Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rant: How to piss off a farmer

Started my day with the usual routine; welfare check on the animals; a sow had given birth, and one of the piglets was stillborn, so I removed it and tossed it to the dogs, who enjoy eating them, and didn't think much of it.  Everyone had food and water and was looking good, so I hooked up my trailer and went to go get some surplus food I'd gotten a call about. 

90 minutes later, with 5 or 6 tons of food on the trailer, i get a call from the county animal control officer; he had three complaints about my farm, and wanted to talk to me about it.  That alone was enough to get my hackles up.   I'd just been there a couple of hours before, and everything looked alright -- don't know what the problem could be. 

1) pigs don't have any water. 

  I've got 2 big black sheep troughs that I've been using to feed the pigs the condensed milk.  You can see one of them in this blog entry.   the pigs lick the troughs clean, and they were empty.  So someone came to my gate and saw the empty troughs and called to complain my pigs don't have any water.  They do, there's  a steel trough in the corner of the pasture.  So I told the officer this, and he went over and used his flashlight to verify that there was water in the trough, and said he saw it was full. 

2)  Sheep don't have any shelter. 
  Um.  Officer, they're sheep.  They're covered in wool.  Not sure what you want me to do with that.  They have both hay and water.  Got any suggestions?  "No, not really.  they look good"

3)  There's a dead piglet on the driveway. 
  Yea officer, that one died last night or this morning, was stillborn.  So I gave it to the dogs so as not to waste it.  I guess they haven't finished eating it. 

Is there anything else I can answer for you, officer? 

Now to be clear -- I'd hate to have the animal control officers job.  He has to respond to every single complaint, and to his credit, he actually does investigate.  He didn't take my word for it on the trough, he went and looked to see if there was water in it.  I'm actually impressed by that.  I don't want his job, but he takes it very seriously, and actually, on the big-picture thing, that's a good thing. 

But we are so far removed from the production of our food, or any sort of farming, that any sort of husbandry seems alien, strange.  Something to be complained about.  LOOK!  Sheep on pasture!  WE MUST CALL THE AUTHORITIES. 


Anonymous said...

Does the animal control guy even have a right to bother you about your farm animals?

I thought there was a distinction between pets and farm animals.

E.g. you can rip the nuts off a pig without anesthesia, but not a dog (as that would be cruelty to animals).

Anonymous said...

I suggest offering farm tours for your neighbors and trying to build some good will and understanding. It works wonders. The complaints to animal control will disappear if your neighbors understand and learn to appreciate what you do.