Filed under: Animal care, Farm, farm animals | Tags: Agriculture education, animals, cattle, chickens, Food, nature, pigs
You may have thought I was a bit harsh about pigs in my last post, “Pigs are, Well Pigs,” but that is not the worst things I have seen. I could tell you much worse, and in detail, of how they mistreat each other. Oh, I admit, pigs are at times endearing. When raised like a pet, they are intelligent and can even be sweet. The pigs found on a farm are not pets. Let them get their way, and they will take over. Farmers have done everything possible to breed the mean out of pigs, and they have to some extent, but not completely. The same can be said for many other farm animals.
Chickens will peck on each other at the first sign of weakness. Let a little blood show and they are all over it. They will fight over a choice bit of food, chasing each other until it is either lost or eaten. It does not take much to get male chickens to fight. Chickens are stupid. They have just enough brains to fly up into a tree to get out of danger, but are totally defenseless if that danger has wings. That’s why farmers usually keep them fenced in. To keep animals that like chicken out.
Cattle are perhaps a bit more docile, but even they can and will fight. They at least will give up the fight if their opponent is down, unless they think they are protecting a calf. Cattle on the range today are protected as much as possible, but old time cowboys have some real scary stories of cattle that go wild. If a ton of animal knocks you down, consider yourself lucky to get up and away.
So here’s the thing, protecting these animals is a full time job for a farmer. Animals are not people, and though at times they may show some signs that could be interpreted as “nice,” they are not always. If you ask any farmer who has raised livestock for as many years as I have, they will have some really interesting stories of animal behavior. Cruelty within species is more often the norm rather than the exception, this is not a Walt Disney World. Livestock compete for food or mates for their survival. It is only when humans protect them that they can afford to act nicer to each other. We protect them from each other as well a predation. To pay for that protection, they pay a price.
Fairy tales and cartoon pictures are fine for entertainment. We all would like to live in a better world. It is a world of make believe. The real world is cruel. Sorry folks, Bambi was a myth.