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Video Of Ankole Cattle Chomping Food And Mooing—Heifer International Link

Above you see a video of an Ankole cattle. The video lasts about 25 seconds.  In the video the beast chomps on some trees and at the end makes a mooing noise.

This video was taken at the Houston Zoo. The Houston Zoo is getting better, but still has a way to go to being good enough for a city the size of Houston. When I moved to Houston 11 years ago and saw that the zoo had no admission charge, I figured that could only be bad news for the animals. The adult admission is now $10. I know that’s a lot of money, but I’m not convinced the fee is yet high enough for the good of the animals.

The zoo asserts the animals are well taken care of in captivity.

Here is information about the Ankole cattle from a breeds of livestock web page of Oklahoma State University—

The Ankole cattle are distributed from Lake Mobutu to Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa. The original animals were thought to have been brought to northern Uganda by Hamitic tribes sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries. The Ankole’s susceptiblity to the tsetse fly forced the tribes and their cattle further south. The Hima or Bahima tribe settled on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzani. The Watusi or Tutsi tribe continued to Rwanda and Burundi withtheircattle, some of which have spread to the lake districts of Zaire. Selection in all the tribes is based on horn size. The purer Ankolecattlehave a medium-long head, a short neck with a deep dewlap and a narrow chest. …Although the small-uddered Ankole cows yield meager amounts of milk, milking is an important ritual in some tribes. Bloodletting is a common practice. A few tribes use the cattle for work, none use them for meat. In general the animals are highly prized as status symbols, for ceremonial functions and not for their productivity.

( The OSU site has very comprehensive information on breeds of cattle, pigs, sheep, horses and goats. It is well worth study.)

It’s good to know people in Africa are as dumb-assed as we are here. Keeping these big beasts as a status symbol–Don’t they have better things to do with their resources? Like the $40 I spent at the Astros’ baseball game a few nights  ago including a $7.50 beer and a $4 ice cream item.

Here is the link to Heifer International. If you donate some money to these folks, they’ll buy a useful farm animal for somebody in the world. Do you know why you and I live in a rich nation while some other person lives in a poor place? Dumb luck–That’s why.

A NY Times article from last year says the Ankole is under long-term threat. The article says that they are being cross-bred with Holsteinsin Africa because the Holsteins are of greater use. The excerpt below says that the Ankole have been bred to survive in a harsh African environment and this is why they may not be so useful.

From the article—

“…Indigenous animals like East Africa’s sinewy Ankole, the product of centuries of selection for traits adapted to harsh conditions, are struggling to compete with foreign imports bred for maximal production. This worries some scientists. The world’s food supply is increasingly dependent on a small and narrowing list of highly engineered breeds: the Holstein, the Large White pig and the Rhode Island Red and Leghorn chickens. There’s a risk that future diseases could ravage these homogeneous animal populations. Poor countries, which possess much of the world’s vanishing biodiversity, may also be discarding breeds that possess undiscovered genetic advantages. But farmers like Mugira say they can’t afford to wait for science. And so, on the African savanna, a competition for survival is underway.”

I guess necessity makes people forget about ornamental and status items all over the world.

April 21, 2009 Posted by | Houston | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Real Feelings Of Houston-Area Residents Towards Immigrants

File:Ellis Island in 1905.jpg

Below in italics is a report that deals with the views of residents in the Houston-area on the subject of immigration as recorded by the 2009 Houston Area Survey.

You can read the full post here. It is taken from the Houston Chronicle immigration blog.

Above–Ellis Island 1905.

You can read it for yourself but the upshot is this—Most people in the Houston-area support just and reasonable policies towards the many immigrants we have around here. For all the right wing noise and all the mean and horrible things that are said, what you see below are the views of the people.

While the half of people who would deny health services to illegals are short-sighted, the numbers here are pretty good when you think of all the invective directed at these folks in Texas and in our local area.

Let’s hope our local elected officials see this information and let’s hope our eligible Hispanic voters in the area realize that if they would vote in greater numbers that they could make a difference.

From the survey—

The numbers of area residents who believe that the new immigration “mostly strengthens American culture” increased from 39 percent in 1997 to 57 percent in 2005, and then dropped to 44 percent in 2007, before recovering to 49 percent in this year’s survey.

The percentage of area residents who favor “granting illegal immigrants a path to legal citizenship if they speak English and have no criminal record” dropped from 68 percent in 2007 to 56 percent in 2008, and then recovered to 61 percent in this year’s survey.

The numbers saying that the increasing ethnic diversity brought about by immigration is a “good thing” dropped from 67 percent in 2005 to 62 percent in 2007, and remained unchanged (at 61 percent) in 2009.

In the 2009 survey, 64 percent agreed that, “The children of illegal immigrants should have the right to attend the public schools,” down from 71 percent in 2007.

68 percent today are in favor of “imposing fines and criminal charges against employers in this community who hire illegal immigrants,” up from 56 percent two years ago.

In 2007, 44 percent were in favor of “a law that would deny health and welfare services to il-legal immigrants in Texas.” In 2009, 50 percent were in support of that proposal.


April 21, 2009 Posted by | Houston, Immigration, Politics | , , , , | Leave a comment