Some of course are under re-construction and some are quite simply no longer required. In agriculture as in any business, things move on rapidly. The habits and needs of the last century are no longer applicable.
In Aberdeenshire at least, many animals are reared indoors. Try and find a pig or a milk cow out of doors and you may struggle. I currently have a need for some shots of hen’s running free around a farmyard. Dream on, appears to be the advice!
I recall a sticker on the rear window of a Land Cruiser which read “Don’t criticise farmers with your mouth full!”.
It was after some agricultural scandal or other. I forget which one. DDT in the food chain killing wildlife and poisoning folk(Rachel Carson style), BSE (Mad Cow Disease) due to feeding ruminants with bits of other ruminants or that thing to do with John Major’s girlfriend and the salmonella in eggs. There are no doubt many more and I won’t even begin to mention the current issues to do with the food chain.
I can completely understand the sentiment of course. Without the folk who toil in the fields there would be no supermarket shelves stacked high with the produce which we seem to require to keep body and soul together. I have the utmost respect for farmers. Most act completely responsibly and adhere to the traditional values of the countryside. Most would never knowingly do anything to either degrade the land that provides them with a living or deprive nature of an essential bio-mix of species.
Farming nowadays requires new skills. Gone are the old days when a bit of local weather lore and a well thumbed copy of Whittaker’s Almanac were enough to get a food producer through the year. Satnav in tractors, internet sale rings and agricultural science have put paid to that.
The jury was certainly out on the badger cull issue though. After a postponement of the cull (New Speak for the gassing of Mr Brock) last year, it has been announced that it will now go ahead.
Farmers Weekly reports that “A widespread badger cull is unlikely to stop the spread of bovine TB (BTB) across Britain, according to a new study.”
Andrew Praill, of the British Veterinary Association and president of the British Cattle Veterinary Association insisted the cull was necessary to stop the spread of TB.
Prof John McInerney, emeritus professor of agricultural policy at the University of Exeter, said the culls will cost much more than it saves the farming industry.
New research conducted by Durham University has claimed a ‘widespread badger cull’ will have no impact in solving the problem of tuberculosis in cattle.
I trust and hope that the new breed of scientifically minded farmers will examine all of the arguments very carefully before allowing badgers to be killed on their land.