Where's The Beef? - FiveThirtyEight

very December, the ranching staff at a Texas Panhandle dairy farm owned by the Braum’s burgers-and-ice-cream chain conducts an audit of its cattle herd. Most years, the audit is nothing more than a bland bookkeeping exercise, the i-dotting and t-crossing of maintaining a 38-square-mile ranch on the Texas-Oklahoma border. Over the next two months, the Braum’s staff checked and re-checked their ledgers. They queried cowboys and ranch hands to find out if anyone had noticed a strange set of tire tracks, or a large hole in a fence, or a suspicious person or persons lurking on the grounds. ” Braum’s had found that the stolen calves weighed between 300 and 750 pounds, meaning that the combined lot would likely have tipped the scales at over 500,000 pounds. Texas Monthly’s John Nova Lomax estimated that it would have taken more than 30 cattle trailers, each 36 feet long, to haul off the animals, and it insulted logic to imagine that a fleet of massive farm vehicles would have evaded detection. Unscrupulous ranch hands have been stealing their bosses’ cattle for centuries, making off with a few head and then claiming that the animals wandered off or died. Source: fivethirtyeight.com