England in summertime


Cattle may 16

It’s been some time since I last wrote a blog post Apart from being a busy time on the farm, calving, planting, and all the other jobs going on the farm. I have been enjoying being OTBF Officially TB free. It’s so nice not having to test the cattle every 60 days; it really is such a big relief for all of us.

We have had a really good calving this year all the cattle out at grass look really well with grass growing faster than they can graze it. May and June is a wonderful time with the cattle they are so content, very happy cows.

Churri and I visited a farm in the north Cotswolds, a lovely farm exceptionally well maintained with a flock of Cotswold sheep and Longhorn cattle, the sheep looked very good but I’m no shepherd, the longhorn cattle were magnificent all of them and in that environment were quite something to see.

While looking around the farm with the farmer, we discussed the large number of badger setts on the farm and indeed they were very evident.   Sadly earlier this year the senior longhorn stock bull failed a tb test and had to be slaughtered. We spent some time discussing Btb etc. And one thing stood out to me, I’m looking at this near perfect landscape surrounded by cattle sheep and any number of wild animals, and people walking along a public footpath.  The farmer said, the trouble with bTB is its invisible you can’t see it no one can. And how true, those people walking through this idyllic landscape I’m sure enjoying seeing the longhorn cattle, would be totally unaware of the potential devastation bTB could cause on this farm. Perhaps this is why there is such a lack of understanding in the urban population surrounding the whole bTB debate and how we should tackle it.If you could see cattle suffering the need to do something to stop it would be much greater maybe. The harsh reality is if you’re farming in an area with endemic  bTB the total misery of this silent invisible disease can be utterly devastating. I have never seen any sign of disease or ill health in any of my cattle that have been bTB reactors.

The need to implement the government’s 25 year eradication plan  and to evolve it, are greater now than it has ever been. Today around 80 cattle will be slaughtered as btb reactors and tomorrow and the next day and every day until we stop this disease.

Can we stop it ? Yes, we have had it all but eradicated in the 1980s Grit determination and hard work and the difficult decisions that need to be taken must be. There is no easy solution to this disease, those who surgest there are with fanciful ideas are deluded fools and do not serve the countryside of the animals that live in it at all.

I will enjoy this summer without tb testing, we test again in the autumn. There is quite a lot of badger activity which is usual at this time of year. I can only hope our current good fortune will continue, the reality is it’s a temporary situation.

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