A blog launched by a Gloucestershire beef farmer to show the reality of living with bovine TB (bTB) has been viewed by more than 200,000 people in the past three days.
David Barton set up the blog to tell his personal story of the impact of bTB and to show the everyday reality of dealing with the disease. So far his words have been read by people in 26 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and Hong Kong.
A video showing four of his cattle, including his stock bull Ernie, being shot on farm after testing positive for bTB has been viewed more than 63,000 times on YouTube since it was posted last Friday. The blog and video have struck a chord with the farming community, with more than 150 supportive comments posted, including many from other farmers facing similar problems.
Mr Barton said: “I’m overwhelmed by the reaction to the blog and the interest it has generated. My motivation was to share my thoughts and feelings about the impact of this disease on farmers like me and to show the pressures and problems it causes on working farms.
“I’m hoping doing this blog will give people a greater sense of what living with bovine TB is like. I’m hoping it will make more people aware of the issues surrounding bovine TB and encourage other farmers to share their experiences.”
NFU president Meurig Raymond added: “Bovine TB is devastating farming families across large parts of the country but its true impact goes largely unseen. With David Barton’s blessing, the NFU went on to his farm to film what happened last week. The resulting film is shocking, but we make no apologies for that.
“The video shows the distressing reality that farmers like David have to live with. Tens of thousands of cattle are slaughtered every year because they have become infected with TB. These animals are just four of them. While cattle are being culled, badgers are spreading the disease unchecked. This cannot go on.”
David Barton’s blog can be found here.