Jun 29, 2011

Taking the Bull By The ....

Animal rights activists beware: Farmer Ricky not only kills animals, he emasculates them too. There's been alot of death and diminution around the WildSide Farm these days.

Death has been at the pesky hands and teeth of an overfed raccoon who apparently prefers our organic chickens to the no-name SuperStore fish-flavoured cat-food in the trap. I keep plugging more holes in the fence and coop and he keeps finding ways to diminish my stock, down to 30 as of yesterday from 56 a month ago. Every morning that I find a new pile of feathers I feel I've failed my flock. Know I've failed them.

So traps are out, and even though they are live traps there'll soon be a dead coon on my dinner table if I finally catch him. There's no cruelty in killing one animal that has killed 26 of my egg-laying chickens. It's survival.

The depriving of "manhood" has been at the hands of me and my friend Amy, courtesy of a tiny little elastic band much tighter than the pleasure-enhancing ones at the Adult shops. We fooled poor little 2-month-old SnowStar (and then Midnight, who didn't go so easily after seeing what happened to his brother) to tie them to a fencepost, then slipped the elastic over his impressive baggage and snapped it shut. Those future calf-making machines will slowly shut down from lack of fuel and work no more.

Again, no cruelty intended. This keeps our young bull - now a steer, technically - from getting too rangy and dangerous, and keeps all those yucky-tasting boy hormones out of the meat that'll eventually reach our table. If we're gonna raise cattle for beef, this is just a necessary part of the equation.

In my final defence, WildSide Farm is actually an orphanage, a cattle rescue shelter. If we hadn't picked up these calves to raise, they would have been slaughtered at birth - since they are a dairy breed, they're not as valued for their meat as pure meat-breeds, and therefore are of no commercial value to the "real" cattlemen. True I'm only giving them 18 months of life, and ball-less life at that, but they do have the run of our beautiful hayfield, the company of each other, and some daily loving from our family and visitors. A pretty decent life as Canadian cows go, and hopefully some inherent satisfaction of providing organic healthy nourishment for our family to fulfill their destiny at the end of it all.

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