British dairy farmers are reeling from the negative impact of a television programme put out by the BBC earlier this week. It showed the appalling mal-treatment of dairy cows on a large farm just a few miles from us, in fact. The cows were being subjected to a level of abusive handling that left us all horrified. The farm employed a number of workers who clearly had no compassion for the animals in their 'care'. It has shocked the whole industry and we are all trying hard to show that the huge majority of dairy farm would never treat their cows in such a way. Instances of such cruelty are very few and far between, thank goodness. We as dairy farmers spend our lives ensuring that our cows are in the best of health, well-nourished, clean and comfortable. They are our livelihood and deserve the best of care and yes, we do love them. The farm concerned is under close scrutiny now and has lost its milk contract but the damage has been done. We as dairy farmers now have an uphill task to counteract the mis-information put out by the programme which played into the hands of the animal rights and vegan lobby. Please do not believe everything you see on television or read in social media...the majority of farmers care passionately about their animals and look after them to very highest standards with regular inspections, in fact British animal welfare standards are among the highest in the world. We have the Red Tractor assurance scheme (www.redtractor.org.uk)which covers 11,000 dairy farms producing 95% of all the milk in the UK. The Red Tractor logo ensures that whatever produce you are buying whether it be millk, meat or vegetables, has been produced to the very best standards of welfare and quality. We are an organic farm and so we have the double assurance that our milk is produced to both Red Tractor and Soil Association standards (www.soilassociation.org).
Today we are in the grip of Storm Eunice (I don't when they started naming storms or why!) with a rare Red Warning out for our area. We are certainly enduring incredibly strong winds and heavy rain. The advice is not to travel and to be aware of the risk of falling trees and flying debris. The ferries that leave from Welsh ports for Ireland are all cancelled and the bridges crossing the river Severn from England into Wales are closed as are a number of number of roads over high ground. How long the strom will last I don't know but hopefully it will blow itself out over the next twenty-four hours.
The Farmer has just this minute called me out to see a poplar tree that he saw fall in Younger Son's garden and he has just be cutting up an elder tree that had fallen across the driveway, so we are not escaping unscathed from Eunice.
A comical side the stormy weather is the sight of a hen coming out of the hen-house and having her feathers all blown forward and being propelled at speed across the paddock! Hens are not very aero-dynamically designed.