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After her parents passed away, Ann took over on her parents’ farm following a career in IT. She now keeps pigs, sheep and cattle, and is supported by a second farmer (anonymous) who farms sheep nearby with her family. Sitting in Ann’s farmyard, they discuss what it’s like working closely with life and death every day.

Ann: ‘It’s all the unexpected stuff, isn't it? If you've got a sick animal, you know, when you’ve got animals giving birth, you've got to… they do die sometimes and it's out of your control. You’ve tried…’

Second Farmer: ‘Tried, yeah’

Ann: ‘…with sick piglets and things, and in the end they either live or die and that's hard sometimes, when you've got sick animals

Second Farmer: ‘Yeah’

Ann: ‘because you've still got to do everything else.’

Second Farmer: ‘Well, I think I got my son a hamster when he was about two just so he could grow up with it. They don't live that long, so he could start that process. And that kind of worked.

Ann: ‘Yeah’

Second Farmer: ‘To a degree. So he could learn that. And that's what happens.’

Ann: ‘It's always upsetting, but you have to accept it really.’

Second Farmer: ‘Yeah, especially if you’ve tried. There's not a lot else you can do.’

Ann: No.

Second Farmer: ‘It is frustrating when you put your all into it though, and you think, oh we’re getting somewhere…’

Ann: ‘And then they just go and die’

Second Farmer: ‘And you turn up and they’ve…’

Ann: ‘Well that’s it, and sometimes you… I find, you don't want to see an animal suffer, but you know, if it's ill you medicate it and you try and look after it, and then you think, at what point do you…’

Second Farmer: ‘Cut it off’

Ann: ‘Make that decision, yeah. You know, that’s hard, I find that hard

Second Farmer: ‘Yeah, because you tend to bond with the sick ones then.’

Ann: ‘Well you do, don’t you. I’ve kept a couple that we’ve pulled though [laughs] Because you bond with them, and you think, I can’t send you off for sausages now.

Second Farmer: ‘Because they’ve got a name then, and that’s it then. Once they’ve got a name.’

Ann: ‘I know. We’ve got a few old cronks here, haven’t we?’

Second Farmer: ‘Yeah. They’ve just got different personalities, you know? It’s not…’

Ann: ‘I know. I mean, I’m more sad about…I mean I love the cattle, you know? But the pigs, there's something about pigs isn’t it. They have got that…’

Ann + Second Farmer: ‘Personality.’


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