Saturday, October 18, 2008

Best beef in town

It all started two days ago when I was editing copy for the Health Line magazine. My editor does a humerous piece each month. I was just strumming through the words, looking for grammar and general flow when this word jumped out:


I quickly surrounded the word with question marks and promptly forgot all about the moment.

Today we are getting the story ready to print. Jade casually looked at me and said, "Beefalos are real. We used to raise them."
So apparently there are such creatures in the world as Beefalos.

This has turned into a mini-obsession for me.

According to wikipedia, 'Beefalo' are a fertile hybrid offspring of domestic cattle, Bos taurus, and the American Bison (generally called buffalo). The breed was created to combine the best characteristics of both animals with a view towards beef production.
I guess Bison are very aggressive but produce succulent meat. Cows are just...cows. Why not have the best of both worlds?

The article continued:
"It was found early on that crossing a male buffalo with a domestic cow would produce few offspring but that crossing a domestic bull with a buffalo cow apparently solved the problem. In 1965, Jim Burnett of Montana produced a hybrid bull that was fertile. Soon after, Cory Skowronek of California formed the World Beefalo Association and began marketing the hybrids as a new breed. The new name, beefalo, was meant to separate this hybrid from the problems associated with the old cattalo hybrids. The breed was eventually set at being genetically at least ⅝ Bos taurus and ⅜ Bos bison. A USDA study showed beefalo meat, like bison meat, to be lower in fat and cholesterol. The association claims that beefalo are better able to tolerate cold and need less assistance calving than cattle while having domestic cattle's docile nature and fast growth rate; they are also thought to produce less damage to rangeland than cattle. In 1983, the three main beefalo registration groups reorganized under the American Beefalo World Registry. There are now 2 Beefalo Associations, the American Beefalo World Registry (ABWR) and the American Beefalo International (ABI). Beefalo raising has not become widespread. The high price of this meat, partly due to low supply, has done little to generate popularity. The ABWR reports registering 1,000 head a year."

Perhaps I should join such an association. I have figured out a way to do it- mail order a Beefalo, sell my car, ride it to work every day and save gas.

I appreciate all feedback, art work and comments on this curious subject.

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