By Frank Newman Turner
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Acres U.S.A. original book, Cure Your Own Cattle, written by Frank Newman Turner. Copyright 1950, 2009, softcover, 96 pages. $10 regularly priced. SALE PRICE $6.00.
I left university with the deep bewilderment about animal diseases, which I imagine is common to all agricultural and veterinary students. The only certain thing about animal diseases seemed to be man’s inability to prevent or cure most of them. It was not until I had experienced these diseases in my own herd and started at the beginning in my attempt to eliminate and prevent them, instead of accepting the diseases and treating them as inevitable, that I discovered the root cause of most of them. Until in fact I discovered that there is only one disease of animals and its name is man!
The solution was then simple. If I could get the animals back to a life as nearly as economically practicable to what it was before man perverted them to his own use, and provide them as fully as possible with all the requirements of health available under natural conditions, it was reasonable to assume that health would be restored and maintained. That in fact has been my experience, and in this section of the book I publish the treatments evolved from this assumption, which have been proven effective when used by farmers themselves on their own cattle in all parts of the world. But first let me give you some of my experiences that led to the discovery of the simple natural cures for diseases, which have hitherto seemed incurable by the involved methods of orthodox veterinary science.
I have previously written about the diseases that drained my resources and nearly ruined two herds of cattle; how artificial manures were dispensed with entirely and how manuring entirely by natural means and feeding my cattle mainly on organically grown (See Fertility Farming) food and herbs, I restored my herd and my farm to health and abundance from the stage when 75% of my animals were suffering from contagious abortion, sterility, tuberculosis and mastitis. I spent large sums of money on vaccination and the orthodox veterinary treatment of sterility and the only result was increasing disease. Some cows aborted their calves as often as three times after being vaccinated, and one after another the cows were declared by the veterinary surgeon to be useless and incapable of further breeding after he had applied a succession of orthodox treatments and failed. He told me that I should never be safe from these diseases until I adopted a system of regular vaccination of all my cattle as they reached the age of six months; I must also fatten and sell the sterile animals and tuberculosis reactors. In spite of pressure, I resisted all this advice, largely because I had not the capital to replace the “useless” animals which I was advised to dispose of, and partly because I was in any case becoming convinced that we had been tackling disease from the wrong end.
The Germ Theory
My faith in the germ theory had already been shaken by experience of health maintenance in my own family. When 25% of my cattle continued normal and healthy lives in the midst of millions of brucella abortus, staphylococci pyogenes, streptococci of all kinds, I became convinced that the much-maligned bacteria were not the primary factor in the cause of disease.
After many years’ working on that assumption, with the gradual elimination of so-called contagious diseases from my farm, although I am regularly taking diseased animals in for treatment, I have reached the conclusion that bacteria are not only not the main cause of disease, or abnormality in the body, but Nature’s chief means of combating it. What we choose to call harmful bacteria are ineffective or inactive except where the abnormal conditions exist to make their work necessary. If we allow them their natural function, to clear up a diseased condition, and do not continue the malpractices which gave rise to the abnormality, leaving the body entirely free of external sustenance until the cleansing work of the bacteria is done, correcting deficiencies only with natural herbs, and then only introducing the patient to natural food grown with organic manuring, good health is the natural outcome. In experimenting with that particularly troublesome disease of the cow’s udder, mastitis, I have taken the discharge of cows suffering from it and applied the virulent bacteria to the udders of healthy cows, with no ill effect whatever to the healthy cow.
This is a disease that is said to be spread from one cow to another by invasion of the udder with bacilli. Strict germicidal measures are claimed to be the most effective form of prevention and treatment, yet mastitis is costing the farmer more and more every year. My own cows suffered most severely with this disease when everything to do with them was almost continuously submerged in disinfectant and when I was using all the orthodox treatments. Every farmer knows that his cows will get mastitis under orthodox methods of management and would continue to do so even were they kept under glass cases. The fact is that this disease is merely a catarrhal condition of the udder, brought abut by feeding cows for high yields on foods in which the natural elements, vitamins and plant hormones, essential to proper endocrine functioning, either never existed because the food was grown from a soil dying of chemical poisoning or in other ways deficient, or were removed in the process of manufacture.
For many years now my farm has been manured exclusively by natural means, and the animals fed almost exclusively on naturally grown crops. Up to the time of meeting Sir Albert Howard, I had used a form of sheet composting in my effort to utilize all available organic matter to replace the chemical manures. Since Sir Albert first came to the farm, I have followed more closely the Indore system of composting, and, encouraged by him, I have evolved an adaptation of his system which makes turning unnecessary. See The Farmer Year Book & Diary (annually 6/6). I also took Sir Albert’s advice about subsoiling in the initial stages, and in addition have included deep rooting herbs in all my leas, thus tapping reserves of minerals previously locked in the subsoil, and effecting a natural aeration of the subsoil which makes subsequent mechanical subsoiling unnecessary. Kept under this régime, the sterile animals I was advised to have slaughtered have come back to breeding again and formerly useless cattle have been turned into a valuable pedigree herd, the only cost being hard work and a respect for Nature. Had I taken the veterinary surgeon’s advice I should have been ruined, but instead I am that rare specimen, a happy farmer.
Frank Newman Turner was a visionary. He founded The Farmer, the first organic quarterly magazine “published and edited from the farm,” won the Great Comfrey Race, initiated by Lawrence D. Hills in 1953, was a founder member of the Soil Association, and became the first president of the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), now the world’s largest organic horticultural association. He later became a leading medical herbalist and naturopath and published magazines promoting natural health care and organic principles.