This Washington Post story about the planned importation of U.S. bulls to Russia…
Twenty-nine black-and-white aspiring sires have set hoof in Russia, part of the first export of live Virginia Holstein bulls to that country, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) announced last week. Thirty more will head there in April.
Russian farmers want American bulls to improve dairy-herd genetics in a land hampered first by collective farming, then by the collapse of the Soviet Union….
…makes it impossible to resist repeating this old economics joke:
Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
Communism: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, and the Government then gives you some milk.
Fascism: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, and the Government then sells you some milk.
Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull.
Nazism: You have two cows. The Government shoots you and takes the cows.
Bureaucracy: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, they shoot one and milk the other then pour the milk down the drain.
Seriously though, details from the Post story about why all this cow shuffling is necessary aren't nearly as funny as the joke above. And the joke above really isn't that funny.
Instead of raising dairy cattle for milk and beef cattle for meat, Soviet collective farms had "dual-use" cattle, which would be milked for a while, then killed for meat, Osipenko said. Those one-size-fits-all cattle may have embodied an egalitarian ideal, but both milk and meat were mediocre, said Osipenko, a native of Ukraine who recalled his mother boiling beef for hours in a fruitless attempt to tenderize it.
After the Soviet Union collapsed, many dairy herds were all but wiped out as hungry Russians consumed them for food.
"There was a terrible crisis, apparently, and they pretty much ate their seed stock," said Patrick Comyn, a large-animal veterinarian with the private Virginia Herd Health Management Services who worked on the deal.