Saturday, 28 July 2007

Shambo, and hundreds more.

"The next day there was no dawn chorus"

Shambo hit the headlines.He seemed to symbolize something very dysfunctional with the way DEFRA manages crisis in farming.On the radio this morning a farmer related his experience; he lost hundreds of cattle when they were slaughtered by DEFRA in the last foot and mouth outbreak. He described how his cattle were left in a huge pile,after the slaughter, waiting to be disposed of. DEFRA informed him that the carcasses might have to be left there for a week, in his field. The farmer and his family were expected to live for a week with the piled carcasses of the animals they had cared for, lying nearby. He rightly described this as 'not decent', and described DEFRA as incompetent.
These animals were ,like us, capable of feeling pain, and fear. They were treated as lumps of meat even whilst they were alive, in a country which is supposed to be civilized.
The farmer described how the next day there was "no dawn chorus, everything was totally silent.....there were no birds....the birds disappeared....for weeks"

The return to smaller farms,or farms where acres are divided into smaller units to incorporate more diversity, where animal husbandry, ecology and environmental issues are easier to manage, would provide a sustainable way forward. A system that regularly expects hundreds of animals to be slaughtered because of disease is a brutal and in the end brutalising system,which requires people to shut out of their minds the reality behind the packaged food we buy at the supermarket.

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