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MLA Jo-Anne Dobson shares grief after calf she helped deliver loses his fight for life

By Rachel Martin

Published 28/09/2015

Jo-Anne Dobson tends to ‘Bart’ the calf
Jo-Anne Dobson tends to ‘Bart’ the calf
Jo-Anne Dobson

A politician who asked for prayers for an sick calf she delivered has revealed how 'Bart' sadly didn't survive.

As a farmer's wife, Jo-Anne Dobson is no stranger to the sometimes harsh realities of farming and has helped with the births of dozens of calves.

The Upper Bann MLA shared her experience with her Facebook followers as a calf born on the family farm struggled to make it through the night.

Ms Dobson explained that she had just come back to the farm after a busy Saturday helping with charity fundraisers and doing constituency work when her husband had noticed that one of the family's cows had gone into labour.

Jo-Anne helped her husband deliver the calf using a lever device known as a calving-jack, and placed it in a well-bedded pen to keep it warm.

Initially, Bart the calf appeared to hold on, but despite their best efforts, he did not make it through the second day of his life and passed away shortly after lunch-time yesterday.

She said: "You do get a buzz from it, seeing new life coming into the world, but it can be upsetting too.

"But it was quite a difficult calving - it was the mother's first calf and it was quite a big calf for a small cow.

"It's all life experience and I think it helps me do my day job better, particularly when it comes to working with farmers," she said, referring to her role as the UUP spokesperson for health and agriculture.

Bart was the 90th calf born on the farm this year and one of the last expected before Christmas.

The Waringstown farm is home to 350 Aberdeen Angus and Stabiliser cattle.

Remarkably, the couple have only had four calves pass away this year.

Jo-Anne added: "People are always interested in hearing about what's happening down on the farm but the response has been incredible."

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