About two months ago a beefalo on his way to the slaughter house in Plymouth CT, escaped from the loading dock at Plymouth Meats.
He somehow managed to elude his handlers who were guiding him and other animals to the processing plant. A beefalo, for those such as myself who are uninitiated in the current modified choices at the butcher shop, is a cross between a cow and a bison. According to the American Beefalo Association, “Beefalo is one of the best-kept secrets in the health food market, Beefalo has been shown by USDA testing to possess superior vitamin levels, higher protein, nearly 1/3 less cholesterol, 79 percent less fat, and 66 percent less calories than conventional beef”. So this particular 1,000 pound bull, who was about to become part of a display at a market somewhere, decided otherwise. He decided to run for his life.
Over these past months, Buddy, as he has come to be known, has been roaming in fields around Plymouth. He has found a kind of personal retreat, foraging for food available in a natural setting and pretty much having a grand old time. He found a welcoming home on an 800-acre piece of water company property.
The local police have been trying to entice him with elaborately staged traps, but he has not taken the bait. They have video footage that show as him looking at the trailer laden with beefalo goodies, but not stepping on board. He does accept the food that’s freely offered to him, but he doesn’t step into the trap.
Buddy has become something of a folk hero to many for his refusal to be led to slaughter and also managing to elude capture. Can this bull be smarter than his captors? You see, it’s already been decided that when Buddy finally agrees to take the bait, he will be sent to Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary in Florida to retire in luxury for the rest of his days. So how can anyone not be rooting for Buddy and his refusal to be led down the beaten path.
I see it as a metaphor for the little guy who tries and succeeds in beating the system. The bull can be any one of us who simply decides not to accept an inappropriate solution that’s offered by a bureaucratic system, or who seeks answers to a problematic situation.
So I wonder what can Buddy teach us? Buddy acted on a natural instinct for self-preservation, something that’s embedded in us all. Even though Buddy is a domesticated animal, bred for one purpose, he was still able to make a choice not to go with the plan that someone else determined for him. So how does that affect us? After all, we are reasoning individuals, aren’t we? Don’t we always have options to pursue? Well, in truth, we sometimes don’t necessarily take advantage of our ability to make choices and to challenge a system that’s not working for us.
I see, all around me, examples of the decisions that have been made for me and others in my situation. Most of us, acquiesce to them as being part of the system that we have grown to accept. They’re the things that we let happen to us because of age or sex or economic status, or race or personal beliefs.
The whole economic and cultural underpinnings of our society seem to depend on people doing what’s expected of them. So, from time to time, it’s refreshing to think that we might just not do what’s expected of us or follow the usual path.
Just speaking out about an issue can sometimes give us a sense of independence or even making an unexpected choice to do something that seems out of character can boost our perception of our having control of our lives.
Buddy can be an example for all of us who struggle to find our place in a world that sometimes seems to have been mapped out for us. I wish him well at Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary.