On this blog, you’ll probably see a lot of pictures of cute calves doing cute things. For example, the calf in this picture.
However, this does not represent the bovine species adequately. You see, cattle are a lot bigger and often faster than people. And while humans have superior intellect to find ways to safely work with them, the first two facts mean that Murphy’s Law and that mean cow will eventually catch up with you if you work with cattle long enough. The question is more of how bad you get hurt when it happens.
For example, yesterday was a tough day at the clinic for Carolyn and I. The first injury occurred when working a group of calves just weaned off the cow. This little 300 pound calf did not want to go into the chute and turned around in the alley instead. Carolyn jumped into the alley to make him step back so we could run him back into the tub so he could turn around. Rather than back up, he charged her.
Now I’m not saying that a little 300 pound calf is the toughest thing on the planet, but he weighed more than twice was Carolyn did. It socked her pretty good and she ended up with some bruises on her back.
It’s not just the cattle that can be dangerous. Many of the tools used while working cattle can cause injury, from gates that swing in the wind and hit a person in the face to castration knives that can cut your hand open. And these accidents always happen so fast there’s little time to react.
Yesterday got me as well. After we were done with the calves, I was putting some tools back on a shelf and bumped an implant gun. An implant gun is the tool used to administer hormones to promote efficient growth in the animal (if you’d like to learn more about them, just click here to read another blog post). It fell from the shelf needle first and I instinctively threw my hand towards it to stop the fall. So I basically slammed my hand into a falling needle. That hurt!
So with two injuries in two hours, we had a pretty crummy day. That’s why being focused on safety is so important when you work with cattle. Inevitably you will get hurt. The question is how bad it will be, and the less focused you are on safety the more likely that injury will be permanent.