Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Hobbled by Foot and Mouth


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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.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

7 thoughts on “Hobbled by Foot and Mouth

  1. If feel you pain for the possibility of misinterpreting those instructions seam particularly gruesome.
    I too have the same problem with directions, but not usually with those results…

  2. Hi Martin, the slaughter house was somewhere I didn’t want to make a wrong turn. Most of the time my dyslexic ‘left/right confusion’ is just a pain and a nuisance, although sometimes it can lead to unexpected discoveries that are a bonus.

  3. Haha about your experiences with the vegetarian; i used to cook for a whole house of Vegans (these ones were particularily severe… they wouldn’t even eat an egg because it was a ‘chicken period’!) while sneaking out to eat my occassional hamburger or what have you… of course they would have none of that and would set on me when i got home, licking my bloody chops… to which i would reply by opening my mouth and showing them that the good Lord had given me all sorts of teeth, to allow humankind to eat all sorts of food, amen.

  4. Ekkkkkkkkk, I will NEVER look at an egg in the same light again, 😉

  5. I am just sooo squeamish! I eat meat – lots of it, but don’t ask me to see the slaughtering of the animal. I used to love going shooting on a farm, but had to stop, as once I had shot something – usually a rabbit – I felt dreadful! Just sooo manly, eh?

  6. When one of our chickens became ill, I thought it I would have to ‘wring its neck’ because it was unfair to let it suffer, I had never done it before and Mr UHDD was away, not sure if I really knew how to do it I found myself putting ‘kill chicken’ into Goggle!! Any way, by the time I went back out to the hen house, it had died of its own accord 😦 I felt a bit bad about that.

    But not as bad as my friend who worked in a vets, the first time she was given the task of ‘putting down’ an injured feral pigeon that had been brought in, she was so full of adrenaline (because she feared not doing it quickly and without further pain to the animal) that she used such force she pulled its head off……. sorry were you eating your breakfast!!!

  7. Pingback: Flower Fairies and Financial Trolls « Uphilldowndale

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