You can see how quiet they are, this mob of weaner heifers and steers. So quiet. These beautiful, quiet little animals. It’s more than likely they are all dead now.
On 30 June, the day before we left the farm for a long trip away, I walked among these 30 heifers and 21 steers who we were sending to market the following day. Here’s what they did; they gathered around me. It’s what I expected them to do but it brought tears to my eyes. They gathered around me and followed me wherever I went in the paddock.
For me, it’s never a good day when we sell cattle. I always dread it. It’s inevitable but it’s always hard. I felt guilty that I was glad I wouldn’t be there the next day when they were trucked to Scone sale yards. I’d left instructions, as always, banning the use of cattle prods. I hate it when I am here to see them taken away but I am always proud of the grace and dignity with which they allow themselves to be loaded on the truck. But, at heart, it means I’ve betrayed their trust.
Despite the stock agent saying he thought the heifers were so good they’d be bought by someone as breeding stock, and that the steers were likely to be bought and grown out, the paperwork following the auction listed them all as veal calves.
I do hate this life. We are dedicated to the gentle treatment of our cattle. But in the end, it comes down to this.
In case you wonder, we don’t eat meat.
Towards the start of our long trip the next day, we passed this cattle truck at Maitland. So these aren’t mine. But I thought of mine.