Memories of how ship stock was treated

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From: George Beard, Honeywell Lane, Barnsley.

FURTHER to the three letters by Messrs Cooke, Ebden and Fowler (Yorkshire Post, December 22) regarding animal cruelty and transport thereof, by coincidence my regular monthly copy of the shipping magazine, Ships Monthly, arrived at the same time and this had an article headed: “Sheep ship to breakers”.

My thought was that this may go some way towards the appeasement of the cruelty-to-animals lobby as it will be one transporter fewer, though doubtless this will be replaced.

This ship in its time has probably carried a million or more sheep, mainly I would say from Australia and New Zealand to the Middle East, and in bad weather not always in comfort.

During the war I served as a Royal Navy gunner on eight different merchant ships, all merchant ships were armed during the conflict.

Several of these ships were crewed by Lascars, both deck and engine room, and none of these ships had any refrigeration facilities, there were large ice boxes to carry beef and other perishables for the benefit of the European crew members.

For the sustenance of the Lascar crew we carried a mixed parcel of sheep and goats which were killed as required, all by the halal method, therefore when setting off on a six or eight-week voyage there would be a hundred-plus animals aboard, accommodated in pens between the hatches on the after weather deck.

Even when they lay down I saw them sliding about as the ship rolled in heavy weather.

In the animal transporter ships, of which there are probably more than the local lobbies are aware of, the animals are packed a maximum number to a pen to prevent them being able to move en-bloc as the ship rolls and pitches.

There are several cases on record of animal transporters capsizing and sinking because the live cargo had shifted during bad weather simply because they were not tight enough in the pens.

Childcare cost hits women

From: Coun Nader Fekri, Labour & Co-op, Calder Ward, Cheetham Street, Hebden Bridge.

NEW research shows that mothers with full-time jobs need to work for four months a year in order simply to break even on childcare costs.

Worse still, mothers in Yorkshire need to work an above-national average of nearly 18 weeks a year.

On average, a mother in Britain spends more than £7,000 per year on childcare. If the Government is serious about getting Britain working again, it must act to stop the spiralling cost of childcare which, according to recent reports, prevents up to one million women with young families returning to work.

Since the bulk of childcare still falls on women, what would most help them to follow a career and raise children would be good and cheap nursery places, rather than raiding money currently earmarked for Sure Start schemes.

Listening with my mother

From: Janet Berry, Barfield, Hambleton, York.

I WAS saddened to hear that Daphne Oxenford who was one of my favourite voices on Listen with Mother has died at the age of 93. My other favourite narrator was Julia Lang. I am now almost 67 but can still remember their dulcet tones as they asked me: “Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.”

I often wondered what had happened to Miss Oxenford and was surprised to find that she had appeared in Coronation Street, The Sweeney, Man About the House and Heartbeat. She had also appeared in To the Manor Born and her voice was one behind What the Papers Say. She also had a long partnership with Les Dawson, appearing on many of his shows.

Perhaps I would have liked to have seen her but in my memory she was an aunty figure with a delicious voice telling me wonderful stories which always seemed to end with having hot buttered toast and strawberry jam.

How I looked forward every day to those 15 minutes as I indeed listened with my mother to those songs and stories.

Lovely memories.

Osborne lets richest off

From: George Appleby, Leighton Croft, Clifton, York.

HAVING brought the lowest earners, sick and weakest in society to their knees, eating at food banks and starving by low lit fires, George Osborne is working his way up, but leaving those with the most sitting pretty.

One million earners of more than £50,000 a year, as a result of his child benefit cuts policy, will pay 65 per cent tax on every pound above £50,000 earned, to bring him in yet another £2.5bn.

David Cameron yet again says he will make sure the rich pay their share but all the tax dodgers are still getting away scot free. He is relying on them and their ilk to get him in again in 2015.

Paddling pool under M62

From: P Dransfield, Main Street, Great Heck, near Goole.

THE comments in the Yorkshire Post remind me that the way out of this village under the M62 is regularly flooded to about four feet deep and has been ever since the motorway was built. The plans show the water running uphill. After 30 years the parish council is claiming this as a children’s boating and paddling pool.

On another matter, if the lock gates at Naburn were fixed open or better still removed and replaced with flood doors to keep out the tide, the water table in York and surroundings would drop by about 12 feet and still leave plenty of water for boats.