I’ve technologically evolved to the point that I like to get my national news and world events from a website on the internet. As I scanned through the headlines a few weeks ago, an article from Danville, Pa., caught my eye as it stated, “Rampaging Bull Shot to Death.” Being a farmer, I clicked on the subject to get more information.
It seems that a local man was transporting the animal to an area meat processing business when he stopped at a stoplight and, “the bull somehow managed to get out of the trailer and took off down the street.” The story described how the bull had eluded the owner and half the county’s police force for over two miles until one of the deputies shot and killed the animal “for the safety of the community.”
The seemingly well-written news story was composed by a reporter for the local paper and probably didn’t raise any questions among an agriculturally illiterate society, but many aspects of the article completely baffled me, beginning with the description of a “two-year-old bull that tipped the scales at nearly 900 pounds!” If I had a two-year-old bull that only weighed 900 pounds, I would have shot and processed the animal at home to avoid the embarrassment at the slaughter plant.
The owner, who admitted that he was not a farmer, had raised the animal in his backyard over the past 2 years so that his family could have a cheap source of high quality meat. Now, as he stated in the article, “I’m not going to have any meat because the circumstances would require him to have the entire animal ground into hamburger.” Is hamburger not considered meat anymore? If that’s the new classification, then I could become a vegetarian.
The next paragraph after that bombshell news included an interview with the meat processor to which the bull was headed. He concurred that the bull shouldn’t be made into “meat” because he had been run and excited before execution and the meat “wouldn’t be any good because it was all shot up,” so it was best to make it into hamburger. Again, with the non-meat classification of hamburger.
Now, I’ve been quail hunting enough to know that an occasional direct hit at close range can tear up a bird enough to make it inedible, but what did they shoot this bull with – five-hundred rounds with a 50 caliber machine gun? I can’t believe the “meat” was ruined because of all the shrapnel.
To top it all off, the paper had included a “file photo” of a Hereford COW to accompany the article where the reporter concluded with a sympathetic reference to the destruction of this “steer.” Now I was really confused. Was the animal a bull, as referred to throughout the entire article, a steer, as referred to in the last paragraph, or a cow, as shown in the accompanying photograph?
Someday, if I’m ever able to take a vacation again, I want to take a trip to Danville, Pa. Hopefully I can find a nice restaurant that serves meat, but if not, I’ll just order a hamburger.
Jerry Crownover farms in Lawrence County. He is a former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University, and is an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to www.ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’