Cattle Attack: Why Agvocacy Matters

“I watched him turn the wheels toward the cattle and I could hear him accelerate. He went out of his way to hit the cows. I was stunned. He sped right into the cows and their calves,” Osterholm recalled. When the riders called to the driver, telling him to stop, Osterholm said “he gunned the car toward us,” missing riders and horses by inches.

“The riders have spent the last 36-plus hours looking for the injured animals,” according to Osterholm. Also during this attack, the driver hit the Reader’s cattle dog Maggie, who Osterholm says “does the work of five people.”

“It was very gruesome. We all yelled at the driver to stop, to spare the dog, but he kept going and hit her twice,” Osterholm continued.
~ Auburn Journal

I was shocked when I read this story yesterday. Shocked and sickened with the overwhelming urge to punch the guy in the left eye. They’ve since caught the driver, a 19-year-old kid, but I couldn’t find details on whether he was under the influence or not. I’m not sure of the status of Maggie, the cow dog.

I’ve been sitting here, pondering this event for the past day, wondering if I’m simply too naive to think no one would be capable of purposefully driving their vehicle into a herd of cattle. But then I started thinking about some of my own experiences. I’ve driven cattle up a highway many times. I’ve been alongside the road numberless times with my dog, on a horse, in a slow-moving agricultural vehicle.

While I’ve never been physically attacked, there certainly have been verbal onslaughts. At what level does the verbal attack shift into a physical attack? For some people, it would never cross their mind to do more than lean out the window and flip me and my horse the bird. For others, it may not be as far apart between the two.

This is why I and so many others are working to try and mitigate the effects of a population disconnected from agriculture. I think many times, people attack the things they do not understand. Maybe reading a story or two about cattle ranching, hay season, corn harvest, the dairy industry – whether it be conventional, organic, small-scale, large-scale – will help open up conversations and reduce the attacks.

Maybe it won’t, but we certainly have to try.


  1. Maybe cowboys should go back to wearing six-shooters.

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