Keithie’s drenching the sheep today and last night I put the screws on him about why Louie had to be drenched along with the others especially since she’d had the perfect lambhood (if you can call it that): hand reared, fed like a prize bull on Australia’s best lamb formula, followed by a diet of roses when she was ready to move to solids and, to this day, mountains of healthy treats from Brucie’s garden cuttings.
Keithie was wide eyed and, at first, he pretended not to hear the question but here’s the thing: if you take a holistic approach to the maintenance of your flock then you shouldn’t need to drench them for worms or vaccinate them against other parasites right?
“That’s over the fence Dyranda!”
“But Keithie there’s sheep farmers in Australia and New Zealand who dose their flocks with garlic and cider vinegar to keep their intestinal health in good shape…isn’t that better than pumping them full of synthetic drugs?”
I could see Keithie was getting bent out of shape and I didn’t want him to think I was criticising his farming practices after all, his family has been successfully farming sheep for years, so I shifted the topic to my real concern which was a conversation I’d with my mate in Sydney, Kellie, about immunising her girls Ivy and Abby.
We both agreed there’s a lot of confusion around about whether or not immunising children can have harmful side effects. It doesn’t help when the scientific community can’t agree, for example, a few years back scientists actually published stuff about how the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine caused autism and immunisation rates, in the UK at least, plummeted by 80%. Then they discovered they’d got it wrong!
“But that’s science,” I told Keithie. “It’s about trial and error and even the organic graziers, who once recommended feeding sheep pine, which was found to have some compound that would kill worms if enough was eaten, admitted they got it wrong after discovering that that too much pine could cause the ewes to abort their lambs.
At that point Keithie wandered off to get another beer: code for “this conversation’s over!”
But Kel found some great information, stuff you can trust, that explains what science does know and what its not sure about and they’ve put it all into 6 easy questions with the answers, of course!:
- What is immunisation?
- What is in a vaccine?
- Who benefits from vaccines?
- Are vaccines safe?
- How are vaccines shown to be safe?
- What does the future hold for vaccination?
And since Keithie’s in the yard busily drenching the sheep, here’s 21 points on animal health – organic, of course!