At Rafter W Ranch, we want all our customers to have regular, easy access to the best possible healthy food for your family, including locally grown beef, and that’s why we do things the way we do. When you purchase grass fed beef from us, you can be assured that these cattle have been well cared for throughout their lifetimes, free to enjoy lots of sunshine, outside every day consuming plenty of healthy green pasture grass, and treated humanely. We are committed to providing you, our loyal customers, with the most healthy, nutritious, locally raised natural beef available for your family, and to us that means taking proper care of our precious animals.
We are very concerned with beef cattle welfare, and we go to great lengths to make sure our locally grown beef comes from animals who are treated well, as all living things should be. We don’t view our animals as simply property, but as living beings with the capacity to feel both pleasure and pain, and we feel a responsibility to treat them with care and concern, keeping their best interests in mind in all we do. We also take care of our land, knowing that healthy land, along with healthy natural grass, freedom of movement, plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and humane treatment produces healthy animals and healthy food for our customers, so that you can feed your healthy family. As certified producers for the American Grassfed Association (AGA), we are very proud of the products that we can offer our customers.
Being a certified producer for AGA means that you as a consumer are assured the meat you purchase from us comes from an animal that has been raised on 100% grass and forages, never fed grain or grain-based supplements, is never given antibiotics or hormone supplements, is treated humanely, and has lived its life on pasture, the way it was meant to be. AGA Grassfed Standards for meat and dairy have been developed by a team of animal scientists, veterinarians, ranchers, and range management specialists. They concentrate on four main areas of production:
Diet — Animals are fed only grass and forage from weaning until harvest
Confinement — Animals are raised on pasture without confinement to feedlots.
Antibiotics and hormones — Animals are never treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.
Origin — All animals are born and raised on American family farms.
AGA Certified producers like Rafter W Ranch are audited annually by independent, third parties to ensure continuing compliance with the standards. Only AGA Certified members are permitted to use the AGA logo, trademark, or other identifying marks on their packaging, marketing materials, or web sites. All AGA Certified Producers are American family farms, and their livestock is born and raised in the U.S. This natural food and treatment results in happier, healthier animals and is why our beef cattle produce better quality, better tasting meat that is better for you.
Cattle eat grass, and feeding them a diet laden with grains creates an acidic environment in their digestive systems, which leads to disease and the need for treatment with antibiotics. Because our cattle are raised on healthy Colorado pasture grass, there is no need to treat them with antibiotics, making our beef much healthier for human consumption than other commercially raised beef.
Why should you care about beef cattle welfare and the conditions under which cattle are raised? Every year, millions of animals that are raised for food experience terrible living conditions on industrialized or “factory” farms. These factory farms are large companies and corporations driven by their profit margins. They tend to view animals only as units of production, rather than living creatures, focusing on efficiency and profits instead of animal health and land stewardship. Animals raised under these conditions experience stress, pain, discomfort, and disease due to their close, cramped quarters and the lack of movement, fresh air, and natural food.
In addition to inhumane living conditions, slaughtering conditions can be cruel and inhumane, as well. Some slaughterhouses have been reported as regularly failing to completely stun animals before the slaughtering process begins. This can result in cows being hung and bled while they are still conscious. This is absolutely unthinkable and inhumane, not to mention unhealthy. When animals are needlessly subjected to stress, pain, discomfort, and suffering, they are more prone to disease and can produce lower quality meat, milk, or eggs. To combat the increased risk of disease, they are constantly fed antibiotics, which is contributing to the development of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. They are also often fed hormones to increase productivity, which presents a risk to your family when you consume these hormone laden, antibiotic soaked animals.
As detailed in a Michigan State University article published on animal law, in the United States there are three main federal statutes relating to animal welfare: ‘the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the Twenty-Eight Hour Law of 1877, and the US Animal Welfare Act. These three Federal statutes do not regulate the treatment of animals reared for food while on the farm, nor do they regulate treatment of companion animals. Additionally, there is no federal anti-cruelty statute in the United States. The states have individual anti-cruelty statutes that may regulate the handling of animals reared for food, depending on whether or not the state has an exemption for farm animals.’
In addition to the health risks, the inhumane treatment of these animals does not sit well with us, and just seems wrong. The Rafter W Ranch animals are not merely “units of production” to us. We don’t believe in lauding production or profits over basic compassion and humane treatment, or that increased production justifies making animals suffer. We believe our animals deserve to be treated with dignity, love, and care, and when they’re treated this way, they are happier, healthier, less stressed, less prone to disease, and therefore offer a much better alternative to the consumer who cares about treating life with respect, as well as offering their families the healthiest food possible.
So, what can you do to support humane farming practices in the raising of cattle in the United States? You can help promote the humane treatment of farm animals by supporting your local grass-fed cattle farm Rafter W Ranch. By doing so, you will also be feeding your family the best possible, locally grown, healthy natural beef. If you are wondering “Are there any cattle farms near me that raise them the right way, and treat them humanely?” we can confidently answer “Yes, we do at Rafter W Ranch!”
We believe it is very important for you to know your local farmer and butcher, and how they raise and handle their animals. We at Rafter W Ranch would love to show you our operation and how we humanely raise, handle, and process our natural, locally grown beef. If you are interested in learning more about us, please visit our Facebook page. If you would like to observe what we do, or if you have questions about grass fed beef, please give us a call today at (719) 541-1002 and arrange a tour of our beautiful Simla, Colorado location. We would love to meet you!