Sunrise/sunset: Down all day
It’s been a busy week this week. There was lots of work to catch up on, on Monday as well as a couple of meetings. For animal welfare cases, I often work with Thomas and he’s often a source of great advice, but recently we have both had so much work to do outside the office that it hasn’t been easy to keep that contact up. This week, with his help, I’ve finally resolved a query that has been rumbling on for a while. I say I resolved it, but actually it was him that ran the meeting I set up. I was watching and learning though, and next time I would be able to tackle it myself.
On Tuesday I was out taking samples from goats. Our team are sent lists each year of tests we should carry out, checking for various animal diseases that cause a lot of distress or present a public health risk (part of the OK program). As well as taking blood samples, which will be tested for brucellosis (which can affect different species, including humans) I tested for mites by swabbing in their ears and paratuberculosis by taking samples of poo. At least, in theory I took poo samples. In reality, it was far harder to extract faeces from goats than I had expected. Next time, I will have to find a better strategy as my sample pots were definitely a lot less full than they should have been. Nevertheless, there is pleasure for me in blood sampling because it’s something I’m good at. That said, crouching down and standing up again forty times was a stark reminder that I’m not as young as I once was!
Thomas and I also worked together on Wednesday, meeting about a police case that we’ve been working on. There, both of us were learning, in particular regarding how to build up an evidence file to make sure everything is documented well enough that someone reading the file for the first time can fully understand the situation and where each piece of evidence was located. We also went through a lot of photos we had taken in the course of the meeting. Those photos were powerful evidence, I think. Seeing them afresh created quite an impact. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know how much I like to take photos and I pride myself in taking good photographs at work as well. If you are taking a picture of a thin animal, for example, the result is very dependent on the angle you take it and the clarity of the image. When you can see all the ribs and the bumps along the spine, you know that animal is painfully underweight.
On Thursday, I was out on another long-rumbling case with Birgit. More learning, because Birgit is great at her job as well. I even got to put some of the tips the police contact had told us the day before into practice. Birgit is good with animals and people and also compassionate towards both. The case in question will benefit from her steadiness and experience.
And yesterday, Thomas and I had a meeting with someone who may apply for a licence to process moose that have been run over and killed (to use for meat). The law regarding such premises changed drastically in the summer, and unless you are computer literate and know where to look, it can be difficult to navigate the process. Fortunately Thomas is fully on board with those changes too. Much of my job revolves around knowing where to find relevant information. Keeping up with so many different strands is one of the challenges of the work we do. Because we are in a rural area, we have to tackle a very wide range of issues. One moment, we could be assessing guinea pigs to see whether the conditions they are being kept in are adequate, the next we are deciding whether animals brought in from Ukraine are being kept in compliance with the modified quarantine rules, and the next again, we might be checking whether a reindeer carcase is fit for human consumption or whether the facility where that is being done has taken all the appropriate steps to ensure that those working there are safe. One thing I will say is that my job is rarely boring!
I am hoping to take most of next week off. It’s not a holiday. Rather it’s time that I have built up over recent months working long hours. I now have enough hours to take a week off and hope that I get to do so. I have already made plans to sacrifice Tuesday to another goat blood test (the cut off date for sending is the 15th December) and there was news yesterday that the police, very sadly, shot a man who is a farmer in our area. It was in one of the newspapers that Mattilsynet are involved and my boss was asked to comment, so the information that it’s in our area is not confidential information. It’s possible there will be some work involved with that case next week, or even during the weekend. If I am asked to go in at short notice, I will do so willingly. This is a very unusual and tragic incident in Norway and if there is need for an assessment of animal welfare, then Thomas and I are on the front line, alongside our boss, Hilde. I think we are a good team.
Finally, I hope you are enjoying my Advent photos. Hopefully I will be out and about next week to take some more. If there’s good weather, so much the better!