Roger Meacock BVSc MRCVS (previously interviewed by UK Column on mRNA injections in animals and on animal diet) is a consultant veterinary surgeon. The phrase ‘Do No Harm’ means as much in the world of veterinary medicine as it does in human medicine. As he has been at the forefront of quantum veterinary medicine in the UK for the last 25 years, many refer to him as ‘one of a kind’ or the ‘last-chance vet’. Roger Meacock goes the extra mile and will often see animals who are too sick to be treated with established medicine. While he never promises the impossible, if he thinks he can help, he normally can. He can be contacted at his practice, Natural Healing Solutions.
Are all things bright and beautiful in the world of British farming, or have we lost the ability to feed ourselves as a nation? How dependent are we on imports from other countries to feed ourselves? Roger Meacock shines a much-needed light on our agricultural condition.
Every day, millions of us shop in supermarkets, filling our trolleys and baskets with breakfast, lunch and dinner for ourselves and our families, but how many of us give any thought to where it came from? Was it really so many centuries ago that the United Kingdom was self-sufficient and could feed ourselves without reliance on foreign imports?
Allotments as such have been in existence for hundreds of years but allotments as we know them today originated in the nineteenth century, when the poor were given plots of land to grow food. With the birth of the welfare system, allotments became less essential to survival and are now tended by green-fingered enthusiasts who have limited or no outside space or garden, with which to grow plants, vegetables and fruit, or simply to enjoy the sunshine.
“Grow your own” was a mantra often heard in our recent past. And grow our own we did—until shortly after the end of the Second World War, when, after rationing ended, the Government directed farmers to increase production to meet our needs. Gone were the days of rationing and hunting for one’s dinner; all eyes turned to the nation’s farmers, and before long to the supermarkets, in order to fulfil our needs. But at what price? It seems farming been demonised by society; has the calling of farmer lost its true meaning? As many farmers are forced to give up their land to solar and wind farms, what will the UK look like when there are virtually no animal farms left? Will we all be forced to eat a plant-based diet or insects? Do humans have the anatomy and physiology to survive on a plant-based diet? The simple answer is no, and Roger Meacock explains why.
Honest conversations need to be had if we are to preserve our farms. There are difficult questions that require honest answers. What are ‘species-appropriate foods’? Why aren’t wild animals overweight? Who controls the vermin that threaten the plant crops? Do animals die in order to produce vegan food? Are slaughterhouses the horror story they are made out to be, or is nature crueller? Are we in danger of demonising farmers—and, if so, how has this been allowed to happen?
Farming has changed beyond all recognition from just two decades ago. Over Roger Meacock’s career as a vet, he has observed the developments. We ask him what the public can do to help save our precious but dwindling farming industry. As many farmers struggle to make ends meet and work increasingly long hours for little reward, how can we encourage them to sell directly to us, cutting out the rapacious supermarket middle man? Roger reveals that many farmers are known to work forty hours in just two days. You can’t predict when a calf or a lamb will be born; it’s a 24/7 highly-pressurised job, often with more risks than benefits. How can we help farmers resist the temptation to rent their land out to those who wish to erect a mobile phone mast, and what effect does that have on the animals that live there? Indeed, what effect does it have on the farmer and his family?
We also consider, in a world where pharmaceutical giants appear to dominate our lives, what control the pharmaceutical industry has on farmers. How does Big Pharma affect the little farmer? You may be surprised to know that the effect is minimal, due to the high costs of drugs. Farmers don’t want to give their animals any more drugs than are absolutely necessary, as overdosing could prevent them from taking animals to market or for slaughter. It is reassuring to hear Roger Meacock inform us that animal welfare in the UK is excellent and that our animals, contrary to urban myth, are not full of pharmaceuticals. But what of the condition of animals imported from other countries?
With more and more small farms disappearing from the landscape, how long will it be before they are gone forever? Agriculture won’t exist in a fifteen-minute city: it will be replaced by ‘vertical farming’, and any livestock will be kept on floating platforms. If the British public wants to ‘keep Britain farming’ and preserve our green fields, are we prepared to travel to a farm in order to buy direct? The saying ‘It’s no good crying over spilt milk’ couldn’t be more apt: however, unless farmers trust the public and the public trusts farmers to provide to us direct, it is likely we will all be crying when one day we wake up to find farming as nothing more than a distant memory. And by then it will be too late.
If there are any farmers or vets who would like to contribute to the conversation on UK Column, please get in contact with us; we would be delighted to hear from you.
Buy British, buy local, support your local farmer.