News / USA

Houston Livestock Show Draws International Crowd

Cowboys, rodeos and prized cattle attract ranchers and other visitors to the annual event

Ranchers present their prized animals for judging at  the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Ranchers present their prized animals for judging at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Multimedia

Greg Flakus

The big show every evening at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the rodeo competition which includes everything from bronco riding to chuck wagon racing. There's also the event for young ranch hands called the Calf Scramble, where young kids and young cows pull each other to the finish line.

But the real business of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is down in the pens and show area, where ranchers bring their prized animals for judging. Ranchers interested in breeding stock attend these shows, looking to make deals that will improve their stock back home.

Global draw

The three-week-long event attracts more than two million visitors each year, not only from Texas and other parts of the United States, but from all over the world. Ranchers came from Mexico's southern state of Tabasco to look at Brahman, or Zebu, stock.

"Our climate is tropical and humid so we need to add the blood of the Zebu to our cattle," says Gustavo Lastra, who came to buy. The Brahman, originally from India, adapts well to tropical zones and is popular with ranchers from South America as well.

Buying and transporting an animal can be expensive, so many ranchers take a different approach. "What we are trying to take back to improve our cattle is semen and embryos," says Humberto Belloso of Venezuela.

A taste of Texas

Foreign visitors to the Livestock Show are entertained at social events with healthy servings of the local cuisine, including barbecue and the Texas version of Mexican food. It's a place to wrangle some lunch and make a deal.

"They love it," says Bert Marmorato, who serves on the event's international welcoming committee. "They love all the stuff. They can't believe all the food that's here and how big the arena is and how many people come here for the concerts and everything. It's great."

While most of the estimated 10,000 international visitors come from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, there are also people from much further away. One group of 10 came from Thailand, but only one is a stock breeder.

"Apart from me and my wife, all of them are government officials," says the breeder.

Increased demand

As demand for meat grows in Asia, governments there are looking to improve their own cattle-raising industries. However, not everyone from abroad came to the event for breeding stock. Some came to sell their products and services.

Three Israeli companies working with water resource management and animal genetics are on hand. The Autentica company offers genetic tracing using cattle DNA.

"Autentica provides genetic service for cattle," says Guy Evron, project manager for Autentica. "It does parental identification and it does traceability for food safety reasons."

But even those who attend primarily for business say they love to spend their free time mingling with the cowboys and watching them ride.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid