Saturday, 10 March 2012

Big Fatstock Show.

Today has been a big fatstock show at our local Auction Mart - it is an important event up here in the yearly calendar and the farmer went along with my camera. He did invite me along too but on the whole women are seen as being out of place unless they are actually showing or selling something, so I kept away.

Before he went I nipped into town to post a parcel, only to find that there was no power at the Post Office, so all the machines were down and the place was closed and in darkness, so the parcel will have to wait until Monday.

Back to the fatstock sale. The supreme champion was the black heifer above. Although she is black, her breed is Belgian Blue and she was sold for £3,400. 00 and will go for breeding in the hope of getting some good progeny from her. The Reserve Champion was the big lad, the brown Limousine. He has been castrated so cannot be bred from but before he goes for beef (which he will do eventually) he will probably be shown around the country by his new owner, in the hope that he wins other fatstock shows. He fetched well over £4,000. 00.

Someone in the comments yesterday asked if we had Foot and Mouth here on the farm. Yes, we did. I know I have already told the story, but for the sake of those who don't know I will just tell
it briefly again. The farmer went round the flock of sheep one morning in early April and found one sheep standing on its own and looking under the weather. When he examined it he knew immediately that we had Foot and Mouth disease. At the time, we also had a dairy herd and although they were not affected they had to be killed too. The Ministry vet came and verified that it was Foot and Mouth. We drew a kilometre circle around the farm and everything in that circle was slaughtered, so we took out five other farms too. By five o'clock that afternoon everything on our farm - all the sheep and all the cows - was dead.

It was a terrible time and felt like a bereavement. But like everything else you spring back and recover and now it all seems like a bad dream.

Before I finish today's blog I want to put on one more thing. This is for UK readers alone. The government charges the fuel tax on air ambulances. It does not do so on lifeboats and many people feel - rightly in my opinion - that air ambulances should be exempt duty too. It is a subject dear to my heart as only fifteen months ago I was airlifted to hospital. Air ambulances rely entirely on public donations. In order for the government to have to compulsorily debate the issue the petition needs 100,000 signatories. At present I think they have about sixteen thousand. Do you feel like signing the petition? I am useless at doing links, but if you are willing to sign the petition this is the site to go to:


Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

I signed your petition Pat - it makes perfect sense to have the fuel duty exempt on a public service that relies on donations. It was up to 27K signatures when I was on...

And I can't believe at how much those cattle are going for! The Limousine is going to make an expensive hamburger ;)

Heather said...

Those beasts at the Fatstock Show are magnificent and a credit to their breeders.
It's a sign of the times when you can't post a parcel without electricity!
I agree with you about the exemption from tax for the Air Ambulance Service and will certainly sign the petition.

Toffeeapple said...

Lovely animals, worth every penny.

I have signed the petition. I tried to donate to our air-ambulance last week but they weren't collecting just getting signatures to enter a lottery type thing which I never enter. I believe that you can donate on line and this post has reminded me to do it, thanks Pat!

Tom Stephenson said...

That foot and mouth period must have been horrible for you, on every level.

Cynthia Monica said...

So sorry to hear about the foot and mouth situation you went through...can only imagine how difficult that would be....

H said...

Foot and mouth was a terrible thing. My (slightly reclusive) dairy farmer uncle barely left his farm for six months. I am so sorry that you had to go through such an awful experience!

I've signed the petition. The air ambulance is a real life saver!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'll sign the petition. Air ambulance should certainly be exempt!

Such a sad story about Foot & mouth on your farm

Titus said...

Wonderful shots of the cattle, Weaver, thank you. I used to love going to market with my father - obviously we were buyers, not sellers - it was Ashford, Maidstone, Rye and sometimes Bury for us.

The 2001 foot and mouth was first found in Cheale's abbatoir, just one set of fields away from ours. You can imagine the effect it had on our business.

And I'll certainly sign the petition.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Marvellous how quickly the petition is growing - thanks to those who took up my offer.
Glad to read your comments as usual.