Well, this is it.
Not a week I’m looking forward to.
It’s bTB testing time…again.
I began gathering up the cattle yesterday, so they are on the home farm, and easily accessible to move into the yard on Tuesday.
I hate it. I worry.
I was born in the Far East and lived there for most of my childhood and teenage years. Like so many children, I was sent back to school in the UK.
When I was eleven or twelve I had my BCG. I can still remember the fuss and horror when the test proved positive. I was rushed into hospital for x-rays and more tests, and, if I remember rightly, was isolated from my fellow schoolmates.
But I didn’t have TB, I was immune. The same happened, strangely enough, with smallpox.
I came to the conclusion that as a happy, well fed, clothed and housed child my immune system was fighting fit so coped with the challenge of various diseases and produced the relevant antibodies.
I firmly believed this would be the case with my cattle too. Unstressed, extensive, organic animals, with access to herb rich pastures, hedgerow plants and shrubs in the summer; dry, airy housing, clean bedding and good mixed forage in the winter, surely must have the best chance of developing a first-rate active and effective immune system.
My belief is being shaken.
More and more I hear of cattle, from closed herds, unstressed and extensive, suffering a bTB breakdown.
Even sacred bulls seem to be at risk – look at Shambo.
Unfortunately the only thing I can do is keep my fingers crossed…