By Stephen Page
Laurence M. Lasater’s The Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Ranching is progressive and full of common sense. Old cattle ranching methods are becoming extinct or decimating the ranchers. Just few examples of Lasater’s new ideas are: selecting cows and bulls by size and productive characteristics, not just coat color; keeping animals only if they are productive (examples, if a bull is not working or a cow aborts, sell the animals, don’t wait for next year as they are just eating grass that could be used for productive animals); and don’t use whips, cattle prods or screams to move animals, in open range just move behind them on your horse, and in the corral use a white flag on a pole (they will move forward)—this stresses less stress the animals, reduces the possibility of them injuring themselves or an employee, and they are easier to handle. If they are on the way to the butcher, calm animals are higher in weight and have better quality meat—animals when stressed hours before they are butchered have tougher, darker colored meat, that is why sometimes you will see cuts in a butcher shop that are almost black (not always because the meat is old or exposed to air, but often because the animal was stressed out before it reached the butcher. I read the book as research for my poem project and to improve myself as a rancher.
You can find the book here:
More on Lasater:
Stephen Page is the author of “A Ranch Bordering the Salt River.”. He can be found at