Friday, January 10, 2014

Farm Exports Include Pregnant Cows

From James Fallows on Eastport, ME:

"The city has been lobbying hard for state and federal help in restoring the rail link that connected Eastport with the Maine Central Railroad until it was abandoned in 1978. But even without a rail connection, it has steadily increased its shipments by sea. One of its specialties is container ships full of (live) pregnant cows, bound for Turkey.
Pregnant cows? European beef and dairy herds, reduced by mad cow disease and other factors, are now being rebuilt, largely with American stock. When cows make the sea voyage while pregnant, their calves can be born on European soil and have the advantages of native-born treatment. To put it in American terms, the mother cows would not be eligible to run for president, but the calves would. A company called Sexing Technologies, based in Navasota, Texas, has devised a sperm-sorting system to ensure that nearly all those calves will be female, a plus for dairy herds. Chris Gardner convinced Sexing Technologies that Eastport would be an ideal transit point, and since 2010 some 40,000 cattle have been loaded aboard ships there."
Now if I could only stand the winters, Fallows makes it sound inviting.

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