South St Stockyards: Silence of the Cows

US - In a place that no longer belongs where it has always been, there rises from wood-slat pens the farewell lows and bellows of cold, wet cows. So long, so long, they call out to the oblivious human bustle. The stockyards of South St. Paul say goodbye.
calendar icon 17 April 2008
clock icon 1 minute read
The cattle adieu has been years in the planning, but now it is time. No longer can the end be forestalled by milk-and-meat memories of 122 years; by the boast that these trampled grounds once constituted the largest stockyards in the world; by the vital daily ritual of muck-flecked yardmen coaxing muck-flecked cows into the sales barn, where the auctioneer’s sweet serenade only hardens those bovine expressions of uh-oh.

Times have overtaken the stockyards, for reasons too obvious to dispute. Higher costs. Farms lost to suburban sprawl. The increasingly awkward presence of livestock in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, accustomed now to more sophisticated aromas than what wafts from the pens.

Punctuation to this reality came in January, when yet another animal escaped from the stockyards. A bull weighing nearly a ton apparently did not like what it had been sold for and wound up for a while on Interstate 494 during the morning rush hour. A police officer’s shotgun blast soon freed the animal from worrying about the evening commute.

Source: The New York Times
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