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Shorthorn Cows and Calves
Shorthorn Cows and Calves:

What is so special about these beasts and why are they endangered?  There are plenty of Shorthorns aren't there?
     
Yes there are plenty of Shorthorns. The breed itself will not die out.
      These particular cows were born, in April and May, on Uldale Fell in Cumbria; an area of open common land similar to the hill land in the background which is the adjoining Bassenthwaite Common. Like their mothers and grandmothers they would have spent most of their lives out there coming down onto the enclosed land in July to run with the Bull for two or three months.
    Would have, were it not for the 2001 Foot and Mouth epidemic and the 'environmentalists'. Now they must be kept, permanently, on enclosed land.
     That winter I had sent the cows away to a lowland farm, more for my sake than theirs. That farm was caught in the smoke plume from one of the funeral pyres. A week later FMD was confirmed.
     DEFRA:- Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (Notice, NO mention of Agriculture.) always claimed that the virus was not spread in the smoke, but  the Northumberland report on the 1967 FMD outbreak recommended that carcases were not burned because of that risk. In  this case I obtained the wind direction, from Carlisle airport, for the first 2-3 hours of the burn. I then drew a line on the map on that bearing from the pyre. Only one farm on that line escaped; it was in a hollow, and the smoke passed over it!
      I lost all my in-calf cows. See 'Death of an English County' which I wrote at the time. Luckily, I had three generations of heifers at home (on the Fell) and the three seniors calved. They all survived. When it was all over I was able to buy back the surplus heifer calves that I had sold the previous December, so the herd was saved.

      That is when the 'environmentalists' stepped in..

      English Nature ( Now called 'Natural England', the statutory advisors to Government on all matters environmental), realising that the Uldale, Caldbeck and Mungrisedale Commons had lost most of the hefted flocks they seemed to think it was a good time to reduce the numbers of sheep 'permitted' to be turned out to graze. The reduction imposed on Uldale Common was over 60% of the sheep, and in my case, if I wanted to turn my cattle out onto the common I would have to remove even more sheep.
       Of course, the justification for these drastic stock reductions was to 'save the environment'; especially the heather.
     We, the graziers, challenged the dodgy science. As a result DEFRA's own specialist team conducted a detailed survey of Uldale Common. Their recommendation was for a higher stocking rate, whicn English Nature promptly ignored.
      These three cows are the last ones of a long line to have been born on the open fell.
      No members of the herd born after 2001 have ever had the oportunity to graze that land.
      They have never been challenged; either to adapt to the mineral imbalances on that poor land, or fail to breed.
     These, our Native Breeds, are the kind of animals that can produce good wholesome meat from poor pasture. In the present economic climate, with a growing population, escalating import costs and the worst trade deficit since records began we should be utilising all our resources
      Meanwhile, without the grazing animals, the commons are becoming rank and overgrown. Many plants that were intended to be preserved have been smothered. There is an increasing fire hazard. The heather is passing its best; English Nature seem to disapprove of heather burning; disregarding all the  scientific evidence and years of practical experience.
       Hitting some politician's long outdated and discredited 'target' is now more important than common sense.
     
To read more see:- 'Hill Cattle' and 'Hill Sheep'.