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Tom Griffith-Jones - Land Agent

Rural Practice Surveyor




Specialising in Environmentally-sound Agricultural Estate Management, Green Belt issues, Farm Management, Rural Education, Public Access, Sustainable Agriculture, Renewable Energy Sources and Waste Management, Amenity Tree  Planting, Appropriate Technologies, Purchases and Sales, Leases and Sharefarming, Compensation Claims, Traditional Building Techniques, Computing, Litigation.

Satyam  eva  jayate


8 Crichel Road, Winton, Bournemouth BH9 1JG; tel: 01202 518870;


21st June 2007



Press Release


Aftermath of Foot and Mouth Epidemic



This is the 6th anniversary of our successful court battle with MAFF/Defra - MAFF v Upton, the Grunty the Pig case.  It was over the Ministrys irrational, unreasonable and unscientific obsession with killing nearly 15 million, mostly healthy, animals during the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001.  Fortunately our success slowed the Ministry in its abuse of farmers, and made it more receptive to the many rational applications for a stay of execution of healthy farm animals.


In the absence of a proper closure of this horror, through an independent and searching public inquiry, there is the inevitability that it will all occur all over again when the next outbreak of a foreign disease arrives.  That may or may not be Foot and Mouth.


In an attempt to reduce the risk of this happening, by highlighting the responsibility of individuals to act responsibly, professionally, and within the limitations of the powers given to them, I have launched a claim against Devon and Cornwall Police and Defra officials in the Courts.  This relates to the assault upon me by a police officer and Defra slaughter team, my unlawful arrest, and my malicious prosecution.


It happened at the farm of Commander and Mrs Roy Benson, Helewood Farm, Clayhanger, where an outbreak of the disease had suddenly and unexpectedly manifested on the adjoining farm.  The Bensons kept alpacas as well as horses, cattle, sheep and goats on their farm, and there is substantial evidence that the alpacas neither suffer from nor spread foot and mouth disease.  Mary Benson was dying of cancer at the time, and died two months later.  She and the whole family were particularly keen that these alpacas should not be slaughtered, and were prepared to take the matter to Court if necessary.  Their lawyers were in negotiations with Defras lawyers, but Defra officials clearly wanted to pre-empt the role of the Courts to decide this issue.  As I was an inconvenient obstruction to their unlawful intent, they enlisted the help of the police to remove me unlawfully, so that they could bully and intimidate my elderly and frail Clients.


I find such behaviour to be outrageous and entirely unacceptable in the kind of free society which we claim to have in this country.  As the Government has chosen to try to pull a veil over the abusive and occasionally unlawful actions of its officials, who are supposed to be servants of the people, I am forced to take this action myself.


In bringing this case, it will be most helpful to me if all those who suffered similar abuse during that epidemic could give me details of their experiences.  This would provide useful evidence that the events at Helewood Farm were part of a much wider and more systematic pattern of behaviour.