Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Women Exacerbate Dairy Crisis

As you all know, unless you have been living under the proverbial rock these last twelve months, we are in the End Times--or, if not the End Times, perhaps their darling Victorian antechamber, where we will have a glass of sherry and have a look at some etchings before the butler arrives to usher us into the Apocalypse Proper. Odds are you've got it pretty bad. But unless you're a dairy farmer, it could be worse.

(I'm guessing you're not a dairy farmer, because if you are, you're probably not reading blogs about newspapers writing about women doing things. You're probably at your bank begging for a loan so you can buy hay to feed your cows so they'll make milk which you can sell to a giant monopoly that is currently under investigation by the Justice Department so you can maybe make back half of the money you spent on hay. Or you're at your 40-hour-a-week day job that you have so you can get health insurance, popping Ritalin so you can make it through the day and still get up at 4am to milk 100 goddamn cows. Or maybe you're out shooting your cows in the head.)

Being a dairy farmer? Not so hot right now. And it's about to get a lot worse, thanks to women. Women cows, that is.

The New York Times tells the tale for us citified types that haven't heard it yet. Since approximately the dawn of time, cows, like most animals, have been giving birth to male and female calves in roughly equal numbers. But a male calf on a dairy farm is, as Rip Torn might say, about as useful as a poopy-flavored lollipop. So a few years ago, Science gave the beleaguered dairy farmer marvelous new sperm sorting technology, ensuring that most calves born would be female.

Now farmers have a different problem: too much milk. And the first generation of bionic bovine fembots are about to hit the milk parlor, with a vengeance.

“Just as the industry starts to recover from these difficult times, we’re going to see these heifers enter the marketplace,” said Ray Souza, president of Western United Dairymen, which represents farmers who produce about 60 percent of the milk in California. “At the very worst it could certainly stop the recovery altogether and send us into another price recession.”

It's like the Chinese one-child policy, only with cows. Thanks a lot, Science.

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