RD May Letters 2019

Bull tales

RD: This ain’t no bull – these are true stories. We lived on a farm in Cumberland Co. Every year Dad would raise a bull to sell to the butcher. This year we had a nice one – plump and fat! When the butcher came to get this one, he would not walk up the ramp to the truck. No way. Three men pulled on him, but no go. So back in the barnyard he stood and looked at the men. The butcher decided to shoot him there and drag him up onto the truck. He aimed and fired, the bull just shook his head. Another two shots, and the bull shook his head and took off at full speed into the woods. We thought he would die in the woods and we would never find him. Three days later when I was getting the cows, here he was, just munching grass among the cows. He walked home with them and into the barn, right to his own spot. Dad went and called the butcher. This time they led him onto the truck no problem. They couldn’t figure out why the bullets never bothered him at all. However, when he was butchered they found out he had a double skull, and the bullets only hit the first one. No one had ever seen this before.

Friends of mine had also raised a bull. Once they were teasing him in the barnyard and he decided to chase them. They ran in a shed, slamming the door behind them and BANG! The bull hit the shed and his horns poked through the wood, holding him fast. The farmer killed him there, sawing off the horns and leaving them stuck in the door. They could still be there.

Esther Bradley
Dorchester, N.B.

Where have all the advocates gone?
RD: Regarding the article in your 2018 Year in Review edition about “Temple Grandin’s fundamentals of humane animal handling,” (by Joan LeBlanc, page 58; originally published in Atlantic Beef and Sheep, Summer 2018). My question is why are feedlots allowed? In Alberta we often saw the poor cattle standing (outside) in their own muck, with their feet wet for way too long a time. Sawdust and woodchips for bedding is cheap, and shouldn’t be an option. Worse yet was that feedlot mentality seen in a dairy herd. Definitely unhygienic, to say the least, and so not fair! And just for the record – calves penned for veal is as cruel as chickens squashed in cages.

We now live on Vancouver Island, and the happy cows we used to see have been pushed off the land for cash crops and into feedlots/stalls. A life sentence of servitude. Makes me sad. The SPCA won’t step in. Where are all our animal advocates? Where is our common sense and our common decency? It hurts to see them that way! And yes, even vegetarians can feel some of the animals’ pain and shame when they see similarities in some of Canada’s farm workers’ conditions.

Thanks for listening and thanks for your magazine. It is awesome.

Ruth John
Port Alberni, B.C.