Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dreadful start to the lambing season .

I read this story on Sunday and it brought tears to my eyes. The problem is the Schmallenberg disease, a new virus that has crossed the Channel from Europe. The disease is invisible in sheep until the infected ewes give birth.

The first signs of the disease reaching Britain came last month. "We had no warning," Mrs Clay, a contract lamber said. "When the first lamb was deformed we thought, 'What is this?' Then they kept coming. "We're seeing limbs fused together, joints that don't work, necks that are twisted all the way round and deformed jaws that don't meet, so they can't feed. We've also had a high number of lambs who should have been born but weren't there when the time came. We're not used to this. You get the odd lamb that isn't right, but nothing on this scale."

The rest of this story makes grim reading. Some tiny little virus can wreck our food chain and the livelihoods of thousands of people. To think that something, so microscopically small like the Schmallenberg virus, can do such damage is a great shock. Our government and it's scientists have a lot of hard work ahead to save us from this plague that is threatening our farmers. It is like something from a science fiction movie but sadly it will not be solved within a 90 minute time frame. The emotional burden that contract lambers carry must be huge and my heart goes out to them as they struggle every day into the unknown.
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