It has been a funny few weeks in the mainstream media. First the newspapers and TV stations presented a dog being allowed run wild in the countryside as a “good news” story.
The owners let the dog off its lead, it then apparently chased a deer and promptly disappeared for two weeks before someone found it and returned it to its owners.
No one asked the owners why they let the dog off its lead in the first place or what other animals it might have chased or chewed on while it was left to its own devices.
Such inaction on their part fuels the sense that clamping down on dog ownership, licensing and micro-chipping is not something they want to be associated with
Perhaps it is time the farming organisations started to officially record and regularly publish figures for all dog attacks on sheep.
At the moment, reports in the media seem somewhat ad-hoc. This leaves politicians off the hook when they are lobbied to do something.
Such inaction on their part fuels the sense that clamping down on dog ownership, licensing and micro-chipping is not something they want to be associated with.
We are left to assume that not upsetting dog owners is higher on their vote-getting agenda than protecting the livelihood of sheep farmers.
In the media recently too was the Minister of State Pippa Hackett saying some lands were meant to flood and that encouraging farmers to drain their fields was a mistake. Whether or not the minister is right, that newspaper report opened the gates for many who have farmers in their cross-hairs to wade in with statements like, “Why don’t we just pay farmers not to drain their land?”
This is becoming a common refrain in debates and discussions, “Why don’t we just pay farmers to…whatever?” I am sure I am not the only one to find this condescending.
What is also rarely stated is the logical next step to such suggestions: What do people expect farmers to do instead of producing food? Should the Government create reservation camps for us, as was done for the Native Americans?
Beast from the east
Oblivious to the impact of the weather on farms at this time of the year, the mainstream media was also awash last week with talk of another beast from the east.
While snow might provide plenty of content for news features and a welcome distraction from COVID-19, the giddy excitement at the thought of snowstorms shows again how far removed most of the media and the majority of the people are from the primary source of their food.
There is a nice stretch in the evenings and the mornings are brighter
If fresh milk couldn’t be delivered to supermarkets because of the snow, would the connection dawn on people again?
For all my giving out above, the form overall is very good around the yard. There is a nice stretch in the evenings and the mornings are brighter. We have a few lambs on the ground and pressure in the shed is lifting. Our weanling heifers will leave the muck of their out-wintered home in another fortnight to buck around on dry ground and spring grass.
We are emerging from winter at last. Now, if we could only get the young lads back to school and a few genuine good farming news stories on the telly, we’d be flying.