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The Seven Deadly Sins of the Dairy Breeding Industry

No matter what industry you look at there are always going to be those people who are immoral, shiftless, self-gratifying and good-for-nothing.  Throughout the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church hierarchy emphasized teaching all lay people the Deadly Sins.  We here at the Bullvine decided to take a look at the Seven Deadly Sins in the context of the dairy breeding industry.  The following is what we found:


Who hasn’t lusted for money, food, fame, power or sex? Come on. We are not monks.  So we are all guilty of this at some point or another.  In the dairy breeding industry there are those who lust for money, fame and power.  Lust for these three desires has led many dairy breeders to their downfall.  Instead of just making their breeding and farm decisions based on sound judgment, they let the desire for money, fame or power influence them and, in the end, make investments or decisions that make no rational sense.  Funny that the animal associated with lust is the dairy cow.


Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires. This is often interpreted as selfishness. Essentially it is placing concern with one’s own interests above the well-being or interests of others.  This is one area that I can say very confidently that most members of the dairy community are actually not as guilty of.  (Read more:  Why the Dairy Community is the Greatest in the World….).  However, there are those that have a tendency to overindulge in show ring results.  While I am as big a fan as anyone of the tanbark trail, I often have to remind myself that it is just a passion and remember where it fits relative to the rest of the dairy industry.


Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of excess. However, greed (as seen by the church) is applied to a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions.   “Greed is a sin directly against one’s neighbor, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking them.”  Lately, I see the dairy breeding industry getting “greedy” with their genetics.  Empire building A.I. companies are not sharing their early release semen, and breeders are now not willing to sell embryos from their top females.  Greed has undoubtedly infected the dairy breeding industry.


Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.  It certainly would be really hard to accuse most dairy farmers of avoiding physical work. However, there are definitely some areas where sloth is starting to creep in.  No, I am not talking about the skyrocketing number of breeders who are switching to robotic milking systems. These breeders are changing the type of work they are doing as opposed to the amount of work they do.  What I am talking about here are the breeders who are looking to take the easy way out.  On the tanbark trail, it is the breeders who expect to win at the big shows, but don’t realize how much work it takes and fail to do the work 365 days a year that it takes to achieve success.  For the average dairy breeder, I notice sloth tendencies when they make their breeding decisions.  Instead of taking the time to carefully do effective research on the best mate for their cows (Programs like GPS) they look for a quick and easy answer for their breeding programs. (Read more: gPs– Genetic Profile Systems – Dairy Cattle Breeding Made Simple).  Another example of sloth in the dairy breeding industry, is livestock photography.  Many professional photographers have gotten lazy and have let their ethics slide to a point where it is now downright sinful.  (Read more: Dairy Marketing Code of Conduct)


Wrath, also known as “rage,” may be described as inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger.  Feelings of anger can manifest in different ways including impatience, revenge, and self-destructive behavior. In the dairy breeding industry, I notice this vice in many breeders choice of which A.I. unit to purchase their semen from.   Instead of purchasing semen from the A.I. company that has the best sire for their animal, some breeders let their anger for a certain organization cloud their judgment and lead to diminished returns in their breeding program.  There are also those who have turned their wrath on us here at the Bullvine (Read more: The Bullvine: Wanted Dead or Alive and  Why I Don’t Care If You Like Me)


Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation. There are many (yes I say many) dairy breeders that are guilty of this.  From those whose envy is relatively mild, such as case of envy over ownership of a certain animal, or breeding success to those that turn almost green with envy over the success of their fellow breeders.


In almost every list, pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins and the source of the others. It is identified as believing that one is fundamentally better than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others and excessive admiration of the personal self.  In the dairy breeding industry, I notice this in many old school breeders who fail to recognize new tools such as genomics.  They believe that their “breeding strategy” is far superior to that of others and let pride get in the way of achieving even greater success.

The Bullvine Bottom Line

Remember – no one is perfect. Sin, like death, is an unassailable fact of life. It is also one of the last great taboos for public debate. We here at the Bullvine feel that it is possible and necessary to talk about sin in ways that enrich our industry, as well as our personal lives.     These sins have been the downfall of some. However, others find success through overcoming them. It is important to recognize the vices you’re susceptible to and to manage them. Otherwise, these seven deadly sins will be the downfall of your dairy breeding program.




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