Trying to express the inexpressible

Three days ago a slaughterman came to my farm to shoot Ernie, our stock bull, and three other cattle that had tested positive for bovine TB.

They had to be killed on farm because they’d been given worming medication which meant they couldn’t be taken to a slaughterhouse. I invited the NFU to come down and film what was one of the most distressing experiences of my farming life.

That night I started trying to put my thoughts into words for a blog post. This is as far as I got.

I woke up with a feeling of dread in my stomach again….

I don’t have facilities for slaughtering my own animals on the farm so an unbearable time was spent waiting for the first – a beautiful young heifer – to get into the correct position.

I can’t watch….the BANG, when it finally comes, is piercing and final. The other cows know exactly what has happened and what is about to happen.

What follows next is the undignified winching of the carcass up the ramp of the trailer leaving a trail of blood and shit in its wake.

Next is Hugo. With her huge doe-like eyes she looks at me and knows. The cow with the baby calf is becoming fractious and aggressive. She can smell blood and cordite. As she is becoming so wild, she is shot with a single bullet from a rifle. A perfect shot finally breaking the tension.

I feel sick to the bottom of my stomach and I can hardly make my legs take me to Ernie. The gentle giant. Loved by all. He trusts me and I know I am about to betray that trust. I put his barley down for his usual feed. But this is not usual. The marksman steps up and the bang echoes out. The finality is over-bearing. I have to leave.

Ernie the Bull with Tess , our daughters horse

Ernie the Bull with Tess , my daughter’s horse

The only consolation (as we always have to find a positive?) is the instant finality of it all. My animals are always well cared for and a quick and respectful death is what I ask for.

 

I am comforted by numerous messages from friends who loved Ernie. One dear friend even bought us an apple tree to plant in his memory. And my daughter sent a picture of Ernie and Tess, her horse, sharing some hay a couple of winters ago.

Looking back at what I wrote a couple of days earlier, I realise it’s a disjointed stream of thoughts and emotions. I find it difficult to read over again as I was in this position two years ago and, at that time, there was a solution on the horizon.

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304 thoughts on “Trying to express the inexpressible

    • My heart goes out to you and it is lovely but so sad to hear that farmers to love their animales. I have just this last year had to have my very much loved and not yet old pony put down due to sickness and it has broken my heart, but at least it was done with as much kindness and he had no idea to what was going tp happen, a needle as he was looking at my daughters foal. Feel for you ,he was a lovely bull and to loose the cows and calf in this way.. I feel something in my eye and thank you for showing us that farmers have soft hearts as well x

    • I find it hard to understand how/why he is so sad about this.
      1. This cow is a beef cow so would have been killed in a similar manner to be eaten.
      2. He is getting compensation for the cow.
      Is he sad because it’s food going to waste? Would he be as sad if the cow went to the slaughterhouse and was killed for food?
      I have another question why can’t this cow still be eaten? It had bovine TB which is not infectious to humans and.it’s an infection of the lung so all the meat should be ok so long as the lungs are disposed of so it still could be eaten.
      Maybe he just feels he needs some sympathy from the public and is putting on this show?

      • curt mellows
        Is an insult the only way you can respond to my legitimate questions? Your response says more about you than anything else, you obviously have some issues.

      • It defies the point of raising livestock to have them shot because of a curable disease, yes they are compensated but again what is the point if the new cow is they admitted to the same fate? Im rather upset that you cannot see the pain of the farmer in the video, dare i say your a bit heartless? Please think before you reply next time.

      • JonathanR,

        You are mistaken like so many anti farmer comments are.
        1. The bull was a breeding bull that had become part of the family over 9 years. Purchased in as a two year old which is normal and he didn’t bring the TB with him as he would have gone down with it years ago.
        2. A cow is NOT kept for beef any more than a milk cow is. One would normally refer to them as “beef heifers” or “beef steers”. It says, quote: “The cow with the baby calf is becoming fractious…..” which clearly implies that she is being kept for breeding and would be expected to be on the farm for several years breeding and raising a calf. She also becomes part of the family with a name. Beef animals don’t normally have names.
        3. The answer to the question in the last paragraph was give in the 2nd paragraph of Mr. Martin’s blog. “They had to be killed on farm because they’d been given worming medication……” As with all anthelmintics there are strict withdrawal periods before the meat is acceptable for human consumption. It depends on the product used as to how many days must elapse before the animal is fit for human consumption. No one would want to eat meat that contained anthelmintics – unless they had worms!!

        I hope this answers your questions?

      • Sorry Jonathan R.
        You are showing your ignorance about bTB. It used to be a serious disease in humans until milk began to be pasteurised and then a bTB test for cattle was produced.
        See
        “By the end of the 1960’s TB in cattle had almost disappeared”

        The symptoms in humans is very similar to the Pulmonary TB too!

        See :-

        What are the symptoms of bovine tuberculosis in people?

        The symptoms generally relate to the transmission method and are similar to the tuberculosis of people. The symptoms related to TB include:

        cough
        fever
        night sweats
        fatigue
        weight loss, without dieting

      • Get informed. The cow can be eaten if it has fewer than four or six lesions in the lungs. TB-infected cows which are slaughtered are routinely entered into the food chain if the infection isn’t severe. As to your question about compensation: the farmer’s beloved bull, if he had few lesions would be compensated for at the basic market price for beef – not the value-added price, taking into account pedigree and virility. Of course farm animals serve their purpose: to provide income and feed the population, so that people do not starve. That is not to say that they aren’t loved for their roles and treated like members of the farming family for their contribution. In fact to do otherwise would be inhumane, as you would seem to want to do if you were a farmer.

      • If you had read the piece by the farmer properly you would know why they had to be shot and not eaten – return to the article and read it.

      • For JonathanR
        Beef cows are generally kept for many years to produce the beef for eating, and will only be sent for slaughter when no longer able to produce calves. The farmer will be upset with the fact that the cow has had to be killed many years ahead of it’s time. It is seen as a waste of an animal. Living on the farm the animal will be integrated into the farm, have a name (and personality) and can become close with the owners.

        Beef bulls are generally gentle giants, and can become part of the family quite easily with characteristics and personalities like pets. You can see from the pictures that Ernie the bull used to run with the horses, and in this type of farming was not only a productive part of the farm, by producing the beef offspring, but was also integrated into the family.

        Maybe you can understand the trauma associated with shooting a perfectly healthy pet? Or maybe you cannot?

        These animals could not be eaten because of the worming medication they had received, nothing to do with the bTB

      • The compensation wont begin to cover the true value of a bull. He will probably get 20-25% of the beast’s true value. It can not go into the food chain as it has been wormed recently, hence the fact that it has been killed on the farm rather than the slaughter house. Anybody who breeds and rears stock cant help to become fond of the bull and cow that is on the farm a long time and works hard for their keep. A gentle bull in particular, becomes part of the ‘family’. However, what is most depressing is the needless waste of a useful ‘friend’. We need to get this thing under control because livelihoods and sanity depend on it and a healthy badger population is important for the countryside generally. The greater good sometimes requires harsh measures and this is one of those occasions.

      • Your an ignorant fool, if that’s what you “think” Although I imagine the real power to think bypasses people like you. Happy in your ignorance and self belief.

      • My heart goes out to David Barton.As we were wiped out of foot and month in 2000.Its hard to see all of your animals which are apart of your live you have raised them and you know all of them 1 by 1.As Jonathon R says killing our animals and blaming the farmer its not true.Each animal is apart of our lives.Us farmers give our animals a good lives with plenty of food and space to live.We give them care and our attention.What people in the city and the town don’t see is that badgers are cruel animals picking on new born lambs,calves, and other small animals.They are not cute they carry dieases and they prey and the weak.

      • Could not got to slaughter house because it had been wormed did you read it before you commented errrr no p

      • he is sad because this heifer would have entered the herd as a breeding cow to leave for years to come. secondly, he is sad because a cow killed in a slaughterhouse is (9 times out of 10) slaughtered humanely, being stunned first. finally, he is sad because he is yet another victim of this horrific disease that is ruining the british beef and dairy industries. you try living with that.

      • You clearly are very un-educated! The farmer will be compensated yes but only a small fraction of what the Bull is worth as a stock bull and even as meat. He is upset because he cares for the animals day in day out he knows each animal indervidualy and his beef cattle are clearly his life and soul. yes he is running a beef business but it is his life his livelyhood and passion that is ruined when the cows react and have to be shot. He has selectivly bred and grown his herd i suspect and has put an aweful lot of time and effort into producing beef cattle. How would you like a close pet/family/work college to be shot in your garden whilst you watch? These animals become part of your life they are not just a job! I sujest you keep youre vile comments to yourself and get back to town life you total plank!

      • If the situation does not affect them personally the majority do not care nor see the other side. I am a young farmer and the amount of livestock we have lost to tb is unreal, livestock are generally kept for years and become part of a farmers family, watching cows be culled due to tb when it could be prevented is heartbreaking and i was unable to watch as ours were taken away recently. A lot of people argue between culling the badgers causing the tb and cows dieing because of it. But the interesting thing is, how exactly are badgers useful to this country? Or any country? Theyre not. Cows are. Providing thousands with food and milk. Yet people are willing to save badgers as against thousands of cows. And this is why the world is in such an awful state as it currently is, because we are surrounded by narrow minded idiots.

      • Charlotte,
        You are rude. I don’t know a lot about farming but I am certainly not uneducated in fact I am probably a lot more educated than you are. These are farm animals, not pets, they are bread to make money not give the farmer some sort of pet loving gratification. Cows are made pregnant as soon as their milk reduction slows so they keep producing milk, and beef cows are sent to slaughter at two years old for meat. This is what you have to do if you farm cows. How someone can send one cow to slaughter but feel great sadness when another cow he owns is slaughtered in the same manner is something that is difficult to understand. To then go totally public saying how sad he is about it and the grief he feels somehow seems very calculated way of getting sympathy.

      • Jonathan,
        One thing is clear from your message; you are not at all educated in any aspects of agriculture. Beef cows on my farm, I would expect them to be here for 12 to 15 yrs. My oldest cow is 16 yrs. she calved twins this spring. Cows are breeding animals they are not slaughtered at 2 yrs. old as you said. Steers and heifers not intended for breeding are finished for beef at around 2 yrs. old.
        To suggest I don’t have any emotional connection with these animals I see and look after every day for many years is quite frankly absurd. I am certainly not looking for sympathy but a solution to bTB and there is one and it now looks at last as if we may get one at last

      • David,
        I’m not sure a cull of badgers is a way to see an end to bTB neither are all the expert scientists. We know less about what will work than these scientists, the relationship between badgers and bTB is complex, some of the pilot culls have shown positive results, some negative. Cows do not originate from this country or even a land with similar cold damp winters that we get in the UK, they evolved in much warmer climate, the first origins of modern cattle have been found in the Iran and they aren’t built to cope with the UK climate.

      • JonathanR
        Unlike you Jonathan I am sure that culling badgers as part of the 25 year strategy to get the UK #tbfree will work. Gloucester and Somerset pilots to date have only shown positive results, that is that they are reducing bTB in cattle that is what they are supposed to do and are doing.
        Oh dear you have really let yourself down with cattle not being suited to UK conditions, utter utter rubbish your knowledge of agriculture is very thin indeed. My breeding cattle are mainly South Devon with some North Devon and Sussex crossed with a hard robust French breed Salers, they make ideally suited cattle for not only the UK but the Cotswold hill farm I have. I am very fortunate like my fellow farmers in the UK to have so many native breeds to choose from in my breeding program. These breeds go back century’s and are the envy of the world , and British breeds are used extensively around the world Herford Angus Shorthorn etc etc .
        The cattle badger debate has polarised views , it’s not about cattle or badgers it’s about getting rid of tb from our countryside , the new government has been elected with a manifesto pledge to sort bTB out which includes culling badgers where it is necessary, we must now all except that and get on with making the UK #tbfree.

      • Cows may have been in this country for centuries but that is a blink compared for the amount of time it takes for animals to evolve. I’m not arguing for or against badger culling, I haven’t studied all the results from the trials but I have read that the success of the pilot trials has varied from positive to negative results. There are a lot of people who, like you, are sure that the cure for bTB is badger culling, but I’ve met similar people who can predict a horse race with “certainty”, and I know from experience there is a probability that you are right and one minus that that you are wrong. I feel a bit sorry for the badgers that are shot and their families but I also like to eat beef. I find it difficult to understand how a livestock animal bred for profit can induce so much sorrow when it’s killed but another almost identical animals that you have reared are readily sent to the slaughter house at two years old with no sorrow.

      • JonathanR I can assure you that native British cattle breeds are extremely well suited to the UK and have evolved very nicely.
        I have never said culling badgers is a cure for bTB; it is a very important part of the measures to control btb and eradicate it. This peticular race has been run before, that’s how we were virtually #tbfree in the mid-1980s.
        You feel sorry for the badgers and their families, so do I, to die from tb would be horrendous, I also feel sorry for the 30000 cattle a year killed for tb control.
        To understand how a farmer or stockman gets emotionally attached to his or her animals, you may need to visit a farm then I’m sure you would understand. You’re welcome to visit any time.

      • Bovine tb can be spread to humans usually through untreated milk and in the past it has killed thousands of people. Even though a cow may not be used for milk production it’s about preventing the spread of infection to the cows that are used for it.

        The farmer seemed most upset about his bull. Bulls are kept for years so is it so hard to believe he hasn’t got an emotional attachment to something he describes as a gentle giant? They cared enough to take a photo of it grazing with their horse.

      • N Bryant,
        My name is not Pratt or was it a spelling mistake of a 4-letter word? You were trying to be clever using a really polite word “sir” directly next to the very impolite word “prat”. Making yourself look polite and also calling me stupid. Well it didn’t work because now I look clever and you look stupid.

      • N Bryant, I can see I’m not going to change you view I’m a prat and I don’t mind what you think. But why do you insist on misspelling pratt [sic]? Why don’t you just change the spelling when you find out you are incorrect or are you just stuck in your ways?

      • Well it didn’t work, I’m not offended, I don’t mind what you think.
        Your comments say more about you than anything about me.

      • After the comment you made I didn’t expect calling you a pratt with two Ts would upset you, I think we’ve prolonged this long enough, the important thing is that he has lost good cattle to BTB

      • Beef cows are not eaten, it is their offspring which are. The cows and the bull are breeding stock which otherwise would have lead productive lives with the farmer for many years to come.
        The compensation is a standard value, which in many cases falls far short of the animals true worth.
        These animals cannot enter the food chain because as he explained they have been given medication to prevent worms, which has a withdrawal period, hence why they had to be shot at home.
        The TB tests are fairly inaccurate and in many cases animals that have been killed have a postmortem which shows they did not have TB after all.
        He is sad because these are animals he devotes his life to taking care of and this seems like a pointless death of a good breeding animal, which is a very different scenario to an animal which has been reared for food reaching its end in a planned manner and as you saying being used for food rather than just disposed of. I don’t know this man but it does not sound like he is looking for sympathy rather trying to give people an insight into the terrible situation that farmers in TB areas are facing.

      • JonathanR,
        1. Yes it is a beef bull, but a stud bull. These will be on the farm for many years.
        2. Stud bulls like this can be worth far more than the compensation (if any compensation is forthcoming).
        Also the meat from this bull can’t be eaten because it had been treated for worms recently and there is a strong possibility that worm eggs are still present that can be transfered to humans.

      • I think its alot different having your animals killed on your farm where u can hear everthing.where as if it is sent away to slaughter house its not in his face to distress his other animals .also the bull he could of have for years there serving his hefas some farmers do have a heart and a bond.

      • Your ignorance staggers me!
        If TB was passed between badgers and dogs and a slaughter man shot ur poodle in front of you how would you feel.
        People don’t seem to understand that farmers don’t farm for money, we love and care for our animals to a higher standard than most pet owners! And yet we are portrait as cold calculated business people.
        So before you rush in and judge this guy for being distraught maybe you should spend some time on a farm and see what effect this disease has.

      • He probably feels sad because hes not an emotionless psychopath like you mate.

        Granted the meat could still be eaten but don’t just assume every farmed animal is just a material object for all farmers. have some sympathy and remember that people share connections with animals.

      • because as said already the bulls/cattle had just been wormed hence it couldnt be slaughtered in a slaughter house, read it all before you start spouting…

      • The fact you cannot see that the farmer cares deeply for his animals shows how ignorant of their ways you truly are.

      • Because as it says they had worming treatment Jonathan . You are a heartless person to make this comment and obviously dont understand a word written or the feelings of losing animals that you have bred to build your herd over many years. As it says.. Ernie was a ‘Stock Bull’ so was not going in the food chain.. he was the head of the herd and was plainly loved. I dont know you David but Im sorry this has happened to you and yous animals.

      • I believe that your opinion is invalid in this situation.

        Give the man some respect. he has just lost something dear to him.

        Also Bovine Tb, is infectious to humans. Something needs to be done.

      • If you had read from the top Jonathan, you would have seen the cows could not go into the food chain:
        “They had to be killed on farm because they’d been given worming medication which meant they couldn’t be taken to a slaughterhouse”.

        If the animals cannot go to a slaughterhouse, he would not have received any compensation! It costs a fortune to rear beef and to end up like this would be far more than “sad”.

        Had they not received wormer medication, they would have gone to a slaughterhouse. Even then the meat would have been inspected for visible lesions which don’t just occur in the lungs. If visible lesions are found, the who carcass is incinerated.

        In Germany, there is not normally ANY TB testing. They are TB free and rely on slaughterhouses checking for visible lesions. Germany achieve and maintain their TB free status by culling between 85,000 and 100,000 healthy badgers every year. This maintains a smaller but heathy badger population.

        Interesting that badgers are protected throughout the EU where there are rules on control & culling. So we have the same rules as the rest of the EU but for some strange reason badgers here in the UK seem to have been given a licence to spread bTB and an elevated status on a par with human beings where it is unethical to euthanise to control a notifiable disease.

    • New Zealand farmers’ hearts go out to you David. We now have a strategy in place to eradicate the disease from our main vector, possums. But farmers here have felt the emotional and financial stress of having a TB infected herd.

      • Hi. If the farmers in new Zealand have managed to put a strategy in place to eradicate this awful disease can we not consult with them and use the same methods in this country surely if it works for them it is worth a try

      • Sarah Steward. DEFRA are trying to follow the NZ model which is getting farmers to fund and set up companies to organise and manage culling the wildlife vector which is the badger (a protected species in the EU). Culling for disease control purposes is allowed under license from Natural England. Two pilot culls met with opposition from animal rights and vegan activists so the Government has pulled back from rolling it out to more hotspot areas this year. This is why Mr Martin has decided to abandon farming cattle.

      • According to David Prosser MP, of the 124,213 possums post-mortemed only 54 were found to have TB. Even if they were a carrier they could hardly be classed as ‘our main vector’. It’s a bit like the mis-information concerning the incidence rate in badgers. Such a pity that so much time and money is being wasted when it could be used to implement better testing regimes (a quarter of new cases are only discovered at the slaughterhouse leaving undetected cattle free to infect others) and rigorous movement checks. Farmers, particularly dairy, deserve our support and I feel the government is letting them down badly.

    • It is such a shame that a valuable animal must be waste for the loveof a badger, an animal of no commercial value at all. Give farmers the right to cull on their land. It used to be the way, farmers controlled numbers of badgers, they did not eradicate them. Badger populations are making the badgers themselfs weak and prone to disease. Farmers are best qualified to look after the countryside, it’s what they do. Let them do their job. Taxpayers may like to look at badgers in the woods but its all taxpayers money that pays compensation. Cull the badgers and cut taxes, win win in my book

  1. I am an animal lover, not a keeper of cattle but badger culling should be expanded until it can be reasonable proved or disproved badger are spreading this awful disease. How many badger supporters would continue to be so if this affected their household pets – their dogs and cats?? not many I suspect. think of our farmers and their families.

    • You dont befriend your pets so as to slit their throats and eat them. Why would you advocate a continuation of the cull just to see if its effective? What if the cull proves to be ineffective? What about the badgers? As an “animal lover” you say you advocate killing animals who may or may not pose a threat to the health of animals whom we only intend to kill later anyway. If this is “love” how would you treat something you hate?

      • You do euthanize or shoot pets that are terminally ill. To allow them to suffer would land you in court with the RSPCA

      • The answer to your question is that we all end up “culling” our pets if they are terminally ill. It is the humane thing to do.

        The fact that the RBCT was vastly interfered with (over 8,000 traps destroyed, stolen or moved with live badgers inside them) is the very reason we are culling again. Even the so called perturbation effect is thought to have occurred because diseased badgers were released outside the cull zone.

        And “what about the badgers”? The humane thing to do is to cull those with TB before they suffer a long and miserable death. It will also protect other badgers from contracting the disease.

        By they way, I am a different David. I’m not David Barton who I have the utmost sympathy for.

    • I see your point but surely declaring the badgers guilty without conclusive evidence is rather backwards. I of course know very little about this subject but from what I can gather there is very little evidence for badgers being the main cause of bTB it seems to be a ham handed witch hunt. You claim to be an animal lover but condone an inconclusive cull of badgers. I wonder how many cull supporters would continue to be so if it was their household pets who where to be culled?

      • I think there is a lot of evidence to show badgers do carry and spread b tb, if an effective vaccine was available or any other method then of course i would favour this… . i said if culling will sort out this mess then it would be worth it, also, pse take into account the suffering caused to badgers themselves who die horrible deaths by b tb.

      • Kevin, They got is from cattle but 43 years ago TB was found to have crossed over to the badger population – right at the time we had spent 26 years eradicating it from cattle. Opposition to culling badgers has allowed it to spread out from Gloucestershire where it was first found. It is now endemic in the west from Manchester down to Southampton and everywhere west of that line. .

      • because they have unfortunately picked up TB from the infected cows and they then pass the disease on to healthy cows on other farms.

      • Interesting theory Eryl, as a vet you should know this is a very complex disease, my herd was a closed herd, so it can’t have come from cattle to cattle transmission originally, we do know from DEFRA trials here up to 54% of the heavy badger population carry bTB this cannot be ignored .Badgers do carry bTB and they do excrete the bacterium .We will never control bTB with vaccination alone as it can’t help an already infected badger.

  2. Truly sickening, David. This issue needs to addressed with a radical change of policy. How can Farmers like you be expected to continue in an Industry that is attacked from so many angles with minimal support from the Gov’t?

    It seems that non country folk don’t understand the impact that a positive TB test has on the Farmers livelihood and beyond!! If we want to retain an effective farming industry in this country (and we MUST), we need to take whatever measures are required to protect it. I don’t like needless slaughter of any animal, and it is clear to see your true compassion for your beasts as pretty much all Farmers do. It’s time to see the bigger picture . Wild animals, whatever they may be, need to be kept in balance. Badgers are now out of balance and are overrunning certain rural areas and have to be controlled. However, in my view, I still consider immunisation of cattle as being a positive option, but Euro legislation will need to be changed accordingly. Good luck for the future.

  3. This makes me beyond angry. I am so sorry Mr Barton. It is very simple – we have to make change in this country to stop the madness of Government and have no say in how we take care of our stock. If immunisation were affected in to our flocksand herds then this was completely avoidable.

  4. David.

    I myself am from an arable beef family and can only imagine your heartbreak at seeing your heard taken away in such manner… This has to stop.

    Gavin laird

  5. My Heart goes out to you, I am a lover of all Animals and I too would feel your pain, you had to make the right choice and in a way although harder for you, your animals were cared for untill the very moment of passing, you are a good man. Look to the Future now.

  6. How strong you are for sharing this story ….. People in towns / who support badgers don’t realise how it affects farmers lives .
    Our last test we went clear after nearly 3 years and having to load our pedigree bull onto a wagon was heartbreaking enough & some of our best cattle ….. All of course negative results .

    Just hope our next test in September is the same ….. People need to see this maybe watch the poor cattle go through this even more maybe then they might see a different side.

  7. Such a sad sad thing but you have an eloquent way of expressing your thoughts, I am sorry to hear of your loss

  8. David, im so sorry for you tragic loss of such fine animals. My thoughts are with you and you family at this time. My partner has recently purchased some calves and they are due to be TB tested immenently then it’s just a waiting game as you know.
    You have clearly looked after and loved your animals and it really was heart wrenching watching you say goodbye to Ernie. – Kerry

  9. I am sorry you have had such an awful time and your suffering is so hard for you to bear. Your animals, the care they receive and they way they were treated at the end is testament to who you are. I hope the message gets across before it is too late.

  10. My thoughts would be the same David,just remember your animals had a perfect life and an ending which was swift and did not endure suffering. Although this does not make these situations easier,it does help with the feeling of grief. You are a human being with empathy,and a conscious so feelings will be stronger with you. I hope you continue to be the best you can to your animals as they are lucky to have you as their owner.

  11. well Al, my point is – this controversy is going to go on forever, if the cull is proved to be ineffective, then sadly there will have been beautiful animals killed needlessly which is very regrettable. if it proves to be effective and the spread of tb is prevented then the death of these animals would have saved much suffering for many farmers and their stock.and I think that your justification that hey were going to be killed anyway is pathetic. visit a farming family who have to have cattle destroyed and explain it to them.
    Also the badger now has no predator – their numbers will keep growing, their numbers need to be controlled in as much of a humane way as is possible. no one with any sense wishes to see them killed needlessly. I totally agree with your final comment

    • They are going to be killed later anyway, pathetic or not. It may sound hurtfull, and i know many farmers cant help but be close to and care for their animals, because, like pets, we feel animals are persons if not people. Its pathetic we still treat animals this way. For meat milk & leather. We are appalled when we hear of people treated like animals, why do we treat animals that way then. More protein can be secured from other sources nowdays. There are substitutes for milk and leather. Its down to an issue of taste and money.
      Farms dont sound like viable business anyway. Half of farmers incomes come from the government in the form of subsidies, single farm payment, or various schemes aimed at improving wildlife habitat.
      The farmer has been fighting wildlife for ever, and if you realize that the badger is now among the biggest omnivorous mammals left on this island it tells you that that people wont stop until they are totally gone. Wolf, bear, beaver, lynx, boar, all extinct due to farmers. You said that badgers have no natural predator. !! Thats because we’ve killed them. Deer, foxes, moles, crows, previously many birds of prey etc killed in the ongoing war against nature. Let alone the fertilizers & pesticides and other agri chemicals and modern farming methods that have contributed to further loss of species of plant, mammals, insect, bird & fish.
      The ‘Custodians of the Countryside’ now tell us the badger is enemy No’1 because they are interfering with profits.
      I have not spoken to a family who has lost their cattle due to TB. Given that a vaccine (BCG) is in existence, I do sympathize with them. Only it is not available, not out of concern for the welfare of the cows but ultimately economic interests. DEFRA allows the sale of infected meat, but supermarkets wont buy it. That may well be an over simplification, but, so far as i know, it isnt incorrect.
      And if it should matter to you – I was raised on my parents farm and continue to help them when the need, mostly shearing and hay time. They sold their cattle a few years ago, never had a reactor, and have healthy badgers, apparently. I think there is an alternative to just killing everything that threatens our economics. Killing is a nasty business, believe me when i say killing an animal close up ( not down the sights of a gun) feels murderous. I suppose iv’e said enough now. I havent yet been able to change anyones mind on this. But i feel that what i said is correct. If it isnt then tell me and show me how im wrong.
      Sincerly, Al

      • The reason there are subsidies Alun is so people like you can afford to buy food to eat. They are there to keep the price of food low , but still pay farmers to produce it at a small profit. If you want to get rid of these subsidies then be prepared to pay alot more for your food.

      • Mark Hammond
        You have a very distorted view of the reasons for subsidies. If it were just to allow people like Alun to afford food then why would farmers campaign so much for them? Is it their charitable spirit? The truth is they are mainly a result of campaigning by farmers unions for the subsidies. They also reduce cheaper imports coming in from other countries. Anyway we pay for the subsidies with out taxes so presumably we would be paying more for food but less in taxes so the equation should balance.

      • The meat is not infected. Most reactors are merely carrying antibodies against the disease so the meat is as safe as it would be if the animal had been vaccinated. This is one of the reasons it is so hard for farmers to be told their slaughtered cattle had no signs of TB. Any cattle found to have visible lesions when inspected after slaughter are consigned to the incinerator.

        Killing animals might seem “murderous” to you and those that have become detached from where meat comes from but it is not a term that I would use as it applies to one human killing another. Even a soldier shooting a Taliban insurgent would not consider he had committed murder, neither would 99% of the people in the Western World. It is the soldiers’ business to kill as it is a slaughterman’s business to kill animals. It does not bother them at all.

        As I have just picked up a Belgian Blue steer I had killed for the freezer 🙂 !

      • “They are going to be killed later anyway” … That is like saying ‘you are going to die anyway , may aswell do it now’. You obviously don’t understand the grief a farmer or anyone for that matter goes through when having to say goodbye to livestock that you care for and work with day in , day out; beef cow or not! If it were your pet dog or cat that had been part of your family for nine years you would probably have a very different opinion! And especially as it has already been stated that both the bull, Ernie, and the cow in calf were used for breeding and not meat. Badgers, like rats, are vermin. Fair enough not every farm will be affected. But perhaps limit the cull to areas that are? I can guarantee that one case will lead to more as it is an infectious disease and will continue to be spread if the problem is not solved.

      • OK Al, just wake up. The main protein alternative currently on the vegan market is soya, which just happens to be one of the biggest polluters and GM products in the world and thankfully has finally been recognised by the health market as not such a “healthy” product for humans anyway. Go back to Beatrix Potter land. Small cattle producers do care about their livestock, badgers proliferate and spread the disease like no other animal because of their veracity and, in their protected species wake, kill countless hedgehogs, ground-nesting bird species and give TB to domestic pets, as we have now seen with the arrival of cats and dogs going down. Does that make a difference to you or do all animals reside within your misanthropic world of hate except Bill Oddie, a Chris Packham and Brick the Badger?

      • David, re: “As I have just picked up a Belgian Blue steer I had killed for the freezer 🙂 !”
        So does that mean you can have a cow killed for having bTB, get the compensation for cow, and then put the cow in your freezer to eat? Sounds like your both having your cake and eating it.

      • JonathanR. No it does not mean you can have a TB reactor back to put in your freezer. As soon as they react, they become the property of DEFRA

  12. Absolutely gutting David. Alun Davies, shut up. You are right, we do think you’re talking complete s***e.
    I stipulate that this is ruining livelihoods and leaving disaster in its wake, for many farming families around and about. It’s impact is devastating, not only financially but emotionally too. Yet you still have the do gooders with their do gooding ways. ‘Kill the cull’ no kill the arrogance

    • Look Rose, I’d appreciate if you could also tell me what you disagree with and why, not just that you disagree. Or as you so eloquently put it ‘complete s***e’

  13. Well I recognise your intransigence Al and you are obviously repeating the speel you agree with and ignoring any kind of commonsense points. maybe you are right and wolves etc shouldnt have been kllled, maybe again you would feel differently if they were roaming around your parents farm picking of the odd ewe, her lambs and maybe even a child. get real……I totally agree with Rose.
    All the best for the future David I sympathise – keep your chin up as you guys tend to do.

  14. Having just finished a zoology degree, with one of my professors being a leading mind in the area of badger TB, I can tell you that recent scientific evidence actually suggests that the badger culls increase the spread of TB.

    This is because badgers are territorial, and by randomly culling individuals you remove the territorial barriers set inplace by those individuals and so increase the area commanded by infected individuals.

    For the cull to be effective, 90% of badgers in a given area must be culled, which will drive there population down below a level which they can recover from.

    I understand this is a problem, however culling doesn’t seem to be the way forward with the evidence collected so far. Biosecurity, although more expensive for the individual farmer, has been shown to be almost 100% effective, with badger infiltrations only occurring when the security methods are not put in place.

    • How do i keep my cattle apart from the badgers on my farm when they share the same grazing what biosecurity can be put in place?? my cattle graze up to 9 mts of the year.How do you explain the fact that we had btb down to only a few hundred cases by the late 70s early 80s the only thing we are doing differently now is no wildlife control .It also works all around the world its not rocket science theres no need to make this complicated .

    • benfreelife How can this biosecurity for cattle been proved to be 100% effective. This would mean that all cattle are kept inside 24/7 which is possible until the likes of animal rights then start complaining about factory farms and cattle should be allowed to roam outside in green fields. But how do you determine that the feed, mainly silage is disease free if you have infected Badgers and other wildlife on your land.

    • Which is why the cull area has to be as large as it was. I also was taught by a badger expert who has written books on the subject. Give the cull a chance and monitor the results. If it is interfered with as was the case with the RBCT trials many years ago, the results will be as inconclusive and unacceptable to farmers yet again. There is evidence that the perturbation issue was caused by protesters moving trapped/diseased badgers to the edge of the cull zone and releasing them.

  15. So once again it’s all about what’s in it for us ! What a sad world we live in , humans are selfish greedy creatures . I for one am frequently ashamed of the way we treat other animals on this planet !

  16. I feel badly for you emotional upset, but I am completely flummoxed as to how you could be so sick over the death of these cows, but regularly send other equally innocent, sensitive, and beautiful cows to equally undignified and terrifying slaughter—to die equally unjust deaths. They are the same as your loving dog or cat! It’s all horrible. It’s all violent. And there isn’t even any physiological need for it. Please try to connect with the fact this process is not necessary and there is NOTHING respectful about it. Think about a vegan alternative. Thanks.

    • Ah, Jeffrey. I respect your views and it is entirely up to you what you eat but it means that you are not a stakeholder in the process of eradicating TB from our country for the good of the livestock industry and the economy of the country. We are not going to put up a sign that the UK is meat free for all the tourists and meat eaters to see are we. If we can’t produce meat and dairy produce in the UK, the supermarkests will merely import it from countries that do not adhere to our animal welfare and envirnmental standards.

  17. Sorry to read about your losses. Thanks for sharing it. We really need to find a solution to this horrible disease.

  18. Are you sad at the death of these animals because they mean something to you, or are you only sad because you will be losing a profit?

    If your answer is the former, then why is it such a shame to see these specific cows die but it doesn’t bother you to send your other cows to a slaughterhouse to be shot? Does removing the cows from your sight when they die comfort your conscience so you can feel better about what you do? I hope this is a wake up call for you — it seems like you’ve made the connection.

    Go vegan! You will no longer feel upset or guilty because you won’t have to cause the death of any more animals.

    • This man has lost valuable cattle in distressing circumstances – it is also his lively hood! Humans are not meant to be vegans !
      It’s your choice to be a vegan not push it on everyone else ! This really irritates me when the veggie card is constantly played .
      If everyone was vegan surely we would be over run with cattle breeding , hens would be dropping eggs everywhere – not to mention the amount of people who would become ill from deficiencies
      Man was farming from the time he walked the earth .

      • Man has not been farming since that time he walked the earth. He began as a hunter gatherer. I feel that the farmers are embarrassing themselves with some of the responses to this debate. Beef and dairy farming are not long-term sustainable businesses. They require subsidies from UK taxpayer and are environmentally damaging. Modern farming methods have led to the decline of many species of fauna and flora. Cattle farming is one of the worst culprits for the production of greenhouse gasses in the world. Market forces drive the demand for meat and dairy products but humans in wealthier countries need to learn to eat lower down the food chain.

    • Veganism is great if you can afford it. And before anyone retorts with a handful of examples of how to eat cheaply, let’s be real. To eat a balanced meal that is free from any animal products is a luxury most can’t afford. And all of that grain you vegans eat? Pushing up the price in the countries that grow it where grain is a staple for those trying to scrape by. So let’s not point fingers eh. It’s actually unsustainable if everyone decided to eat Vegan so good for you! You’re comfortably middle class.

    • There seems to be a huge amount of comments on this blog about vegans and going vegan. I would like to know how many of these out spoken “vegan’s” have actually never had, used or consumed any products from farm animals. Its ok to say you do not consume the products but has it always been that way, as a child did you never eat a good old Sunday roast or is it just a choice you made as an adult, also I can only assume your footwear is not leather. That you have never worn a wooly jumper that the car you drive does not have a leather interior. I am pretty sure that all these idiot comments that keep appearing on here are from people who in some way shape or form can be call totally 2 faced.
      This farmer is trying to protect his and other animals from a disease which has devastating results.
      I would guess that over half the UK population does not fully understand what farmers do or the cost to them for producing and rearing livestock so will also have even less chance of understanding the effects of this disease. He has ever right to try and let people know what is going on in this country and the effects it has on himself and many like him.
      We need to stop this disease for the sake of everyone and everything.
      If it was the plaque and we had to destroy hundreds of rats would you all still complain ” I dont think so” well TB is the plaque that farmers are suffering today

    • Jessica, I understand what you are saying, but going vegan will not bring the cow back to life! And the uk will never be a meat-free country, so not eating meat is likely to make little difference to the amount of animals slaughtered as there will always be a high demand for meat.

  19. Pingback: Farmer David Barton Forced to Shoot Beloved Cattle - British News Cloud

  20. Hello again.
    If it is proved that badgers are the cause of this TB problem surely the best way forward to prevent all this public out cry is to test the badgers that have made setts within a specific area of the infected farm.
    That way it will show how many badgers within that area have TB it will also mean that healthy badgers can continue to roam in safe TB free areas and the badgers which have TB can be destroyed.
    I would suggest a trial period in the worst areas of the country. At least then we would have results to work out a plan on the way this should be felt with.

    • We have already had a very expensive trial called the Randomised Badger Culling Trial (RBCT) carried out in 10 areas of the country, using a control group, reactive culling and proactive culling in each area. Cost to the country of 10’s of millions of pounds, carried out by independent scientists, not biased farmers or politicians. Their conclusion was “Culling can play no meaningful part in TB eradication”. How many more trials do you want ? Do we just keep killing wildlife until there is none left, then look for something else to blame instead of bad animal husbandry ? TB is a disease caused mainly by stress !
      What we really need is a cheaper, MORE RELIABLE testing method which does not give false positives or negatives. The existing skin test gives both false results. The polymerase test and the gamma interferon tests give better results but are more expensive per animal to administer, so we use the cheap one instead, leaving infected animals in the herd to infect others, or to be sold on to other farms, thus spreading the disease. Badger do not roam around the UK, they stay in one locality. they cannot take the disease from Somerset and move it to Gloucestershire, for example, but untested cattle movements CAN. Whilst I feel genuinely sorry for any farmer who contracts TB in their herd, IT IS A FARMING ISSUE, NOT A WILDLIFE ONE !!!

      • Why do say its a farming issue Keith.? Is it because so many cattle are culled because they have tested positive, which you say in your own post is not a reliable test. Or is it because cattle are the only animals tested and then go for slaughter. How do you explain closed herds that have been free of TB for years suddenly catching it.? We cannot keep killing cattle expecting the disease to go away when the wildlife which includes badgers,deer and others are never checked or controlled. This also goes for other livestock such as sheep and alpaca’s. If something serious is not done to control this disease soon it will be passed onto humans through their pets such as cats and dogs. If this happens are we going to start culling humans.?

      • It is both Keith. The difference being that farmers have been controlling the disease by slaughtering up to 30,000 cattle a year and maybe add up to 15,000 unborn calves! Whilst AR activists and vegan are refusing to allow badgers to be culled in hotspot areas. In these areas closed herds have been going down with it so that is NOT a cattle movement issue, it is a badger issue and a very good case for culling badgers in that area. Shame it has to be such a big area and shame that badgers do not line up for an annual TB test. Otherwise, I agree with you, it would be nice to be able to test badgers before culling them. Keep an eye on Northern Ireland, They are going to try that and call it TVR (Test, Vaccinate or Remove)

      • How politics trumped science when designing the RBCT badger culling trial
        Professor Bourne … Let me take you back to 1999 when we started this work. It was made very clear to us by ministers of the day-and they have not refuted it since-that elimination of badgers over large tracts of the countryside was not an option for future policy.
        Q78 Mr Cox: Is it not the function of science-?
        Professor Bourne: It was on that basis that we designed the trial. We also had to take into account welfare considerations with respect to method of culling used and limitations on culling with respect to ensuring that cubs were not killed or died underground.
        Q79 Mr Cox: You had a closed season.
        Professor Bourne: Yes. Those were the clear, political limitations that we operated under. I have no reason to believe that those political limitations have been changed.
        Q80 Mr Cox: You make an extremely fair point. That of course does not always come out in the publication of your results. Is it not the function of science to present a list of options to the Government and allow the politicians to decide what is politically unacceptable? The danger about the interpretation of your report from those who are listening to this and reading it is that you have concluded, as a matter of science, that it can be of no effect. In fact, your conclusions are substantially affected by political and social limitations imposed on them.

        ******* NB Professor Bourne: We repeatedly say “culling as conducted in the trial.” It is important we do say that. Those limitations were not imposed by ourselves. They were imposed by politicians.1

        References
        Badgers and cattle TB: the final report of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB. Fourth Report of Session 2007-08. House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. Volume II. Oral and written evidence. Published on 27 February 2008.

  21. As a dairy farmer myself I genuinely didn’t believe id get upset watching this but I have, I am sat here with tears down my face.
    I am one of the fortunate few who has (touch wood) not had to tell with positive tb results, but I’m sat here thinking if that was my favourite girl, Sally, going then I wouldn’t even be able to speak and the heartbreak would cripple me.
    I admire you greatly for posting this, something must be done.

  22. Alun, the problem I have with your so called solution is that it does not address the issue of balance. Are you advocating that the Badger population is just allowed to increase every year? They have no natural predators and as long as they find enough food the species will just keep multiplying. I am also curious as to what you do when you have a mouse or rat problem under or in your own property. You obviously won’t kill them. Do you just let them multiply? Live trapping will just shift the problem onto someone else. Lets have a countryside that has a diverse range of wild animals in it that live in balance with each other and not overrun by a species that was only protected by law to stop the barbaric practise of baiting, not because it was ever in danger of becoming extinct. have you ever worked out what the diet of a Badger is? I can assure you they are not Vegans…………

  23. I read most of the comments and as a Canadian beef farmer I definitely am not having to deal with the same issues. I think it is great that some of you want to be vegan, although I also agree somewhat with the following discussion that potentially you have leather or other animal products in your life… So I suppose nothing is perfect.

    Most importantly, I wanted to say that as a farm girl myself, I love all of my cattle dearly. I have bottle fed calves who’s mother didn’t take them, I have been up night after night waiting for heifers who may need my help, I have assisted with C-Sections on a holiday weekend to ensure the well being of my beautiful cows and their calves.

    I have also had to shoot one or have one shot. I hate it. Farmers understand that the calves they sell go to slaughter. Most of us avoid thinking about that part of the he business. We take exceptional care of our herd and do the very best by them we can. We even have one cow who is too old to have a calf now, but we left it so long she is now just going to stay until she dies. My husband owned her great grandmother through to her and although she should go, I know we won’t send her off.

    I leave all of you to your various opinions… But please don’t think a farmer is simply upset over money lost. We do this because we can’t imagine not having our cattle, and we do our best by them each day.

  24. We have ley people making uninformed comments. “Badgers need testing, it’s a cattle problem, not a badger problem, badgers culled were apparently healthy, we need to do more trials, test badgers etc etc.

    Current DEFRA vets are unable to say anything publicly so we don’t hear from them. There is no need to keep reinventing the wheel on whether culling will or will not work. The work has already been done. The only reason the disease hasn’t been eradicated in the UK is because it is in the wildlife now and it gets transferred back to cattle and politicians are afraid of losing votes by dealing with it.

    If you really want to know if the cull is justified, Google and then read everything this man has written:-

    Dr. John Gallagher, Retired DEFRA, TB scientist since 1972

    Here is one quote about the difficulty of diagnosing TB in badgers:-

    “The badger does not show such a vigorous destructive reaction but rather a slowly progressive proliferative reaction which eventually results in cell death as numbers of bacteria increase markedly. TB lesions are thus relatively much smaller but contain relatively vastly more bacteria than those of cattle. TB bacteria do not produce toxins but rather cause lesions as a result of their highly antigenic cell walls to which different hosts may respond with greater or lesser aggression”

  25. I do sympathise with your sadness, I feel like this every time one of my animals reaches the end of it’s life, BUT your animals had a much better end than if they had gone away for slaughter. There is not enough said about what happens when livestock leaves the farm to go for slaughter or worse still to the mart and then goodness knows where, or how it will meet it’s end. That’s what we should be shouting about, not turning a blind eye. The power is with farmers to change this, so will they do it?

  26. @ Madi: “Badgers, like rats, are vermin” Oh really? So who decides that? How about squirrels, rabbits, magpies, rooks, blackbirds, any bird that eats fruit, otters, foxes, mink ……… They all eat stuff that man grows, farms or rears for himself. Should we kill them all? We cannot continue to squeeze our wildlife into extinction so that we can feed an ever-expanding (in numbers as well as physical waist dimensions) population. They have been here just as long as we have and have the right to live. We have to reach an equilibrium in which we can all co-exist. Sir David Attenborough warned us of this 30 years ago. Did anybody listen?

    I’ve never forgotten a line from “Island at War” series. Meat was very scarce. The Island doctor – “People are eating meager rations for the first time in their lives and I’ve never seen them so healthy.”

  27. Put the badgers back on the shooting list.it will not cost the tax payers a penny..we need the cows but could live with out the badger if we have to.i lost a farming friend a few years ago to tb so don’t think you will not get it.many die each year to it.it was ripe in the 50s i still have the scar on my arm where i was injected as a young child to protect us from it…if the cow has to die because of tb why not the badger

  28. I cried watching your video…not just for your animals but for you and your family. Your pain and frustration in such a futile situation was evident. My heart goes out to you. Words are not enough to express my thoughts.

  29. Mr Barton,
    I am currently completing an A-Level Extended Project Qualification in which I am attempting to highlight the effect bTB is having on British farmers, as well as their cattle.
    After watching the video posted on your blog of the devastating loss of your prized cattle, I am contacting you in the hope that you will provide me with a statement explaining how bTB has affected you, your family and your business.
    I wish to use what you say in a dissertation, in order to raise awareness of this very tragic issue. I hope you will be able to take some time to reply. Thank you very much for your time and cooperation.
    Sincerely,
    Robyn Dearden
    robyndearden@aol.co.uk

  30. JonathanR I’m sure you are just trying to voice opinion but there is some lack of understanding how farmers and countrymen have normal emotions. It is clearly explained that these animals were part of there family. No one enjoys the slaughter process and as you mention you eat beef so an animal has to die. Farming is still a job and like anything some parts of that job become routine.
    No different than a gardener having a love for a certain plant and tending less to the standard bedding plant. (My own opinion)
    I eat meat and love animals, don’t enjoy the death process but then am happy to kill or prepare this if I wish to eat it.
    This is known as emotions something that is different for every individual.
    Unfortunately I personally disagree with the Badger cull as not enough evidence.
    Like all statistics it’s easy to manipulate results.
    I read this blog and felt the emotion to the point I was choked and understand this entirely.
    Thoughts with you on the precious loss.

    I’m not an academic genius so tend to apply my own logic to each situation.

  31. It seems that education is needed, so that folk outside farming and the countryside have something on which to base their views .
    If such as Johnathan R were to go to a farm to witness a slaughter, then others who read his remarks, would be able to see that his remarks would be coming from knowledge, rather than ignorant supposition.
    (apologies Johnathan, – not intended to be rude, just factual.)
    Likewise, should those who decide our laws and policies not be made to witness a slaughter, to see the results of their decisions, before being allowed make them ?
    Of course those decisions are really based on the public votes that keep them in their jobs, but it may encourage them consider a little longer.
    It also, in a round about way, brings us back to the first sentence…..

  32. Mr Barton,
    I applaud your decency and eloquence in fairly and factually providing answers to questions which are clearly being posed to provoke. I am proud that we have such a person like you sir to be a voice for the agricultural community. It is so very easy to become riled and throw fuel at the fire which only makes the fire burn harder. I am forever in hope that bTB will one day become a problem of yesteryear but for now let us not allow our community to be marred by the words of those who have no true understanding.

    Wishing you all the very best,
    Natalie

  33. David, I’m so sorry about your loss. bTB is awful and I hope it gets eridicated soon. I hope you won’t have to make the same decisions anymore and bTB is leaving your stock alone. Easier said than done. Wishing you all the best, a Dutch vet.

  34. I think reading all these comments about saying how farmers are uneducated in the field of tb and saying all farmers blame badges bla bla bla is rubbish and insulting. Have these so called non farmers ever stepped foot on to a farm?? Have you ever met a cow?? Even worse met a cow with tb??? Or even met one of these so cute helpless badgers everyones so willing to protect??? And to answer these questions it’s a no. I’m a beef farmers daughter and my family work hard for the rubbish money we earn yet we still do it why because farming is something breed in to you. You are born a farmer and with that comes an understanding that yes we do kill animals to provide this country with a food source. Does that make me and others like me unfeeling no it doesn’t. For all the people shouting about us turning vegan please get off this conversation you are probably sat there with a leather handbag and some lovely leather shoes. My heart goes out to this farmer and his family because even though sending cows to a slaughter house may not always be the best solution having to stand and hear the gun shot and here the cow you have cared for for years fall to the ground will always be a hard thing to do no matter what the reason for it is. Keep your chin up David here’s to a tb free country.

  35. David, as an ex sheep and sucklerherd stockman l have nothing but best wishes for your future. I took great pride in not only the breeding stock I looked after but also their progeny. It was a lot of hard work and a fair bit of heartache and I remember the trepidation at tb testing time. I was never paid alot for doing this but it is a way of life and l wish people who bang on about the financial side of it all would get this. Anyone who wants to make comments on farmers feelings should farm for a few years first. There is no way they are qualified to say a word about it otherwise. As far as badgers are concerend springwatch has proven that control is needed. They may have put a fence up but if it was a fox raiding all those nests repeatedly it would have been shot most likely. The whole of the british isles is managed, even by those who proclaim they dont interfere.( Mr Packham and co). Didnt see them saving an owl chick from its own family. Wheres the difference? Anyway, mild rant over. I am a pest controller amongst other things now but would return to farming at the drop of a hat if it became possible. Good luck to you David and if you meet a vagan who tries to push their way of life on you remind them they have teeth in their head solely designed to deal with flesh so l guess that makes them a tad unatural. Maybe they are still evolving. Very superior of them.;)

    • Thank you Jason for your comments, I would like to think most people have a better understanding of how we farmers and stockmen/woman really do care about our stock. There is however a very small number of rather narrow minded individuals and so called animal welfare crusaders , who just want to hate farmers and enhance their over inflated egos , I tend to listen politely and take no notice whatsoever , I think they find that quite irritating .
      I do hope you will be in a position to look after stock again one day, we are a dedicated bunch, you either have or you don’t and if you do then it is the most rewarding job to have.

  36. So sorry your pet cows had to die.such a sad shame. How long do you think they would have lived if it weren’t for this? Would they have died of old age if this had not have happened?

    • John, I don’t have pet cows, we certainly get very attached to many of our breeding cows and stock bulls, and my oldest cow is currently sixteen and a half years old.
      Just so we are clear, a “cow” is a female that has had at least one calf. A stock bull is an entire male used for breeding. We have a beef suckler herd, so I’m producing cattle for beef not milk. All my male calves will be finished for beef and some of the females (heifers) also at about two years old.
      As for my breeding cows and stock bulls, we keep them as long as we can, so long as there healthy and don’t have any problems. I currently have a cow who is fifteen years old and she has had twelve calves since 2003 and now she has problems with one of her hips the vet tells me its arthritis , she is not going to have another calf as this condition will only get worse. She will wean her current calf, be rested and fed a good diet and she will be slaughtered for beef, this is never easy when you have had her around for such a long time, but it’s important to use all the food we produce.
      I think it is this some people don’t understand, how can I be emotionally attached to an animal and have it slaughtered for beef. I am happy that I know this cow has had a good life, been well cared for, she has never been ill until now , she has enjoyed rearing her twelve calf’s but the time has nearly come for her to go as it would not be fair or good animal welfare to keep her for another season.

      • Exactly that David B. The difference between a farmer and a person who keeps farm animals as pets is KNOWING when to let them go, for their own welfare and your own pocket. The longer you leave it, the greater the risk of too many vet bills and total loss from mortality. Also farmers, like hunters from the past have no qualms about eating what they produce. I have eaten home produced geese, chickens, turkeys, pork/bacon/sausages, beef and lamb and it has always been far nicer than anything you can buy at the supermarket or the butchers. We had a beautiful beef filet steak last week – out of the deep freeze from a 14 month British Blue X I bred and reared myself. Killed locally and well hung.

      • Oh i see so you breed them to kill…some of them you kill at 2 years old + some live to the ripe old age of 15…but you kill them for money. Its sad and terrible when they die from disease (bloody badgers!) but fine when you kill them to make money from them? Am i understanding you correctly?

      • Badgers aren’t killed to feed anyone but cattle are bred to give milk that we drink and meat that we eat, just in case you don’t know the difference

      • I am a farmer, I breed cattle to provide food, are you understanding me correctly. Anyone who thinks that any animal or human for that matter that dies from tuberculosis isn’t a very sad event is one very disturbed individual indeed

  37. You are so incredibly ignorant. If cows die of TB they die a slow,lingering death. This is why we test them for TB and hopefully diagnose it BEFORE they suffer.Killing them for meat to feed a growing population is rational because the bullet is very quick and they don’t suffer

    • Eryl,
      I think GeoffG’s point wasn’t the manner of death for the cow with TB was killed very quickly with a bullet and didn’t suffer. His point is that some cattle are sent to the slaughter house and that seems to be fine but this one caused great upset to David Barton. My understanding is that the bull killed was as much a pet as it was just farm livestock which is why the farmer was so upset.

      • This seems to be a difficult subject for some people to understand, I will try to put some clarity into it.

        My dear old bull Ernie was 11 yrs. old when he had to be culled for bTB control, I had had him for 9yrs, I looked after him every day, cared for him and looked after his welfare as id do for all my cattle.

        Firstly it was not my decision to have Ernie culled, that is difficult as he was my animal and I looked after him, and he showed no visible signs of any illness. How would you feel if DEFRA culled an animal belonging to you and you had no right to appeal?

        Ernie was a particularly endearing animal, bulls tend to be but he was so gentle with no aggression what so ever, my son could ride him. A question, why would I not become attached to such an animal that I have had so long? Just the same for my lovely Sussex cow which was slaughtered in September this year as a bTB reactor. The breeding cattle on the farm stay with us for many years ,I get attached to them, I am a human being just like anyone else why wouldn’t I ?

        The cattle which I produce for beef , I do not get attached to its something as a farmer you have to do or try to do, I think this is what some people find difficult to understand .There is a difference with my breeding cattle and the cattle I produce for beef that’s just how it is. Many people will understand that, some wont and some clearly don’t want too
        When we have had large numbers of cattle taken for bTB up to 34 at one time it’s very distressing indeed. If anyone does not have the human compassion to understand that quite frankly I am totally uninterested in what they say or think and I pity them for being such twisted individuals

      • David,
        I think that’s exactly the problem. People don’t realise that a farmer can become emotionally attached to one cow but send another to slaughter. To us, non-farmers, one cow is pretty much like another one. Anyway, I don’t doubt your sincerity or distress about Ernie and I can understand why you were so upset about him being shot on your farm. I also have little doubt that nearly all consumers of beef want the animal they eat to have had a good life and a quick painless death. From the videos of your farm it looks like the cattle are looked after and kept in good conditions.
        Without wanting to be classed as a “twisted individual”, I have to say that I can’t see why having 34 meat cattle, that would be sent to the slaughter house later anyway, being shot for having bTB is much different from them being sent to the slaughter house? I would appreciate your views on the difference.

      • You assume all 34 were as you put it “meat cattle” they were not 22 were breeding cows all incalf, there is the first difference.
        Btb is indiscriminate so it can affect a young calf an old bull or an incalf heifer, it is a truly miserable business when it happens.
        The cattle I produce for beef, should they be reactors to btb, it is very unlikely they are ready for market so when they are culled there are not “finished” or ready for beef, its such a waist of food and I find this distressing too there potential never fulfilled . I appreciate to someone who is not a farmer these things may be difficult to understand and I hope I can help you better understand.

  38. david having read all the various lovely comments by people barring a few insulting stupid ones;; i james o riordan kilmallock co limerick ireland ;; would like to visit you and your family reguarding the cattle t b scandal that exists in gb for over 60 years ;;i was in the very same situation as you were in 1977 locked up with my beautiful cattle that were supposed to have ;; t b ;;; i learned from this experience, and that was the end of tb cattle on my farm;;;;;so david if we can have a chat on this matter ,you being the spokes person you are;; you will really enjoy your farming and fattning your cattle again;you and several other british farmers wont believe the great news thats is store for you and them ;;and not one penny spent ,,or one badger killed ; i trust you will give this matter your kind cosideration,, and can assure you and your fellow farmers in a matter of weeks this scandal wil end for ever more is my contact ,, ps it was my first time today reading about this wrong doing ;;

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