Weekly Posting of the Conservative Cow Doctor


No Tripe For Me

Today’s point involves the reticulum; the wondrous second stomach found in four-stomached ruminants. The lining of the reticulum has honey-comb shaped chambers and you can find this bleached white stomach tissue sold as “tripe” in specialty meat counters. Certain cultures consider tripe a delicacy, but I have avoided breaking bread with such cultures and anticipate maintaining a perfect score in that regard in the future.

In real life, the chambered reticulum has the odd tendency of collecting accidently swallowed indigestible matter like wire, nails and staples. These objects can remain idly trapped in the stomach honey-combs for years before a grunting event, such as straining to deliver a calf, suddenly forces the foreign body through the stomach wall. Due to its close proximity, the object generally pierces the diaphragm before lodging in the animal’s heart sack. The infected fluid developing around the heart restricts its ability to pump and eventually our ruminant suffering from “hardware disease” dies from heart failure. I’ve seen dozens of these over the years.

My family raised Gelbvieh cattle about the time I graduated from vet school and our herd bull was named Lucky Strike. He was a nice bull with a puppy-dog attitude, so when his genetic potential wasn’t being collected and frozen, he just hung around the barnyard eating, sleeping and watching TV—just like people on extended unemployment benefits. It was a nice spring morning and Mom noticed Lucky staring over the corral fence. “I’ll give you some oats,” she thought as she unsnapped the chain to the stall containing the grain bins. In the dim light of the barn, she dumped a coffee can of oats in one of the three empty five-gallon buckets sitting on the granary floor. She called Lucky to the black rubber feed bunk, dumped in the oats and scratched his back as he gobbled the grain. If the story were to end here it would have a Walt Disney ending. It doesn’t end here.

One hour later, my older brother, Dana, walked through the corral and glanced into Lucky’s feed bunk; lining its bottom were two pounds of nails and staples. Apparently, and for reasons which will never be known, someone had placed their scrap fencing bucket in the granary next to the other feed buckets. Mom had a two out of three chance of grabbing a safe bucket, but in the darkness she chose bucket number one. Here’s where the story switches to me.

My clinic was 125 miles away and Dana called to explain the “hardware disease” mishap. We had three options: 1) Hope Lucky was a picky eater and do nothing. 2) Drop a magnet in him and fall back to option one. 3) Take Lucky to surgery, empty 300 pounds of ingesta one handful at a time from his rumen and reticulum to clear it of the nails and staples. Knowing that the failure of options #1 and #2 would be fatal, and understanding there is a significant risk of infection with surgery, we debated our choices. Hard decisions are hard by definition—if it was easy they would be called easy decisions. Sticking my neck in the noose, I took Lucky to surgery and this brings me to my political point.

Our great American republic has slowly devolved from a nation founded on freedom into a welfare state of wealth redistributive programs. We are teetering on the brink of financial collapse. To right our listing ship, someone must step forward and make some very difficult decisions. The political left supports Marxist policies so it is foolish to expect those who burdened us with socialist programs, and who are about to enslave us under Obamacare, to suddenly flip positions and support America’s founding principles. On the other hand, although the Republican platform is based on small government, many of their rank and file members are spineless pansies. They are terrified of unfavorable polling and just last week Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nevada) squirmed away from his previous statement calling Social Security a pyramid scheme. So who will it be? Scattered throughout the political arena in every state is a handful of new patriots whose love of country far outweighs their love of politics. When the Dereks, the Champs, the Dans, the Kristins, the Alans, the Ryans, and the Joannes, step forward to make the hard decisions why don’t you stand up and guard their backs? America was founded by ordinary people doing extraordinary things—what say you?

Author’s note: Lucky Strike did not swallow a single nail or staple and he recovered well from surgery. America may not be so Lucky.

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