Video: Suffolk soldier is 'Herriot of Helmand'

A SOLDIER who lives on the Suffolk-Essex border has been nicknamed the “Herriot of Helmand” by his colleagues after setting up a pioneering veterinary clinic for Afghan farmers.

A SOLDIER who lives on the Suffolk-Essex border has been nicknamed the “Herriot of Helmand” by his colleagues after setting up a pioneering veterinary clinic for Afghan farmers.

Once a month Captain Miles Malone, 28, invites villagers in a remote and dangerous corner of Helmand Province to bring their livestock for a free check-up.

By de-worming and vaccinating their goats, sheep, cows and donkeys, he hopes to improve the health and wealth of local people.

Capt Malone, from Mount Bures, near Sudbury, of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, is halfway through a seven-month tour of Afghanistan based at Camp Bastion, the main British base in Helmand.


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His main job is to look after the working dogs used to sniff out explosives or guard military camps.

But he is also leading the new veterinary clinic project - now into its third month - for farmers from the small villages to the north-west of Camp Bastion.

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Capt Malone said improving the animals' health would result in improved meat and milk production, increasing their value at market and boosting the diets of locals.

He said: "A farmer may well be more concerned about an animal dying than he would his child or one of his wives. It sounds harsh, but life is harsh here.

"If a farmer's herd is in poor health, his family's income will be reduced and all the family members will suffer.

"Once you start to understand the way Afghan society works and the crucial dependence on animals for existence, you can see why a project like this could really benefit the local population.'

The project helps to improve relations with the local population, making them more likely to give UK troops information about the activities of the Taliban.

The British soldiers also try to educate the Afghan farmers about how to look after their animals.

Sergeant Major Greg Reeve, 39, from Upavon in Wiltshire, said there was a staggering ignorance among the villagers about how to care for their livestock.

He said: "Farmers here have absolutely no idea about animal husbandry. There is near total ignorance about causes and spread of disease, breeding cycles and how milk is produced.

"If a goat stops milking, it is said to be Allah's will rather than the fact that it has not bred for 18 months and therefore has no anatomical reason to produce milk.'

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