The trauma of saying goodbye forever to our first cows is over – the image and soundtrack of the heavy metal truck door closing behind them like a death-row prison door will no doubt haunt me forever. The whole process has been smoothed over because of the arrival of our new cows. It still feels strange to see unknown alien cows running around where minutes before there were six large black cows whom we knew well — but at least there was no gap between having cows. No eerie moo-less paddocks to haunt my conscience about the forthcoming fate of the first lot. For someone who has always been passionate about issues like animal cruelty, anti-vivisection etc… I can tell you that the thought of being involved in sending cows off potentially to slaughter, or even to live export to the Middle East (it could happen, depending on who buys at the auction) just seeps dark guilt into my heart and conscience. I reconcile it by seeing our involvement as a sort of calf fostering role. We raise them and give them the resources and time that we can for a limited period, but cannot be ultimately responsible for their future fate. We have all become accustomed to meat bought in sterile polystyrene plastic wrapped trays. It is a sobering and valuable reality check to really understand that a steak once had a personality.
Anyway, I’ll blow away the philosophical cloud of guilty conscience floating around me tonight and focus on the new task at hand – settling the new cows in. They are of course, extremely cute. For not the first (or last) time, I am again in love with our newest companions – destined again to be heartbroken in future, but committed nevertheless to giving out maximum love to the hoofed ones, ‘cos that’s what we do.