The farming communities daily activities continue to hobbled by the foot and mouth outbreak.
Praise be that the disease is not leaching its way across the country, but never the less it is costing businesses money and angst, people are on stand by, waiting in case it all kicks off, and ‘precautions’ are in place, we called at the agricultural merchants the other day day for hen food, (avatars need feeding!) we drove in and out through a bath disinfected straw and one of our nearby farmers is struggling with a calf, born last weekend it is ‘failing to thrive’ not all cows are ‘good mothers’ and the mother of this calf refuses to let the calf suckle.
In normal circumstance he would get them out of the field, loaded into a trailer and get them back to the farm, (3 miles away) where he can put them in a pen, keep a watchful eye on them. He may need to bottle feed the calf if the cow doesn’t shape up. As it is at the moment, the calf’s condition is going down hill and there is very little other than worry that he can do about it. With them out in the field he has no hope of any intervention. He is not allowed to move them back to the farm because of the restrictions on the transportation of livestock that are still in place
I am puzzled why as a meat eating country girl I find the images of the cattle slaughtered because of the foot and mouth outbreak, being tipped into trucks, so disturbing. Maybe it is to do with the ‘waste.’ I am not squeamish about the slaughter of animals for food, if you want meat, then the dead needs to be done, but I don’t want it to close up and personal. When I had my business one of our best customers was a slaughter house, the office manager ‘minded’ her slaughter-men well, making sure of their domestic welfare by ordering bouquets flowers for their wives, partners and girlfriends on their behalf, for birthdays anniversaries and the odd domestic bust up (and deducting the cost from their pay!)
On one of my ‘get to know your customers better’ forays I called at the slaughter house with a complimentary bunch of flowers for the manager, (Lucy my manager said there was ‘no way’ she was going, because ‘I’m a vegetarian’) tapping at the ‘reception’ window in the yard, I was given directions and told to go up to her office, off I went through the flappy plastic double doors, down tiled corridors past suspended conveyors of hooks, take a left turn then a right then up the stairs, second door on the left. (let me tell you, slaughter houses have a very distinct smell, that of a ‘real butchers shop’ but in perfume form rather than ‘eau de toilet’)
I was terrified I wouldn’t remember the sequence of directions (its a dyslexic difficulty that I have) and that I would take a wrong turn and find my self face to face with a recently slaughtered cow. When I found the office the manager reassured me that ‘the action’ took place at the other end of the complex; the flowers were gratefully received, we had a cup of tea and a chat, as I got up to leave , she asked ‘Now you know the way out, don’t you?’ Carefully I retraced my steps.