'For evil to triumph all that is required is that good men do nothing'
Mrs. E. Jane. M. Barribal & Associates.
2 - Howpark Farm Cottages - Grantshouse - Duns - Berwickshire - TD11 3RP
Dear fellow farmer,
Don't worry - I'm not trying to sell you anything!
I am an associate of Farmtalking.com, launched on the 10th March this year to offer information, help and advice as well as providing a point of contact for farmers and others affected by the Foot and Mouth crisis in the U.K.
Many rumours are circulating which suggest that the MAFF are planning a renewed round of culling following the election. Both the MAFF and NFU have denied this is the case.
However, the MAFF do intend to carry out blood testing of sheep in infected areas. We have asked them to clarify their policy regarding these blood tests.
Which we now understand is as follows:
MAFF will only test a percentage of each flock, a maximum of 60 samples is required regardless of the total number. If the flock is less than 30 they will test them all. The samples will not be identified to individual animals. If all the samples are negative, the flock will be declared 'Negative'.
If a single sample is positive, regardless of the number taken, the sample will be re-tested using a different test. If that result is still positive, every animal in the flock will be sampled and this time each sample will be identified from each individual animal. If again there is only one positive result then only that animal will be culled and the rest declared 'Negative'.
If there are two or more positive samples from a flock there will be no second lab test of the samples. The flock will be declared 'Positive' and culled as a Dangerous Contact. (DC). On slaughter the animals will be examined for FMD lesions, including healed lesions, and if found, will then be declared an Infected Premises (IP) and contiguous culls of neighbouring farms could take place, up to 3km, and dangerous contacts would be traced.
We understand that this policy will apply to England, Scotland and Wales and there are no provisions for regional variations. However, it may be that some alterations to this policy will occur, as the testing program gets under way.
In view of the above policy, we recommend that both the samples and sheep are numbered consecutively to match, in the first instance, especially if you know your stock to be healthy. Then in the event of positive results the animals can be identified and examined and if found healthy, without any signs of lesions an appeal against the cull could be made.
We also understand that in some cases, farmers unwilling to agree to the cull of their livestock have been told that such a refusal will result in the with holding of the 'compensation' payment. This is completely untrue. The payment due on valuation of both infected and uninfected livestock is not 'compensation' but for 'compulsory purchase' by the Government and cannot be withheld.
You should also be aware that we have confirmation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons that a Veterinary Surgeon signing the 'A' form for the culling of healthy stock is signing a 'false certificate' for which he can be struck off. We therefore advise all farmers who have had their healthy animals slaughtered and have retained the signed 'A' form, to make a formal complaint to the R.C.V.S.
The complaint form and guidance for its completion is available from the R.C.V.S. or we can forward it to you.
We are also able to introduce you to solicitors who have considerable experience
concerning the FMD crisis. Initial advice is free and subsequent charges very reasonable, with third party funding available for those who need it. They are able to advise and act for you, both to protect your livestock and/or sue for consequential loss, etc.,
If you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Our Help-Lines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and more information is available from our web site, by e-mail or post.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, please pass this information on to anyone you think may benefit from it.
Sincerely and with kind regards,
Elms Farm, Denstone, Staffs. - 7th June 2001