Anton Coaker: Joss Stone and PETA

Discussion in 'Agricultural Matters' started by JP1, Nov 26, 2015.

  1. JP1

    JP1 Moderator

    Winter feeding is well and truly with us now, with the majority of the cattle expecting their breakfast each day. There’s still a handful of Galloways 2 miles out on the hill, happy picking amongst the abundant rough, and one or two groups of youngsters on better ground still hoovering up what’s left of autumns bounty. With more cold showers forecast, I daresay they’ll be looking for me soon enough. Interestingly, the Galloways with spring calves have pretty much all come home so we can wean the youngsters- meaning lots of bawling around the yard night times at the minute. However, those with new calves are the ones still happy out over.
    Opening that huge stack of bales has revealed what we knew all along. The last grass baled was way past its prime, and as well as it’s been saved, it’s got almost no smell at all. I’m insisting the girls eat it first, before they get into better stuff baled earlier. And while I don’t actually speak bovine, I can read the expression on their disappointed faces all too clearly!

    I’ve been grappling with fears of cashflow issues, with no BSP cheque likely before next March, and an unresolved dispute holding up HLS. So I’ve kept selling store cattle and the like, rather than get caught with too many at the main TB test, or some slump in trade. I daresay some of us will be in real trouble by the end of winter, and I don’t intend to be on my beam ends if I can help it. The rationale originally was that I could sell some haylage as well, but that doesn’t seem very likely now. So I’m resigned to going into winter with the 290-300 head still about, and far more fodder than they can eat. And if I’m already reckoning there’ll be fodder leftover…why don’t I let the girls have some of the yummier stuff first as last. Hmm. Such are the trials and tribulations which stretch my management planning.

    We lost a cow calving a couple of weeks ago- we found her with a dead ‘head back’ calf, and she’d contracted right back on it. Young v’tnary didn’t hold out much hope he could Caesar her successfully, and given that she was already attacking us, and gone 10 years old. I didn’t hesitate, and did what had to be done. As we walked back in from pulling the plug, morosely agreeing that such things happen at the coalface, John was already thinking ahead of us… ‘yeah, and who’s going to eat her 10 bales now?’

    Obviously, I noted news that raising livestock is leading to the end of the world –and millions upon millions of humans going to live in ever-greater cities, pointlessly squandering every resource they can buy, isn’t really the problem at all- it’s all those farting burping cows of Anton’s. Apparently, the answer will be to tax my beef.* You can guess what I think of this announcement. And if you wish to take it up personally, I shan’t be talking about ‘conversion rates from unimproved rough pasture’, or ‘CO2 sequestrating on grazed moors’. No, I’ll foreshorten the conversation with a sour face and a heavy stave. I’m never at my conversational sparkling best as the workload racks up, evenings pull sharply in, and the gales have been driving sleet in my face, so save yourself the contusions. As ever, the figures will likely be extrapolated from intensive systems overseas, with no attention paid to what happens round here. They certainly didn’t ask me.

    And then there’s that Joss Stone maid, once more lending her credibility to PETA, because they’re very excited it’s cruel to wear the skins of exotic animals. And I suppose you might take that view, and get into a discussion about farmed ‘exotics’ against wild ones. However, I’d have thought that PETA have blown it now. Weren’t they the crew who were caught using a completely staged photo of a model pretending to have skinned a lamb half to death while shearing it, in an attempt to stop people buying wool. The ‘lamb’ was a prop, and the whole thing a dishonest and misleading fabrication, but never mind, they’ve got some trendy celebrities on board. It’s ironic, attacking an ancient industry, which turns untilled pasture into a bio-degradable fabric, via the honest sweat of highly skilled men and women. Ironic and contemptable.

    *Anyway, should you want some untaxed unrefined feral beef, we’ve a fabulous Belt steer cutting next week. He spent most of his 3 year life happily frolicking about gorse bushes and whortleberries on the hill, burping and guffing away to his heart’s content. And now we’re going to eat him. Call if you want some.

    About the author

    Originally published in The Western Morning News, these articles are reproduced for the enjoyment of TFF members World-wide by kind permission of the author Anton Coaker and the WMN

    Anton Coaker is a fifth generation farmer keeping suckler cows and flocks of hill sheep high on the Forest of Dartmoor and running a hardwood and mobile sawmill.

    A prodigious writer and regular correspondent for The Western Morning News, NFU and The Farming Forum, Anton’s second book “The Complete Bullocks” is available from
    arcobob, taff, jade35 and 5 others like this.

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