Last year I saved Beamer, one of my best friends from death.
Beamer is a sheep.
After a period of severe depression last year, I moved from New York City to work and live on a therapeutic working ranch community in Vermont. I needed to be around people and have a meaningful schedule, every day. While I worked on many jobs with people around the ranch the being that opened my heart the most was Beamer
I went to the pasture and hung out with the little bottle baby. He loved being around people. Due to a traumatic birth Beamer had big, bulging eyes and was knock-kneed. But he was a lovable goof. He and I would cuddle together in the field, basking in the sunshine. I was in heaven. This was the best therapy. One day he put his head down and started backing up like he was going to charge me. I yelled, “Beamer!” and he stopped.
All was well for a while, but then he did it again and this time he rammed me, full force, right in the knees. I had to kick him away. Then I ran away, over the fence.
Beamer had a botched castration and his hormones had taken over. He began to ram everyone and chase the lady sheep. I wanted to be exempt from his aggression since we’d spent the summer and fall bonding, but he rammed me just like everyone else. I felt sad that my sweet little sheep wasn’t my friend any more.
The night before the ranch was going to “send him to auction” which meant slaughter, I found out and was heartbroken and responded.
I’ve heard many accounts that Beamer will be sent to auction soon … maybe even tomorrow. I find this upsetting on many levels.
I know your point of view is that an animal on a farm must be productive. So, with this mindset, Beamer has no place here. I disagree with that. I know spending time with him has calmed and cheered me in a way that was not possible from other people. That has great value.
I also believe that a strictly utilitarian philosophy for the farm and the animals here is not in line with the greater mission of the Ranch– which is to help people heal and recover through working together. The farm should support that mission, not that of a commercial farm, and shipping Beamer off to slaughter without having a discussion will cause distress. I know he has been ramming people, and I understand that is definitely a problem. But I don’t think this issue is being dealt in a creative, respectful or open manner.
I know I am not alone with this. I just haven’t had time to organize peoples’ voices and since I heard, late tonight, that Beamer will go to auction tomorrow I would not be at peace with myself if I didn’t speak up right now.
I ask you not to send Beamer to auction tomorrow and open up a dialogue.
My letter worked. Beamer was given a new home, complete with his own harem of lady sheep.
ABOUT STACY HARSHMAN:
Stacy Harshman recently relocated from NYC to Vermont where she currently works on a therapeutic farm. After a Midwestern childhood in a family of designers, antique dealers, and equestrians, Stacy traveled extensively before finding a home in New York City, which she still maintains.
Always driven toward creative expression, Stacy writes fiction, memoir and essays, and has written and recorded five albums of original music.
Her passion for color and pattern led to the launch of Andarina Designs, a custom lighting design company. Stacy is inspired by women all over the world, working in community partnerships to produce beautiful and sustainable work. Currently, her favored form of expression is mixed media painting-collages. She devotes her time to animals and to the healing arts.