Rural Tranquillity to National Crisis
A Farm Vet's Story
David Harwood’s story from life at vet school in the 1960s through to his role during the BSE crisis and the rest of his extraordinary veterinary life.
Born in rural Worcestershire in 1950, David Harwood learnt about keeping animals from an early age, before going on to study veterinary medicine at London’s Royal Veterinary College. Once qualified, David became established as a farm animal vet, working in the Midlands and South West England.
David tells his own story of working his way through vet school in the early 1970s, before working in farm practices. There are plenty of anecdotes about rural characters- both human and non-human – and a vivid account of the demands, challenges and thrills of an extraordinary veterinary life full of incidents and life-or-death moments. Along with the usual livestock caseload, David also came into contact with more unusual patients such as ostriches, giraffes and snails. While telling his story, David provides plenty of information on livestock diseases and conditions which will interest fellow vets and livestock keepers, and also gives plenty of tips and tricks for aspiring vets to pick up along the way.
David also provides a fascinating account of his work as a government Veterinary Investigator. CSI-style detective work was often needed to uncover the causes of illness and death in farm animals, and David often had to trace events back through the farm environment or the animal’s behaviour.
As a government vet, David gained a unique insider’s view of farm animal health issues during the outbreaks of BSE, Foot and Mouth and Avian Influenza. David provides an honest and open appraisal of official ministry practices during a time of increasing officialdom and challenges, and describes encounters he had with farmers while he was making decisions affecting their lives and livelihoods.