Looking out across an endless view of carrots and cabbages, I stand in a little island-like grassy paddock beside a Friesian cow called Francis and her owner, farmer Steve. Turning to Francis, the last cow in Britain I ask her how this situation came about?
‘It was all because of my great-granddad Angus, who lived on the Mull of Kintyre. Paul and Linda McCartney had just formed Wings and came into the field Angus was in with a ghettoblaster and a couple of spliffs and started toking away. They put on new Wings songs and after a while asked Angus what he thought. You know how Scots cows are, they tell it straight. So Angus said ‘Band on the run sounds like two completely different tunes awkwardly spliced together, and in general it’s all sugary sweet mediocre lightweight stuff isn’t it? Linda doesn’t add much does she?’
Surely Paul and Linda valued such constructive feedback?
‘Naw, Linda went bleeding mental, screaming she was going to get medieval on Angus’s rump and all of his kind. After a sinister chat with Paul, she then did the Bond villain thing where she spilled the beans on her dastardly plan, about setting up a vegetarian food brand and movement where she would convince people that not eating animal products would help animals when of course it would make cows obsolete. Angus argued that people wouldn’t be that silly. Unfortunately, Angus was wrong, and here I am 45 years later with only cabbages and carrots for company. Dairy and meat production is often unbelievably cruel, I could tell you a story or two that would make you shudder, but is getting rid of us the only answer? Humans are so simple sometimes’.
Farmer Steve adds, ‘ I like cows, am so sad to see them all go, but cows are expensive to raise and I can’t afford to keep poor Francis just to look at and for our daily chats, sadly she will have to go’.
Francis the cow sighs, a tear runs down her cheek as she looks out towards the setting sun across the vegetables stretching to the horizon.
‘They have won, we cows, or rather I, the last cow, surrender to the unrelenting war on my kind by the vegetarians and say sorry on behalf of misguided Angus. I hereby want to state that I don’t think Wings were a bit shit and actually agree with Alan Partridge when he said, ‘Wings – the band that the Beatles could have been”.
Is this apology a case of too little too late? Can vegetarians and vegans look deep into their cold, soya milk and Quorn fed cholesterol free hearts and find some sympathy for animals, for Francis the last cow before they finally go extinct because of their actions?
As I leave the paddock behind and look back at Francis, a sad lonely remnant of a once vast herd that stretched from the Isle of Skye to the English shires, I can’t seem to get that blasted strummed ‘Mull of Kintyre’ out of my head, ‘ Oh mist rolling in from the sea, I desire…’ arrrrgh.