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Animal care is more than a job — it’s our responsibility

Bob and Judy Prosser own and operate the Bar T Bar ranch in northern Arizona.

Bob and Judy Prosser own and operate the Bar T Bar ranch in northern Arizona.

My husband, children and I own and operate our 4th generation family ranch in northern Arizona. We take great pride in the well-being and quality care of our livestock. We follow best management practices consistent with the veterinarian-endorsed Beef Quality Assurance Program, including training and certification to provide the best care for our cattle. It is just the right thing to do. We have a responsibility to the consumer, to God, and to each other to be stewards of our animals and, therefore, work daily to keep them safe, healthy and secure.

You can consider us part of the 2 percent — that small portion of our nation’s population that works day in and day out to provide food for your family and for mine, who cares for the animals and for the land. It is not an easy task, but it is one that for which my family has a passion and takes seriously. Each day, our industry is under attack from regulations from the government, radical environmentalists and animal rights activists, but none of this stops us from doing what is right.

It is shameful that a national animal rights organization is attempting to take hold in our state to soil the name of the livestock community and people like my family. They use flashy words like “ag-gag” and “meat industry” to get the attention of the public. They have a misconstrued version of the truth here in Arizona and they are trying to use events outside of our control around the nation to scare Arizonans into taking away my family’s responsibility to provide Arizona families with safe, wholesome and nutritious beef.

Our lifestyle is not easy and we are not here to complain, but we want you to know that animal care is of the utmost importance in our operation. We are continuously educating ourselves and our employees about animal husbandry practices. The beef community is continually investing in research on animal care in cooperation with leading animal health and welfare experts.

Our business is unique and does require special attention because of the responsibility we have in raising animals for food. This responsibility requires thousands of dollars of investment on our operation. We work under both state and federal regulations, and there are seven checks from gate to plate to ensure the animals we raise are of the best quality. We support common-sense regulations when they provide food security for the state and nation.

The proposed legislation (SB1267/HB2587) is regulation that makes sense. It allows local law enforcement to focus on the issues in the urban areas. Abuse of cats and dogs is an alarming 82 percent of animal cruelty issues. The livestock community wants to be regulated under the Department of Agriculture so that local officials can focus on cats and dogs. We freely accept a cruelty statute under Agriculture to ensure we do not have any issues with livestock abuse. The livestock community has worked hard to provide a solution for all animals. Allow us to continue to provide high-quality care to our animals while providing safe, wholesome and nutritious beef for Arizona families, and we will let the other organizations focus on their issues — cats and dogs.

— Judy Prosser and her husband Bob own and operate the Bar T Bar ranch in northern Arizona.

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