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HomeDairy‘A fifth of our herd will now have to be shot’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘A fifth of our herd will now have to be shot’

A GoFundMe page has been created to support a farm family in the UK who is facing financial collapse following a TB outbreak.

Debbie and Fred Harvey and their son, Jack, will have to sell their family farm and home if they cannot secure sufficient funds to meet an income loss.

The family, who run a dairy farm in Cornwall,125 milking cows and approximately 100 young stock as well as rearing calves, says this is the “worst news ever in our lifetime”.

‘Borrowed a large amount of money’

In a heartfelt message on GoFundMe, Debbie said: “Jack has always wanted to do farming from the day he could walk around in his wellies because of his passion for the animals/countryside.”

“With this in mind and Jack finishing school, his dream of wanting to carry on the family farm was his goal/passion in making the family business grow.”

“We decided to borrow a large amount of money so we could invest in the best shed for the cows and to give them the best environment to live in as the old facility was not suitable for the current high welfare standards that are expected.”

“They even have beds that are like Tempur mattresses, rubber floor so it’s soft where they stand, lots of fresh air, sunlight and freshwater all to hand…like a 5-star hotel apart from when they are outside grazing in the sun.”

TB outbreak

Then on Friday, January 8th, they had TB test where every animal on the farm was tested, even a calf.

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25 cows tested positive to this strain and showed as reactors, which “basically means that a fifth of our herd will now have to be shot and taken and see if they have TB or not”.

“3 of the cows were due to calve in the next few weeks too. The test isn’t even 100% accurate, and you can’t appeal.”

The family will now be 25 cows short, which means we will lose 700-800 litres a day at 28 pence a litre. They estimate that it will cost about £1,800 each to replace them.

dairy farming, dairy farmers, farming news UK, T outbreak
Image credit: GoFundMe

£6,000/month short of income due to TB outbreak

“We will be at least £6,000 a month short of income because we can’t restock for a minimum of 2 months and yet our investment still needs to be paid for and the cows need to be fed and looked after.”

“Hopefully we will find a solution, but if we can’t find the income, it is set that we will have to sell our family farm and home.”

“I have lived here since I got married 23 years ago. Fred and Jack have lived here all their life and in one quick TB test we are set to lose it all.”

“The government will pay us some compensation for the cows but not for what they will cost to replace and nothing for the loss of income. “

“Then in 60 days’ time, we have to go through all of this again in retesting all the remaining animals, after that we can hopefully then buy some cows to increase our herd size again. We are completely stuck.”

‘Worst news ever in our lifetime’

“When I see my husband and son work 7-days-a-week in all weathers for not a lot of money and then we get hit with the worst news ever in our lifetime breaks my heart.”

“It’s not something I would wish anyone to go through what we are as a family right now. This news is absolutely devastating and something I don’t want to experience again in our lifetime.”

“Any money donated would be used to see us get through the next 60 days and to be able to invest in buying more cows once our 60 days are up and keep our family farm,” Debbie concluded.


For more information, or to make a donation, click here.

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