My home here in Scotland is surrounded by sheep and over the past months I have come to see through the Ewes stereotype. I have observed these are far from the stupid and dull animals which most people conveniently wish they were.
Sure sheep are easily scared, yes they do flee as a pack, often for the most irrational of reasons. However from this we should not conclude sheep are dumb animals, this run first, think about it later approach is not stupidity, but probably the best way to stay alive if your fundamentally always defenceless. It’s rather unfair our woolly friends do not possess claws or fangs like other animals and can not (as yet) use semiautomatic weapons.
Sheep do spend a lot of time just staying put eating what they have, but some Ewes also like a challenge and will often scale stone walls just to get into a field with that greener grass. I’m not sure if they have a hierarchy as such, but from time to time they will take part in head-butting competitions which are amazing to watch. While sheep do flock together in the evening for safety, during the day they seem to enjoy being in much smaller units, so they aren’t simply all just a bunch of brainless followers.
Personally I have a lot more time for animals than I do people, I’m often to be seen standing and talking with a sheep if they care to listen, unlike humans they are good listeners and seldom talk over you. I’m pleased to say many of my sheep neighbours no longer run as soon as they see me now. They seem happy enough to just stare at me, as If they are thinking I have no clue what you are, but you seem friendly enough. Our dog Mr W also likes to spend time watching these woolly beasts, but as yet the sheep do not seem to be warming to him quite so much.
Living so close to sheep is both intresting and amusing, but also at times heartbreaking. Never forget nearly all the sheep in the UK are just a few years (if lucky) from being a meat eaters dinner or animal feed. Personally I gave up eating meat over 13 years ago because I was repulsed at the rise of unnatural factory farms, plus I simply think its rude to eat your friends.
While I do not expect people to give up meat as I have, I do wish more would understand where their food comes from. People should support local farmers and boycott supermarkets and restaurants that deal in cheap meat with no care for animal welfare .
I see first hand how hard our local farmers in the borders work, out in all weather giving their animals as natural and as stress free a life as possible. I believe this is to be commended and supported, even if I personally think humans in 2016 should have evolve past this hunger for the flesh.
(Photo above is taken with a Sony camera)