Animal Writes
From 10 October 2004 Issue

Dirty Farm Secrets Revealed
By Robert Cohen -

It is illegal to visit a dairyman's barn at 4:00 AM and observe or photograph his way of doing business without first obtaining his permission. If caught, you will be fined, jailed, and charged with agricultural terrorism. So, how can one document the abuses suffered by farm animals?

What do farmers do to sentient creatures, and what devices of torture do they use?

That's easy. The evidence is included in the 2005 Nasco Farm & Ranch catalogue, advertised as "The Largest Farm Catalog in the World."

How to brand an animal? Pages 13-14 gives a farmer options. There's the heavy duty Copper Branding Iron which offers more efficient branding because:

"The heat is more evenly distributed and held in the iron for a much longer period of time...designed to reduce blotching."

Reduce blotching? What a relief that must be to a cow who has just had glowing-red metal applied to her body while smelling the fumes of burning skin and flesh.

Or, there is now a non-heat option. Simply freeze the branding iron in liquid oxygen. The growth of white hair at the branding site in three-four months will confirm that pigment-producing cells have been painfully destroyed.

Love those hog pipes and hog whips offered on page 57. You can be fashionable while whipping your hogs. The device comes in two colors. The hog pipe is "strong and durable" and comes with a "leather wrist grip to help prevent dropping." While you're shopping, pick up one of those fiberglass livestock sorting poles, or a "lightweight, high impact 'Pro Stick' with a "pro-style sharp point."

Page 61 offers an inexpensive de-horner ($61.45 plus shipping), which is advertised as:

"Safe to use; little danger from kicking. 30" handle lets you stand away."

Page 65 offers devices that can be used for both farm business and farm fun. You can own a heavy grain "Leather Pig Slapper" or a deluxe pair of "Animal Grabber Tongs."

Oh, what thoughtful pig farmers we have. Page 67 offers a $95 pig tail docker that heats to 850 degrees Fahrenheit, and "cauterizes as it cuts." And, if those silly piggies decide to bite each other's stumps, you can buy a can of "Pig Pax." Take your $11 investment and "Spray Pig Pax on the back of pigs or on the places being attacked (such as tails) and its foul taste will discourage pigs from biting one another."

One of my favorite devices, on page 71, comes with a photograph of a pig laying on its back held tightly in a metal entrapment. You could be the proud owner of a "Comfort Castrator," and the good news is that no anesthetic is needed. I wonder if it comes with ear plugs to drown out the sound of squealing pigs.

Page 88 carries a line of chicken books. I count seven instruction manuals, but none written by Karen Davis. You can purchase her books by going to: 

Want to raise chicken eggs?

Page 92 has a multi-stacking poultry layer cage for just $69.85. Four chickens can do their business inside of a box with floor area that is just 36" by 18." Each chicken gets an ample amount of room, just over 1 square foot (1.125 sq. ft.) to live her life in while laying her eggs for your consumption. And when they no longer produce those eggs, you can purchase a tabletop picker (page 93) with motor that:

"Cleans chickens, ducks, and pheasants in seconds -- even gets pin feathers if bird has been properly scalded."

Those calf restraints on page 147 provide hours of pleasure for the user, while the high powered dehorning saw on page 149 is designed to delight both farmer and his children on a Sunday afternoon.

Don't even ask what the five different models of "balling guns" sold on page 154 are used for.

Page 159 offers the new "Elector Insecticide" which is advertised as:

"A new and effective way to control flies and lice on lactating and non-lactating dairy and beef cattle."

Some other curious devices make great Christmas presents (or Chanukah presents for Jewish dairymen). My number one gift-giving idea is included on page 179, and it's only $32.85. Is this the perfect stocking stuffer for your favorite dairyman? Buy one or more today: The Teat Tumor Extractor.

"This medium-size, 4.55mm instrument is imported from Denmark and is very popular, especially among herdsmen in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It's most important advantage over U.S. models is the double cutting edge."

Tumors in udders from cows whose milk and cheese we eat? Perhaps it is no coincidence that the highest per capita breast cancer rates can be found in Denmark.

There are 131 more pages to this Marquis-de-Sade-like catalog, but suddenly, it's ceased being fun for me.

If you want more, order a copy of the Nasco Farm catalog for your own reading pleasure. Call: 800-558-9595.

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