Monday, 30 October 2017

Complaints of Animal Cruelty at Leighton Buzzard Market

Leighton Buzzard High Street on market day 19091 [Z306/72/10/9]

Tuesday 30th October 1917: Concern has been expressed in a letter to the Leighton Buzzard Observer that boys are treating animals cruelly while helping farmers drive them through the town on market day:
“Sir, - May I ask why some farmers and dealers of cattle employ lads who are unreliable? The cruelty that is practised upon our dumb animals is quite blood-curdling at times. Only this week a lad was driving some sheep and calves through the High Street and had a thick, crooked stick. With it he struck a poor little calf over the nose so violently that it fell on its forelegs through the blow and shock and could not rise for some time. A good strapping would do such lads good, and then they would probably be kinder to the poor animals committed to their charge. E.G.”
His comments were supported by the Reverend William Mahony, Vicar of Linslade who is also concerned by the treatment of the animals while they are being transported to market:
“Sir, - I am very glad that your correspondent “E.G.” has drawn the attention of the public to the cruelties inflicted on cattle at the weekly market. But are these “boy drovers” regularly employed by the farmers? I believe that many of them voluntarily offer their services, perhaps for a few coppers, and generally do more harm than good. On Tuesdays, especially in the holidays, a number of our boys may be seen, all armed with sticks, belabouring unfortunate calves and making themselves a nuisance to the regular drovers. May I draw your attention to another point? During Monday night the neighbourhood of the railway station is made hideous by the clamour of these animals, and even on Tuesday night they may sometimes be heard protesting from the cattle trucks. During all this time are they supplied with water or food of any kind? Perhaps the R.S.P.C.A. will investigate. Until lately we have been familiar with the presence of two Inspectors of the Society of market days, but to the best of my recollection I cannot recall a single instance of a prosecution by the Society for cruelty to cattle on market days, during the last six years. Yet one cannot pass through the town without seeing a lot of unnecessary cruelty.”
Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer 23rd and 30th October 1917

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