I’ll sit on the fence about this new idea

Preventing livestock from roaming can be the bane of a farmer’s life.

Personally speaking, I’m blue in the face from years of dragging pallets and furze bushes to various openings that appear in the boundary ditch.

I know from experience that a frisky bullock only needs the slightest chink of light, the slightest sniff of action, and he’s gone, like that rocket they sent to the comet.

But now there is relief all round, with news that all our fencing woes might be at an end.

From Australia comes word of this gizmo that, when attached around the neck of an bullock, will emit a noise if he dares go near a boundary ditch.

And if he’s still determined to sow a few wild oats in a neighbouring farm, the device will administer a shock. Thus an end will be brought to any notions he might have.

Sure ’tis terrific really, and it was explained in great detail in The Irish Examiner technology page last week.

By all accounts, this type of technology has been around with years. It started with pets and proved so successful in keeping Rover from straying that they are now applying it to the livestock of Australia.

So, great news entirely, you might think.Well not exactly, you see, I note that history is littered with examples of creations that started out as a bright idea for animals, but were soon adapted for human use.

Take space, for example. The first man in space wasn’t a man at all, but a monkey.

Years ago, ’twas only monkeys that they sent up; for the price of a banana, you had a willing astronaut.

And then, just when the monkey was getting the hang of the thing, some bright spark suggested that they send up a man instead. Why send a man when a monkey was well capable of doing the job? Anyhow, the monkey was taken off the payroll, and now space is a stressed place, with everyone terribly nervous of death and injury.

So, you see, I fear the same could now happen with this new fencer technology. It might be suitable for our bullocks today, but could well be adapted for man tomorrow.

Some bright spark will surely suggest that a similar device could be fitted somewhere on a man’s anatomy, thus allowing our wives to keep a watchful eye on our movements and prevent us from straying.

Last Saturday, I spent a terrible few hours, putting the squeeze on my lively weanlings. And by the evening, having had my fill of castrating, I really had to bail out and head to Dino’s in Ballincollig.

There I treated myself to a sumptuous burger, a heaped carton of chips laced with salt and vinegar, and all was washed down with lashings of coke.

All of this was done on the QT of course, I slipped away from the farm nice and quiet, under the radar.

I went on a solo run. Like most men, I go on the odd ramble every now and then when the fancy takes me.

Now if one of them electronic bands had been clasped around me like the bullocks of Australia, there would have been alarm bells sounding in the house long before I left the farm, and as sure as God, I’d only be a mile down the road when I’d receive a lively jolt in my pants, thus putting an end to my gallop.

So before we welcome any new fangled innovation into our farming lives, we better make damn sure that we are prepared for all the consequences that may follow.


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