States of Mind

Calf in a cradle.

Calf in a Cradle

Branding day is a day of getting together with neighbors who help brand and dehorn the calves. The calves are given injections and the young bulls are castrated. Some of the farmers said to me that it didn't hurt the calves much. But on this day as I walked away with the smell of burnt hair and flesh lingering, Levi the owner of these calves, walked quietly with me. He had been ranching most of his life and was then in his seventies. He turned to me quietly and said, "This is the only part of ranching that I hate, I don't doubt that these animals are feeling pain."