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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid