Lambing Lies...

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  • Lambing Lies


    This winter just gone, I noticed something odd in the fields as I was commuting to work on a bitter cold, icy morning through the countryside on the bus. In this one particular field in the land of nowhere I noticed, roughly about 30 sheep and their tiny, fresh newborn lambs... As I was staring at them all with oar, 'arring' and oohing' at them through the window.. I started to question... I thought little Spring lambs were born in the Spring?? They must have only been one week old! It was absolutely freezing outside, they didn't have any fay on them to keep them warm, they were so skinny and little! On my way home that evening, it was darker and even colder, I peered through the window and saw them huddled together in the hedges for warmth... My heart sank... I just wanted to take them all home, feed them, give them all love and warmth bed for the night.

    The next morning and evening they were all still there! Everyday for eight days solid they were there! I was doing loads of overtime at work and I was observing them for many weeks. From the first time I noticed them all that morning, eight solid days they were there, freezing their little bollocks off! During those eight days there was a massive storm, gale force winds, heavy rain. I couldn't sleep some nights, I was wide awake listening to the storm while thinking about them all out there...

    Something has to been done! Where's the fucking farmer?! Why are they being left in a field for over a week, maybe more?! With no fresh water or food?! Why isn't someone taking care of them?! Or at least checking on them every few days?! It's minus zero outside all day and night from November to April, what the fuck is going on?!

    I would come home from work most evenings and tell my partner about it. I started to write a letter to our local newspaper and hope that the farmer read it and pull his finger out. I planned to call the RSPCA and file in a complaint. My partner suggested I check out lambing regulations before I start kicking off, so I got onto google and googled lambing regulations. I searched many farming websites on facts about sheeping. The answers I got were that it's the norm to have young little lambs in the Winter, to be kept outside to fend for themselves and for days, sometimes weeks on end. I still wasn't convinced...

    Weeks after, I shared what I saw with my family and close friends. All of them said they were absolutely fine, they are animals and are used to being in the cold for days on end. I questioned them about Spring lambs being born in Spring, but they all thought I was being 'dramatic and silly'. I would travel back and fourth to my hometown visiting family and I would see more fields full of little baby lambs. I couldn't stop thinking that something wasn't right, I couldn't help but get upset and think about them all the time.

    As the months went by, I watched them grow and notice that some were missing and then suddenly one day they were gone... Still to this day I always think about them..

    On a gorgeous warm May afternoon, my partner and I attended VegFest in Bristol. As keen vegetarains, we had a thirst for more veggie knowledge, foods and hit the free sampling tent hard. Filling our faces with wonderful, meat free treats, meeting fellow veggies and gaining more knowledge and perspective.

    We passed the Vegan Society stand which was rammed with loads of Vegan flyers, posters, stickers etc. I was digging in and all of sudden I noticed a flyer with a gorgeous little lamb on it saying in big, bold letters, LAMBING LIES! The truth about lambing. I couldn't believe it! I freaked out, shouting to my partner across the tent, 'I knew it!! I knew it!'

    On the flyer were some facts -

    Lambs are born in mid-Winter

    Baby lambs who should be born in Spring are now often delivered in mid-Winter - to steal a march on the Spring lamb market!

    Lambs die from hunger and hypothermia

    Human manipulation that has brought this about and the mass deaths from hunger and hypothermia that result.

    Lambs are separated from their mothers

    Farmers, supermarkets, meat eaters and the meat industry ignore Viva!'s heart-rending, undercover footage of livestock markets such as Exeter - lambs separated from their mothers, shivering in the February cold; the mournful bleats of ewes calling for their babies and the shriller call of lambs replying to mothers they will never see again.

    Lambs are mutilated

    Horrible mutilations that are routine for many British lambs - tails amputated with a knife, hot iron or a tight rubber ring, causing part of the tail to slowly die. Then there's castration. Much of it is done without anesthetics!

    I felt so stupid as a vegetarian I should of guessed as soon as I saw them all in the field that those little lambs were all marked as meat before they were even born! I want to do something more, to help, to stop it from happening but I can't (but that's another story...) I must remember I am doing something, I am not eating them, so that's a start...

    As I was walking around VegFest, taking it all in. I decided that from this day forward (24th May 2015) I am a Vegan, no animal excluded. Lambs, cows, sheep, pigs, lambs, calves, chickens, eggs and fish I will NEVER consume again! In my eyes and in my heart, a cow is no different to a dog, a pig is no different to a cat.

    I am what I eat, bright, fresh and full of life! I will NEVER EVER eat an animal, a living being ever again!

    Two months today as I write this blog I still am a vegan and I am enjoying it greatly! I feel full of energy, my skin is glowing, I am saving animals from death and suffering every time I sit down to eat and I am saving the planet!

    I am going to strive to do more, sign petitions, attend protests, donate, volunteer, blog and vlog. My vegan journey has only just begun, I am very excited about the future and I am very grateful to having my eyes opened to the truth and becoming vegan.

    Check out the link below to find out more about Lambing Lies and what you can do...

    [FONT=Calibri, sans-serif]Luna Fay X[/FONT]

  • I can't work out if this is serious or not...assuming it is:

    Who do you think has been telling these lies? The practices involved in lamb "production" are well known.

    We'll always lamb in spring personally, but I know plenty of farmers who "sponge" thier ewes to bring them into season a bit early.

    Then there's selective breeding and all that to breed hardy stock.

    As for the "castration with no anaesthetic"... Well obviously... You just pop a special rubber band around the balls, and in a few days they drop off. I'm not saying it's nice, but it has been like that for a very very long time... No one is trying to hide it as far as I know.

    And finally.... I can assure you that any farmer worth their salt is checking lambs and ewes at least twice a day... If not, they'll be in court.

    Moderate view over...

  • Why were the Sheep left in the field with no food and water?

    The field is there food , and I am sure there was water , even though sheep only drink if its hot.

    It can be as cold in April as in December , and I doubt the lambs would be seperated from there mothers till they were weaned (unless they are milk sheep for cheese) in which case they would be fed formula or they would die.

    Most farmers keep their animals in a respectful and caring way , it is their livleyhood. Yes there are rotten apples , same as there are bad parents, and pet owners , but please put your tar brush away !

  • Personally i do think spring lamb is a bit daft really but its customers thinking its the norm to eat lamb at easter when traditionally it should be at the end of summer when the fields and moors are grazed.

    I am not anti vegan infact i considered it myself purely on the health aspect but i would think the farmer would be checking his stock daily unless he is a complete idiot.

    Lambing early is to me completely daft if you hit it right you get fine weather but generally its crap, long dark nights utter madness,

    Finally tails are rubber ringed as its to be fair a green way of preventing "blowfly" strike where the sheep or lamb gets poo stuck into a long tail and then flys lay eggs on said long tail that hatch as maggots and if left untreated will crawl up the arse or the back in the wool and eat away at the animal, so a far humane way is to make the tail shorter as a lamb thus crating less of a poo maggot magnet as the animal gets older. (we have some quite old sheep with short tails) mainly the inside sheep not the hardier scots or swale sheep.

    As for castration, its a rubber ring ok its not nice but as soon as the lambs are old enough they will want to shag there sisters thus creating inbreed problems such as still births, deformaties oh and not knowing when the dam things are going to lamb.

    So my mum who has done her job for years and used to be a nurse thinks that her sheep are better looked after than a lot of human beings be they have a long or short life.

  • There are however a lot of problems with the whole sheep industry. The animals are not as well treated as people make out, I walk through fields of sheep everyday, many are limping or worse. Nowadays they seem to be more valued for their subsidies than for their value as meat or wool.

    Sheep have been breed to grow crazy amounts of wool which is now almost valueless, consequently I've seen animals tripping over the wool that is hanging off of them in matted lumps. Are these animals really checked twice a day?

    BTW Luna, I couldn't tell how much of that you wrote & how much was copy & pasted.

  • Some sheep self moult, hence the matted lumps falling off , this is normal . Limping sheep is not that uncommon , and will often self correct , better to leave and see , rather than having to throw the sheep over onto its back to look ,which is very stressful ,ours often limp because they have been fighting !
    Sheep have it better than a lot of farm animals as they are out side and eating a naturel diet 24/7

    I was not aware of farm subsedies on lamb , I will investigeate , I could be in for a few quid :)

  • Good luck with the subsidies. My landlord got rid of all his cows & just has lambs due to the subsidies. I'm surprised you haven't heard, George Monbiot is often going on about the sheep blight (he calls them wooly maggots), though he mostly talks about the large land owners that get huge subsidies. I don't suppose their sheep are well cared for.

    I don't understand why there isn't a market for cheap wool products, is it cause it's just too expensive to produce anything over here or cause it's scratchy? I wouldn't wear wool as a kid cause of the scratchiness but thought that had improved in recent years. Maybe it needs a re-branding, after all most decent suits are wool.

  • The RPA payments are for the size of your holding, not to do with how many sheep or cows you have,
    the bigger the acreage the more you get, I had 4 and a half acres and was paid £500 every December,
    came in very handy for Christmas :D

  • I new about the Single/RPA payments , but ignored them as you are signing your life away from what I see.

    It would be nice if there was a wool revival , but its breed dictated and most sheep are grown for meat now . We now spin and knit our own wool , and there does seem to be a bit of a revival in spinning and felting at the moment . The best wool comes from the first sheering , and good quality wool can still make good money , but its a small market.:beard:

  • You are probably right Ma, I would imagine the massive holdings have to jump through hoops to get
    the money, my small holding no one was interested in it only me. Lots of the info from RPA on land
    management never made sense, plus they were always changing what you could or could not do :wall:

  • There are however a lot of problems with the whole sheep industry. The animals are not as well treated as people make out, I walk through fields of sheep everyday, many are limping or worse. Nowadays they seem to be more valued for their subsidies than for their value as meat or wool.

    Sheep have been breed to grow crazy amounts of wool which is now almost valueless, consequently I've seen animals tripping over the wool that is hanging off of them in matted lumps. Are these animals really checked twice a day?

    BTW Luna, I couldn't tell how much of that you wrote & how much was copy & pasted.

    I am divided over subsedies (going off topic here) what pisses me off is the subsedies go on the land now i think so landed gentry called themselves farmers get a holding number do fkk all then get a farmer in to graze the land for no subsedy its kinda wrong when it should really go to the people who do the work. big farms do ok be there no subs or creaming it in but small ones have a tighter margin thus finding it harder to get land as the big farms are willing to pay higher rent to the eton boys or the eton boys are setting there own estates and farms up or getting land that was rented out back, i suppose at the end of the day they own the land so thats that, its the fact that sub goes on land makes it all a bit unproductive and lining the pockets of the gents.

    Ok back on topic wool falls off naturally on some sheep they just start moulting before clipping they look awful but a trip to the barbers make them look mint in no time. granted they should be all in and done but some slip the net on the moor ie missed probably hide behind a tree or something but they generally get done on time, this year i helped shape up well all were done in record time some i did a tad early which can create problems if a cold snap comes in early summer and the wool doesnt always rise properly makeing it harder to sheer the sheep.

    ok some sheep may have to much wool but whats the alternative lose the breed making it rare or die out , what if wool is needed in the future as a green product theres generations of breeding and hard work lost in no time,

    Finally lameness it can crop up really quickly you can put the sheep through the race clean and treat all the lame feet and still a week later one can crop up looking really bad, we used to use a foot rot bath but that caused more disease to feet to transfer from one sheep to another, we had a therory it may have weekend natural imunity who knows some farmer do it and have better results but it means using more nasty chemicals,

    Generally farmers on the "low side" have more problems with lameness in sheep as the land is heavier and more wet on feet, once you get into the higher hills be they moor or limestone the land is a little bit (not always) drier but then you need hardier sheep no the great soft camels they have in the lower richer land

    we used to clean and clip every sheeps foot or every foot that had hooves over grown, now that considered bad practise its better to clean spray with alamicin and then inject does work well but this is just for lame sheep,

    It will have been a particulary bad year for lameness as land has been fenomilly wet thus creating foot rot problems.

    As far as feed goes farmers are probo rationing feed for when the really bad weather comes ie snow and cold snap that when sheep need feed, me mum feeds em heavier in the months leeding up to lambing as she says it makes better healthier sheep and lambs to survive the cold wether but often thats a tighrop knowing not to over feed as the lambs get to big to lamb easily. some lambs die its nature as in some people die dont forget some people live outside at the moment and they die stock is sometimes lambied inside or our at me mums and you get casualties along the way thats nature im afraid.

    We get lower deaths nowadays as we bring ill sheep in asap and me mum is very experienced at knowing what wrong with them, lambs its sometimes good sometimes bad depending on weather grazing feed stock disease etc etc, but humans die.

    Where did we remove ourselves that in nature one way or another things die be they weather disease predators etc. we as humans maybe fk this equation up but sometimes we do good sometimes bad.

  • I agree on the subsidies, yet another way of making the rich wealthier.

    Hmm, if we're only keeping the sheep to retain the breed for possible future use then we could drastically lower the population. There is probably some argument for maintaining some to keep moors clear though. Equally we're loosing a lot of human skills with the modernisation of many industries, skills that took hundreds or thousands of years to develop, if some kind of mishap hits our society you have to wonder what state we would be in, how many people know how to spin wool for instance?

  • As for the "castration with no anaesthetic"... Well obviously... You just pop a special rubber band around the balls, and in a few days they drop off. I'm not saying it's nice, but it has been like that for a very very long time... No one is trying to hide it as far as I know

    I wasn`t aware that rubber bands were still used to castrate and if that`s the case then it`s shameful. At the very least i thought it was done under local anaesthetic which still isn`t enough in my opinion, but better than nothing. Also the fact that something may have been `done for a long time` doesn`t make it acceptable.

    Personally i blame the consumer for this sort of thing and not the farmer. The demand is so high for cheap meat, that farmers need to cut corners to keep their heads above water and it`s the animals who end up suffering.

  • Band castration is very painful to the lambs . We use a Burdizzo on our boy lambs ,which basicly involves crushing the blood supply to the testicals , so they just shrink and disapear. It is very quick , and the lambs dont seem unduly fazed by it.