Two Iowans have been killed this month in attacks by livestock, both cases involving dairy bulls. I-S-U Veterinarian Bruce Leuschen is a veteran farm-animal vet who worked in private practice and grew up on a farm, so he’s well aware that all livestock can be dangerous to the farmers that keep them. They always need to keep in mind where their bull is, and what his behavior has been, says the vets. He says farmers need to have a way out of any situation so if the animal gets aggressive they can escape and never become trapped.
Despite the romantic stereotype of growing up on a farm, Leuschen says there’s a lot of clear and present danger, much of it from farm animals…and he has personal experience. When he was a kid growing up on a dairy farm, his father kept a bull with blinders on so the animal couldn’t see past its nose. He says there was also a big boar that was mean and chased the kids till it got too fat to run fast. “We had fun with him,” he chuckles.
And of course the powerful machines that are used to do farm work carry their own danger for farmers who operate them. “They can get hurt in so many ways,” he says. Machinery with all its augers, gears and belts have claimed plenty of fingers, toes, arms…and even lives. He says despite the new safety devices on machinery, farmers have to be alert at all times to the many risks of doing their jobs.