I sent the following e-mail to a Florida M.D. who wanted to know how salt could cure many pet's health problems.
In the past week I started talking to some farmers about how lack of salt affected them. I was told that first of all, all the food they feed their animals has salt & various minerals in it. Plus they are given salt licks to make sure they get enough. One farmer told me that without his cows would dehydrate. Another told me that if his salt licks run out his cows behavior lets him know. Meanwhile, while the farmers are feeding their cows salt, vets are telling some pet owners not to give them any salt. Drug companies have taken over the animals now as many of the same drugs given to people are now being given to animals. I think you'd find it very interesting if you talked to farmers about how they keep their cows healthy & compare that with what vets do. As far a I'm concerned this a mess caused by our insatiable money addiction which makes it impossible to for animals and people to to be protected from each other, health care and anything else where pain and suffering is highly profitable.
My e-mail triggered the following story from this doctor as he recalled his own experiences as a ten year old boy in charge of salt licks at a dairy farm.
Subject: Healthy Cows and Horses
From: Florida M.D.
I was raised right across the street from a pasture that was part of a 50 to 60 head dairy farm. The farmer, Mr. Stevenson, was a very nice man, and always had some part time work for me whenever I wanted it. Besides raising dairy cows, he also raised and raced a few champion Standard Bread Horses, and he used the perimeter of this front pasture as a track for the horses to pull him around on a Sulky. I really liked Mr. Stevenson, as he was very soft spoken, never yelled or cursed, and he LOVED his animals, and treated and spoke to them as if they were people. He knew every animal by name, and knew their every mood and feeling. About 45 years ago, when I first started working for him weekends and after school, he had a better stereo for his cow's, then either he or my family did in our house! He said the cow's liked music, so they were going to have the best music possible, as well as anything and everything else. One of my favorite jobs was to deliver the salt licks, as I got to drive the tractor. For a 10 year old on top of a huge John Deere tractor, that was the best, as I was sitting on top of the world. As this was a very large farm, (he grew every drop of food for all of his animals,) I had a lot of salt licks to take care of, as he wanted one to be convenient to all of his cows, no matter where they were on the property. As nice and as kind as he was however, there was one thing that he would not tolerate, and that was an empty salt lick. No warnings, no excuses, and no second chances, I new the rules, and that was that! I will never forget those salt licks, or they responsibility I learned maintaining them. Some were pink, some were blue, and some were purple, but they all were heavy, and there sure was a lot of them. One thing I don't remember however, was seeing a vet at his farm. As I was only a part-timer, I suppose one could have shown up when I wasn't there, but I don't ever remember a sick cow either, in all of years I was there. Coincidence? I'll let you be the judge. For a long time, I thought salt was only for cows, until one day an unscrupulous hunter drove up, wanting to buy a salt lick. One of the only times I ever saw Mr. Stevenson mad, was when he chased that guy off his property. He said it was awful to take an animals basic instinct and craving for survival (salt), and use it against him in the form of a bait. I then learned that all wild animals have a natural craving for salt. How can nature be so smart, and yet man be so greedy as to knowingly deprive them of it, just to reap the profits from the diseases that follow? If that is not evil, then I don't know what is?