Are Fluffy Cows A Good Thing For The Industry

The digital world was all atwitter two weeks ago when a picture of a fluffed-up calf-club sire went viral on the Internet. Some folks say any publicity is generally good; others fear that the cuteness factor may harm the public perception of beef cattle as a food animal. This week’s online poll question is: “What do you think about ‘fluffy’ cows?”

Leave your comments in the comments section after voting.

Discuss this poll 21

Anonymous
on Jun 24, 2013

The show industry has about as much to do with 'real' cattle as the dog show folks have to do with the family pet. What are we teaching our kids that spend 8 hours a day fluffing their calves? They have no time to bale hay and fix fence. They think they can have 20 cows and make $40,000/year (beacause they paid $2K for a steer). Sorry, but it is ridiculous.

Anonymous
on Jun 24, 2013

The emphasis seems to be what 'looks good' vs an excellent eating experience. For the young cowboy / cowgirl I would wish for more education regarding bovine and much less FLUFF.

Anonymous
on Jun 20, 2013

Once again, education is important. It is vital that we provide information rto the general public regarding "show cattle" & "typical cattle". For me personally, the "show cattle" that we sell are proved necessary additional income to our family owned & operated cattle operation.

Anonymous
on Jun 19, 2013

We have 1200 commercial cows in Eastern Oregon and we treat them all like they're fluffy cows. We love them all, well maybe not the one that chased me out of the corral the other day and then deliberately stepped on my new can of hair savior. Twenty four bucks, she better have twins next year.

Anonymous
on Jun 19, 2013

I think that cows need to be looked at for the meat not the hair you do not eat hair plus the main purpose for the hair is to cover up imperfections

Anonymous
on Jun 18, 2013

I agree that the Fluffy has its place in the industry of club calf show Cattle to some extent. Cattle folk do love all their cattle that should be part of the education back to the public. I will leave this question....." How does FLUFFY Taste?"

Anonymous
on Jun 18, 2013

Seriously? We are talking cattle here! America's meat supply!
Do we really think that the world will stop eating beef because there's an image in their head of a nice square, deep bodied well conditioned "fluffy" steer versus a lethargic, staggering, fifteen year old boner?
We are selectively, cautiously and moderately introducing some of the genetics of these "fluffy cows" into our commercial herd and are seeing good results. Sure, the show industry can be about extremes but there can be some positives taken out of it that will benefit the beef industry.
But ultimately I guess my main thought is "Since we even have time to discuss this, does this mean calving season is over"?

Anonymous
on Jun 17, 2013

I have a very strong opinion on this matter as we raise our children at stock shows along with our "fluffy show cattle" as a means of educating them about our beef industry. We live in southeast texas where "fluffy cattle " are not often seen. We also raise commercial cattle for our living and have seen over the past 4-5 years that we can use the "fluffy" bigger boned show type cattle along with our commerical heard and have come up with a very marketable beef cow/steer. The cows milk well and the steers bring more at market. Our profits have gone up as a direct result of the "fluffy" cow. In addition our "fluffy" cows have sure calmed our commerical herd down resulting in cheaper/easier working costs, better feed intake, etc. So there is definitely a place for the fluffy cow/steer in the beef industry! It is our job as cattle producers to educate the masses!

Anonymous
on Jun 16, 2013

A mentor and great cattleman once told me that you can cover up a multitude of sins with fat and hair.

Anonymous
on Jun 15, 2013

don't Know anybody in the beef business who doesn't love cattle. Tell the consumers that.I

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

It should be about the carcass!! Never have understood the "hair thing" in the show ring, other than a means to hide conformation flaws. But I wonder who has ever bitten into a steak and thought, gee I wonder if this animal had a nice level back, or straight legs.

Anonymous
on Jun 18, 2013

Or a nice life...

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

Studies have shown teachers grade "cute" students higher. An big ears, fluffy hair and tails are much more liked. When is the last time you heard someone say, "Aw, what a cute rat" as opposed to a squrriel. Which do people feed? Same comparison with racoons and possums and which people feed. If coyotes were ugly, more sheep ranches would still be around.

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

This current issue is just another example of why the show steer industry is as far away from true commercial beef production as one can get. Today's clueless, urban, "social media" culture sees a "fluffy cow" as a cute pet.....not a source of food.

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

I think it’s fluffy to try and distinguish something as being a food animal OR a companion animal. Don’t let yourself fall for that false dichotomy; the difference is relative. Some people eat horse meat, some cultures eat dog meat.

I suspect many will interpret fluffy cattle as evidence that farmers take really good care of their animals and I think that opens the door to important conversations we must be willing to have with consumers. We do care for our animals, and yes that does include taking their lives – in a humane way. We cannot forget that the vast majority of people still consider that to be ethically acceptable (again, as long as it is humane).

So my vote is, it probably won’t make much of a difference in the long run; I don’t think fluffy cattle will convert a whole lot of people away from eating beef.

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

It is excellent. Do you know how many cars there are? Are do they explain some are used for company travel only and some for luxury. Just leave it alone and each person decide. It is about time agri has some thing on this internet. Show me more items.

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

Yes it is a good thing. As long as it is explained that these are special cattle and are not the norm. What I have seen so far has been doing a good job if that.

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

Today's heavy boned, extra hairy "show cattle" have no relevance to profitable commercial beef cattle

Anonymous
on Jun 18, 2013

The most important thing you've got to have to win a steer show today is extremely short legs on a large body. And those genetics exist only in specialized show steer genetic lines. The difference between winning show steers and what wins breeding shows has never been larger. In fact, the same genetics used to win both. Of course, what wins breeding shows these days has never been more irrelevant to commercial production. The only reason to evaluate breeding stock visually today is structural soundness. There is data for everything else.

Anonymous
on Jun 18, 2013

I agree with this post. Also the selection for hair is unreasonable for cattle in southern environments.

Anonymous
on Jun 14, 2013

As with the photo of the cluddy going viral, the same could happen when the underinformed discover the ultimate purpose of these calves. They after all, beer animals, not pets as the survey questions said.

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