On a routine pasture check of the cows, we discovered a cow that was stuck in the mud. We knew she was lame, but had been keeping up with the herd so we were not overly concerned. She was an older cow and likely had developed inflammation and arthritis, which is very difficult to treat in cattle. It appeared that she had gone to drink and had been unable to get herself back up off the bank. If this wasn’t bad enough, the resident coyotes had found her, and determined she was an easy meal. When we arrived, she was alive, but had lost a lot of blood and was obviously very weak. We quickly decided the best thing to do was to euthanize her and bury the carcass. We made a quick trip back to get a gun and a tractor, but by the time we returned she had died. It was a tough reminder that nature can be cruel, and is ultimately in charge. Fittingly, I came across an article this evening about the morality of raising animals, which ended with this quote:
“We are part of nature, a complex system of perpetual life, and forget this at our peril. Death, too, is part of nature, and in ignoring or avoiding it we deny the reality of the world and perhaps even our own mortality.” (The aricle by Megan Perry is available at http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/sacred-life-sacred-death/)
Death is an integral part life, and while we spend countless hours trying to control it, it takes something like this to realise that we can not.