22 November 1996

Unkindest cut for a Bactrian

THE writings of vets are always assured of a ready audience in current times and a new book* chronicling the experiences of a country practitioner should keep demand satisfied.

The author writes with lively wit and not only illuminates more mundane farm visits with humour but embraces more exotic matters from ostriches to camels. His experience with the latter species makes for one of the funniest chapters in the book. Asked by a circus boss to castrate a two-year-old Bactrian called Joe, he reluctantly turns up to make the unkindest cut of all. The beast is unperturbed by the operation but the vet puts his back out for two days.

A humane and kindly account of a country vets world, written by a man who always considers the welfare of the animal before all else. JE

*Cows to Camels by R Russell Lyon. Smallholder Publicat-ions, High Street, Stoke Ferry, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE33 9SF (£6).