Beefalo - Wyoming Magazine




We exist in a strange reality, dear readers. Have you ever thought about the fact that we live in the future? And the past. And the present. We live in a seamless continuity that, at all times, is, isn’t and might be.

If you’re ever feeling existential, think about how you are one tiny ball of carbon sitting on a giant, water-covered rock dancing around an inconceivably large ball of fire, and the entire little group is hurling through space (which is a thing purely because it isn’t) that’s always expanding.

And here you are, reading this article, wondering how it relates to beefalo. Well done, you.

The beefalo is the Dr. Moreau-esque hybrid of the domestic cattle and the American bison. Long ago, Native Americans and non-native plainsmen alike took the measure of two proud, distinct beasts. They first looked at the bison, then they looked at- then the cow. Then they looked back at the bison and then the cow again. Then back to the bison. And then, they sat back on their old-timey heels and thought, “Man, I sure wish I could mold these two together like some kind of biological Play-Doh.”

What’s that? They didn’t have Play-Doh back then? Well, they thought of whatever people played with back then. Clay, maybe. Or did they even have recreation back in the day, or was it just sadness and grit all the time?

Anyhow, years later science caught up and gave us the miracle of the American beefalo, a title we think would also work well for a cattle-themed professional wrestler.

Cross-breeding between the two first happened accidentally as long ago as the 1740s in colonial North America. We like to imagine a simple farmer, with his buckle-hat and his casual racism, walking outside and seeing some ungodly hybrid suckling at this teet or that. Then, he probably burned it or crushed it with rocks, because that’s what people did back then with things they didn’t understand. The beefalo does look just like someone spliced the head of a cow onto the giant body of a buffalo. It’s just as likely that the beefalo is so-called not because of its parentage but because of its bulky-ass body, which kinda looks like a dryer bag stuffed with bowling balls.

The beefalo, pinnacle of modern biological engineering that it is, has many benefits inherent in its production. In the modern day, ranchers have expressed that the beefalo is a prime candidate to satisfy the growing demand for meat free of the usual foibles associated with factory farming: things such as hormones, antibiotics, genetic defects, etc. In the earliest days of its cultivation, the beefalo was reported to be a better milk producer than its pure-bred counterparts, and also had a more docile disposition. The meat is not only delicious, but lower in cholesterol and fat. Combine that with a considerably lower price tag per animal, and you’ve got yourself an animal with diverse accolades.

Did people in the ‘50s, with their retro-futuristic vision and their long, skinny cigarettes, envision the future as we live it today? Would they have guessed the ubiquitousness of the smartphone or those toasters that burn images on your toast? Would they have conceived of such a mythical creature as the wily beefalo? Probably, but maybe not.

It just goes to show- the future is totally unguessable, and we should all just get a beefalo burger and stop thinking about it.

Thanks for reading.

Article Written by Liam Jones

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