Keep It Ethical: What People Are Saying About Livestock Ethics

rhdRHD Blog

By: Lillian Kent

Ethics are a touchy subject in any industry, especially livestock shows. Being accused or accusing someone can be uncomfortable, and in a business where reputation is essential, an off comment can change a life.

Even though criticism is hard, taking a look at where the livestock industry stands is something Ranch House Designs takes seriously.

Every year Ranch House Designs puts together a survey on grassroot producers across the United States. With more than 1000 responses, it is clear producers want to be heard.

Ethics in the Show Ring

Showing cattle is a labor of love. The effort put in by exhibitors ranging from 4-H kids to Open professionals is obvious. But, 87% of respondents think there is a problem in show judging.

Those surveyed thought 51% of judges were ethical, and 49% were not.

People believe that social media is making it even easier for judges to see the good cattle coming before they step into the ring. It’s human nature to be curious, even if it’s not appropriate.

When it comes to aging cattle, 83% think there is a problem with over-aging cattle for the show ring. Respondents believe almost 60% of operations over-age their cattle.

Ethics Behind Closed Doors

Ethics begin at home, where the photos and record-keeping files are available to be changed. When reputation is at stake, it’s tempting to do some extra touching up on a photo or change some data. 

Respondents think 50% of producers photoshop their photos.

At sales, a whopping 86% of respondents think there are operations that run their prices. As a whole, people surveyed thought 40% of operations run their prices.

What is a Livestock Scam?

A livestock scam is a dishonest transaction – whether financial or verbal – that leaves one party on the losing end. 23% of survey respondents said they had been scammed in the livestock industry.

Examples of livestock scamming include:

  • Lack of breeding / fertility guarantees or problems that would not be made right
  • Structural soundness issues
  • Incorrect parentage / registration papers falsified
  • Disposition concerns
  • Bad checks / lack of payment
  • Catfishing / fictitious buyers
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Buying cattle that didn’t exist
  • Cattle paid for that were never delivered
  • Theft of cattle
  • Partnership issues
  • Running up prices
  • Side deals never kept

Silver Lining

Although ethics concerns are a tough topic, it’s important to remember that the number of honest, hardworking industry members with a passion for cattle outnumber the bad apples. The cattle should be the driving force in improving industry welfare and honesty.

For two decades, Ranch House Designs had been the industry leader for livestock producers. Our expertise in graphic design and marketing has let us deliver results for our customers. We’re excellent at what we do because we know this industry. 

Every year Ranch House Designs puts together a survey for purebred livestock industry members. By asking the tough questions, Ranch House Designs gets you valuable insight.

This year more than 400 producers took the survey, with ages ranging from 25 to 76 years old. The gender split on the survey was 60% male to 40% female. If you would like to be included in next year’s livestock marketing survey group, join our mailing list.