Environment Secretary badgered over fate of Stepney Farm’s bull and cow
- Credit: Daryl Stafford
Thousands of furious animal lovers have signed a petition to save a bull and cow on an urban farm in London’s East End from ending up in the slaughter house.
Even the Environment Secretary of State has been badgered by a local MP to help save Lloyd and Leila.
But the government won’t budge on letting the brother-and-sister bovines travel to an animal sanctuary in the country—because they haven’t got passports!
Crossrail had taken over their grazing field at Stepney City Farm and there isn’t enough cash to keep them in winter feed.
The campaign to save their bacon was started when NHS financial advisor Daryl Stafford got wind that the not-for-profit farmyard couldn’t keep the animals any longer.
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“I’m a soft touch,” he admitted. “These animals let you stroke them and are more like pets than farm animals.
“Lloyd and Leila bond with you—it seems a betrayal of trust.”
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Daryl contacted Hillside animal sanctuary in Norfolk which agreed to take Lloyd and Leila and now have 10,000 names to their petition.
Poplar & Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick stepped in and wrote to the Environment Secretary appealing to allow the animals to travel to Norfolk.
But he has hit a brick wall with strict EU regulations preventing farm animal transportation, following the bovine TB outbreak of the 1990s—and because Lloyd and Leila were born on the Stepney farm without being registered for a passport.
The MP received a letter this week from Parliamentary Under Secretary George Eustice saying: “I understand the deep feelings surrounding these animals.
“Regretfully, we cannot make an exception. The farm did not register the cattle properly and was issued with notices that they could continue living on the farm, but may only leave alive to a disposal centre.”
It all comes down to EU cattle rules since 1998 “to protect the food chain from infected beef from bovine TB and Foot & Mouth,” the MP was told.
The two Sussex Cross cattle were inherited by the charity when it took over the farm from the previous management.
Farmer Paul Woodmin said: “Keeping fully-grown cattle including a bull is unfair to the cows as well as a risk to volunteers and visitors.
“Lloyd became aggressive when Leila was on heat and we had to have him neutered to be more passive.”
But matters got worse when the farm lost a third of its fields to Crossrail, including the cow field.