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Category: Farm Animals

Michigan city council denies 9-year-old boy's request to keep his pet miniature pig

RogerPig Michigan authorities have decided that Roger the miniature pig can't live with a 9-year-old boy with severe pet allergies. The Midland City Council unanimously denied a request to allow the animal to live at a home that Ethan White shares with his parents, Jason and Lisa. Ethan says the pig is his "best friend in animal life."

Ethan is allergic to animals with long hair and fur. Local ordinances do not allow residents to own pigs.

Several residents spoke in support of the family during Monday night's meeting. Many council members acknowledged the family could properly care for the 4-pound animal, but expressed concerns about those seeking future permission.

Lisa told the Midland Daily News that council's vote is "encouraging people to skirt the law."

RELATED PIG STORIES:
'Outgoing Nevada mayor pardons incoming mayor's pet pig
'Pig named Sue shows agility isn't just for dogs

-- Associated Press

Photo: Ethan White feeds cereal to Roger the pig at his home in Midland, Mich., on Sept. 14. Credit: Thomas Simonetti / Associated Press

Swallow, a Dexter cow, named the world's smallest cow

DexterCow

We know you've been waiting on pins and needles to discover the identity of the world's smallest cow. Who hasn't? It's an exciting time for us all. So without further ado, we'll fill you in on the fact that Swallow, an 11-year-old Dexter cow who hails from Yorkshire, England, has taken the title.

Whew. The anticipation was killing us!

The little cow joins other newly named animal record holders such as Pekingese dog Puggy (owner of the world's longest dog tongue), continental giant rabbit Darius (the world's longest rabbit, measuring 4 feet, 3 inches long from nose to tail) and western lowland gorilla Colo (the oldest gorilla in captivity at 53) in the latest edition of the Guinness World Records book.

Swallow measures just 33.5 inches "from rear foot to hind," according to the folks at Guinness. (Why anyone would measure a cow "from rear foot to hind," rather than from its front foot to its shoulder, is a mystery to us, and we invite any cattle-measurement experts out there to weigh in.) That makes her shorter than most sheep and a whole lot shorter than the regular-sized bull beside her in the photo above.

Dexter cattle are known for, and in certain circles popular because of, their small size ("they appeal to the miniature/novelty and rare gene protection enthusiasts" and "are also the perfect old-fashioned family cow," according to the American Dexter Cattle Assn.). But Swallow is tiny even by Dexter standards; a normal female Dexter "should not exceed 42 inches in height nor stand less than 36 inches in height at the shoulder," the American Dexter Cattle Assn. notes.

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Cow down -- pregnant cow is shot at California State Fair

StateFairCow I've never been much of a fan of circuses, because of the exploitive animal acts, or the animal exhibits at state and county fairs. A cow made out of butter is one thing; a cow who's very pregnant and corralled into some display at a fair just so people can exhibit the "miracle of birth" -- that's a no-go.

At the recent California State Fair, people got to witness the "miracle of death." A very pregnant cow understandably panicked in this alarmingly unfamiliar place as she was being herded into a "birthing pen." She broke free, knocked over a police officer and ran through the fairgrounds before it opened. Officials said they tried to tranquilize her and couldn't, so police shot her to death -- four times in the head, three times in the body.

I appreciate the argument that children need to see real animals in real life to understand their life cycles. (It's unfortunately the same argument people use for not spaying and neutering their pets -- which more often than not results in the "surplus" puppies and kittens being dumped at animal shelters, on the taxpayers' dime, and maybe getting adopted or maybe not -- or just being dumped, period.)

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Goats rescued after 2 days on 6-inch Montana ledge

Goats Two young goats wandered onto the thin ledge of a railroad bridge and spent nearly two days high above the ground until rescuers in a towering cherry picker plucked them from their perch, hungry but safe.

The rescue occurred Wednesday 60 feet above a little-trafficked rural roadway in southern Montana between Billings and Roundup, after a caller told the Rimrock Humane Society the goats were stranded on the 6-inch ledge.

The young female animals weighing 25 and 35 pounds mostly stayed on the angled ledge, even though there was a wider surface area on a pillar just a few feet away.

"The whole time, we thought they were going to fall off," said Sandy Church, humane society president. "These guys are just babies."

Church said it wasn't clear how the nimble-footed animals got into the predicament, but she speculated they wandered onto the ledge at night then froze after the sun rose and they discovered where they were.

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Facebook-famous goat captured in Missouri

BillyGoat MEXICO, Mo. — A wandering Missouri goat whose exploits have been chronicled on a popular Facebook page has been captured. KXEO reported that a man named Mervin Beechy noticed the goat Tuesday afternoon while he was driving around the eastern Missouri town of Mexico.

Beechy fetched his trailer and horse and returned to the area. He told KXEO that he had to chase the goat on horseback only for about a quarter-mile before lassoing him.

The goat had been eluding capture since Aug. 21.

Animal control officers had been calling him Billy Goat Gruff.

The Facebook fan page that someone started for the goat has more than 8,000 followers. A post Tuesday afternoon, written from the goat's perspective, says he's been kept out of traffic until he can "bust back out" or "figure out what's next."

RELATED GOAT STORIES:
Goats have returned to Angel's Knoll
Darren the waving goat: Your new YouTube sensation

-- Associated Press

Photo: A screen grab from a video of the Mexico, Mo., goat taken by YouTube user CGRIM5150

Wayward Missouri goat garners a legion of fans

What's not to love about a goat with an attitude?

A resident of the small town of Mexico, Mo., seems to share our affection for the humble farm animals and has started a Facebook fan page for the wandering goat that has mysteriously appeared in the town of about 11,000 people.

The goat has been spotted a number of times around Mexico; he's "visited Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, the hospital, the school and even got picked up by a security cam outside an electronics store," the Hannibal Courier-Post says. So, you know, all the hot spots. Animal control officers are trying to capture him, but so far have had no luck.

The goat, who's been given the nickname Billy Goat Gruff by animal control staffer Joe Horton, already has more than 8,500 Facebook fans. (We'd like to propose a name change, but we're short on ideas. Billy Goat Cyrus? Giles Goat-Boy?)

"I am seeing lots of mums around town," begins one status update on his enjoyably conversational Facebook page. "Some say goats don't like mums, but I think they're great. Sometimes when they're fresh in the ground I like to dig them up!"

Perhaps the oddest part of Billy's story, in our opinion, is that no one in the area has reported a missing goat.

RELATED GOAT STORIES:
Goats have returned to Angel's Knoll
Darren the waving goat: Your new YouTube sensation

-- Lindsay Barnett

Video: CGRIM5150 via YouTube

Stand up and paddle for farm animals next month in Lake Tahoe

Tahoe paddle:web

What does stand-up paddling have to do with farm animals? You'll find out if you load up your board and head up to Lake Tahoe on Sept. 10 to join Kings Beach resident John Merryfield when he paddles around the lake to raise money for Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization.

Merryfield expects to take two days to paddle the 72-mile perimeter of the lake. He did it last year in three days (photo above, Merryfield in center) and raised $3,050 for the organization. He was joined by eight people paddling the first day for 26 miles, with Merryfield and one other person finishing the entire trip.

Farm Sanctuary is active in raising awareness about farm animal cruelty and factory farming, conducts animal rescues and adoptions, and maintains shelters in Orland, Calif., and upstate New York. In a press release about Merryfield's upcoming paddle, Farm Sanctuary President Gene Baur said, "Whether you are an amateur vegan chef or a businessperson, a fashion designer or an outdoors enthusiast, there are many ways you can raise awareness and help create change."

Merryfield will begin the paddle at 8 a.m. Sept. 10 in Kings Beach, across from Tahoe Paddle and Oar. Paddlers are welcome to join him; donations can be made through his website.

RELATED NEWS ABOUT FARM SANCTUARY:
July in animal news: Five questions with Farm Sanctuary president and co-founder Gene Baur
Rescue success story: Angelo, lamb born en route to slaughter, thrives at New York's Farm Sanctuary

-- Julie Sheer

Photo by Michael Fish

Caption this: Goat intruder chases German couple out of their own flat

Goatcaption

Sometimes we see a photo and immediately know it's going to become our desktop wallpaper.

This goat's photo is one of those.

Apparently, he turned up mysteriously in a German couple's flat while it was being renovated.

The couple returned home to check on the place and discovered, much to their surprise, an angry goat that chased them out of what he clearly viewed as his own private bachelor pad.

Police investigated and later said they could neither account for the goat's presence in the apartment or point of origin. No one had reported a missing goat in the area, so a local farmer stepped up and took him home.

Now we know the story -- but we still need a photo caption. (We're sure our clever readers can do better than the U.K.'s Daily Express, which gave their story the unfortunate headline "BILLY GOAT GETS GRUFF.")

RELATED STRANGE PHOTOS:
Caption this: Giant pig descends on Michigan town
World Cup fever hits the animal kingdom: Athletic roosters, lions, elephants and lobsters play soccer

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: European Pressphoto Agency

Bull jumps into grandstands, charging spectators and injuring 40 at Spanish bullring

MADRID — A bull leaped into the packed grandstands of a Spanish bullring and ran amok, charging and trampling spectators and leaving 40 people injured, regional officials said Thursday.

Video showed the bull jumping several yards up and out of the ring, clearing two barriers before landing in the stands and raising a panic as he lurched through the screaming crowd, charging and tossing everything he could.

The 1,100-pound animal was brought under control by experienced bull handlers after several minutes and later killed.

The incident occurred Wednesday at the Tafalla arena in the northern region of Navarra during an event attended by about 3,500 spectators, in which mostly young people try to get a bull to charge at them so they can dodge it. Unlike at standard bullfights, the bulls are not killed in these events.

The bull had already attempted to jump into the stands twice. After damaging a horn, he was about to be returned to the corral and replaced with another bull when he tried a third time and succeeded.

The regional government said in a statement Thursday that three people remained in hospitals in the regional capital of Pamplona, best known for its annual San Fermin running of the bulls festival.

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Spanish party seeks to enshrine bullfighting as part of the country's cultural heritage

Bullfighting

MADRID — Ernest Hemingway was fascinated by bullfighting and artist Goya depicted it in some of his most famous paintings. Now Spain's leading opposition party wants to enshrine it as part of the nation's cultural heritage -- and stop efforts to ban the bloody pastime.

Supporters who say bullfighting is a form of art crucial to Spanish national identity say the move would also overturn the high-profile bullfighting ban enacted last month in the populous northeastern Catalonia region, and strike down a 1991 ban in Spain's Canary Islands.

Other parts of Spain would be prevented from enacting regional bans so Spaniards and tourists would have the freedom of choice to attend bullfights, said lawmaker Juan Manuel Albendea, the spokesman for the long-shot bill being pushed forward by the conservative Popular Party.

"What if, say, Madrid banned the cinema?" Albendea asked. "It would be ridiculous."

The proposal also states that Spain's government must protect bullfighting as culture, though Albandea didn't say how that would happen and the initial proposal doesn't offer details.

However, the Culture Ministry is already responsible for preservation of historic buildings, and for protecting development from encroaching on hiking routes through various parts of Spain that lead to the famed medieval Catholic shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

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