Monday, 13 August 2007

Screaming out load

Where do I start today?
I have been walking around in limbo since Saturday morning.
It all started in the early hours but we were unaware of a problem until we got up at 6:30am.
We have been rebuilding our feed store as the old one was getting past it's sell by date and has more leaks than Wales.
So we were keen to get going as soon as the light came in.
My husband got up to make a cup of tea then came running in to the bedroom saying he thought the old cow was dead as he can see a cow laying on her back with legs in the air.
We rushed to get dressed and jumped in the car, our road is an old dirt track road with large pot holes on it so we would probably have been faster running.
On the way down we passed the old cow a white Charolais called Snowy chewing the cud on the road side.
As we drove through the heard our minds were rushing trying to place which cow was missing.
Then I saw the orphan, his name is Tefal he is coming up for five months old, he was stood on the side of the road with his head hanging and calling every so often with a mournful heart breaking sound for his mother.
It was Pearl our three year old Simmental cow white and golden orange coloured patched.
She was laid in the middle of the dirt track with her legs in the air.
Her calf was running up and down the road calling all the time for his mother.
We ran to call the vet, he said he would come up as soon as possible, it is an eighty mile round trip for him to get to us.
Meanwhile we went back down and covered her with a tarpaulin.
The vet arrived later in the day, my husband called in on our neighbour and asked if he would bury her for us, he kindly said yes, his son came down with the digger.
In Scotland in certain places we are still allowed to bury our cattle because of the difficulty removing them from the peat bogs and so forth, so I was quite relieved when we were told we could bury her at home.
The vet thought that she had an eptopic pregnancy which burst one of her main blood vessels, she would not have felt a thing as she seemed to drop where she stood with out a struggle.
I could not take it all in she came up to me at the fence the previous night with her mother for a scratch behind the ear, she did not show any signs of illness or that anything was wrong, I wanted someone to explain to me why my young cow had died, without seeing anything.
The vet said we would not have been able to do anything for her it was so sudden.
My husband said he supposed it is like humans some are born to live to a great age some are born to die with out reason.
Our neighbour started to dig the hole after the vet had taken samples from Pearl.
He said he was sorry for us as he knows how much we care about our animals and left.
I could not stand to watch our young cow being put into a hole in the ground.
I walked away and left my husband and neighbour to do the dark deed.
As I was walking back up the track towards the house Tefal came running down the road again calling for his mother, I could not help it I broke down into floods of tears my heart was wrenched by this pitiful baby without his mother.
I heard myself screaming out load until I could not scream any longer what a waste what a sad sad waste.
He is still mourning for his mother this morning poor soul, but he will be spoiled by me his surrogate mother, I will watch out for him.
All of the heard went out on to the common grazing's by Pearls grave last night they lay down around about it, it's funny how they do that for a while like they are saying good bye then after a couple of days they leave.
It will take a little time to get over the shock of loosing Pearl but I will have her calf to keep me busy and occupied.
We never got much done in the end on Saturday as neither of us could concentrate on the job, I ended up hitting my thumb with the hammer so hard I nearly fainted, instead I let it all out the pain the loss the heartbreak, the deep scream from within, my husband grabbed me and hugged me, it does not mend anything but it makes you feel someone is there to catch you when you fall.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Waiting with baited breath

We heard this weekend that there has been an outbreak of the deadly disease Foot & Mouth again.
It appears to have broken out in the Guilford area in Surrey England.
We were supposed to be attending the Agricultural show in Lorn near Oban on Saturday the 4th Aug but we received a call from one of the organisers late on Friday evening telling us that there has been a movement restriction put on all Cattle, Sheep & Pigs because of a suspected outbreak.
Well we watched the news bulletins all through the night to find out what we could, I know we are a long way from Surrey but this disease can spread so quickly if not controlled straight away.
This time all movements were banned as soon as the outbreak was confirmed not like last time when shows and sales were still going on.
Millions of animals were slaughtered needlessly because of panic by the government agencies.
Hopefully it will have been stopped in it's tracks.
I think all the Agricultural sector at this time will be waiting with baited breath to see what happens in the next 10 - 14 days.
I don't think many more of us could stomach another catastrophe like the last one.
It will be even harder this time if it does get out as we are going into the Autumn quarter of the year soon and the animals will require feed and if movements are still suspended that means we will be feeding surplus animals through the winter because we cannot sell them until the movement bans are lifted.
We have been told by the press agencies that the outbreak is suspected to have come from a Government testing laboratory 3-4 miles away from the outbreak.
Isn't that ironic, we are penalised and jumped on from a great height if our quality procedures are not adhered to in any way and the government let the most vicious of bacteria escape from their laboratories who will penalise them I ask myself?
So we are all praying that this is a one off incident and no more outbreaks will show up, but god help us if it gets hold.
I worry about people traveling up on holiday over the border from the south this disease is an airborne virus and can travel for miles.
It all has a knock on effect even to tourism which parts of our area depend on.
In our area most of the livestock is on small farms and crofts, this would mean devastation for our area if it broke out here.
We just seemed to get back on to an even keel and import, exports on the go again when bang we are dropped from a great plateu into darkness again.
If this is our governments fault they will have a lot to answer for by the agricultural industry.