TB “Heartbreak”

Plymouth’s own farmer’s rag, the Western Morning News is never afraid of ensuring evidence and reasoned debate don’t obscure the real agenda of protecting agribusiness’s bottom line. However, this story set a new gold standard. My commentary follows, plus a slight remix, also reproduced below.


Athwenna Owen / Mark Oliver: your heart breaks for 1 little heifer with TB? Two million cows killed/year, UK alone, in pain and fear, for the taste of your meat. The same meat which once again was shown today to be ruinous for our health and totally unsustainable for 7 billion humans on this small planet. Despite no credible evidence of a TB link, 1771 badgers were killed to permit this to continue, 18% taking longer than five minutes to die, in agony. To paraphrase the UN definition of state “aggression”, it is the meat industry itself that is the ‘supreme crime in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole‘. This pernicious buncombe, quite typical of an uninformed farmer’s rag like the WMN, makes the point very clearly — our feelings are there to be manipulated in any way possible, so long as the real crime, and the real culpability, can be airbrushed over and we get on with the important business of killing, selling and enjoying the taste of flesh. You created this situation. Why do you expect anyone to feel pity for you, when the murderous business you love feels nothing for billions of thinking, feeling animals killed every year? The irony is, it’s the vegans who get accused of sentimentality! But in truth, it’s pure logic, and cutting-edge neuroscientific evidence that drives the vegan position. Read the Cambridge Declaration of Animal Consciousness and “be the change you want to see in the world”. http://tinyurl.com/ckvyuon http://tinyurl.com/olv22mm

Calves condemned to a slightly earlier death by TB in wake of badger cull chaos

For any cow, losing her child, or mother to meat is a heartbreaking experience.

But when the condemned animals are only a few months old and have yet to see a blade of grass, the consequences of this industry really hit home.

Mark Oliver, vice-chairman of the NFU South West dairy board, keeps over 800 thinking, feeling and conscious creatures he labels “stock”, at his farm in mid Cornwall, all expressly for him to have killed, for meat, to make money.

Mr Oliver is the latest in a long line of farmers whose “stock” has been hit by bovine TB, following tests last week.

Of the 15 animals that will leave his farm tomorrow to be killed, 14 are calves and just a few months old. All of the condemned group would have been destined to have their lives cruelly cut short, had their lives not been cruelly cut short sooner.

“I have had 15 reactors at the last test, and 14 of them are calves. The youngest was born in November and the oldest is about ten months,” said Mr Oliver.

“We have been down with TB before; we had a few months of last year TB free, then we went down again in September and remained down ever since.

“It is unusual to have so many calves go down, but I suspect a badger has got into the calf hutches”, he said, not going on to add “I have absolutely no evidence to support this claim, or evidence that badgers are even implicated. It’s just what I reckon.”.

“It’s that horrible moment when the tag goes in to their ear, which is basically signing their death warrant”, he said, before not continuing “when really it should be me signing their death warrant when I pack them off to the abattoir”.

From a young age, Mr Oliver has always been passionate about the killing of his father’s – and now his – pedigree Holstein herd. For Mr Oliver, watching generations killed by captive bold gun is a long term and rewarding game, but the loss of these latest additions is one that will be trivial to replace with hormone-enriched artificial insemination.

Alongside the milking herd of only females (the males were killed because they were valueless to him for milk) Mr Oliver keeps a small herd of Hereford sucklers to be killed for beef, and some of those calves have also gone down with TB and will be slaughtered well before their time to be slaughtered.

“I feel absolutely nothing whatsoever when I look up which calves have been condemned to die for my meat,” Mr Oliver didn’t say, “because, hey! It’a all of them!!”, he didn’t chuckle.

“I get compensation for the loss of their lives but what I cannot replace is the pedigree breeding.” Mr. Oliver said, failing to go on to add “Obviously, they get no compensation for being killed of course, but then they’re just stock”.

Mr Oliver hopes that the government will be able to draw up effective solutions to conquer the spread of the disease and put an end to the tragic consequences farmers face, where they have to kill their cows when the government tells them to, and not a little bit later, when they want to.

“I appreciate that the government is seeking to at last tackle the problem,” he said, without making reference to scientific evidence or scholarship of any kind.

“I hope they will be able to roll out the badger cull in a fashion that is simple and effective, so that this disease can be beaten and we can get back to healthy wildlife and healthy cattle,” adds Mr Oliver, again without making any reference to a single peer-reviewed academic source, all of which refute totally the existence of credible infectious links to badgers.

He criticised those who oppose the badger slaughters, which farmers believe without evidence or question is necessary as a part of the solution to the bovine TB crisis.

“I hope that people see this and realise the disease they are fighting to keep alive and well is destroying tens of thousands of lives and causing heartache and loss for countless farmers”, he said, not continuing to say “when really it should be us the farmers who get to destroy all those lives”.

“These are just 15 of the 30,000 plus animals that are being culled because of TB.” he said, before not chuckling to himself and not adding “Mind you, that’s peanuts compared to the billions farmers just like me kill every year!!”

The Government has pledged to keep up the smokescreen against bovine TB in the badger population by rolling out slaughters across TB hotspot areas, to make the point they were right in the first place, even when there is no evidence that they were, and every indication that they weren’t. But it is facing significant opposition from a range of quarters, including scientific evidence, peer-reviewed academic scholarship and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Last week the BBC published what it claimed was leaked information alleging that the Independent Expert Panel’s report on the pilot badger slaughters in Somerset and Gloucestershire had shown shooting free running badgers to be “inhumane and ineffective.” It alleged targets for removing 70% of badgers had been missed – a fact already under-reported. But it also claimed some of the badgers shot had taken more than five minutes to die, rendering the method ‘more agonising and terrifying than they were comfortable having linked with them, but still not enough to make them change policy’.

Both the National Farmers’ Union and Defra declined to comment on the leak, insisting the report had yet to be published. It is understood it will come out later this month, and be ignored.

But Rebecca Jordan of the National Beef Association didn’t say part of the confusion, for the public, came from the phrase “pilot massacres”. She didn’t go on:

“The point of those pilot massacres was to sound out what is best practice for when the massacres are rolled out across the country. They perhaps would have been better named ‘trial massacres’ so the public understand the results and experiences learnt during them will be refined and improved upon, and we can massacre more and more animals, more and more cheaply” she didn’t say. She then didn’t go on to speculate “We’d considered calling them ‘unnecessary and unsupported massacres to permit the further massacring of other feeling animals’, but then thought it might have turned people off a bit…? Not sure…”

For Mr Oliver’s stock and the billions like them, the moment when we see the truth of this vile industry, cannot come soon enough.

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