December 7, 2021

"A 73-year-old volunteer died on Saturday after she was repeatedly rammed by a sheep while working at a Massachusetts farm that uses animals in mental health therapy...."


She was "rammed by a sheep," and we're informed that male sheep are "known as rams."

The farm — Cultivate Care Farms — has a website that "states that it is committed to improving the lives of children through 'farm-based therapy,' describing itself as a pioneer in the model, which it hopes to establish as a form of mental health treatment comparable to other models like cognitive behavioral therapy."

People do want to do volunteer work, and working with therapy animals must seem, to some people, to be the ideal form of charity. But farm animals are what they are, and they may be quite unfamiliar to the kindly people who volunteer. Obviously, the animals themselves have no idea that they are intended to do charitable work.

41 comments:

doctrev said...

"Murum aries attigit" rarely scans well into obituaries nowadays, so while I'm sad for this woman I'm happy to uncork the phrase.

On a more serious note, animals are never JUST domesticated. Most urbanites don't know this, of course, but it's why farming often needs to be handled by men. Nine times out of ten, maybe 95 out of 100 times nothing goes wrong. But you need a set of firm hands when things go bad!

Enigma said...

Many people today are detached from animals and nature.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/travel-troubles/80065000/baby-bison-dies-after-yellowstone-tourists-put-it-in-their-car-because-it-looked-cold

Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Where's the equity?

tim maguire said...

She was "rammed by a sheep," and we're informed that male sheep are "known as rams."

Since someone died, is it bad form to note the filthy double-entendre?

Iman said...

“Ram on…”

—- Paul McCartney

Amadeus 48 said...

Think of this the next time one is tempted to call one's political opponents "sheep".

Bob Boyd said...

Turns out the sheep was the craziest one there.

Howard said...

Back in the day, Santa Cruz Island had a large population of feral sheep. Our geology summerfield class spent 2 weeks mapping the hills and dales. The Dead silence of the practically unpopulated Island was punctuated several times a day by the loud crack of rams establishing dominance.

Eleanor said...

i've been around animals all of my life from pets to farm animals to wild animals native to where I live and even "exotic animals" like penguins and polar bears. Animals are animals and even a beloved pet is still an animal and will do what animals do. I blame Walt Disney for the ignorance most people have about animal behavior.

Loren W Laurent said...

You WERE just mentioning the album "Ram" yesterday...

Wince said...

Althouse said...
But farm animals are what they are, and they may be quite unfamiliar to the kindly people who volunteer. Obviously, the animals themselves have no idea that they are intended to do charitable work.

"They're really disgusting in person... most animals are when you really see them. Ever go to a farm? You think you're going to see little white sheep going, 'baaa'..."

Joe Smith said...

Frog, meet scorpion.

Scorpion, frog.

Now go about your business...

Robert Marshall said...

"[R]epeatedly rammed".

The farm's website says this happened with no witnesses present. So the volunteer was alone with an animal that appears docile, but in reality it can kill you, and in this case, did. Doesn't sound prudent to me.

Unless they are very well-insured, I expect this mental-health not-so-funny-farm will be out of business in the near future.

The Drill SGT said...

Sheep are in the running to be the dumbest and stinkiest of all God's creatures. They also panic at any surprises. RIP

SGT Ted said...

I have around 20 Old English Southdown sheep with 4 rams in the flock.

The issue with rams, bulls etc is when they are handled by humans from a young age they think that humans are part of the flock. This leads to attempts to dominate the humans in adulthood. While we try to raise ewes that a human can interact with, we don't do it with the rams. We've not had any domination problems...yet.

Never turn your back on a ram.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

That’s a tragic story, but there were no witnesses so we don’t know if the woman who was killed made a mistake of unfamiliarity as Althouse suggests or was just taken by surprise. If you are going to be on a farm, it is important to understand all the ways the farm can kill you. Even then, it may get you anyway. “Farming is two times as deadly as serving on law enforcement and five times more deadly than serving as a firefighter.” - Found that on the internet so it must be true.

DanTheMan said...

Why is a ram in the ass called a goose?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Farming does keep you grounded. Fishing is the most dangerous occupation.

rcocean said...

If you google sheep and go to a "How to deal with sheep" site, you get this:

While sheep are generally docile, non-aggressive creatures, this is not necessarily the case with rams (intact males), especially during the breeding season (rut). Rams can be very aggressive and have been known to cause serious injuries, even death, to people. A ram should never be trusted, even if it is friendly or was raised as a pet. It is important to always know where the ram is and to never turn your back on him. Children and elderly should have restricted access to rams, especially during the breeding season.

Head butting is both a natural and learned behavior in sheep. Classic head butting among rams is highest during the rutting season which precedes the onset of heat in ewes. It is a way for rams to get into physical shape for the breeding season and to establish (or re-establish) the dominance hierarchy. To discourage butting, you should avoid petting or scratching a ram on the head. Otherwise, the ram may see this as a challenge or aggressive behavior. In general, the ram sees you as part of the flock and wants to dominate you.


Rams can also get up to 400 lbs. So, no they aren't friendly little fellows.

MadisonMan said...

If you manage a farm, and you have volunteers, and those volunteers are killed by your animals, then you aren't doing a good job of training volunteers. Always have a fence between you and any male animal on a farm.

LA_Bob said...

A few years ago I ran into a man (no, I didn't "ram" him) who was walking his pet goats legally in South Pasadena, which is adjacent to Los Angeles city. So, a suburban residential neighborhood. The goats were unleashed.

The man told me the goats were great pets, very loving.

I asked him if they ever butt anyone. He said, Sure, they can knock you right over. They think it's pretty funny.

PM said...

It's sad, of course, but also kind of Darwinish Awardish.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Seeing others have said what I came to say. I live on a farm, and it always creeps me out when I see people assuming the docility of any animal in any situation. You just can't be 100% sure, and if you're wrong, the price can be steep.

Sydney said...

Made me think of that Flannery O’Connor story, Greenleaf.
https://www.pothe.org/documents/2017/1/The-Complete-Stories-Flannery-OConnor.pdf
(Last story in the collection)

Temujin said...

I cannot understand people who would think putting children in an area with rams is a good idea.

Why not a fenced in dog run full of pit bulls?

Joe Smith said...

'The man told me the goats were great pets, very loving.'

Goats are filthy, smelly, disgusting, satanic animals.

cfs said...

I would think rams would be in the rut about now and would see anyone as a threat of getting between him and the ewes.

A neighbor and former co-worker of my hubby's was killed a few years back by another neighbor's billy goat. Apparently, the old guy tormented the goat pretty regularly by poking at him through the fence. One day the goat got out and beat that ole man to death.

cfs said...

Blogger Wince said...

"They're really disgusting in person... most animals are when you really see them. Ever go to a farm? You think you're going to see little white sheep going, 'baaa'..."

____________
If you tell a billy goat to "go suck your own d***", I assure you he can and he will. Male goats smell awful and truly are disgusting. It's better to wether the little bastards as soon as possible. Have an intact male around just long enough to breed your nannies and then send him down the road. Also, never enter a pen with a billy goat unless you have a stout stick and preferably a firearm. They can be perfectly nice, until they are not.

farmgirl said...

I’ve been knocked on my butt a few times- kicked and stepped on many times- yanked into the manger by my pony tail…

And still, at the end of the day- I would work w/animals over people every time.
The shit I take from them- washes off…

I’m saddened by the trauma this lady suffered.

who-knew said...

Really absolute ignorance on everyone's part. Male farm animals of all kinds are dangerous. A couple of decades ago the price of bull semen spiked so a lot of dairy farmers went back to having their own bull for the herd. Not surprisingly, death and injures spiked as well. (or at least that's the story I heard as a farm underwriter). Growing up, my uncles raised feeder pigs and had their own boar. Rounding that beast up to move him from one farm to another was one of the scariest things I ever did.

n.n said...

Baaack. Baaack. Baaack. Lost in translation.

Take a knee and they will ram you at first opportunity. Animals are exclusive by Nature.

tcrosse said...

Almost as bad as being bullied by a cow.

lgv said...

I've personally photographed Tiger Sharks, Humpback Whales and Komodo Dragons. Each had its own safety protocols. But, the cute playful animals can be just as dangerous at times, whether it's dolphin (they aren't all like Flipper), seal lions, or playful whales. I've also had a nasty "sacred" monkey sink its teeth in my neck. A long lens is your friend.

Just like tourists who think bears are so cute.

Ask yourself: 1)how much does it weigh? 2)how fast is it? 3) how dangerous are its bite and/or claws? People get killed by dogs, cows, and horses, too.

rehajm said...

Remember when that no underpants/leg cross woman paid good money to get her husband attacked by the Geico Gecko?

That was fun…

BG said...

From what I understand by reading the story, the woman died from cardiac arrest, not necessarily from the ram repeatedly butting her. At the time she was feeding the animals in their pen. Now THAT is a very poor practice. Having been brought up on a farm and still living on a farm (though not as active), one of the worst things you can do is to even appear to come between the animal and food while on foot. Feed from a wagon, cart or tractor if you are feeding numerous animals. She had worked there for 14 months, so she was there long enough to know about breeding season, etc. With no witnesses it will be hard to determine what exactly happened.

Drago said...

"A 73-year-old volunteer died on Saturday after she was repeatedly rammed by a sheep while working at a Massachusetts farm that uses animals in mental health therapy...."

What's all this I'm hearing about providing mental health therapy to sheep? That is an insane waste of both time and money. I would like to know just who authorized such an outrage.....

......what?

.......oh. Well. That's very different.

Never mind.

Caligula said...

She was "rammed by a sheep," and we're informed that male sheep are "known as rams."

Perhaps she was rammed by a pickup truck? A Ram is a Ram, isn't it?

iowan2 said...

Farming is one of the most dangerous occupations on the planet for a reason.

When are people going to realize animals are not Disney characters?

gadfly said...

If you’re unfortunate enough to stray off the beaten path, and find yourself confronted by a sheep, there are a number of things that you can do to maximise your chances of survival. Here’s our top 9 tips.

1) Avoid eye contact. A mature sheep will see this a a challenge to their authority and their territory. Recognise that you’re transgressing on their patch. Avert your eyes and look away and slightly downwards.

2) Always traverse a field with sheep in it on the highest ground possible. There are two reasons for this; a) Sheep typically attack prey within 20 yards of them. They run out of puff however on gradients, so you’re safer on higher ground. b) Numerous studies have shown that the normally vicious sheep will remain docile if it has to look upwards at potential victims.

3) Never, ever, place yourself between a sheep and it’s young. A young sheep, called a lamb, is easily spooked and older sheep will attack without thought in order to protect them against a perceived threat.

4) Do not wear brightly coloured clothing or bling in the prescence of sheep. All ruminates (sic) [ruminants are cloven-hoofed mammals that chew their cud] become over excited by either and are likely to become unpredictable at best.

5) The majority of sheep are members of the secret order of Artiodactyla [even-toed hoofed animals]. Some of their rituals are known to a handful of researchers who for centuries have warned people about this dangerous cult. The exception are the black sheep. There are no known cases of black sheep attacking humans.

6) Sheep attack in packs. You might think that you’re being confronted by a solitary sheep, but rest assured, the pack will be watching to see how you react to the encounter. Try not to be scared. Sheep can smell fear and are triggered to become aggressive when they smell it.

7) If the worst happens and you’re cornered by one of these vicious predators you have a split second to react. Try to make yourself look as large as possible by standing on your tiptoes and raising your raising your arms above your head. Shout loudly, but do not shout “mint sauce”. All Lake District sheep have heard this threat before and are now immune to it.

8) If attacked, put a plaster on the wound. Do not call mountain rescue as you may divert their resources from people in genuine trouble.

9) The only thing that sheep are scared of is dogs. I don’t care if your dog is normally well behaved and it’s nice to let him off the lead in the countryside. Keep your dog on a lead. They like to chase sheep and often worry them to death.

gadfly said...

If you’re unfortunate enough to stray off the beaten path, and find yourself confronted by a sheep, there are a number of things that you can do to maximise your chances of survival. Here’s our top 9 tips.

1) Avoid eye contact. A mature sheep will see this a a challenge to their authority and their territory. Recognise that you’re transgressing on their patch. Avert your eyes and look away and slightly downwards.

2) Always traverse a field with sheep in it on the highest ground possible. There are two reasons for this; a) Sheep typically attack prey within 20 yards of them. They run out of puff however on gradients, so you’re safer on higher ground. b) Numerous studies have shown that the normally vicious sheep will remain docile if it has to look upwards at potential victims.

3) Never, ever, place yourself between a sheep and it’s young. A young sheep, called a lamb, is easily spooked and older sheep will attack without thought in order to protect them against a perceived threat.

4) Do not wear brightly coloured clothing or bling in the prescence of sheep. All ruminates become over excited by either and are likely to become unpredictable at best.

5) The majority of sheep are members of the secret order of Artiodactyla [hoofed animals — which bear weight equally on two of their five toes]. Some of their rituals are known to a handful of researchers who for centuries have warned people about this dangerous cult. The exception are the black sheep. There are no known cases of black sheep attacking humans.

6) Sheep attack in packs. You might think that you’re being confronted by a solitary sheep, but rest assured, the pack will be watching to see how you react to the encounter. Try not to be scared. Sheep can smell fear and are triggered to become aggressive when they smell it.

7) If the worst happens and you’re cornered by one of these vicious predators you have a split second to react. Try to make yourself look as large as possible by standing on your tiptoes and raising your raising your arms above your head. Shout loudly, but do not shout “mint sauce”. All Lake District sheep have heard this threat before and are now immune to it.

8) If attacked, put a plaster on the wound. Do not call mountain rescue as you may divert their resources from people in genuine trouble.

9) The only thing that sheep are scared of is dogs. I don’t care if your dog is normally well behaved and it’s nice to let him off the lead in the countryside. Keep your dog on a lead. They like to chase sheep and often worry them to death.

Bart Hall said...

If a RAM is a male sheep, and an ASS is a male donkey ... how come a RAM in the ASS is a GOOSE ?

iowan2 said...

I would think rams would be in the rut about now and would see anyone as a threat of getting between him and the ewes.

What you mean, EWES are in heat. Rams (male whatevers) are always in rut.

In a farm setting Male breeders are dangerous just for that reason.