Hey, I was musing on having our cows raised in a totally permacultural way, but I don't think we can do away with certain vaccines we are required to give them.
Vaccinosis is a real condition. I don't know how much impact it has on farm animals, as most have a relatively short life expectancy. We deal with it a lot with dogs. A whole lot. The vet associations have finally admitted that vaccinations are a trigger for many autoimmune issues.
OK, in general I know that the principle of vaccines is what homeopathy is based on and that even in Chinese medicine the remedy for bubonic plague was to scrape someone's sore, dry it, pulverize it and give it to other patients.
My concern was for all those cases of death or malformations (on babies, etc) brought about by modern vaccines.
As Feral said, money is a huge motivator..but from both sides of the aisle. It can be economically advantageous to medicate like mad to prevent any death loss (or at least think you are preventing death loss), but that is short term! If that animal isn't processed before it can spread it's genes, then you are simply propagating a high maintenance line. That animal's offspring will have to be medicated or it may get sick and die, then you have wasted time and money.....and so on and so on.
Unfortunately, many of our modern intensive meat producers use a rearing program in which hormones/chemicals/vaccines play just as big a role as the feed the animals are receiving. I think those farmers would flounder in bewilderment and throw their hands up in the air if someone said. "Stop". They don't have a clue how to do it differently (and in some management systems it would be impossible to with any success). They have been told and convinced that what they are doing is the right and the best and the most productive. They have experience behind them, they know what works for them, in their situation and pooey to anyone who wants them to try something different.. afterall, it's their income that's at stake.
Certain breeds are better in different climates against different diseases, pests, and parasites.
Yes! And not only certain breeds, but certain lines within those breeds.
Proper management techniques combined with selective breeding can eliminate parasite problems (both inside and outside the animal).
Yes! Again, however, the problem with selective breeding is maintaining enough diversity to continue the lines without inbreeding. There are lots of great population genetics studies on this. If the selective breeding is implemented without consideration for overall genetics, after a time the major histocompatability complex becomes homozygous and the you will lose the resistance that you have been working to develop. It IS possible to have a heterozygous MHC with a high level of inbreeding and has been observed in some situations involving closed populations of animals. They believe that the animals are attracted to mates who have different MHCs and that animals can somehow tell this through the pheromones they produce. So when left to their own to select mates, the animals make wiser choices for themselves that will sustain their population than we can as humans.
I know a guy who does not vaccinate, worm, or pour any of his cattle. They're happy, calm, healthy, pretty, and most importantly low maintenance. However, it took several years to develop such a herd. Its a grass based operation, and the cattle rarely stay anywhere for more than a couple days (similar to how the buffalo grazed).
Yes! again. Livestock genetics and management need to work hand in hand to obtain the most optimal health.
If something has a problem we deal with it; and if the animal requires medication that's ok....but that animal will not be allowed to contribute to the gene pool (unless it was something stupid: like an infected eye from poking it in a hay feeder). Poor herd management has caused many of the problems we currently have with livestock, we have disrupted natural selection way too much.