Monthly Archives: December 2017

Betwixt and Between

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I’ve seen a lot of comments this winter about the period between Christmas and New Year. In one newspaper a journalist was moaning about how he loses track of even what day it is and eventually the stultifying boredom of it all gets to him.

I must confess that it’s never been a problem for me. With livestock, if you get two quiet days for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, you’ve done well. From then on you’ll plunged back into normal work (with an added element of catching up) which keeps you nicely busy all the way into the New Year.

This year has been no real exception. Boxing Day and the day after were our first two fine days since about the 18th of December. Since then, as if ashamed of showing weakness, the weather has reverted to foul.

Indeed in agriculture you deal with a lot of companies who work through Christmas, although most do shut on the bank holidays (except for emergencies.) On the 28th December, if I pick up the phone to a Vet, an agricultural engineer, a haulier, or an auction mart, I’d expect the phone to be answered because they were working. Even feed merchants will have some staff on to cope with emergencies. Indeed we have always had a rule, in that if you cannot get hold of a business between Christmas and New Year, do you really need them the rest of the year?

Still one of this week’s jobs has been scanning sheep. People have been using ultra-sound to scan sheep to see if they’re in lamb for years. I don’t know whether they started doing it before the NHS did it routinely with women or not. The advantage with sheep is that not only do you have a fair idea whether the ewe is in lamb or not, you also know how many lambs she’s carrying. So a ewe carrying triplets will need a lot higher plane of nutrition than one with a single.

I found a photo on the web for you. The scanner sits alongside the ewe and runs the scanner across the ewe’s tummy in front of the udder. There’s very little wool there anyway so you don’t need to clip it. While he does that he looks at the picture on the monitor and that tells him what’s going on.

What the picture doesn’t show is that sheep scanning tends to be done at this time of year. The scanner, a contractor with all his own tackle, arrives in the yard with a trailer towed by a 4×4. The trailer unpacks so you get a race along which the ewe travels, is scanned and then goes out to rejoin her mates. As well as needing people to keep the sheep moving up the ramp and through the scanner, you also need an artist who stands there with two spray cans of marking paint. We put a red spot on the rump if the ewe is carrying triplets. If she’s barren she gets a red spot on the back of the neck. The other can has green paint in, and a green spot on the rump means she’s carrying a single. Twins don’t get marked up at all, they’re considered the norm.

Because scanning is virtually always done outside, in the cold, and probably the rain as well, the scanner will have a ‘tent’ of sorts to keep the worst of the weather off him and the electronics. For the rest of us we just huddle in our waterproofs with the rain beating on us, trying to keep sheep moving. This they do sporadically. Sometimes they will push past each other in their eagerness to follow along the race (herd animals can be like that.) At other times some idiot ewe will stand in the pen with her rump blocking the entrance to the race, so nobody can get up it.

At this point you’ve got to stop huddling and physically turn her round so she’s pointing in the right direction. At one point yesterday (as a particularly cold rain was blowing across the yard) I heard somebody say to a recalcitrant ewe, “Don’t make me take my hands out of my pockets you auld witch, or you’ll be sorry.”

As always, checking every ewe flags up those who’ll need pampering. One is due to lamb in the next two weeks. This means she managed to get herself pregnant three weeks before the tups went in. So it will be interesting to see just what sort of lambs she has. Anyway at her stage of pregnancy she needs more pampering that she’d get back out in the field. So she’s now inside where we can make sure she gets a high enough quality diet. Because she’s a sheep and they need company, one of the younger hoggs who isn’t in lamb but looks as if it’s finding winter a bit much has been kept in with it. They can keep each other company.

As we walked them back to the field after scanning, every so often a ewe would shake herself, (Just like a dog would.) and a great sheet of water would come off her fleece.

Happy New Year.

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Sleeping in a manger?

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I’m not talking about one of those twee things you see in nativity plays. I’m talking about a real manger. Years ago I was on a walking holiday in Iceland and we were well and truly in the wilds. We’d got permission to sleep in the shielings, these are the huts or bothies used by locals for when they have to accompany their animals out at pasture.

As you might imagine they varied from basic to squalid. Some were merely dry-stone huts with stone and sod roofs. In some you could barely stand upright. Yet others were bigger and often incorporated corrugated iron in the structure. Some had bits where sheep had obviously been kept, but one, the largest, had a manger and hayrack. Whether they’d tied ponies or cattle there I’m not sure.

Still I looked at the various places to sleep, the floor was starting to look crowded so I cleaned any rubbish out of the manger and slept in that. It was longer than I was tall and wider across than my shoulders, so there was plenty of room. With my carry-mat down first, I could crawl into my sleeping bag and be more comfortable than I had been for a while. I remember going out in the middle of the night to look at the Northern Lights. Inside the sheiling wasn’t a lot warmer than outside the sheiling. The older ones with the sod roofs and thick dry-stone walls kept far warmer than those build with corrugated iron.

I can remember my father talking about various sorts of cattle housing. The tradional shippon (or byre) would have cattle tied up by the neck on a raised boose. In some places there’d be a passage in front of the cattle where you could walk up and down and feed them from. This was known as the fothergang or foddergang. Behind the cattle was the muck channel, gripe or group. I’ve worked with cattle in these shippons and if you had a hay loft above, they kept really snug. In the old ones without water, cattle would be allowed out to drink and then tied up again, but eventually water was piped in and each cow had a water bowl of her own. Finally cattle would be fastened to a vertical bar using a cowband running on a ‘ringwiddy’.

Surprising how many of these words are from the Norse, and interestingly I’ve seen the excavation reports from the Norse farms on Greenland and they built their shippons in just the same way to much the same dimensions.

My father remembered when he first started farm work before the war; in winter the shippon door would always be kept shut except when somebody was going in or out. Indeed in some farms, the finger hole in the door, which allowed you to lift the latch on the inside, even had a plug that you could stick in it to stop draughts. Nowadays everything would die of pneumonia, including the men working there, but it never seemed to be a problem back then.

In my time we moved from shippons to the cubicle house where the cow is free to walk about, get up, lie down, go to eat or drink, just as she fancies. It might or might not be better for animal welfare, who knows, but built of modern materials they’re never as snug as the old shippons were. Mind you, they’re a lot less work for the people looking after them. No more faffing about with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, a tractor scraper cleans them out in a tenth of the time.

I remember one Christmas Eve, we were just about finished milking on a night, which means it must have been about 6pm. This means it would be dark. I hadn’t finished with the cattle in one shippon so I’d left the light on. As I walked across the yard in the darkness, the shippon door, with a yellowish light spilling out of it, somehow seemed warm and even Christmassy. Walking in amongst quiet cattle who’d been fed their mixed ration and were just waiting for me to throw their hay in front of them was almost restful.

There’s something about working amongst cattle in those circumstances. They’re dry, comfortable and full. There’s the scent of their breath in the air and nobody is bullying anybody so none of them are stressed.

It’s when a stirk casually scratches his head on your leg as you go to put the hay in front of him, while his mate in the same boose doesn’t think your presence warrants standing up for, that you realise you’re an accepted part of their world.
It’s funny, to me, that has always been the world of the Nativity. Forget sheep, nobody in their right mind houses sheep unless you’ve got blizzards coming. Yes, a donkey wouldn’t be out of place, but for me it’s the cattle that make it. Their casual curiosity, the warm breath, the soft questing nose with a long tongue which will tentatively wrap itself about anything that looks as if it might be edible.

Walk among cattle lying snug on Christmas Eve and you can almost hear the soft voice of a young mother soothing her child.

 

Merry Christmas to you all.

♥♥♥♥

Welcome to my world

Wet!

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The weather is wet! We’ve not seen the sun for three days and everything is just utterly grey and sodden. It’s the sort of weather where cattle get pneumonia and sheep just look depressed. They see you coming and shake themselves in a pointed manner, with great clouds of water coming off their fleece.

The air is so saturated with water that it just runs down the building walls. Now is the time that really tests your electrical insulation! I remember once seeing our electrician using his test equipment on various circuits to try and find where there was a fault. The walls were so wet because of the endless drizzle that he could touch the wall in any two places with the equipment and get a measurable current between his crocodile clips.

Just to put the tin hat on everything, we’ve not had proper daylight for three days either. We’ve been living our days in perpetual evening gloom. Although it’s mild enough, grass has stopped growing, personally I suspect it just cannot see the point.

It’s at times like this I’m glad I don’t have a lot of cattle inside. At some point you have slurry to dispose of and at the moment the ground is so waterlogged that nobody in their right mind would take a tractor onto it. It reminds me of the occasion a few years ago when I was talking to one of the contractors.

He’d been to one farm which desperately needed the slurry pit emptying and the cunning plan was to use his big tanker to blow the slurry from the lane, over the hedge into the field. No vehicles needed to go into the field, so you didn’t damage the soil.

He’d blown three loads over the hedge before he noticed that water was running back onto the lane from off the field. At that point they decided on plan B. This was to blow over the opposite side of the lane because at least that way the ground sloped away from the road and if anything it would spread better.

As a technique, blowing slurry over the hedge from the road in the pouring rain tends to be frowned upon nowadays. In one case I remember the tractor driver obviously had his attention more on the road than the tanker spout, and managed to deluge one of the electrical transformers on a roadside pole. Given that a slurry tanker can quite happily put out over 500 gallons a minute, there was a bang and a quite spectacular light show. Then all the power went off.

Apparently the Electricity people were deluged by phone calls, the power had gone off just as the Jeremy Kyle show (or whatever) was about to get utterly sensational, and the people who rang in were apparently most vituperative. Or so I was told by the three lads who came round from the Lecky board with a tank of water and a pressure hose to wash the transformer off before switching the electricity back on. They thought it was hilarious, Daytime TV washed away in a shower of slurry. To them it seemed entirely appropriate.

 

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

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A couple of days ago I mentioned to somebody our temperature here had dropped to -7. His comment, “You should be able to get some work done with a bit of frost.”

Admittedly it was more pleasant checking sheep when you had the opportunity to walk across the surface of a field rather than grub about in the mud, but still, I’m not a fan of frost. We’re OK with a couple of degrees but we’ve just too much water piping running through buildings to keep lagged; especially when cattle will happily pass a boring afternoon by chewing off the lagging.

Anyway, so much for getting some work done, one of the buildings froze. If we’d had two hundred cattle drinking they’d have kept the flow running and it wouldn’t have frozen, but there were only a couple of dozen. So I just made sure they had enough water for the day because the thaw was promised.
And sure enough the thaw came, and with it the burst pipe. Now a lot of our water piping is alkethene with push fit connectors or the chunky ones you can tighten by hand without faffing about with pipe-dogs. But some of it is still old fashioned galvanised. And guess which joint burst? Yes, the one where the stop tap was connected to a length of galvanised. Not only that but it was the joint at the bottom of the stop tap that went, so the stop tap was as much use as a spare bride at a wedding.

So it’s a case of switching it off at the mains and because there was a water heater involved I got somebody in from our local agricultural engineers. Together we looked at the system. The galvanised pipe installed in the mid sixties was looking rough. The problem was that we couldn’t reach it without moving the water heater and that is bigger than me, fastened to the wall and both plumbed in and wired in. So we slung a pipe in to bypass it and we’ll have a rethink in spring. For now the water was running again.

And somebody said, ‘Now I suppose the pipe will be airlocked and you’ll have all sorts of problems bleeding it through.

That’s when I said “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Everybody had water ‘now.’ Of course this morning there were problems. I couldn’t have fixed them yesterday because they hadn’t happened. The problem was that there was no water going into the header tank. (Note the photograph.)
Now I was pretty sure what the cause of this was. If you’ve ever had to work with an old fashioned ball-cock (the best sort, they’re rugged, brass and last for decades) you’ll know that inside them there’s a valve nozzle at the end you screw into the water supply. These narrow the water supply down to a jet to work the ball-cock. However what you find is that when the water pipes freeze, all sorts of crap flakes off the inside of the pipes, and it can make its way down the pipe and block the valve nozzle.

So buggerlugs here had to fix it. The first rule of header tanks is that they’re as high up as possible. If there’s plenty of room above one for you to work in, the plumber’s not been doing his job properly. So it’s a case of tie a ladder to the beam and go up and have a look.

The second rule of header tanks is that it’s always dark up there. The third rule of header tanks is that is at this point you discover your torch has finally given up the ghost.

So equipped with a rejuvenated torch, perched on the ladder, I finally got the ball-cock valve taken off, (luckily there was a stop tap conveniently placed, we must have been thinking when it was put in) and I took it into the kitchen where my fingers could warm up enough to feel anything, and I had a pair of reading glasses so I could see what was going on. To be fair there is room to work on this tank. We had one where everything was so tight that when a galvanised pipe leading to the ball-cock developed a split in it, there was no way I could get in with stilsons to do anything about it. I ended up giving the pipe a coating of weld across the split to stop it leaking. Anybody who says you cannot weld galvanised pipe with water still running through it has never been desperate enough.

Anyway back to the job and ten minutes later everything is assembled and we’re cooking with gas.

And an hour later I had to bleed it because part of the system had got airlocked.

Who knows, tomorrow I might have to go back and bleed another bit, but at the moment everything’s got enough water.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

Oh and if you’re looking for something to read, whether on a kindle, or on a phone or tablet with a kindle app, how about

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/sometimes-I-just-sits-ebook/dp/B077C89YDH/

 

Another collection of anecdotes drawn from a lifetime’s experience of peasant agriculture in the North of England. As usual Border Collies, Cattle and Sheep get fair coverage, but it’s mixed with family history and the joys of living along a single track road.

It’s colder now than it was when it was cold!

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The temperature is rising. When I looked sheep this morning it was at least -5 centigrade and now it’s probably about plus four centigrade. Yet frankly it feels far colder.

I blame the fact that whereas before everything was dry, with the thaw stuff has got wet and suddenly your hands are wet and cold.

On the positive side, the sheep seem to have been happy enough the last few days. As you can see from the photo we didn’t have snow, just a very sharp frost. It’s Black Combe in the background and you can see how that has caught a dusting of snow.

Sheep are happy enough. Dry cold combined with grass to graze and the occasional molasses bucket to have a nibble from suits them well enough. Admittedly the field this lot is on was bare enough and they were moved to somewhere with a bit more grass later that morning.

Sheep cope with the outside world pretty well, the thick fleece handles the cold nicely and if the weather is wet, well their fleece is impregnated with lanolin which keeps them dry. I’ve seen sheep shake themselves (in exactly the same way that a dog does) when it’s raining and you can see the great shower of water fly off them.

Indeed it’s when you get them inside that sheep start having problems. Put a lot of sheep into a building and they’ll huddle together a bit. This will generate a lot of warmth (which is not a bad thing) but because of the water trapped on their fleeces it’ll be a damp warmth. So suddenly you’ve got a lot of sheep who have crowded themselves together in a warm fug, and they’ll start going down with pneumonia very quickly.

Cattle aren’t so ostentatiously well provided for cold weather, but even they aren’t too bothered. So long as they have somewhere out of the wind and plenty to eat, they’ll get by. The problem with cattle is that they’re bigger and heavier and in our winters, tend to leave the ground a muddy mess when it gets wet. Even then, we’ve had cattle do well on a large field with good dykes to keep the wind off. They had two ring feeders kept full of silage so they had plenty to eat and there was always somewhere for them to lay down out of the weather. We were going to plough that field in spring anyway.

But it doesn’t look pretty. Also cattle are perfectly capable of growing a hairy coat under those conditions, so when you do fetch them home to do anything with them they can look distinctly shaggy.

One of the joys of cold weather is how quiet things get. We’ve seen nobody the last few days, save for two metal detectorists. They came properly prepared; not only were they dressed for the weather, but they even fetched one of those fishing shelters which they erected in the corner of the field and stacked a few flasks of hot soup and hot coffee so they could retire to it and thaw out occasionally. They came in useful when we moved the sheep. Even a metal detectorist can stand in a lane end and stop sheep going down it when you’re running them along the road.

Actually at the moment keeping the sheep happy and well fed is important. They should all be in the early stages of pregnancy at the moment. If a sheep’s metabolism decides this is a really tough time, the system can quietly reabsorb one or more embryos to ensure that Mum makes it through the winter alive. The other issue is that grass stops growing at all when the ground temperature drops below 4 degrees Centigrade. So soon the grass will run out and I’ll be back to carrying how hay and silage to them, because we’re now entering one of the more important parts of lambing; which is keeping the lambs alive before they’re born.

At the moment it’s obvious that the sheep do have enough grass in front of them for them to feel happy about it. There are a couple of signs that they think they’re running out. The first is that the older ones who remember last winter start coming up to you in spite of the presence of a dog and follow you about bleating a lot. The second sign is that sheep can start burrowing into the hedges to look for younger shoots. This presents two problems. The first is that they can end up burrowing right through and out the other side. The second problem is that is you have a lot of briars then burrowing sheep can get themselves nicely entangled. I’ve even seen sheep who somehow have got themselves so entangled their feet aren’t really touching the ground any more. Under these circumstances sheep can decide that they’re doomed and just give up. So somebody has to come along and cut them out. Sal seems to have taken on her own shoulders the task of releasing trapped sheep. It’s amazing how trapped sheep that have obviously been there for twenty-four hours, convincing themselves that they’re stuck, see Sal hurtling towards them and ‘with one bound, they’re free.’ Wonderful stuff, adrenalin.

 

But anyway it suddenly occurred to me I could do you a favour. You know the Christmas presents you forget to buy or haven’t got round to sending. Well it just so happens I’ve got four books available in paperback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t panic, Amazon will even wrap them and send them direct.

Never quite a passive observer

treasure_planet_sailing.

Back when I was between O levels and A levels (probably around ’71 or ’72) we were encouraged to borrow books out of the libraries of the various science labs at the Grammar school to read over the holiday. I borrowed two from the physics lab.

One was slim and seriously cutting edge. What had attracted my attention was the scanning electron microscope photos of various metal crystals. They were seriously fascinating and bizarre. The other was a more general textbook. I’m not sure why I picked it up but I did. When I dutifully sat down to read it there was a whole heap of boring stuff about mechanics and simple machines and suchlike. I confess to skipping them, except for the illustrations which were of a quality we’ll never see the like of again. The book must have been nearly a century old.

Then I came to the section on ‘The Aether’. For those of you who missed out on this stage of your education “In the late 19th century, physicists postulated that aether permeated all throughout space, providing a medium through which light could travel in a vacuum.”

To be fair, it’s not a bad guess, and it was only with the Michelson–Morley experiment in 1887 that they decided that as theories went, this one wasn’t going to cut it. So scientists went off and invented special relativity instead.

But given that even passive observation of quantum phenomena can actually change the measured result, perhaps if we reran Michelson–Morley with a different observer we’d get the aether back? At least the maths would be simpler.

OK so why exactly am I waffling on about this?
Well it just so happens that last week I was hit by one of those 24 hour bugs than laid me low for four days. My guess is that this time it was something like norovirus. I might even find out if the lab tests ever come back. The side effect of working with livestock is that I’ve had them all. I remember my late father had an attack of diahorrea and sickness and the doctor actually took a sample and sent it off to the lab. A couple of days later we got a phone call from the local Environmental health department.

Official voice, “Hello I’m phoning about a salmonella outbreak.”

“Oh, you’ll want me Dad.”

Official voice, filled with concern, “Is it possible to bring him to the phone?”

“Oh yes, but I’ll have to find him first, he’s out with the dog checking round young stock.” Of course he was, the attack was history, he just wanted to be out an about.

Official voice…………….

Official voice, rallying gallantly, “But about the salmonella….”

“Yes, we have livestock kept under natural conditions. They eat the grass that the seagulls defecate on. “

At about that point the official voice rang off and we heard no more about it.

Mind you, whilst I say I was laid low for the last four days, I was still going out, feeding, mucking out and bedding round the few cattle that we have at the moment. It’s easy than when we were milking. I can remember a number of times having a rotten night with one of these 24hr bugs, getting up at the usual time, going out to milk because it had to be done and there was nobody else to do it. It’s a bad sign when you have to lie down on the floor of the milking parlour between putting the clusters on and taking the clusters off because frankly you’re just too knackered to remain standing up.

As an aside, the knowledge that you’ll be the one milking next morning can induce extreme moderation when somebody suggests you have a couple more drinks. My Dad used to tell of cowmen who’d had too good a Saturday night, being found during Sunday morning milking, sitting on their three legged stool, pressed against the flank of the cow, fast asleep. As somebody who did the morning milking on thirty consecutive New Year’s Days, I think I’ve only ever bothered seeing in the New Year twice and once was by accident.

But anyway this morning I was looking sheep as the hail started. I did what I always do, pulled my cap on more firmly and kept going because there wasn’t really any other option. I was on my way back home anyway.
Sal on the other hand was less than impressed. Have you seen those people who pull their coat collar up over their head and run for shelter? Sal somehow managed to give the impression of a Border Collie doing that. It was only my laugher echoing down the lane behind her that embarrassed her into staying with me.

 

But anyway it suddenly occurred to me I could do you a favour. You know the Christmas presents you forget to buy or haven’t got round to sending. Well it just so happens I’ve got four books available in paperback

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Swords-Dead-Lady-Jim-Webster/dp/184989809X/

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dead-Man-Riding-East-fashion-ebook/dp/B00A8MTB46/

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flames-City-Cities-Gods-can-ebook/dp/B00BLQAAFM/

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Learning-Hard-Trade-Leave-wanting-ebook/dp/B00E0M1V2A/

 

Don’t panic, Amazon will even wrap them and send them direct. And ignore any nonsense about them being out of print. It’s just that I don’t use Amazon to print them, so they’re sulking. Order them and they will come 🙂

 

Transhumance

wintered herdwicks

This is a fancy technical term for spending your life chasing after sheep, (or in extreme cases, goats.)

Actually people forget that livestock have always moved about a lot. This isn’t just some modern development. If you read about Rob Roy and the 17th century Highlands, an important part of society was the Yorkshire cattle dealer who would buy this year’s crop of hill cattle and have them driven south to fatten in the Vale of York.

In Cumbria we’ve got something similar, in that young Herdwick females (hoggs, female sheep who’re not old enough to put to the tup) spend their first winter in the lowlands, whether around the perimeter of Cumbria or even further away.

Now they just get loaded into a trailer and driven there but I can remember being told that in the 1940s and 1950s my Grandfather occasionally took wintering sheep from a relative who farmed up the other side of Coniston. Back then, two men plus dogs walked the sheep south along the roads. It took them two days to walk south with the sheep, stopping the night at a farm of another relative. It’s about twenty five miles and there’s a limit to how fast you want to walk sheep. When they got here with the sheep, they’d spend the night here, and next day they’d walk back to Coniston again in one day. Men walk faster than sheep.

During the Foot and Mouth epidemic, there was a danger that the Herdwick breed might be wiped out by the Blair government and bureaucratic over-reaction to combating the disease. At one point it was feared that the lowland dairy farmers who were temporary custodians of the next breeding generation of the breed would just surrender them to a slaughter scheme. The thinking was that once grass started growing the hoggs normally head back for the hills. Dairy farms need the grass for their own livestock. Whilst it’s fine to have a few sheep about in winter cleaning up the remains of last year’s grass, having the woolly maggots eating grass that was grown for dairy cows can be a very expensive hobby.

In reality, rather that cutting their losses and just dumping the hoggs into the government’s slaughter scheme I know a lot of dairy farmers who worked with the owner of the hoggs, doing their damnedest to keep them alive and out of the claws of Defra.

So those supermarket buyers who are trying to drive prices down for animals which have spent their lives on more than one farm are in danger of undermining traditional practices of considerable antiquity.

Still, people abusing animal welfare regulation for their own purposes is nothing new. The latest example was the fuss over animal sentience and us leaving the EU. The hypocrisy was mind-blowing. I know people who have been attacking the EU for over a generation because it insisted we have live animal exports as part of the free movement of goods, open market etc. Suddenly they were conned by a lot of people who were looking for an excuse to attack Brexit/Wicked Tory scum (delete as the whim takes you) into claiming that the livestock shipping, bull fighting, puppy exporting EU was the only true guardian of animal welfare.

Animals in the UK have comprehensive protection under several acts. The 2006 Animal Welfare act makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal.

‘Animal’ is defined in Section 1 to include all (non-human) vertebrates and may be extended by regulation to include invertebrates on the basis of scientific evidence that “animals of the kind concerned are capable of experiencing pain or suffering”. While the legislation does not specifically mention the word ‘sentient’, the Explanatory Notes for Section 1 mention that the Act applies to vertebrate animals as they are “currently the only demonstrably sentient animals”.

There’s a useful pdf that sums it up, produced by the House of Commons Library.

file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/CBP-8155.pdf

 

There again I was giving a chap a hand unloading some Swaledale hoggs onto their winter pasture. He has other jobs, and the world doesn’t really think of him as a farmer.

I asked him about movement licences and similar and he shrugged.

“I got a thick envelope from Defra the other day but I’ve not got round doing anything about it yet.”
I just nodded wisely. “I see you’re getting the hang of this farming business.”

 

 

as an aside, I did put together a collection of stories. Some about now, some tales I was told about my grandfather and farming round Barrow in the war.

 

They’re available on kindle, but you can read them on any phone or tablet if you download the free kindle app.

 

It’s called, ‘And sometimes I just sits?’

 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077C89YDH/

 

yours for 99p