Read Bubba’s story today because you can help give him the happy ending he deserves!


A Rescue Mission for Bubba the Ram

It is not often that a farmed animal steps out of the aggregate and becomes an individual to the public. Chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, and the other animals who have been domesticated for human food and other uses almost always exist beyond the awareness of most consumers. All that we generally see are the products made from those many individuals—processed and packaged and renamed as “beef” or “pork” or “cheese” to create an even safer distance from the reality of torture and death behind each one.

Bubba the Ram stepped out of the abstract in August 2013 when he started making appearances in yards and at businesses in Durham, North Carolina. He eluded Durham County sheriff’s deputies for nearly four months, popping up and amusing or spooking residents all the while. He was finally captured on December 10 after damaging windows and doors, apparently because he was head-butting his reflection—as rams are wont to do. He was then taken to a local farm, where he remains today, and was treated for an ingrown horn.


You might think that, as a celebrity, Bubba’s fate would be a happy one—something involving him spending his days grazing on verdant pastures, frolicking with the ewes and baaaa-ing with contentment in the warm sunshine. That is, you might start to see him as an individual, whose spunky personality and knack for thwarting his would-be captors (at least for a few months) make you feel that he deserves a better fate than the billions of other farmed animals who are raised and used and killed each year for human ends.

Instead, Bubba’s fate is not certain. Like all states and the federal government, North Carolina has specific laws for “livestock” that dictate different treatment than is afforded to cats and dogs (i.e., “pets.”). Specifically, chapter 68 of North Carolina state law requires that farmed animals who come into the possession of animal control must be held for a period of thirty days—in case an owner wants to reclaim a lost animal—and then sold at auction after a twenty-day period for public notice.


This means that Bubba cannot be adopted out by the Durham County shelter; he must be sold. Whereas someone who wanted to adopt a cat or dog would usually have to fill out an application and be screened, in Bubba’s case there will be a public auction in which anyone can walk in and, if they put up the most money during the bidding, take him and do as they please—including breed him or eat him.

Unfortunately, Bubba’s adventure has turned into a bit of a spectacle for some people, including local media… and at least one reporter who apparently finds it hilarious that this individual being will be bid on, purchased like an object and, funniest of all, possibly made into mutton burger.

Many of us who care about farmed animals are not laughing. My wife and I, along with a number of collaborators and supporters like Piedmont Farm Animal Refuge, want Bubba’s epic saga to have a truly happy ending. To make this happen, we have been raising funds so that we can rescue him from the auction. In addition, Red Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network has offered to take Bubba and ensure that he goes to a good, caring forever home—possibly with the aforementioned green pastures and happy ewes. Baaaa indeed.

Our fundraising campaign on will end on Wednesday, January 29, just two days before the auction at a goat farm. We are trying to raise $750, which will be used for bidding at the auction; we hope to raise even more than that, since we have no idea how many people will show up or how high they will bid to get Bubba. However much we raise, if we are able to rescue Bubba any remaining funds after the auction will go towards his vet care (including getting him neutered), food, and other expenses.


Although spunky and a master of public relations, Bubba is as much an individual as any farmed animal, regardless of his or her species. We humans know that the animals used for food, clothing, medical testing, or other purposes have rich social, intellectual, and emotional lives. We can and must respect them accordingly, first and foremost by going vegan and ending our personal role in their suffering.

But humans can also do more, in myriad ways. We on the Bubba rescue team are eager to help individual farmed animals like Bubba get out of the farming system and into caring homes, both by rescuing individuals when we can and (we hope) by changing the laws that require auctioning of livestock by animal-control facilities.

We could use your help. Please support Bubba’s rescue on so we can make a difference for this amazing fellow


Video of Bubba after capture: (credit: Durham County Sheriff’s Office)

Photo of Bubba: (credit: Durham County Sheriff’s Office)


Justin, an ethical vegan since 1999, is a writer, educator, and activist. He has a PhD in English, and has done everything from start a vegan baking business (with his wife, Rosemary) to organize a big vegan community event (Vegan Night Out), to giving guided vegan shopping tours and talks on the environmental benefits of a vegan lifestyle. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife and a big family of rescued furry kids.