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Graphic TB slaughter blog generates huge following

A blog launched by a Gloucestershire beef farmer to highlight the reality of living with bovine TB (bTB) has generated huge international interest.
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In the blog, David Barton, who has lost more than 100 cattle to the disease since 2001, writes candidly about being ‘sick to the stomach’ as yet another batch of animals is shot.


“I can’t watch….the BANG, when it finally comes, is piercing and final. The other cows know exactly what has happened and what is about to happen,” he writes.


“What follows next is the undignified winching of the carcass up the ramp of the trailer leaving a trail of blood and shit in its wake.”


The blog also includes a graphic video, filmed by the NFU, showing the four cattle, including his stock bull Ernie, being shot on farm after testing positive for the disease that is currently affecting thousands of farmers across the UK.


“It’s bloody hard and quite frankly I have had enough and I’m getting out of beef because of it. I can’t emotionally carry on doing this.


“You can’t live with this. It’s ruining businesses, it’s upset my whole family. They are distraught about this. It’s only two years since we were doing it before.


“It’s hopeless. I have a situation where my hands are tied – what the bloody hell do I do?”

Living with TB

The blog has been viewed by more than 200,000 people in 26 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Hong Kong, in the last three days.


The video has been watched more than 63,000 times on YouTube since it was posted last Friday and Mr Barton has received more than 150 supportive comments posted, including many from other farmers facing similar problems.


He hopes the blog will give people a greater sense of what living with bovine TB is like.


“I’m overwhelmed by the reaction to the blog and the interest it has generated,” he said.


“My motivation was to share my thoughts and feelings about the impact of this disease on farmers like me and to show the pressures and problems it causes on working farms.”


Raise awareness

“I’m hoping it will make more people aware of the issues surrounding bovine TB and encourage other farmers to share their experiences.”


NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “Bovine TB is devastating farming families across large parts of the country but its true impact goes largely unseen.


“The video shows the distressing reality that farmers like David have to live with. Tens of thousands of cattle are slaughtered every year because they have become infected with TB.


“These animals are just four of them. While cattle are being culled, badgers are spreading the disease unchecked. This cannot go on.”


David Barton’s blog can be read here


You can also read a Farmers Guardian article in which Mr Barton highlights the ‘soul-destroying impact’ and explains why he believes a badger cull is necessary to control the spread of the disease.


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