Tuesday 16 March 2010, 17:22
It's now been four days since the end of Lambing Live and I'm in the process of catching up on some sleep. Lambing is exhausting and the poor Beavans are still at it. I spoke to Kate earlier and they had 27 born over night on Sunday - the biggest total yet.
The programmes were very well received and we were all delighted by how interested the viewers were in all aspects of sheep farming. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment on my previous blog on here - 209 and counting(!) - and, before I get some sleep, I thought it'd be nice to take up some of the main talking points. So glad you enjoyed the programmes!
Vijay, Michael Galvan, Hoppergrass, Martin Overdi and several others raised the dilemma of showing the slaughter of the animals. I think from the date stamps these comments were written before the last show. It was during that show that we did address the issue of the abattoir and I learned from Jim how to assess whether an animal was ready for slaughter and took them to the abattoir.
Although we didn't show the lambs being slaughtered, I did spend a morning in an abattoir to see exactly how it was done, which I talked about on that final show. You are absolutely right though Vijay, it is extremely important not to just dwell on 'cute' lambs.
The Beavans are not raising fields full of pets. They are in the sheep business to produce meat and I hope the series was able to give a full and proper picture of the enormous amount of work and skill that is involved to raise sheep in a way that gives them an excellent quality of life which, in turn, results in the consumer getting excellent quality meat. Thank you again for taking the time to write in.
Plenty of you got involved in debating vegetarianism after watching the show and, in the comments, Helen Kellett asked how I felt after helping the lambs into the world and then settling down to a plate of lamb, and if it made me feel like I wanted to be a vegetarian.
I understand that for vegetarians like Helen and others spending so much time and energy raising an animal in the best way possible, only to eat it, is a very difficult concept to grasp. I also totally respect the choice you've made.
I'm not a vegetarian, but I am extremely concerned about the provenance of the meat I eat - where it has come from and how it has been reared. It is very easy for all of us to be totally disconnected with the production of the food we buy because society has moved so far away from producing its own food and relies so much now on supermarkets, where everything is wrapped in plastic or has had the mud washed off.
It may seem odd but having seen every aspect of the way lamb is produced, from birth to slaughter, I feel much more comfortable about eating it. The Beavan family are good, decent people working incredibly hard to make sure their animals have the best life in order to produce really good meat in the end.
Farmers like them deserve to make a living, deserve to have a market for their produce and as a meat eater I am extremely happy to be able to support people like them. But I promise not to try and convert you!
Azureblue wanted to know how little Humble is doing. I spoke to Adam on Saturday and Humble is now happily settled at Adam's farm with some friendly goats for company. She loves turnips and apparently crowds of people turned up to see her over the weekend. She's become a bit of a star.
Finally Emsy asked if we'll be doing anything similar in the future and I would love to do something like this again. I can't tell you how much I learned over the six months I worked with the Beavans, and what a privilege that was.
We just need to come up with another idea and persuade the big bosses! Can I tell them you want another series? That might swing it!
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