Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Cattle and TB
The scrolling caption at the bottom of the television screen stated that 25000 cattle were slaughtered after contacting TB. This led Barry and me to ponder how they managed to communicate.
Did the head cow, the leader of the herd - there doesn't seem to be a bovine equivalent of bellwether - pick up the phone? Rather difficult for a hoofed animal, but they're cleverer than they look, those cows. Maybe she was an independently minded modern heifer, not allowing any glass ceiling to prevent her advancement, and texted Mr TB. Perchance she used email. Whatever the form of exchange, did she then regret it, fearing she may have sealed her fate and that of her friends and relations?
Ms Heifer to her compatriots: 'Sisters, I have this day spoken to Mr TB and if I may quote Mr Chamberlain, "I believe it is peace for our time ... peace with honour." We shall prevail.'
The cows ceased their cud chewing to moo loud and long at her encouraging words. When it became apparent that there would be no amity and that she and 24999 of her extended family were doomed she was deeply saddened. Hearing the piteous lowing of her companions she addressed them once more, her beautiful dark brown eyes shining with unshed tears.
Ms Heifer: 'My fellow cows, it is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that Mr TB has reneged on his word and that consequently this herd is at immediate danger. You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win life has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything different that I could have done and that would have been more successful. I know that you will all play your part with calmness and courage for the sakes of your relatives far away who have been spared this terrible burden. I beg you not to blame the badgers - they are innocent of any evil motive.'
Ms Heifer quietly lowered her head and pulled a mouthful of sweet grass and began to ruminate, physically and meditatively. Her peers followed her example, listening all the while for the rumble of cattle lorries.