My nerves were significantly calmed by the discovery back at the house of a jar of confit duck sausages - sausages happily residing in their own fat, waiting to be fried with other things. What could be nicer. Those having been put away for lunch, I demanded that leeks be harvested from the vegetable patch for leek, tarragon and watercress soup (can't garden myself, of course), and found a jar of prunes that I'd, with great forethought/greed, immersed in some Armagnac on my last visit. They had developed a not at all unpleasant alcoholic aroma. Tarte aux Pruneaux was the inevitable result, and very nice it was too.
P.s. On consulting in drastically inneffectual French with the afflicted farmer regarding the cows I discovered that a.) 16 in total were struck, and b.) they were destined to become 'croquettes pour les chiens' - dog biscuits. Ignoble ends indeed.