The Seagoing Cowboys: Part of Heifer's History
These days, Heifer International generally provides animals to participating families through local channels in the countries we serve. But early on, the organization shipped livestock from the United States to other countries. During their travels, these animals were cared for by "seagoing cowboys": ranchers and farmers who aided Heifer in its mission by lending their expertise in animal husbandry and agriculture.
In the years following World War II, more than 7,000 men and women accompanied shipments of cattle, pigs, goats and other livestock across land, sea and air to deliver them to families in Europe. For many of them, these trips presented a series of firsts — the first time setting sail on a ship, the first time crossing the ocean and the first time visiting another culture. For many of these seagoing cowboys, their faith was tested as they witnessed the devastation of the war, but came away with a renewed sense of hope and purpose after helping families in need.
A highlight of the trip was traveling to the Iwate Prefecture to meet the farmers receiving the cattle for this cooperative project. What a humbling experience when all you have done is feed and care for the animals generously given by others... The emotions of that moment have lasted me a lifetime. Bill E. Beck, cowboy