Unconfirmed sources report that the use of sensitivity training by US cattle ranchers has reduced the threat of Mad Cow disease. Scientists from the USDA and a small group of ranchers have been working on the secret project for almost three years and the project is showing very positive results. The results have been so striking that USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford has ended the study and rolled out the ‘Nice Cow, Pretty Cow’ program nation wide.
“The sensitivity training was given to all people and who have contact with the cows at the test ranches.” Explains Terry Stokes, chief executive of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The cowboys and handlers were taught how to treat the cows with gentle respect and caring so as not to get them angry or upset. The cows seemed to come around quickly to the new atmosphere and started to cooperate more than I have ever seen. We didn’t have to yell or swear or whip them or anything to get the cows to do what we wanted.”
At a demonstration training recently cowboys could be heard gently singing to the cows and praising them for good behavior. It is a far cry from the ‘don’t try to understand’em, just whip rope and brand’em’ methods of the wild west days. Stokes also says that not only do the cows behavior better and not develop Mad Cow disease when treated gently, but they taste better too.
“Yeah, I know it sounds kind of silly, cowboys sinning lullaby’s to cows, but I have to tell you the program seems to be working.” Says USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford. “In the 43 ranches where we have done the training we haven’t had a single case of Mad Cow disease. It’s results like these that have people very excited abound here.”
The steaks could not be higher for the American cattle industry. The first case of Mad Cow disease discovered in 2003, forced big beef importing countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to halt billions of dollars worth imports. The American beef industry and the USDA could ill afford to let the Mad Cow situation get out of control.
The UDSA and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have dispatched dozens of ‘cowboy councilors’ to hold sensitivity training sessions at ranches across the country to kick off the ‘Nice Cow, Pretty Cow’ program.