David Barton: Trying to express the inexpressible (graphic warning)

Discussion in 'Agricultural Matters' started by News, May 10, 2014.

  1. News

    News Staff Member

    Three days ago a slaughterman came to my farm to shoot Ernie, our stock bull, and three other cattle that had tested positive for bovine TB.

    They had to be killed on farm because they’d been given worming medication which meant they couldn’t be taken to a slaughterhouse. I invited the NFU to come down and film what was one of the most distressing experiences of my farming life.

    That night I started trying to put my thoughts into words for a blog post. This is as far as I got.

    I woke up with a feeling of dread in my stomach again….

    I don’t have facilities for slaughtering my own animals on the farm so an unbearable time was spent waiting for the first – a beautiful young heifer – to get into the correct position.

    I can’t watch….the BANG, when it finally comes, is piercing and final. The other cows know exactly what has happened and what is about to happen.

    What follows next is the undignified winching of the carcass up the ramp of the trailer leaving a trail of blood and sh!t in its wake.

    Next is Hugo. With her huge doe-like eyes she looks at me and knows. The cow with the baby calf is becoming fractious and aggressive. She can smell blood and cordite. As she is becoming so wild, she is shot with a single bullet from a rifle. A perfect shot finally breaking the tension.

    I feel sick to the bottom of my stomach and I can hardly make my legs take me to Ernie. The gentle giant. Loved by all. He trusts me and I know I am about to betray that trust. I put his barley down for his usual feed. But this is not usual. The marksman steps up and the bang echoes out. The finality is over-bearing. I have to leave.
    Ernie the Bull with Tess , my daughter’s horse

    The only consolation (as we always have to find a positive?) is the instant finality of it all. My animals are always well cared for and a quick and respectful death is what I ask for.

    I am comforted by numerous messages from friends who loved Ernie. One dear friend even bought us an apple tree to plant in his memory. And my daughter sent a picture of Ernie and Tess, her horse, sharing some hay a couple of winters ago.

    Looking back at what I wrote a couple of days earlier, I realise it’s a disjointed stream of thoughts and emotions. I find it difficult to read over again as I was in this position two years ago and, at that time, there was a solution on the horizon.

    More information and stats can be found here: http://www.tbfreeengland.co.uk/home/

    The original blog by David Barton posted on MAY 9, 2014 can be read here:


    David Barton produced the film with the help of the NFU
  2. Sandpit Farm

    Sandpit Farm Member

    What an excellent video. The tragedy is well captured and I think it is so much more powerful to film David while the shots are taken.

    I'm so sorry. It is really terrible.
  3. JP1

    JP1 Moderator


    David Barton on Radio 4 this morning

    Well worth listening to. Good on Charlotte Smith for facilitating and to David Barton to come over as a good and fair farmer and speaker
  4. Muck Spreader

    Muck Spreader Member

    Maybe Brian May should be invited to a TB culling and see if he and his followers can stomach the destruction they are helping to cause.
    ridger likes this.
  5. An Gof

    An Gof Member

    I listened to the show this morning and thought David Barton did an excellent job. It was refreshing that the BBC facilitated a balanced and sensible discussion. Credit to the speaker from the Badger Trust as well who was objective, polite and balanced in his views.
    llamedos, JP1 and lim x like this.
  6. JP1

    JP1 Moderator

    I reckon it has a lot to do with Charlotte Smith and her personality making sure a balanced view is portrayed. sadly I still think the BBC as an entity has it's own pro-badger-at-any-costs agenda. David Barton was at his most powerful in his rationale when he stated he wanted healthy badgers on his place along with ground nesting birds etc and posed the rhetorical question what is wrong with sett testing along with herd testing
  7. I'm not going to watch the video as it upsets me to think about it.

    It's bad enough having to dispatch a ewe with a bad prolapse but watching someone come onto the farm and end your animals lives which are part of yours is hard.

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