by Christopher Arnett
Native Foods Cafe
Ever wonder where use of bull rings came from? Bulls always seemed to be depicted with them in popular imagery, so I decided to investigate a little into this seemingly bizarre practice (I have obviously not spent a lot of time around livestock, and dad left this part out of his stories about the farm back in Kentucky. Oh, well.).
Putting rings where they don't belong. Sounds like bad karma! (Nstive Foods Cafe)
The use of bull nose rings goes back to the earliest times recorded history. They were used in ancient Sumer, which was a civilization and region in southern Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). Sumer was first settled around 4000 B.C.E., so this was a very long time ago! On the Standard of Ur (an artifacts dating back to c. 2500 B.C.E.), nose rings are shown being used on cattle.
Native Foods Cafe
Since bulls are such powerful animals, they can easily injure or even kill their handlers. Thus, the ring is attached to the most sensitive part of the bull: its nose. Bulls usually receive their nose rings when they’re six to eight months old. The animal is placed in a restraining device called a head gate, and some local anesthetic is usually employed. The ring is aluminum, stainless steel, or copper and can weigh as much as six ounces and be three diameters in size. Sometimes the ring is just a clip-on. The ring is reserved for those animals that get handled a lot, such as for livestock shows and breeding. A rope is usually tied to the ring so as to lead the bull around, thus giving rise to the saying “led around by the nose.”
Oh lord. What is going on here? This cow better start freaking out! Ugh. (Native Foods Cafe)
Calf-weaning nose rings are used as an alternative to separating calves from their mothers during the weaning period (doesn’t sound very nice—who would want to prevent a mother from feeding her child?). These rings have plastic spikes on them which make suckling uncomfortable for the mother cow, which then reject her own calf! Wow.
Sick sick sick sick sick..... Wake up world. What are we doing? (Native Foods Cafe)
According to a report from the Canadian Farming Administration, 42% of all livestock-related fatalities are related to bull attacks, with only about one in twenty victims of a bull attack surviving. And for dairy farmers in some parts of the U.S., the hazards of bull handling are a significant source of injury and death. So is the moral of the story that bull-handling (i.e. piercing its septum and pulling it around with a rope or chain) is hazardous to your health? And if there was less of a demand for meat and dairy, perhaps there would be fewer fatalities? Hmmm…Maybe we should leave the nasal piercings for those creatures that actually have a say in the matter: humans!
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