A private rancher in Trabuco Canyon, California, is one of the few remaining in the country refusing to vaccinate his cattle, a practice he says is getting more difficult as government regulations increase.
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says not vaccinating cattle is legal, the practice has become rarer in recent years, according to Frank Fitzpatrick, owner and rancher of 5 Bar Beef in south Orange County.
Not vaccinating his cows has rendered Mr. Fitzpatrick’s beef an increasingly rare market commodity, an outcome he says has driven up sales.
“I’d quit if I didn’t make so much money off it,” Mr. Fitzpatrick told The Epoch Times. “But [many] people don’t trust any vaccines [ranchers] treat the cows with after COVID-19.”
Mr. Fitzpatrick said he does not vaccinate his cattle against any illness, including black leg, botulism, tetanus, or others.
According to the small family ranch, its 700 to 900 cows are raised using “holistic planned grazing,” where each cow is fed a 100 percent grass diet, and grazes in outdoor herds for their health and protection from predators.
When asked why he refuses to vaccinate, Mr. Fitzpatrick said he prefers to err on the side of caution.
“The truth is we just don’t know even a fraction of what ingredients can do to our bodies. We just have no idea. So I refuse to vaccinate my cows and they’ve turned out to be some of the best cows in the entire country,” he said.
His 900-acre ranch, which has operated since the late 1970s, claims to have only lost 24 cows to disease in the past 40 years in spite of not vaccinating.
“[Disease] just hasn’t been an issue. My cows are healthy and the beef is great for your health,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said.
According to Mr. Fitzpatrick, California regulations against meat producers have grown “too much” in recent decades, inching out many smaller meat producers while paving the way for larger ones to dominate over 80 percent of the market.
Such regulations, Mr. Fitzpatrick said, include increasing the mandatory minimum number of cows required for slaughter at packing plants from a small handful to 44 heads minimum.
Such requirements, he said, inch out smaller ranchers.
Additionally, according to Mr. Fitzpatrick, the Department of Agriculture also places financial burdens on slaughterhouses by requiring them to build separate bathroom facilities for federal inspectors only, among other costly regulations that detract from businesses’ bottom lines.
According to USDA regulations, such ensure that cross-contamination from shared bathrooms doesn’t taint the products under evaluation during inspections that happen once to twice per year.
“There is a systematic attempt to shut down animal product processing in California,” Mr. Fitzpatrick said. “As the government becomes more regulatory, people become less ambitious in creating businesses and they’re driving the little guys out of business. The USDA is doing it to perpetuate their bureaucracy.”
He calls the recent approval by the agriculture department of lab-grown meat an example of such “bureaucracy” and expressed concern over such products and their safety.
“Lab-grown meat is beyond arrogance,” he said. “They grow meat cells the same way cancer cells grow in the body. There’s no way that’s safe.”
Similar products like the “Impossible Burger” and other meat substitutes use soy proteins, genetically engineered yeast, and other plant-based fillers in their products.
By contrast, lab-grown meat, which uses meat stem cells that are submerged in a liquid that forces the cells to replicate and grow inside steel tanks, now appears, with USDA approval, to be the first of its kind to soon hit the market.
According to Mr. Fitzpatrick, the practice will likely make his company’s meat grow further in demand.
Article cross-posted from our premium news partners at The Epoch Times.