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It’s the Pitts: Why Not?

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

By: Lee Pitts

Both the dairy and beef industries have used expected progeny differences (EPDs) to greatly enhance the quality of the cattle they’re raising. Which raises the question, why don’t we have EPDs for humans? 

Maybe if we did, we could gradually lower the divorce rate and get more people, like Congresspersons, off of welfare. 

Here’s what I’m thinking. 

Suppose a man gets on bended knee and pops the question, but the woman says something like, “Gee, Mike. You know how much I love you, but in looking at the data, I see your EPD for yearly salary ranks in the bottom one-half of all men. I’m afraid I’m gonna have to turn you down because I don’t want our kids to be on food stamps their whole life.”

I realize some readers have no idea what an EPD is. Basically, it is a prediction of the breeding value of an animal to help producers compare one animal with another.

In the Angus bull sale catalog I have in front of me, I count 31 different traits for which there are EPDs. These range from calving ease to the shape of the foot. 

I don’t think the size of the scrotum or the shape of the foot should be a real deal breaker when it comes to two people getting married, but there are many cattle EPDs that would be applicable for humans. 

Take stayability for example. With cattle this is an estimate of how long an animal will stay in the herd. Consider how helpful this might be when it comes to humans. 

Says Mary, “George, I don’t know if you realize this, but your EPD for stayability is in the bottom one percentile. I’m not going to marry you and have sons who go on frequent ‘business trips’ and come home to their wife smelling like Obsession by Calvin Klein.”

I think we could also use birthweight, yearling weight, milk, docility and fat EPDs. 

We don’t want granddaughters who look sleek and sexy when they’re 25 but end up sad and lonely because they weigh 400 pounds at 45. And, can you believe all of these grossly obese men eating the all-you-can-eat pasta at Olive Garden? 

We have to start fighting the obesity problem in America somewhere, and human EPDs could be a good place. In fact, I think I should get a Noble Prize for merely mentioning it.

Just think how EPDs could be applied. 

If a person is weak in one trait, they should breed with a person who has a good EPD in this area. If they are tall and want their son or daughter to play professional basketball, they should breed with a person in the top one percent for height. 

Maybe they’d appreciate the start they were given and buy their parents a house when they’re making millions in the NBA.

The only drawback I see for human EPDs is cattle EPDs have been calculated using data from several generations, and this kind of data is not readily available for humans so we’d have to start immediately collecting it. 

To do this, everyone in the country would be forced to answer screening questions such as, “Was your father a member of AA before he died of cirrhosis of the liver? Was your grandfather the town drunk? How about your great-grandfather?” 

Progress would be slow at first, but over time, people could know in advance what they were getting themselves into. I’d suggest we start with the most important traits first, such as propensity to bounce checks, temperament and performance in the bedroom.

Unfortunately, we can’t fix the mess many people have already gotten themselves into – we are talking here of breeding for the next generation. 

In no time we’d begin to breed the faults out of future people. Of course, this is going to need a policing body such as a new federal agency which will okay marriages, while not permitting others. 

It probably won’t shutter the doors of all the wedding chapels in Las Vegas because some people will tie the knot while they’re in a drunken state, even if they know there’s a good chance they’ll have to visit their grandchildren in a federal prison or have three lazy generations, all living in their house.

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