Tuesday, July 8, 2008

George Bush tacitly approves sale of bull semen to Iran

It takes more than attempted nuclear armament and terrorist sponsorship to halt the flow of cigarettes, bras and bull semen from the United States to Iran. Americans have even sold Iran military equipment and clothing. CNN reported today that "on-again, off-again sanctions" have enabled trade of some highly suspect commodities alongside innocuous products such as agricultural goods (the latter to ensure that Iranian citizens, farmers for instance, aren't punished for the ill intentions of their leaders). There is a lot about this story that gives me pause, and you can read the scandalous details for yourself in the CNN piece. But really, they had me at bull semen.

Why are we exporting $12 million worth of bull semen to Iran? Why is it sold anywhere for that matter? I was compelled to investigate. To my surprise, the global market is brimming with the stuff. People can't seem to get enough of it. The primary use of the substance is for artificial insemination of heifers. Seems that steers are very picky about whom they hook up with (I suspect that a number of them are "confirmed bachelors"). So it's up to ranchers to knock up their own bovine ladies, so to speak.

What's alarming is that there are other uses for bull semen, including hair products. Stylists at Hari's Salon in Knightsbridge, London apply the semen of thoroughbred Angus bulls to their customers' hair in a 45-minute deep-conditioning treatment (I assume the semen from non-pedigreed cattle ends up in barber shops and dives like Super Cuts).

LostOgle.com lists another 36 uses for bull semen, including cough suppressant, lip balm, fire retardant, weightlifter protein shakes, caulk, bullshine (similar to moonshine), and something called "Oklahoma Playdough."

Bull sperm is so coveted that if you own any, you'd better lock it up. Someone stole $75,000 worth from Eric Fleming in 2005. The Maryland farmer offered a "nice fat reward" to anyone who could finger the culprit.

In case you're in the market for bovine ejaculate, here are a few online vendors I found:

  • Bull's-Eye Genetics' Web site proudly displays a waving U.S. flag and the slogans "Right on Target" and "One Nation Under God." Their catalog boasts semen from dozens of breeds and hundreds of their named prizewinning steers, including Playboy, Mr. Extra Wonderful, El Presidente, Guido, BB King, Get Her Done, Slow Burn, Lock and Load, Kabbana Boy, Man on Fire, Who's Your Daddy, Phat Tony, Shock and Awe, and The Bachelor (see, I told you).
  • Seven Ponds Ranch (watch where you step!) hawks its flagship product: The Ultimate Beefmaster Bull known as Apache's Heart (pictured above). Among the Top 10 reasons to buy genuine Apache's Heart semen, according to the Web site, are "He's long and strong" and has "a pedigree you just can't beat." In case you think the above photo is an exaggeration, Seven Ponds assures: "We don't doctor any photos. We don't have to."
  • Reproduction Enterprises serves up semen not only from bulls, but from goats, dogs, deer, sheep and goats. The company also sells artificial insemination supplies, including shoulder-length gloves, scrotal tape, and lube (sold by the gallon). Don't know how to use any of these items? No problem. There's still space in RE's fall classes, which cover topics including "semen handling," "palpation training" and "the use of your AI gun."
I've always wondered how to use my AI gun.

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