17 OCTOBER 1941, Page 14


Irish Country Life It is not often that Irish country life comes into the picture; and reading through Such As I Have, by Barney Heron (Murray, 8s. 6d.), which is another of those autobiographies about a greenhorn taking a farm, but this time an Irish farm, I am struck by the fact that Irish agriculture has much the same problems as our own. I an, struck by the following passage: "Contagious abortion costs Ire- land and the British Isles millions of pounds every year, and yet it is left to private enterprise, and patent medicines to combat it. It is not a notifiable disease ; if one of your cows ' slips calf ' you do not have to report the occurrence to the police. The cow is a potential carrier of the disease for the rest of her life. Actually it is illegal for a cow to be exposed for sale in an open market within two months after it has aborted; but I've never heard of the law being enforced, and I never knew a farmer who paid any heed to it. . . . Contagious abortion is a contributory cause of dear milk, and the milk from an infectea cow is the cause of Undulant Fever in human beings." This is just one piece of sound comment from a book that is meant to be more entertaining than educational. I quote it not only to show how easily we tolerate a dangerous large- scale scandal; but also as fair warning to those who, faced with milk shortage, are toying with the idea of keeping a cow. Let them take advice from Mr. Heron, and keep as far removed as possible from what be calls " the dairy farmers' nightmare."