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We farmers don’t keep sheep for their looks and good company

I’ve never been much of a one for pets.

We never had a dog when I was a kid and as for cats, my Mum’s attitude was best summed up by her short yet surprisingly insightful appraisal of the blockbuster Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name.

 ‘Duff.  It wiz aw aboot bloody cats.’

We had a budgie –crabbit little whistling thing it was – and the occasional funfair goldfish but generally the appeal of having a member of the household you could rely on for spontaneous friendliness in exchange for a tin of googly jellied entrails and a place to doss was lost on me.

I’ve lived with other people’s animals and given that this was often single women, it tended to be much pampered pussy cats who (at best) tolerated me whilst at the same time making it perfectly clear no tears would be shed if and when I was dumped - given in Aussie-speak – ‘the arse’.

But now, for the first time, living on a farm with horses, cattle, sheep, ducks and a goat, I also have a dog and yes, all right, I can see what all the fuss is about.

His name is Bobby. A Stumpy Tailed Australian Cattle Dog and between you and me the ugliest wee pooch you’ve ever seen in your life. Ugly because he looks like a dog.  Which I like. 

Smells like one too, no doubt because he’s a clatty article who’ll eat anything and I mean anything - up to and including horse shit -he loves it. 

Get the picture?  He’s a dog, not a fashion accessory. If some pointless would-be celeb put him in her handbag he’d waste no time peeing in it and then devouring it from the inside out.

The thing is, I like having Bob around. He’s energetic, not in the least bit moody, always has time for me and thinks I’m the bee’s knees. Continually maintains a positive outlook. 

Why wouldn’t you want someone like that around? 

Actually, I’ve often thought, when it came to ideal partners, I know probably way too many blokes who think that, in terms of faithfulness and obedience, a dog is a much better bet than a women. 

Ah well, the sex thing is a bit of a problem, I’ll admit that.  But it’s a small price to pay for a 5 star standard of non-judgmental slavering devotion, in’t it? Hey, here, barman, 2 lager by the way…’

Some animals are smarter than others. Take sheep for instance. Sheep are without doubt thick enough to be Premier League footballers. And ugly too. A perfect example of the damage the years can do to good looks. 

Lambs = cute. 

Sheep = ugly and thick as mince into the bargain.

Thick as mince and soon to be mince, too. That hermitically sealed packet of neatly carved mutton you buy in Safeway is the dafty who used to live outside my window you know, or one of his rellies anyway. 

Once had a pulse. Flesh and blood.  Not constructed in a factory in China. Real life and that. Of course he’s dead, now.

Not that I’m saying you shouldn’t be eating him. That’s up to you. I do and he’s very tasty. I used to watch him chewing grass out of my bedroom window and now I’m chewing him. 

The circle of life?  Frankly brutal?  Or just brutally frank?  

It’s true that vegetarian activists are highly critical of western society’s trusting reliance on and unswerving commitment to the meat industry seeing it as something only marginally shy of cannibalism. Ethically repugnant, unsustainable, barbarous and unspeakably cruel, best summed up in the words of one of their more influential spokesmen, quiffed hair songster Morrissey (and far and away the best Smiths album), ‘Meat is Murder’.(No it isn’t Mozzer, but your first solo release, ‘Viva Hate’ was, mate.)

The fact is, and of course this is also true, if no one ate meat – lamb for example - the beast wouldn’t have been born in the first place, since it was only ever given life for the table. 

It actually owes its existence to the Butcher. Or at any rate his customers. People like me and you as a matter of fact, by the way.

(Possibly not you if you’re a vegetarian, which will probably appeal to that unattractive self-righteous characteristic you sometimes reveal to people who happen to disagree with you.)

We farmers don’t keep sheep for their looks and good company you know. I mean, it’s not like they’re a dog or anything.

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Agriculture

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