The Wasatch Behind: the dragging cow incident
"Did you see that story on TV last week about the farmer who got arrested for animal cruelty for dragging a bull behind his panel truck?" I asked Uncle Spud.
"Yes," he said. "Bovines are the dumbest creatures God ever put leather upholstery on.
"A whole lot of people are up in arms about the incident," I said. "Some are calling for the farmer to be put in jail."
"City people don't understand cows," he offered, "and especially bulls. There's nothing more ornery or contrary than a bull who thinks he's in love. Bulls can weigh almost a ton, and they don't respect people, property boundaries, or fences when romance is in the air."
"But don't you think the farmer was out-of-line by dragging that bull behind his truck like that?"
"I think the farmer would have been out-of-line for not taking care of his bull," Spud offered. "Can you imagine the trouble the farmer would be in if his bull had gotten on the freeway, or trampled some little kid on the street, or butted it's head against some lawyer's fancy new sports car? Farmers are responsible for their livestock and they have an obligation to keep them off the streets, whatever it takes."
"But aren't there better ways to get the bull back than dragging it with a truck?" I asked. "Why didn't the farmer saddle a horse and herd old blossom eyes back to the barn?"
"A bull can outweigh a horse by a multiple of two," he said. "And obstinate bulls will often fight a horse rather than be herded by it. And then, a horse has a horsepower of one. You can see that it took the farmer's truck, with horsepower in the 200-range, to drag the bull home. Old Sea Biscuit couldn't have done it by himself, good horse that he is."
"Why didn't the farmer set his dogs on the bull to chase it home?" I asked.
"Are you kidding me?" he said. "Setting a dog on a bull that is loose is like dropping live chickens from a helicopter. You have no control over where things will land. The chase might have lasted for miles."
"Why didn't the farmer just poke the bull with a stick and make it go home?" I asked.
"You first," Spud smiled. "If you've never stood flat footed and looked an angry bull in the eyes from a few feet away, I can't explain the experience to you. Let's just say that the farmer and I are too old, wise, and cowardly to ever want to do that more than once. I've already taken my turn."
"But couldn't they have coaxed the bull back with food, soothing cow music, or soft words of kindness and encouragement?"
"When you look a bull in the eyes," he said. "You notice right off that no one is home. You can coax them with food sometimes, but you've got to starve them for a week before it works."
"But why did the farmer have to drag the bull back home after he got him hooked to the truck? Couldn't the farmer have just traveled slow and let the poor thing walk back to greener pastures on his own four feet?"
"Not a chance," Spud insisted. "Most cows aren't broke to lead. They resist the pressure of the rope by fighting against it. The farmer had no choice but to drag the beast after it threw itself down. He had to get it back to the corral."
"Do you think the bull was hurt?"
"Probably not," the Spudster chuckled. "He was wearing a leather outfit like those motorcycle guys, and he was sliding on grass and not asphalt."
"But why didn't the farmer call his neighbors to come and help before going to such extremes?" I asked.
"His neighbor was hiding in the bushes getting the whole thing on video," Uncle Spud spat. "A good neighbor would have offered to help the farmer instead of trying to get him in trouble by selling the video to the TV people. I wouldn't wish neighbors like that on anyone."
"You don't suppose that all animal rights advocates are that sleazy, do you?" I asked.
"I sure hope not," Spud exclaimed. "But I can only judge by what I see. When you look back into a camera lens, it becomes a microscope. And I've seen some pretty creepy things in a microscope."