Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Matthew 'Comes Out' 3 & 4

Matthew 3 has a homebred herd of dairy cattle, with nothing bought in since 1997. The herd was accredited in 1952, and survived a 300 mile hike and one bought in reactor in 1985. Other than that single bought- in cow, had been clear of bovine Tb for 49 years. It isn't now.

In 2001 at the annual routine test, a home bred 8 th calver was a Reactor.
Since then the herd has had a drip feed of Reactors and Inconclusives at each of almost 20 consecutive 60 day tests. Constant re infection from a maintenance reservoir of infected badgers.

Why badgers?

The farm is surrounded by woods and roads - no cattle to cattle contact at all.
Bambi can't dig motorways under sheep netting fences, criss crossing the farm.
And it doesn't find ways into farm buildings with sheeted gates almost to the floor, and 'share' cattle feed.
Despite all attempts to exclude them, badgers have caused the death of 38 home bred cattle (and their 35 unborn calves) and led to the death of 120 bull calves shot at birth on Matthew 3's farm.

This farm was in a designated Reactive area of the Krebs' trial. What a barrel of laughs that turned out to be. While they were waiting for the wildlife teams, Matthew and his neighbours lost over 300 cattle. Almost 3 years to 'React' - and then Bradshaw announced that he was abandoning that zone, as it was leading to "an increase in cattle tb".
Well it would wouldn't it, if the 007 squad didn't turn up?

Some of Matthew 3's cattle had never been out to graze. Tb came IN to them, and during the spring of 2003, he lost 17 pedigree incalf holsteins all from one group. His heifers could see their mothers, and grandmothers but they could also see, and hear 'foreign' cattle across the valley. Matthew is waiting for another cash strapped ' scientist' to offer Bradshaw another 'trial'.
"Can bTb be transmitted through the ears" by listening to bulls--t.

Matthew's neighbour found a dead badger behind his farm buildings in February, but Defra refused to collect it. Constructive ignorance? 3 farms bordering that carcass have now lost a further 20 animals. All three farms are under restriction.

Matthew 3 is seriously pissed off .


Matthew 4 has 400 head of pedigree high genetic holsteins, which are again under restriction.
His herd is predominantly homebred, with an occasional new bloodline introduced. The farm is on annual testing, and for over 40 years had no problems. Tb hit four years ago and has been rumbling ever since.

He is facing the winter grossly overstocked, as the only stock he can sell are for direct slaughter.
He used to sell newly calved heifers and older cows, and breeding bulls.
He used to show his cattle of which he was very proud, as a window for customers to view his stock.

He is wondering whether to buy extra feed, housing, quota - or all three.
He has tried to forward budget for selling good cows onto the OTM scheme at £300 / head, so that he has room for pedigree heifers which he should have sold at over £1000. He reckons that little excercise will cost him £28,000.
He suggests we add that to the list of 'advantages' farmers face from being under restriction.

Three families are supported by this herd.

Matthew 4 is a worried man.

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