I was stunned by the unapologetic racism I encountered at an Angus Bull Auction I recently attended. Organized and sponsored by the South African Angus Society, the livestock at the event were all referred to as “Certified Angus,” and this exclusivist event did not even allow any other races entry into the auction (a lot like apartheid, isn’t it?). Bulls were even graded according to their lineage, those with “superior” ancestors being regarded as superior themselves. According to the racist Beef Magazine, genetics play a decisive role in determining whether cattle qualify for producing “Certified Angus” Beef.
This obsession with Angus Supremacy has even been mainstreamed. The British Cattle Movement Service contributed to ratifying institutional racism by literally naming Angus the UK’s “most popular native beef breed.”
Even Wikipedia, with otherwise very solid progressive credentials, has, on their entry of Angus Cattle, a paragraph on the breed’s so-called characteristics, loaded with explicitly racist content. In the United States Red and Black Angus are even classified as two different “races” based on the color of their skin.
From what I understand, this brand of racism is not unique to the Angus cattle industry. Ranchers and societies representing the different “races” of cattle often compare them to each other and even rate some races as “superior” to others.
It’s time to fight this prevalent racism in the field of cattle ranching. Ranchers need to undergo sensitivity training in order to overcome their prejudices and become more inclusive and tolerant. While it is true that the Bible says that different races of cattle must not be mixed (Lev. 19:19), that particular passage is from the Old Testament and represents the outdated worldview of the time.
Considering the amount of prejudice still prevalent in the industry, we clearly still have a long way to go. But one day we might be able to completely eradicate this kind of racism, which would finally allow all cattle races to live together in harmony. After all, there really is only one race, the cattle race.