After a very difficult 2020, about time for a giggle, and I hope reading this supplies one!
The crooner Val Doonigan had a song about Deleaney's Donkey - a beast unsuited by both temprement and genetics to race. There's a lovely line - a pulling and a chugging it - do try to find on Youtube..
So, to the saga of the bull.
This took place in another very difficult year, 2001 during the foot and mouth outbreak. Strict movement restrictions were applied to farm stock, and each 'movememnt' required a five page permit, a veterinary inspection and the use of a specially disinfected and certified lorry or trailer. A lot of paperwork, time and hassle.
We have two neighbouring farms in the practice, and one farm 'borrowed' a bull each year from the other, as without a bull, there are no calves. Bully was 'on holiday' when F & M broke out, but how to get him home ? Surely they could just walk him down the field and through a gate ? After all, the journey by road was much longer, and if one farm contracted F & M, the other would be culled out as a contact anyway.
Three days on the phone finally gained a dispensation from DEFRA to walk the bull, but only if the vet (Gill) attended the movement, and disinfected Bullys' feet as he went across the boundary.
And then - - - - - - - - we found out he wasn't quite as halter trained as they thought.
Do try to visualise this.
A Charolais bull weighs in at around a ton, and to ensure easy handling, stud bulls are taught to lead at a young age. Bully had forgotton these lessons. He had two speeds, concrete plinth (and he weighed about the same) and thrity-five miles an hour. He could transit between the two in a tenth of a second.
A lovely sunny dry day, three handlers, a vet and a bull. Fit bull with two halters, a man on each lead rope. Another behind to encourage forward, and vet Gill with her trusty disinfectant sprayer. Pulling, cursing, swearing, chasing and suddenly Bully would erupt into high speed mode without warning, towing the halter men behind as they took giant strides trying not to be pulled along face first. Bully bucking and kicking like a rodeo bronc. Then, after about thirty yards, a sudden stop, often with a swinging turn to face back the way he'd come, outside halter man flying wide on his rope as if on a swing, and inside man trying to avoud being squashed. Pause while behind man and vet catch up, and repeat. Ever tried to turn a concrete block to face the right way ?
Eventually the gourp appoached the gate, and trusty vet Gill poised herself in position. Unfortunately, Bully was in a high speed mode as he went through the boundary. She did try to spray his feet, honest, but trying to hit four hooves and four boots flashing past at thirty miles an hour while flattening herself against the gate to avoid the bucking bull, was not really what DEFRA had in mind!
Once through the gate, and onto his home turf, the halters were removed and Bully left in the field as the lathered and panting handling team staggered off for a cup of tea. A couple of hours later, the scent of hay and cattle cake had brought Bully to the bulldings and he had completed his journey.
One and a half hours to move around two hundred yards.
Vets and farmers don't really have the option not to work with children or animals!