Jul 10, 2017, 3:49 PM
For much of my working life, I spent a lot of time and energy killing. I grew up on a west Texas ranch in the fifties and as soon as I got old enough to work, a regular warm weather job was finding, catching and treating cattle, sheep and goats that were infected with screwworms. This took a lot of time since the animals were running in large brushy pastures and a sick animal’s instinct is to hide. If we did not find the infected animals and kill the screwworms, the animals would die. The worms would literally eat the animals’ alive, one tiny bite at a time. We used a variety of noxious materials in the attempt to kill the screwworms and to prevent the mama cattle, sheep and goats from licking the worm dope off of their babies. In addition, the sheep and goats had to be treated several times a year with other poisons to kill internal parasites and, on occasion, swabbed or sprayed with still other poisons to kill external parasites like wool worms, ear ticks and lice; the cows had to be sprayed regularly to kill horn flies and treated for internal parasites about half as often as the sheep. We spent a lot of time and money killing pests of one sort or another and in the process created at least as many problems as we cured.