historic significance as it granted producers of milk and other agricultural products special exemptions from monopoly laws to help farmers raise the price for their products.

1933 - Sioux City Milk War

In 1933 milk producers in Iowa organize a strike for higher milk prices.

One of the main tactics farmers used during the strike was to block roads and prevent milk from being shipped to Sioux City.

In one instance, strikers opened fire on a truck driver who was trying to get past a road blockade they had set up, seriously injuring four of the passengers.

New York Times "4 Shot in Milk War on Sioux City Road," Feb. 4, 1933

1937 - First Milk Marketing Orders Initiated

"Milk marketing orders came into existence as a result of the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937. The rationale for the legislation was to reduce disorderly marketing conditions, improve price stability in fluid milk markets, and ensure a sufficient quantity of pure and wholesome milk.

The orders are regulations approved by dairy farmers in individual fluid milk markets that require manufacturers to pay minimum monthly prices for milk purchases."

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) "Milk Marketing Order Reform: Watered Down or Real?," Jan. 20, 1998

Aug. 28, 1939 - Dairy Farmers Union Strike

Archie Wright, DFU organizer.
Source: Thomas J. Kriger, "The 1939 Dairy Farmers Union Milk Strike in Heuvelton and Canton, New York," albany.edu (accessed July 16, 2013)

Dairy Farmers Union symbol. Source: Thomas J. Kriger, "The 1939 Dairy Farmers Union Milk Strike in Heuvelton and Canton, New York," albany.edu (accessed July 15, 2013)
Dairy farmers in the countryside outside New York City were hit hard by the Great Depression. Milk prices in New York City fell so low that the milk distributors were paying farmers less for their milk than it cost them to produce it. As things got desperate, dairy farmers organized the Dairy Farmers Union (DFU). Led by Archie Wright, a former organizer for the radical Industrial Workers of the World, the DFU went on strike in 1939. During the strike, DFU members blocked roads and halted market-bound trucks. They confiscated milk and spilled it out on the roadsides. In some cases they threw bottles of kerosene on trucks that did not stop. The picketers fought non-strikers who tried to cross their lines, and State troopers who intervened.

TIME Magazine "Milk Without Honey," time.com, Aug. 28, 1939

June 4, 1940 - First Federal Milk Program for Schools

"Federal assistance in providing milk for school children has been in operation since June 4, 1940, when a federally subsidized program was begun in Chicago. It was limited to 15 elementary schools with a total enrollment of 13,256 children. The schools selected were located in low-income areas of the city. The price to the children was 1 cent per one-half pint, and children who could not pay were given milk free, the cost being paid through donations by interested persons."

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "The National School Lunch Program Background and Development," usda.gov (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)

1940s - Federally Subsidized Milk Advertising under the Works Progress Administration

Milk advertisement from the WPA art program, 1940.
Source: Library of Congress, "Milk - For Health, Good Teeth, Vitality, Endurance, Strong bones," loc.gov, July 20, 1940

Milk advertisement from the WPA art program, 1940.
Source: Library of Congress, "Milk - For Summer Thirst," loc.gov, Oct. 14, 1940
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was formed on May 6, 1935, as a part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal plan to bring the United States out of the Great Depression. The WPA differed from other New Deal programs in that it focused on providing work for artists, educators, writers and musicians.

The two posters pictured here were painted by artists under commission from the WPA. Like many WPA projects, these paintings served a dual purpose: to employ artists and to create increased demand for milk. As such, these paintings (and many others like them) were a form of federally subsidized dairy advertising.

At its height, the WPA employed over 3 million people.

Margaret Bing "A Brief Overview of the WPA," www.broward.org (accessed Oct. 16, 2007)

1946 - National School Lunch Act Passed

In 1946, President Harry Truman signed the National School Lunch Act into law. The act was designed to provide nutritious lunches to the nation's children. The reasoning behind the act was laid out in its text: "It is hereby declared to be the policy of Congress, as a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation's children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other food, by assisting the States, through grants-in aid and other means, in providing an adequate supply of food and other facilities for the establishment, maintenance, operation and expansion of nonprofit school lunch programs."

The Secretary of Agriculture prescribed three types of lunches which would be acceptable under the act, designed as Type A, Type B, and Type C.

It was mandated that each lunch include between 1/2 to 2 pints of whole milk.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "The National School Lunch Program Background and Development," www.usda.com (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)

1950-1999

1950s-1960s - Square Milk Carton Introduced

Vintage paper milk cartons.
Source: Doug and Lindas Dairy Antique Site, "Wax Milk Containers," dairyantiques.com (accessed July 15, 2013)

In the 1950s and 1960s many dairies began to introduce the square paper carton to replace bottles.

The square shape allowed more milk to be carried and displayed in a given space than did the old glass bottles.

The new cartons also reduced the cost of milk for consumers since disposable paper cartons were cheaper than glass bottles.

Doug & Lindas Dairy Antique Site "Wax Milk Containers," dairyantiques.com (accessed Oct. 10, 2007)

Oct. 11, 1966 - Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and the Special Milk Program

The Child Nutrition Act of 1966, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, authorized the Special Milk Program (SMP).

"The SMP provides milk free of charge or at a low cost to children in schools and child care institutions that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition meal service programs. The federally assisted program reimburses schools for the milk they serve."

School Nutrition Association "Program History & Data," www.schoolnutrition.org (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)

1974 - Nutrition Labeling of Fluid Milk Begins

Voluntary nutrition labeling on fluid milk products was initiated after the FDA advised that all foods should have nutrition labels.

International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) "Important Dates in Milk History," www.idfa.org (accessed Oct. 8, 2007)

1983 - Dairy Act of 1983 and the Creation of the National Dairy Board

"The Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 (Dairy Act) authorized a national producer program for dairy product promotion, research, and nutrition education to increase human consumption of milk and dairy products and reduce milk surpluses. This self-help program is funded by a mandatory 15-cent-per-hundredweight assessment on all milk produced in the contiguous 48 States and marketed commercially by dairy farmers. It is administered by the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (Dairy Board). The Dairy Act provides that dairy farmers can direct up to 10 cents per hundredweight of the assessment for contributions to qualified regional, State, or local dairy product promotion, research, or nutrition education programs."

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "National Dairy Promotion & Research Program: Overview, Structure, and History," usda.gov (accessed Oct. 16, 2007)

1990 - Fluid Milk Promotion Act

In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Fluid Milk Promotion Act to promote the sale of milk and to allow collective, producer financed, generic milk advertising. The act stated that "fluid milk products are basic foods and are a primary source of required nutrients such as calcium, and otherwise are a valuable part of the human diet," and mandated that "fluid milk products must be readily available and marketed efficiently to ensure that the people of the United States receive adequate nourishment."

1992 - First USDA Food Pyramid Is Released

1992 USDA Food Pyramid.
Source: USDA National Agricultural Library, "Past Food Pyramid Materials," usda.gov (accessed July 15, 2013)

"The Food Guide Pyramid was introduced in 1992 to illustrate a food guide developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help healthy Americans use the Dietary Guidelines to choose foods for a healthy diet.

The Food Guide Pyramid is a graphic tool that conveys 'at a glance' important dietary guidance concepts of variety, proportion, and moderation. These concepts are not new—with varying emphasis, they have been part of USDA food guides for almost 100 years."

The 1992 Food Pyramid recommended that 2-3 servings of milk and other dairy products be consumed daily.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) "Using The Food Guide Pyramid: A Resource for Nutrition Educators," usda.gov, 1992

1993 - "Got Milk?" Advertising Campaign Launched

Back Street Boys "Got Milk?" advertisement, 1998.
Source: Vintage Ad Browser, "Got Milk Ads of the 1990s," vintagebrowser.com (accessed July 15, 2013)

In 1993, the California Milk Processor Board was formed to increase milk consumption. Their first major public success was the creation of the "Got Milk?" advertisement campaign.

In 1995, the "Got Milk?" slogan was registered as a federal trademark by the National Dairy Boards and the "Got Milk?" campaign went national.

"Awareness of GOT MILK? is over 90% nationally and it is considered one of the most important and successful campaigns in history… The Dairy industry spends $150-million annually to support GOT MILK?, including use on those Milk Mustache ads. In addition, the 'brand' has become a hot property with over 100 product licensees."

Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) "About the CMPB," www.gotmilk.com (accessed Oct. 16, 2007)

Nov. 5, 1993 - Artificial Bovine Growth Hormone Approved by FDA

On November 5, 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved genetically engineered Artificial Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST, rBGH, BGH) for commercial use in the United States.

"In March 1993, before rbST was approved, an FDA advisory committee concluded that the use of rbST -- and any increased risk of mastitis and resulting increased use of antibiotics in treated cattle -- would not pose a risk to human health.

Monsanto Co.'s Posilac, the only rbST product approved for increasing milk production in dairy cattle, was first marketed in February 1994."

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "BST Update: First Year Experience Reports," fda.gov, Mar. 14, 1995

1994 - Protests against Artificial Bovine Growth Hormone Ensue

"Got BGH" graphic.
Source: Helloari.com, "Got BGH?," helloari.com (accessed July 15, 2013)

In response to the FDA approval of Artificial Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST, rBGH, BGH), the Pure Food Campaign launched a series of protests around the country where milk was spilled in symbolic protest.

Jeremy Rifkin, an organizer of the Pure Food Campaign, stated that there was widespread public concern over the safety of rBST and that "We believe this product is a hazard to health."

New York Times "Grocers Challenge Use of New Drug for Milk Output," nytimes.com, Feb. 4, 1994

1994 - FDA Issues rBST Labeling Guidelines

In 1994, the FDA issued labeling guidelines for milk (and dairy products made with milk) produced by cows that have not been treated with rBST. In its guidelines the FDA stated: "Because of the presence of natural bST in milk, no milk is 'bST-free,' and a 'bST-free' labeling statement would be false."

The FDA advised that the following statement should be included on all products labeled as being made with milk from cows that are not treated with rBST: "No significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-treated and non-rbST-treated cows."

1995 - Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI) Formed

"Dairy producer board members of the National Dairy Board (NDB) and the United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) create Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI) as the organization responsible for increasing demand for U.S.-produced dairy products on behalf of America’s dairy producers direct coordination between national and local dairy promotion programs begins.

DMI forms the U.S. Dairy Export Council® (USDEC) to leverage investments of dairy processors, exporters, dairy producers, and industry suppliers to enhance the U.S. dairy industry’s ability to serve international markets. Both dairy checkoff dollars [funds collected from farmers for collective generic advertisements] and USDEC membership dues fund the organization."

Dairy Management Inc. "History of Dairy Promotion," www.dairycheckoff.com (accessed Oct. 16, 2007)

1995 - "Got Milk?" Barbie Released

Source: National Museum of Play Online Collections, "Got Milk? Barbie," thestrong.org (accessed July 16, 2013)

"CMPB [California Milk Processors Board] and Mattel came out with a limited edition 'got milk?' Barbie doll to remind young consumers to drink their milk.

'[The] partnership with Mattel is the perfect example of the power of 'got milk?' to attract and leverage great brands to sell more milk,' says Jeff Manning, executive director of the CMPB."

Dairy Field (Now Dairy Foods) "Delivering 'Got Milk?' Message to Kids," May 1998

1997 - Harvard Study on Milk and Bone Health Released

Harvard School of Public Health doctors published a study in the American Journal of Public Health titled "Milk, Dietary Calcium, and Bone Fractures in Women: A 12-Year Prospective Study."

The study investigated whether higher intakes of milk and other high calcium foods during adulthood could reduce the risk of osteoporosis and related bone fractures.

The study found that high intakes of milk (two or more glasses a day over a 12-year period) did not reduce the incidence of osteoporosis and related bone fractures.

Diane Feskanich, ScD "Milk, Dietary Calcium, and Bone Fractures in Women: A 12-Year Prospective Study," American Journal of Public Health, June 1997

1998 - National Raw Milk Campaign Initiated

In 1998, the Weston A. Price Foundation initiated the "Real Milk Campaign" to promote the health benefits of raw cow's milk and to advocate for the legalization of raw milk sales.

The goal of the Real Milk Campaign is to make"[r]aw milk available to consumers in all 50 states and throughout the world!"

In 2007, the sale of raw cow's milk for human consumption was illegal in 17 states.

Weston A. Price Foundation "Real Milk," westonaprice.org (accessed Oct. 22, 2007)

2000-present

Dec. 2001 - Merger Forms Largest US Dairy Producer

In December 2001, Suiza Foods Corporation acquired Dean Foods Company and formed the "new" Dean Foods Corporation. The new Dean Foods Corporation became the nation's largest dairy processor and distributor with more than 25,000 employees and $10 billion in revenues.

Dean Foods "A Brief History of the New Dean Foods Company," www.deanfoods.com (accessed Oct. 22, 2007)

Dec. 2002 - PETA Files False Advertising Lawsuit against the California Milk Board

Image from CMAB "Happy Cows" commercial.
Source: PETA, "PETA Sues the California Milk Board for False Advertising," www.unhappycows.com (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)

Factory farm cows in California.
Source: PETA, "PETA Sues the California Milk Board for False Advertising," unhappycows.com (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a December 2002 lawsuit against the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).

PETA's lawsuit claimed that the CMAB's "Happy Cows" advertising campaign constituted false advertising. They charged that the idyllic living conditions of the "Happy Cows" were in stark contrast to the large factory farm reality of most dairy cows in California.

The suit was thrown out by the California Superior Court in 2002. PETA appealed the decision to the California Supreme Court, which refused to review the case in 2005.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) "PETA Sues the California Milk Board for False Advertising," www.unhappycows.com (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)

Jan. 5, 2004 - Dean Foods Acquires Horizon Organic

On January 5, 2004, Dean Foods, the nation's largest dairy processor and distributor, acquired Horizon Organic, the nation's leading organic milk and dairy product processor.

Dean Foods "A Brief History of the New Dean Foods Company," www.deanfoods.com (accessed Oct. 22, 2007)

2004 - Milk and Weight Loss Ad Campaign Initiated

"3-A-Day" logo.
Source: Umpqua Dairy, "Educational Tools," umpqua.com (accessed July 16, 2013)

In 2004, Dairy Management Inc. and the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board initiated a nationwide advertising campaign with the slogan "3-A-Day. Burn More Fat, Lose Weight."

The advertising campaign ran television, print and internet advertising claiming that the consumption of 3 servings of milk or other dairy products each day could help with weight loss.

2005 - Organic Milk's Popularity Continues to Grow

In 2005, organic milk grew in popularity with a 23 percent increase in consumption over 2004. During this same time period, overall milk consumption dropped by 8 percent.

New York Times "An Organic Cash Cow," Nov. 9, 2005

2005 - USDA Dietary Guidelines Released

In 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services released an updated "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" that recommended Americans should:

"Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products."

Oct. 2005 - Physicians Group Files Lawsuit Demanding Lactose Intolerance Warnings on Milk

In October 2005, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all residents of Washington, DC, against a number of large milk companies demanding lactose intolerance warnings on milk.

PCRM filed the lawsuit "To help raise public awareness about lactose intolerance. on behalf of all residents in Washington, D.C., who may purchase milk without realizing the serious digestive distress it can cause. Filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on October 6, the suit calls for all milk cartons sold in D.C. to carry labels warning of milk’s possible side effects."

As of Oct. 31, 2007, the case is still pending.

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) "PCRM Files Class-Action Lawsuit Against Dairy Industry," pcrm.org (accessed Oct. 17, 2007)

2007 - Japanese Man Creates Beer from Milk

"Bilk" and it's creator Chitoshi Nakahara.
Source: Japan Probe, "Milk + Beer = Bilk," japanprobe.com (accessed July 16, 2013)

For many years, milk consumption in Japan had been on the decline, creating a surplus milk problem in Japan. The Japanese island of Hokkaido alone had to dispose of nearly 900 tons of surplus milk in a single month.

Sensing an opportunity, Hokkaido liquor store owner Chitoshi Nakahara decided to see if he could ferment this excess milk into beer.

The experiment worked, and Nakahara began selling "Bilk" in local liquor stores in 2007.

Reuters "Got Milk? Got Beer!," reuters.com, Feb. 13, 2007

2007 - Milk and Weight-Loss Claims Withdrawn

In response to a 2005 complaint from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine(PCRM), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a letter regarding The National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board (and others) advertisements that claimed drinking milk helps with weight-loss. The letter stated that the FTC had been "advised by USDA staff that the Dairy Board, the Fluid Milk Board, and other affiliated entities that engage in advertising and promotional activities on behalf of the two boards, have determined that the best course of action at this time is to discontinue all advertising and other marketing activities involving weight loss claims until further research provides stronger, more conclusive evidence of an association between dairy consumption and weight loss. " A lawsuit (still in appeals as of Oct. 31, 2007) was also filed by the PCRM against a number of milk retail companies, including Kraft Foods and General Mills, to prevent them from making milk weight-loss claims.

Apr. 16, 2007 - Nation's Largest Organic Dairy Violates Organic Rules

On April 16, 2007, Aurora Organic Dairy, the largest organic milk producer in the country, and supplier of organic milk to Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Safeway and many other large stores, received a notice of proposed revocation from the USDA for willful violations of the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act.

The revocation letter from the USDA described 14 violations committed by Aurora Organic Dairy and stated: "Due to the nature and extent of these violations, the NOP proposes to revoke Aurora Organic Dairy's production and handling certifications under the NOP."

According to the Cornucopia Institute, a farm policy research group, the practices of Aurora are "a 'horrible aberration' and that the vast majority of all organic dairy products are produced with high integrity."

Cornucopia Institute Lawsuits Announced Against Nation's Biggest Organic Dairy," www.cornucopia.org (accessed Oct. 23, 2007)

Aug. 21, 2007 - FTC Affirms the Legality of 'rBST Free' Labels on Milk

In Feb. 2007, the Monsanto Corporation (producers of rBST) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that a number of milk processors were engaging in "false and deceptive" advertising by labeling their products as being free of the artificial growth hormone rBST and thereby inferring that milk from cows injected with the growth hormone is inferior.

In its response to the compliant filed by the Monsanto Corporation the FTC wrote that its "staff agrees with FDA that food companies may inform consumers in advertising, as in labeling, that they do not use rBST."

2007-2008 - China's Tainted Milk Scandal

"A Chinese court has condemned two men to death and sentenced a company boss to life for their roles in the production and sale of poisoned milk that killed at least six children and made almost 300,000 sick.

More than 50,000 infants were hospitalised with kidney problems after drinking Sanlu baby formula tainted with melamine, a chemical normally used to make plastics and fertiliser. Investigators said middlemen who bought milk from farmers and sold it on to dairies had watered it down and mixed it with the chemical, which creates the appearance of higher protein levels in quality tests.

Parents had contacted the company to complain as early as the end of 2007. But the scandal was not exposed until September 2008.

The scandal led to the screening of more than 20m babies for kidney problems, officials have said. It triggered a spate of product bans or recalls around the world after melamine was detected in exports such as chocolate, yoghurt and sweets."

Guardian "China to Execute Two over Poisoned Baby Milk Scandal," Jan. 22, 2009

Jan. 8, 2008 - FDA Approves Cloned Milk for Human Consumption

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released its 968 page report "Animal Cloning: A Risk Assessment,” and announced to the public that milk from cloned cows had been approved for human consumption.

In its Jan. 15, 2008 press release announcing the report and its conclusions, the FDA wrote that "meat and milk from clones of cattle, swine, and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals.”

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) FDA issues documents on the Safety of Food from Cloned Animals," www.fda.gov, Jan. 15, 2008

Aug. 3, 2011 - Market in Venice, CA Raided by Police for Selling Raw Milk Three Arrested

"The owner of a Venice health food market and two other people were arrested on charges related to the allegedly unlawful production and sale of unpasteurized dairy products. The arrests of James Cecil Stewart, Sharon Ann Palmer and Eugenie Bloch on Wednesday marked the latest effort in a government crackdown on the sale of so-called raw dairy products. Prosecutors in Los Angeles alleged that Stewart, 64, operates a Venice market called Rawesome Foods through which he illegally sold dairy products that did not meet health standards because they were unpasteurized. Palmer, 51, has operated Healthy Family Farms in Santa Paula since 2007 without the required licensing for milk production, prosecutors allege. She and her company face nine charges related to the production of unpasteurized [raw] milk products. Bloch, a Healthy Family Farms employee, is charged with three counts of conspiracy."

Los Angeles Times "3 Arrested on Raw-Milk Charges," latimes.com, Aug. 4, 2011

Mar. 2012 - US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Release Report on Dangers of Raw Milk

In March, 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report titled "Nonpasteurized Dairy Products, Disease Outbreaks, and State Laws - United States, 1993-1996," which concluded:

"Public health officials at all levels should continue to develop innovative methods to educate consumers and caregivers about the dangers associated with nonpasteurized dairy products. State officials should consider further restricting or prohibiting the sale or distribution of nonpasteurized dairy products within their states. Federal and state regulators should continue to enforce existing regulations to prevent distribution of nonpasteurized dairy products to consumers. Consumption of nonpasteurized dairy products cannot be considered safe under any circumstances."

Feb. 24, 2014 - "Got Milk?" Advertising Campaign Dropped, Replaced with "Milk Life"

"Got Milk? Not anymore. The Milk Processor Education Program is sidelining the iconic ad slogan in favor of a new tagline, 'Milk Life,' which puts emphasis on milk's nutritional benefits, including its protein content.

The change is part of a national campaign launching Monday [Feb. 24, 2014] that seeks to return the sluggish dairy milk category to growth.

Protein is 'really in the news and on consumer's minds,' said Julia Kadison, interim CEO of MilkPEP. 'But a lot of people don't know that milk has protein, so it was very important to make that connection between milk and protein'.

The nutritional pitch is a very different positioning from the original concept that spurred the creation of 'Got Milk,' which was to dramatize situations in which consumers suffer without milk to accompany foods like cake and cookies."

Advertising Age "'Got Milk' Dropped as National Milk Industry Changes Tactics," adage.com, Feb. 24, 2014

2015 - US Sales of Dairy Milk Fall as Non-Dairy Milk Sales Rise

"Driven by negative health perceptions, reduced retail prices and exports and a growing number of non-dairy alternatives, the US dairy milk market has declined in recent years, as new research from Mintel reveals that sales of dairy milk decreased 7 percent in 2015 ($17.8 billion) and are projected to drop another 11 percent through 2020. Seen as a better-for-you (BFY) alternative to dairy milk, non-dairy milk offerings continue to see strong growth, with gains of 9 percent in 2015 to reach $1.9 billion."

Mintel Group Ltd "US Sales of Dairy Milk Turn Sour as Non-Dairy Milk Sales Grow 9% in 2015," mintel.com, Apr. 20, 2016

June 1, 2016 - Australian Regulators Approve Cold-Pressure Processing as Alternative to Pasteurization

"Unpasteurised milk will appear on shop shelves this week [June 1, 2016], with the food regulator declaring cold pressure as an effective method to kill the harmful bacteria lurking inside.

Sydney company Made by Cow has obtained the approval of the NSW Food Authority to use cold pressure as an alternative to conventional heat pasteurisation and sell 'cold-pressed raw milk'.

'Good herd management, hygienic milking techniques and the cold pressure method have meant we can put 100 per cent safe, raw milk onto supermarket shelves,' said [company founder] Mr Joye.'The bottles of milk are placed under enormous water pressure, squashed in about 15 per cent, to remove the harmful micro-organisms.'

Selling raw milk for human consumption is illegal in Australia because it contains micro-organisms that can increase the risk of contracting serious illnesses… [but] while the product is labelled 'cold-pressed raw milk', the NSW Food Authority says it doesn't recognise it as raw milk because it has undergone 'high pressure processing' to eliminate pathogens. It worked with Made by Cow for more than a year to ensure the product was safe and suitable for human consumption."

WAtoday "'Cold-Pressed Raw Milk' Method Wins Regulatory Approval," watoday.com.au, June 1, 2016

Sep. 25, 2019 - Milk Residue Found in Prehistoric Baby Bottles

Late bronze age baby bottles used for drinking milk
Ashley Strickland, "Prehistoric Baby Bottles Still Have Milk Residue Inside," cnn.com, Sep. 25, 2019

Cable News Network (CNN) Ashley Strickland, "Prehistoric Baby Bottles Still Have Milk Residue Inside," cnn.com, Sep. 25, 2019

Jan. 6, 2020 - Two Largest American Dairy Companies File for Bankruptcy

"Borden Dairy Co., one of America's oldest and largest dairy companies, on Monday [Jan. 6, 2020] became the second major milk producer to file for bankruptcy in the last two months.

Tumbling milk consumption combined with the rising price of milk have crippled the dairy industry with debt. Dean Foods, America's largest milk producer, filed for bankruptcy November 12 [2019]…

The company said it also has been hurt by broader industry trends, including a 6% drop in overall US milk consumption since 2015. Borden noted that more than 2,700 family dairy farms went out of business last year, and 94,000 have stopped producing milk since 1992."

Chris Isidore, "One of America's Oldest and Largest Milk Producers Files for Bankruptcy," cnn.com, Jan. 6, 2020

Apr. 2020 - Dairy Farmers to Dump up to 3.7 Million Gallons of Milk per Day Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

A Pennsylvania dairy farmer dumps 5,500 gallons of milk down a drain.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner, "Why Dairy Farmers across America Are Dumping Their Milk," cnn.com, Apr. 15, 2020

Due to school and restaurant closures during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, demand for milk has dropped sharply. Low demand, combined with processing bottlenecks and grocery store ordering caps, has forced milk farmers to dump milk before it is delivered to processors.

Slowing milk production now instead of dumping could result in dairy shortages after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Zoey Nelson, a sixth-generation dairy farmer, stated, "You can't shut down cows. You can't turn them off like a faucet. Just to see it [milk] going down the drain -- it's devastating."

The Dairy Farmers of America estimate between 2.7 and 3.7 million gallons of excess milk could be dumped daily.


Chuck Wagon History and Cooking


There is a majestic beauty viewing over the massive grazing lands that run from Texas north through the Dakotas reaching into Canada. These plains expanded westward into Colorado meeting the rocky mountains and northwest to the Cascade Mountain Range. Scenic hills covered in tall Buffalo grass that whispers its historic past as one might sit silent reflecting upon the romantic images of the American West. As the wind blows through the wild blades of green stems that still flourish today, the sounds of the cowboys yawp can nearly be heard as they command their livestock on the long cattle-drives. Today, no other item best reflects the images of those cowboys who worked the cattle drives than the “Chuck Wagon”.

The Chuck wagon was perhaps used in some form before its true invention. As many ranches moved cattle using a supply wagon during the drive. While the famous cattle drives begin in 1866 after the civil war, Longhorn cattle had been driven too Louisiana before Texas became the Great Republic in 1836.

Prior to the Chuckwagon, Cowboys often relied on eating what they carried in their saddle bags such as dried beef, corn fitters or biscuits. However, little demand for selling beef beyond locate markets did not come about until the end of the American civil war. Philip Danforth Armour opened a meat packing plant in Chicago, Illinois that became known as the Armour and Company. Additionally, demand for beef was growing throughout the eastern states which brought sells at $40 a head and the demand to move cattle from Texas.

1866, cattleman Charles Goodnight knowing the importance of logistics for his crew to drive cattle required daily meals, bedrolls, extra gear and supplies. A humble Cowboy could work harder on a full stomach and a good night sleep. The trail would often last two or more months moving cattle several miles each day. Some drives lasting up to five months. Goodnight took a surplus Army Wagon made by Studebaker an added a large Pantry box to the wagon rear with a hinged door that laid flat to create a work table. The cook would then have everything he needed at arms length to prepare food. Shelves and drawers were added to the inside of the pantry to carry supplies and cooking gear. The larger pots, cast iron skillets and utensils would be carried in a box mounted below the pantry called the boot. The Army wagon merely was a light supply wagon of that period with Goodnight’s added design creating the invention of the CHUCK WAGON. During the Civil war, kitchen boxes were used by both the Armies of the North and South. They were set up with legs providing a work table and storage which may have lead to influenced the Goodnight design. Goodnight also called for heavier running gear to stand up to rugged country side. This design became so popular that Studebaker created a model called the “Round – Up” wagon by 1880. Several other wagon manufacturing businesses built similar type wagons where as the chuck wagons found there way operating in the United States and Canada.

The name “Chuck” derived from 17th Century England as meat merchants who referred to their lower priced goods as “Chuck”. By the 18th Century, the term "chuck" was communicated towards good hearty food. It is of no wonder to take the name chuck for Goodnight’s simple creativity that revolutionized the cattle industry.

The Chuckwagon would be equipped with the wide array of supplies needed to make the journey. While mostly thought of is the food and cooking gear, the supplies would include Farrier and Blacksmith tools for horseshoeing or making repairs to the wagon and horse tack. Sewing needles for mending clothing or saddles, first aid and alcohol tonics used for medicinal purposes. Bedrolls and rain slickers for the working cow hands along with the crew’s personal items. One side would be equipped with a large wooden water barrel to carry a two day supply for the working crew. The other side often had a tool box, as well a smaller attached wooden box in front called the jockey box. Additionally, the wagon would have a canvas cover called a Bonnet that had been treated in linseed oil to repel rain keeping items in the wagon dry. To allow headroom in the wagon, bows where added raising the canvas and providing securing points. Other wagon types used covers too such as the Conestogo for freight and the Prairie Schooner commonly used to move early pioneers across the United States as those who followed the Oregon Trail . Chuck wagons normally would be built from standard farm supply or feed wagon designs merely outfitted with the pantry box known as the “Chuck box” and water barrel.

Some outfits would supply large tenting that could be extended from the wagon providing cover over the cooking area and gathering of the cowboys around the fire. Additional wood poles would be carried to prop the ends up erecting the canopy shelter. Furthermore, an additional single axle wagon could be trailer to the chuck wagon called a “pup” or “hoodlum” for larger crews requiring larger supplies. The average crew for a trail drive would include the trail boss, the cook about 15 hands to work the cattle of about 1,200 head along with 100 horses. The horses were changed out often sometimes three times in a day while working the cattle.

Wood was a necessity for the daily cooking. With limited storage, the cow hands working the drive would pick dried logs and chop them as needed. A storage area called the possum belly was attached below the center of the wagon to the back axle. Thou sometimes made from canvas, it often was made from the hide of a buffalo or steer that could store extra fire wood much like a hammock. Dried Buffalo chips along the trail would also be used to burn on camp fires when wood was not readily available. To make minor repairs to a wagon, axes and wood saws of various types would be carried along with wood shaving knives. Should a wheel break, spares rarely were carried and the outfit would have to be innovated. A jack was always among the tools used for lifting one side of the wagon should a wheel become damage. Additionally, another tool known as a “Come-along” was taken to assist pulling wagons over high terrain, off a rock or out from mud should it become stuck. The come-along was a block and tackle rig using hemp rope that worked between two pulley blocks.

Wagons could be pulled using oxen, mules or horses. Most wagon teams would be worked as paired units using two or four animals. This varied more over by the freight load and need for extra weight-hauling capacity. Mammoth Jacks (half donkey and half horse breed) were frequently used because of their strength hauling the wagon.

The chuck wagon would be managed by the cook whom frequently received the nickname “cookie”. He performed all the needs for the camp sites along the cattle drives. Additionally, he would be second in charge of the outfit to the trail boss. Due to his importance and position, the cook received pay around $45 per month while the wranglers and cow punchers received $25 to 30 dollars each month on a trail drive. They earn even much less working the many ranches. The Cowboys worked in shifts to watch and protect the cattle 24 hours a day. The herd would be moved in the daytime. At night cowboys watched over the cattle to prevent stampedes and deter rustling. Shifts lasted about four hours at night rotating to allow as much sleep before daylight operations. Although the cook never watched the cattle at night as he had other duties calling on a long day. Besides cooking, he was making repairs to equipment or nursing sick workers whom might have taken ill during the long drives. Cookie also was expected to act as Barber, Banker, Doctor, Dentist, letter writer and sometimes referee in camp should tensions flair amongst the hired hands. His normal day started hours before others. Getting up around three in the morning he started by grinding roasted coffee beans to make his blend of coffee. The hand grinder normally would be mounted to the outside of the pantry box. Then pinching some sourdough from the crock stored in the pantry as he blended this with more flour and water to make a large serving of biscuits. Fresh eggs or vegetables sometimes would be available as the trail boss may authorize trading a steer with some farmer along the trail drive. Though the daily norm was dried pork, beans and bread with the choice of water or coffee to drink. Beef was always readily available, thou ranchers did not care much for feeding their crew money on the hoof. The trail boss would be selective to what cattle might be cut from the herd and never was the prime stock selected. Normally it might be a steer that had difficulty staying up with the herd or some wild game.

Coffee was brewed throwing in a handful of grounds to one cup of water. The enamelware coffee pot was large holding at least 20 or more cups. The coffee was always boiling hot and black. This coffee was known as “Six shooter” coffee strong enough to float a six gun pistol. When ready to serve, the cook poured a cup of cool water into the pot to settle the grounds to the bottom. Egg shell also could be added to the pot as many believe this would abet any bitter taste though it truly was to assist the grounds to sink to the bottom of the pot as does the effect of cold water. The coffee was always available and anyone free to pour them self a cup. Early trail drives carried green coffee beans which required roasting before grinding. In 1865, two brothers, Charles and John Arbuckle, who were grocers in Pittsburgh, Pa. patented a process for roasting coffee beans. They roasted beans with a mix of egg white and sugar to preserve freshness. Pre Roasted coffee was so successful that this process is still used today. While pouring a cup, someone might yell, ”Man at the Pot” indicating you need to pour everyone in desire a fresh cup.

Plates were licked clean and the cook always had a wash bowl set out to put your empty plate in it after you finished your meal. Cookie’s job after having breakfast made for the crew would be cleaning up and packing the wagon to move forward finding the next stop along the trail drive. Then setting up camp and having another hot meal ready for dinner. Cookie’s held many responsibilities yet none as important as cooking a hearty meal. Most meals were cooked using cast iron skillets or Dutch ovens. Enamel wear was used mostly for plates, bowls, cups and utensils. Flour, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, potatoes, onions and beans made up most of the daily meals. Although can food items slowly found their way on the later trails drives as can foods were just being introduced and pricey. Sometimes, dried fruit or preserved fruits may make up some of Cookie’s pantry.

The Chuck Wagon was home on the range for the hands. Sometimes the only home these hard working men ever really knew. Besides receiving hot meals smelling the aroma of smoke from the camp fire as it cooked down some tough beef, the rich hot coffee, and the fresh air of outdoors, the camp was where you socialized sharing stories of the day or one from the past. Surely some tall tales likely were spoken and perhaps one might be blessed with some natural musical talent. Nevertheless, the camp always had rules to follow and only a greenhorn might make error of breaking a camps unwritten law. Some things were merely common sense, other perhaps polite etiquette. Rules, like always ride your horse down wind of the wagon as not to kick up dust. No horse playing “being reckless” in the camp. Never tie any horse to the wagon. Cookie maintained the order. When time permit and if Cookie was feeling kind, he might bake deserts like peach cobbler or an apple pie. While near a river bank the hands took time for a bath removing the dirt from the dusty trail. Although, shaving gear and personal toilets were kept at the wagon. Cookie finished his day cleaning up and being ready to start out his morning repeating his normal routine. Lantern wicks turned out and cowboys climbed into their bed rolls. Only the sounds of perhaps a coyote in the hills, or an owl might sing into the night under the starlit sky.

Thou Cookie would always have a pot of fresh beans soaking in a pan of water making ready for cooking the next day. Meat did not preserve well as there was no refrigeration. Beef cuts would be wrapped during the day and unwrapped to cool during the night air. Beef stew was one of the most common served dinners known as Son of a bitch stew. Although, referred to as son of a gun stew and other names when around soft ears young folks or ladies.

The trail drive attracted men from all walks of life. Some restless after the civil war, others looking for a new start in life. Since early cattle development of the west began under the Spanish control Mexico during the 1700’s, many cowboys working the trail drives were Mexican-Indian decent known as vaqueros. Black Americans were also drawn to cowboy life. There was not quite as much discrimination in the west as in other areas of American society at the time. Regardless of ethnicity, most cowboys came from lower social classes and the pay was poor.

As the railroad developed, cattle soon were transported in Stock Cars ending the era of the long cattle drives. Ranchers would not have to move their herds hundreds of miles to ship. Nevertheless, the chuck wagon continued to be useful during round up for large ranches as they made ready their cattle for market. The chuck wagon even made its way in use with logging camps. Thou present day the chuck wagon may appear more novelty feeding guest or holding large barbecue events at Ranches, Rodeos and trail ride’s, it still brings a warm hearty feeling to any crowd as they dine savoring sourdough biscuits’. Today, the Chuck Wagon so historically represents the era of the trail drives and the Cowboys whom worked the cattle that it was Honor as the Texas State Vehicle and continues operations on many ranches nearly 150 years after its invention. It is no surprise to view a chuck wagon and immediately think of those nearly forgotten trails and the cowboys who drove over 10 million head of cattle to market. Trails of majestic beauty where you can nearly hear the wind echo a ringing camp bell and Cookie calling out, “Come and get it. Get it while its hot”.


Welsh Cattle Drovers in the Nineteenth Century - 1

THE export of store cattle from Wales to the rich pasturelands of England has always played a vital part in the Welsh economy. Recent research has indicated the existence of a flourishing cattle trade since the mid-thirteenth century, and there seems little reason to doubt that the origins of the trade go back far into antiquity. By the mid-seventeenth century store cattle exports were one of the primary sources of Welsh revenue. Thus we find Archbishop John Williams of Bangor imploring Prince Rupert to permit the passage of the Welsh drovers into England during the Civil War, '. for they are the Spanish fleet of Wales which brings us what little gold and silver we have'. 1 In spite of the Archbishop's plea the Civil War disrupted the cattle trade to the extent that the drovers were eventually paid a subsidy of £3,000 as compensation for loss of revenue during hostilities. The industrial developments of the late eighteenth century and the growth of urban populations stimulated an increased demand for beef from the grazing lands of the Midlands and the mixed farming regions of Eastern England. In spite of the growing importance of the Scots cattle trade, the early years of the nineteenth century witnessed the arrival of thousands of Welsh store cattle into England, for subsequent pasture and stall fattening. The extent of the demand for Welsh cattle may be judged from the fact that it is difficult to find a Midland grazier's account book which does not refer to the purchase of Welsh cattle at some time of the year. It is virtually impossible to estimate the volume of the trade during the nineteenth century due to the lack of statistical evidence. A few toll gate returns provide a fleeting glimpse of cattle movements but these, of course, do not take into account the fact that many drovers avoided the Turnpike roads, preferring the more hazardous but less expensive journey across open mountain and unmade road. Nevertheless the several accounts of journeys through Wales made by such astute observers as Walter Davies and George Kay, leave one with little doubt that the volume of exports was considerable. Kay 2 maintained that in 1794, 10,000 cattle were exported from Anglesey while Davies 3 noted that by 1810 some 14,000 'Welsh runts' were being sent annually to the Midlands from Anglesey and the Lleyn Peninsula alone. Aikin's lyrical description of the droves of black cattle swimming the Menai Straights is well known, 4 perhaps rather more so than Richard Llwyd's lines written on Porthaethwy Fair. While this poem can hardly be described as the work of a genius, it does succeed in conveying the sense of confusion which accompanied the ferrying of large numbers of beasts across the stormy waters of the Straights:

'These are the features of the ferrying fair,
And those that dote on discord may go there
The tides, contending with the toiling boats,
The horny forest that on Menai floats
The brutes inferior, but by the windy storm,
The living beach where bellowing droves depart,
And the last low, that rends the suffering heart'.

In 1797 Warner's progress along the Abergavenny - Crickhowell road, '. was frequently impeded by numerous droves of black cattle from Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire, travelling towards the passage to be transported across the Severn . '. 5 In addition to the North Wales 'runts', the larger Pembrokeshire cattle which were widely distributed throughout Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and South Cardiganshire were found in abundance on the fattening lands of Norfolk, Essex, Kent and Surrey.

The majority of the cattle were purchased by dealers and drovers at local fairs, many of which were on a vast scale. When the Rev. Evans visited Cilgerran Fair near Cardigan in 1804, he noted that all the fields within three miles of the village were full of cattle, and that, '. the number of cattle, though this was considered a small fair, we were informed exceeded 20,000'. 6 By the close of the 19th century, the summer and autumn fairs of Cilgerran were inundated with drovers intent upon purchasing cattle for the English market. One resident vividly remembers cattle lining the streets from the Rectory to the Station. She remembers also the inconvenience of having to vacate her room in her parent's public house in the village in order that the drovers could be accommodated for the duration of the fair. 7 Although the local fair continued to remain an important feature of 19th century rural life in Wales, it is apparent that many drovers and cattle dealers favoured direct purchase of cattle from farmers rather than through the medium of the fair. 7 Although the local fair continued to remain an important feature of 19th century rural life in Wales, it is apparent that many drovers and cattle dealers favoured direct purchase of cattle from farmers rather than through the medium of the fair. Thus, in 1809 at Beddgelert Fair, '. the show of animals was in general but trifling as the drovers have for many years been accustomed to go about from house to house in order to make their private bargains with the farmers'. 8 Furthermore, intending purchasers would often travel considerable distances to meet the drovers of cattle en route for a local fair in the hope of securing bargains with the drovers before the fair began. In the Llanfair Caereinion area it was common practice for a farmer to ride as far west as Dolymaen to meet the Cardiganshire drovers and make purchases before the commencement of the fair at Llanfair. 9

The activities of the Welsh drovers in the pre-nineteenth century period had helped to form an economic and cultural link with England which was beneficial to both countries. In addition to their straight-.

. forward trading function, the drovers had often been responsible for the execution of financial commissions, such as the collection of the Denbighshire Ship Money on behalf of the Government. Private gentlemen also employed them as carriers both of money and news. On many occasions Sir W. W. Wynne entrusted his chief drover, David Lloyd with considerable sums of money which Lloyd took to London to pay his master's bills. 10 In the exchange of correspondence between the Rev. Thomas Jones of Creaton in Northamptonshire and the Rev. Thomas Charles of Bala, we find the former requesting that Thomas Charles send him books and pamphlets by way of the Welsh drovers. There are numerous examples of drovers making significant contributions to Welsh civic life, pioneering the establishment of banks in West Wales, and in the case of the celebrated David Jones of Caeo, augmenting the richness of the Welsh musical tradition with his splendid hymns. Judging from the account books which they kept, it is clear that the more substantial drovers and dealers were capable of accurately recording details of transactions and also of bargaining with their clients in the English language. his splendid hymns. Judging from the account books which they kept, it is clear that the more substantial drovers and dealers were capable of accurately recording details of transactions and also of bargaining with their clients in the English language. The capacity to speak good English was of course, a major asset. There are at least two cases of drovers making use of their fluency in English in order to establish themselves as schoolmasters. Thus in 1845 a school was opened in Pumpsaint by young man of twenty who had previously been employed as a London drover, while William Harries, schoolmaster of Ffaldybrenin from 1871-78 had spent his early years driving cattle to the Metropolis. 11 The importance of the drover in this regard was emphasised by John Johnes of Dolau Cothi. Referring to the hundred of Caio in his evidence to the notorious 1847 Commission of Inquiry into the State of Education in Wales, he maintained, 'That there are a great many cattle dealers in this parish who travel to England and practically learn the value of education'. In spite of his valuable role in the economy of rural Wales, the nineteenth century Welsh drover was treated with considerable scorn by re are a great many cattle dealers in this parish who travel to England and practically learn the value of education'. In spite of his valuable role in the economy of rural Wales, the nineteenth century Welsh drover was treated with considerable scorn by contemporary writers, being regarded as fundamentally dishonest and unscrupulous. It seems that a great deal of the distrust of the drovers arose from their habit of buying on credit. Although this practise was by no means universal, many of the smaller drovers and dealers would arrange to pay for cattle purchased from the Welsh farmers on their return from the English fairs. If, as was often the case, shortage of keep reduced the demand for Welsh cattle in England, the drover was forced to sell at a loss and was accordingly unable to meet his obligations on his return to Wales. Thus as Hyde-Hall pointed out, 'The speculation does not always succeed and the bankruptcy of the drover leaves his creditors with but a very small dividend.' 12 In spite of a statute of Queen Anne which forbade a drover to free himself from obligations undertaken, there .

. are frequent references to bankrupt drovers in the contemporary literature. One writer, discussing stock improvement in Caernarvonshire, felt that the introduction of English bulls would so improve Welsh stock that, '. this would be a great inducement to many drovers to come into the country with ready cash instead of credit, which is at present the practise whereby many an honest farmer is duped out of his property in whole or in part.' 13 In spite of his observation that '. . the drovers are distinguished persons in the history of this country's economy'. 14 Edmund Hyde Hall echoed a widely held view when he drew attention to the frequently used epitaph, 'Not only a drover, but a rogue'. Although the epitaph could not be universally applied, there is little doubt that many drovers were untroubled by the pangs of conscience. There were many ways by which the dishonest drover could dupe the English grazier. The graziers were always interested in purchasing spayed (i.e. ovariectomised) store heifers which readily settled down to grass and proceeded to the pangs of conscience. There were many ways by which the dishonest drover could dupe the English grazier. The graziers were always interested in purchasing spayed (i.e. ovariectomised) store heifers which readily settled down to grass and proceeded to fatten thriftily and economically. Such animals commanded a price which was superior to that of a normal heifer. It is not difficult, therefore, to imagine the ire of the grazier when his 'spayed' heifer produced a calf ! John Bannister had been deceived fatten thriftily and economically. Such animals commanded a price which was superior to that of a normal heifer. It is not difficult, therefore, to imagine the ire of the grazier when his 'spayed' heifer produced a calf ! John Bannister had been deceived in this manner and consequently held little affection for the Welsh drovers '. for amongst these itinerant Cambrians there are many individuals not less deeply versed in the art of deception than the 'horse-jockeys'. 15 It was for this reason that John Lawrence, in 1805, warned the inexperienced buyer never to purchase cattle at a fair unless accompanied by a more experienced man, '. for the drovers are troubled in general with as few scruples as any man living, no offence intended to the noble fraternity of horse dealers.' 16 Several interesting legal documents and newspaper reports provide further information on the rather doubtful integrity of some of the Welsh drovers and dealers. In the Caernarvonshire Great Sessions of 1809 we find Hugh Owen suing the drover Richard Cadwallader for debt. Apparently Owen had advanced Cadwallader money for the purchase of cattle, '. which he hath hitherto altogether refused and still doth refuse to pay, wherefore the said Hugh said he is injured and hath sustained damage to the hard Cadwallader for debt. Apparently Owen had advanced Cadwallader money for the purchase of cattle, '. which he hath hitherto altogether refused and still doth refuse to pay, wherefore the said Hugh said he is injured and hath sustained damage to the value of £200.' Again, in 1814, Cardiganshire Quarter Sessions dealt with the case of Thomas Lloyd versus David Evans and David Davies. Evans and Davies, two drovers, had been commissioned by Lloyd, a farmer, to purchase cattle on his behalf. For this purpose Lloyd had advanced a sum of money. However, the two drovers had 'craftily and subtly' deceived Lloyd by not delivering the purchased cattle which they disposed of on their own account. 17 A similar case is reported in the 'Cambrian News' of 1879 in which Albert Lewis Jones, cattle dealer, formerly of the Prince Albert public house, Aberystwyth was charged.

. by Edward Morgan, farmer, of obtaining cattle worth £200 under false pretences. Rather less frequently, cases appear in which the drover himself is the plaintiff. Thus in 1800, the Sheriff of Caernarvon issued a writ against Griffiths Richards, a local farmer. The writ instructed bailiffs to make good by seizure of goods and chattels a debt of £20 which Hugh Hughes, drover, had claimed at the Great Sessions. 18 The account books of David Johnathon reveal that this dealer encountered great difficulty in receiving payment from some of the English graziers with whom he dealt. In January 1860, a Surrey farmer, George Hawkins wrote to Johnathon, explaining 18 The account books of David Johnathon reveal that this dealer encountered great difficulty in receiving payment from some of the English graziers with whom he dealt. In January 1860, a Surrey farmer, George Hawkins wrote to Johnathon, explaining that he was '. exceedingly sorry but I shall not be able to meet your last bill . I will pay the £55 in the course of a fortnight'. As things turned out, a great deal more than a fortnight elapsed before the debt was discharged. A year before, John Read of Middlesex explained to Johnathon, '. that I have not been able to spare the money for the last lot, nor can I say exactly when I can . '. 19 Where a drover met with such unwillingness or inability to pay up, it is not surprising that he found difficulty in discharging his debts on returning to Wales.

The Welsh drovers who took cattle to London were regarded by the towns-people with suspicion and often with awe. A delightful, if slightly exaggerated, account of Barnet Fair appeared in the Farmers Magazine in 1856. This account, written by an Englishman, refers in a rather uncomplimentary fashion to the Welsh drovers and provides an interesting example of the disdain in which the unfortunate drovers were held. It is worth quoting at length 'Imagine some hundreds of bullocks like an immense forest of horns, propelled hurriedly towards you amid the hideous and uproarious shouting of a set of semi-barbarous drovers who value a restive bullock far beyond the life of a human being, driving their mad and noisy herds over every person they meet if not fortunate enough to get out of their way closely followed by a drove of unbroken wild Welsh ponies, fresh from their native hills all of them loose and unrestrained as the oxen that preceded them kicking, rearing and biting each other amid the unintelligible anathemas of their human attendants . the noisy 'hurrahs' of lots of 'un-English speaking' Welshmen who may have just sold some of their native bovine stock whilst they are to be seen throwing up their long-worn, shapeless hats high in the air, as a type of Taffy's delight, uttering at the same time a trade(sic) of gibberish which no-one can understand but themselves.' 20

While the majority of the Welsh cattle not sold in the Midlands were disposed of at the great London fairs, other beasts were driven deep into Kent, Sussex, and Surrey. Jenkin Williams, the dealer of Dewi Garon, 21 regularly took cattle as far as Blackwater in Kent, while David Johnathon of Dihewyd travelled and traded throughout the Midlands.

. and sold cattle at the fairs of Romford, Brentwood, East Grinstead, Horsham and Kingston. Davies of Tregaron, who died in the 1850's at the age of 96 and who worked for the dealer Dafydd Griffiths of Lampeter, bought

. and sold cattle at the fairs of Romford, Brentwood, East Grinstead, Horsham and Kingston. Davies of Tregaron, who died in the 1850's at the age of 96 and who worked for the dealer Dafydd Griffiths of Lampeter, bought cattle in the Lampeter and Carmarthen area. These were sent by rail to London and subsequently driven to the fairs of Barnet, Horsham, Reigate, Kingston, Blackwater and Harley Row. 22 Throughout the pre-railway era these epic journeys necessitated considerable feats of physical endurance on the part of the drovers. The fact that many drovers survived to very great ages suggests that continued exposure to the elements together with countless nights of sleeping in the open air had no permanently adverse effects upon their health. It has often been contended, in the more romantic and emotionally charged accounts, that the drovers were a breed of supermen who scorned the use of an overcoat and cheerfully faced wind and storm with gay abandon. Sadly, the various drovers' and dealers' account books do not support this assertion. Indeed, it seems that many drovers expected their employers to provide them with some form of protective clothing before they embarked upon a journey. Thus in 1822 we find a Trawsfynydd dealer paying £5-5-0 for clothes and £1-9-6 for 'a trunk and shoes' for his drover before the latter set off to Northampton with a drove of cattle. 23

The actual size of a drove of cattle varied according to the time of year and the demand for store cattle from the English graziers. However, most accounts suggest that the droves ranged in size from one to four hundred cattle which were attended by 4-8 drovers and their dogs. The huge Rhys Morgan of Tregaron, styled 'King of Northampton', who was still trading in cattle and horses at the turn of the present century, normally employed a dozen men to handle a drove of 300 beasts. 24 Once the drove was assembled, the cattle would normally be felled and shod prior to undertaking the long trek to England. Although cattle shoeing has been ably described elsewhere, 25 it is perhaps worthwhile to note that Mr. Ben Morgan of Farmers recollects local tales of the personnel involved in the shoeing process in his village. In the 1860's cattle were shed at Farmers in Llwyncelyn bach by Evan Richards the smith from 25 it is perhaps worthwhile to note that Mr. Ben Morgan of Farmers recollects local tales of the personnel involved in the shoeing process in his village. In the 1860's cattle were shed at Farmers in Llwyncelyn bach by Evan Richards the smith from Ffaldybrenin. Richards would arrive at Farmers with the cattle shoes, in the company of Rhys the Nailer of Pant-un-nos who would bring with him a bag of nails which were protected from rust by being smeared with butter. A third man, one David Morgan (renowned for his tendency to over-indulge in alcohol) would eventually arrive and assist with felling of the cattle. 26 'Ciwing forges' are widespread throughout Wales and provide useful clues as to the location of cattle drove routes. The remains of the most westerly forge at which cattle were shod before setting off for England are reputed to lay in the orchard of Carmenau Fawr, Clynderwen, Pembrokeshire. The shoes.

. were made at a small-holding on nearby Bryn Hill, and taken subsequently to Carmenau Fawr where they were nailed to the cattle. 27 In Foel, Montgomeryshire an interesting link with the cattle trade with south eastern England is evidenced by the presence of two small fields of 0.8 acres and 0.6 acres, named respectively 'Kent' and 'Essex' (O.S.6" 1902 nos. 282 and 1812). These fields are located in close proximity to the smithy at Glanyrafon (recently demolished). It appears that cattle destined for Kent or Essex were drafted into the appropriate enclosure when shoeing was completed. 28 & 29 It was often necessary to re-shoe cattle en route, for when shoes were lost lameness would result, and consequently, the value of the beast at the time of sale would be reduced. Many smaller drovers relied upon local blacksmiths for this purpose while the larger droves would often be accompanied by a smith with an ample supply of shoes and nails. 30

It has often been contended that cattle under eighteen months of age were unable to withstand the rigours of the journey to England and consequently were not to be found in the droves. This was by no means the case. Contemporary sources reveal that although bulls did not leave Wales before they were eighteen months old, heifers of as little as one year of age were frequently to be seen in the droves of black cattle. 31 However, the majority of the droves would comprise 3-4 year old store beasts together with a sprinkling of milch cows and the odd bull. Once the chaos which arose from the marking and mixing together of several hundred strange cattle had abated, the drove set off. It normally took 3-4 days for the drove to settle down to a steady 2 miles per hour, a leisurely pace which would give the animals plenty of opportunity to graze by the wayside. By travelling at this pace the drove would cover between the drove set off. It normally took 3-4 days for the drove to settle down to a steady 2 miles per hour, a leisurely pace which would give the animals plenty of opportunity to graze by the wayside. By travelling at this pace the drove would cover between fifteen and twenty miles per day. It was considered vital not to force the cattle, in order to prevent excessive loss of condition and the loss of 'bloom' which results from the accumulation of sweat on the skin. Thus to preserve the condition of his beasts, the experienced drover planned his journey with great care. A particularly long and strenuous day over rough mountain track would, for example, be followed by a shorter day's travelling in order to give the cattle an opportunity to recuperate. 32 In spite of these precautions, however, cattle from North Wales regularly lost up to one hundred-weight en route for the Midland pastures. It was for this reason that some of the more affluent drovers either rented or purchased land in the Midlands upon which they could restore the condition of their cattle before despatching them to the local fairs. To this end the Cardiganshire dealer, David Johnathon took 149 acres of land at Spratton in Northamptonshire at an annual rent of £450.

It has often been assumed that the drovers avoided Turnpike roads.

. and thus the burdensome tolls which were extracted at each gate along the road. Whilst this may have been so in many cases, the half dozen drovers' account books examined by the author contain detailed inventories of tolls paid on the Turnpike roads en route for England. Indeed, tolls represented the major source of expense incurred on the journey. Naturally, all drovers attempted to avoid toll where possible --- an objective which was more easily achieved in the routes from southern and mid-Wales than from North Wales. However, it seems that the 19th century Welsh droving fraternity was divided broadly into two camps. On the one hand there were the drovers who were prepared to bear the heavy cost of using the Turnpikes in the interests of speed and directness, only avoiding the Turnpikes when they could do so without too much inconvenience. The other group were rather more 'cost-conscious', preferring to follow the ancient and often tortuous routes across open country thereby avoiding toll. In either case, it is clear that the drovers were no great lovers of toll gates. We read, for instance, in the Hereford Journal of 1859, of '. the great abhorrance of the Radnorshire men for a tollgate . and (the keeper) cannot and dare not interfere with them'. The schedules of drover's expenses which appear below illustrate clearly the considerable financial burden imposed by the presence of the toll gates. The first account of 1838 refers to a journey made by Roderick Roderick from Lampeter to Kent. 33


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