The UK Govt briefing note for tomorrow's EU FMD debate includes the following (bulleted points) We offer just a very small selection of items on warmwell that suggest that what are described as "errors of fact" were no such thing.
7 The allegation that lack of an effective system for identifying and tracing rapidly the transport routes taken by sheep hampered efforts to control disease; this was not the case.
From The Sunday Times http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/article/0,,9003-2001593372,00.html
"....The ministry had no accurate list of farmers or their farms even though it was paying £1.3 billion in livestock subsidies each year.
Mike Christian, a vet who ran the Maff surveillance scheme around Longtown in Cumbria when the FMD epidemic was at its peak, described the Maff database as "absolutely useless". He said: "They had no idea on the number of farms or where they were. I was sent to some that had housing estates built on them. I was also sent to a pub, a garden centre and several barn conversions." Last week the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the successor to Maff, admitted that at the start of the outbreak it had no idea of the precise location of 121,000 farms, of which 35,500 held livestock.
IN January 2001 all the elements were in place for a disaster. The disease had entered the country and a poor surveillance system had failed to spot it. It was spreading, it seems likely, among pigs at the farm of Bobby Waugh at Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland. In research released last week, John Wilesmith, professor of epidemiology with the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, described how the virus was probably carried by the wind to another farm five miles away at Prestwick Hall, where it infected sheep. From there, sheep were sent to other markets that spread the disease further. A large outbreak was now brewing. Wilesmith believes as many as eight of the main areas of the epidemic were infected before the first case was recognised. But the government was about to make a mistake that would worsen the epidemic by at least a third."
From Booker's Notebook http://www.warmwell.com/may26booker.html
" Nothing could have been more crucial to halting the epidemic than tracing those animals; and when officials of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food visited the mart on February 26, by 10 am they had been given exact details of where every sheep had gone. A month later MAFF rang to say it had "lost the information". Could it be re-supplied? In August, MAFF rang again to say it had lost the second set of records. It is hardly surprising Mr Blair was so desperate to avoid that independent public inquiry. "
7 The allegation that there were violations of animal welfare legislation during culls and in connection with the movement ban; there is no evidence for this and any allegations of welfare breaches were fully investigated
From the TVI vet Helen O'Hare's submission to LL
(Human welfare has been covered by others but words can never describe the misery and lasting effects of this epidemic. For example, the eight year old child whose farm was culled because she had been visiting the pony on the neighbouring farm.)
Breaking of the welfare codes without justification which included:
1) Transport to burial sites of
- live animals in late pregnancy
- animals giving birth
- animals having recently given birth, mainly sheep
- lame animals unfit to travel
2) Herding of newly born animals and their dams, and very lame animals
3) Restrictions allowing conditions to develop which would normally result in prosecutions. For example
- starving animals unable to move across the road to available food
- animals born and drowning in mud.
4) Lack of a system to deal with welfare cases
The LWDS was totally inadequate and disastrous for many reasons but especially because it could take four weeks to process a case (see later).
VOs from other areas of the country were placed in positions of authority. They most commonly had no experience of working at a DECC and often could not make a decision at a DECC. They would stay for 2 to 3 weeks and then leave, to be replaced by another inexperienced person. This was especially noticeable in licensing and sometimes welfare animal movements, and appeals would not move for the time that certain individuals were in charge.
TVIs were not allowed to make many decisions although many had various skills and experience. They could however, decide single-handedly that a farm had foot and mouth, and be responsible for all that that entailed. In normal times it is the ministry vet who confirms foot and mouth.
The management of the disease, which went from delays of days before sending vets to inspect report cases, to concentrating on an unscientific contiguous cull policy rather than dealing with new cases. This allowed the disease to spread. It is interesting that many of the contiguous premises 'missed' are still disease free - many appeal cases also remain disease free. Welfare was a low priority.
7 Emergency instructions allowing one vet to supervise up to 10 slaughter sites - this is not possible and is most likely unethical. A minimum of one vet per case is required plus at least one veterinary support staff and also support for the farmer. No matter how good the slaughter team, payment per head obviously leads to cutting corners, health and safety risks and, more important, poor welfare.
7 Inadequate training of personal involved
7 Inadequate placing of personnel. For example, placing a non-English speaking and inexperienced vet in charge.
7 Poor planning especially in the case of beef cattle
7 Inadequate review of situation
7 No policy on correct/adequate procedures; no input from organisations such as the humane slaughter association
7 Payments: the per-head (i.e. per animal) payment was completely inappropriate.
7 Slaughter team
Many unlicensed and incompetent slaughter men were employed, and the screening and monitoring of performance was poor or non existent.
7 Contracts were very badly drawn up resulting in difficulties terminating contracts and excessive payments, especially for waiting time.
7 Killing methods
- Sedation prior to killing is often required in wild animals, for example limousin beef crosses, to enable a humane kill to be carried out. It initially was not considered necessary and finally, during the Allendale outbreak Arthur Griffiths, DistrictVeterinaryManager at Kenton bar, Newcastle, banned its use as it was too expensive. The cost of the commonly used sedative is approx £5/animal which is negligible when the animal may be valued at £900 and when the total cost of the kill is considered.
- Killing by shooting fails to kill unborn animals immediately. Injecting was said to be too time consuming-this is debateable.
- Newborn animals: The recommended method of killing newborn and young animals was by lethal injection. This was not always done. There were also cases of inappropriate methods of injecting with regard to the site and method e.g. injecting into the chest, not changing the needle each time, using dosing guns.
- Adult animals: The main method of killing adult animals was by captive bolt pistol applied to the head. This renders the animal unconscious when used correctly and can kill. In the slaughterhouse death is ensured by exsanguination when the blood vessels are cut immediately post stunning i.e. while the animal is still unconscious. During this epidemic death was ensured by Pithing and not exsanquination. Pithing involves pushing a thin, usually metal, rod through the bullet hole in the head and down into the spinal cord thereby 'scrambling' the brain.
- This was NOT always done in cattle and often seldom done in sheep.
- Pithing was not always done immediately post stunning especially where animals were shot in groups in make-shift pens. Therefore in such cases pithing was performed possibly as the animals were regaining consciousness. This is not acceptable and is illegal for good reason.
- The pithing rods used were plastic disposable rods which were not as efficient as metal ones. They were only left in place in the heads of cattle (but not always) and never in sheep. Thus it was not always immediately obvious that the animal had in fact been pithed.
7 There was only one vet with pig slaughter expertise at Kenton bar. There was no slaughter training in the field for vets, even when overstaffed.
7 TVIs were informed that they were there only for FMD duty and many welfare problems were ignored. Welfare problems that were reported were not recorded on computer. This made it difficult at a later stage for others to decide on the severity, follow up, etc.
All of the above contributed to the unacceptable occurrences on some farms such as
7 Chaos and stress during the gathering, penning, and slaughter of animals
7 More than one shot being used to kill
In one case, 300 housed bull beef each received a minimum of three shots to the head. One animal got off the wagon after being loaded. The slaughter team comprised three gamekeepers using inadequate firearms and bullets, and the slaughter took 2 days to complete.
7 Over crowding of animals in pens during shooting so that some animals were buried alive
7 Animals missed during the initial kill e.g. a distressed newborn calf reported in a field by neighbours 4 days later.
7 Loading bodies too early before ensuring they were dead and not just unconscious
7 Untrained and incompetent marksmen often called in too early or because animals had escaped due to poor planning
7 There were no vets with experience of using dart guns for sedation
Feb 26 2002~"When they took them to the fires for burning one put its head up and another got up and walked down the field."
From this week's Farmers' Guardian ".....A major problem witnessed by Monmouthshire farmer Nigel Turner, when a neighbouring farm went down with fmd was the manner in which the animals were slaughter and burned. "The amazing thing was that the slaughtermen were being paid by the animal but the men building the fires were being paid by the hour" said 46 year old Mr. Turner who runs Graig Farm and Wayne Farm at Cross Ash near Abergavenny. "This meant the slaughtermen killed the animals as fast as they could but the men building the fires were in no hurry." "Initially the slaughtermen were stunning the sheep and throwing them into buckets and trailers so quickly that when they took them to the fires for burning one put its head up and another got up and walked down the field.
Feb 26 2002 ~ POLICE 'FINISHED OFF' ANIMALS LEFT TO DIE BY SLAUGHTERMEN Cumbria News and Star
"A NATIONAL police report has revealed how Cumbrian officers had to be called in with guns to "finish off" animals which slaughtermen had failed to properly kill during the county's foot and mouth crisis. The report, which outlines lessons to be learned from the police experience of the outbreak, claimed there were "instances of great concern" about the quality of work slaughtermen were doing. It told how Cumbria police marksmen were called out on five occasions to shoot animals which had not been killed by slaughtermen and were left injured. Others escaped and had to be killed because they posed a danger to public safety. (More)
7 The allegation that farmers were intimidated and pressurised in connection with the culls; there is no evidence offered for this.
From Alan Beat's Summary of evidence to the EU Inquiry on 21st June in Devon, UK http://www.warmwell.com/june22alanevidence.html
I will supply videotape to the Inquiry of interviews recorded with some Devon livestock owners who were mistreated in various ways. Among these, Matthew Knight resisted the contiguous cull, only to eventually discover that his neighbouring IP had tested negative at the laboratory; yet even knowing this, MAFF continued to press for the slaughter of his healthy organic cattle. Peter and Betty Howarth at first resisted the contiguous cull, but yielded to pressure from MAFF for the slaughter of their two retired pet house cows in exchange for a promise that disposal would be prompt. In fact the bodies lay beside the house for fifteen days, oozing pools of noxious liquid to the back door amid indescribable stench. No-one should be treated like this.
This crisis saw the abuse of human rights on a massive scale. It must never be repeated. We will not stand for it, ever again.From the distinguished vet Roger Windsor's submission to THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH ENQUIRY http://www.warmwell.com/windsorfeb4.htm
7. Why did the Government permit the social destruction of the country in the name of animal disease control ?
Decent honest people were turned into criminals because they loved their pets. The police invariably sided with the authorities and some of their actions would have been normal in a police state: doors were broken down, deception was used to gain entry so that animals could be slaughtered, young girls were taken to police stations in handcuffs, and road blocks were set up before dawn. Farmers were blackmailed by SERAD officers and members of the State Veterinary Service: they were told that if they did not permit the slaughter of their sheep then their cattle also would be slaughtered. Farmers were known to issue "death threats" to other farmers and a livestock dealer had to be imprisoned for his own safety.
Willy Poole in Telegraph (http://www.portal.telegraph.co.uk/outdoors/main.jhtml?xml=%2Foutdoors%2F2001%2F12%2F29%2Fopoool29.xmldec29 ) 2001 : "Cull? What cull?" I hear you cry. How can there still be murder afoot when our wonderful Government has found time to stop the virus just as efficiently as it is doing away with the Mad Mullahs?
That is really two questions and the answer to both is that it (the Government) has not. Just as it papered over "domestic terrorism", so it is attempting to paper over foot and mouth by writing up new infections as "DCs" (Dangerous Contacts) and "SOSs" (Slaughter on Suspicion). How does it get away with this? The answer in one word is "intimidation". Farmers won't talk because they won't get paid. The same goes for the contractors and the vets. The vets are in double jeopardy, because by turning a blind eye they are ipso facto guilty of "professional misconduct", which could get them drummed out of the proverbial Brownies....."
7 The allegation that contiguous culls involved lax biosecurity and infringements of welfare law. Again no evidence is offered and this was not the case.
Nick Green observed the following; http://www.warmwell.com/ap3nickbio.html
here are some FACTS I witnessed on the ground, here in Cumbria during last years massacre of the innocent. Deny these, if you dare. 1. MAFF slaughter men, vets and others, leaving "dirty" areas and without a proper "clean up", travelling back to their very comfortable Hotels and B+B`s…….to spend time with their mates, who, in many cases were "working" clean farms.
2. TVI`s leaving dirty farms without proper "clean up". 4x4`s not cleaned properly. In one case I sent a TVI back to the dirty area to clean himself and his vehicle thoroughly. It took him 2 attempts before we would allow him to pass. He agreed, "The policy of FMD control was crap." "Even if I cleaned this shit up, they would still take everything out." They did.
3. MAFF labourer left a dirty field with a tractor and trailer, spewing mud etc. all over the road. This tractor was never washed before exit. This was a very local incident, the loss of a large dairy/beef farm and virtually all other farms locally. Beef cattle, some quite young, were pressed heavily against a wall right next to a cottage, by a team of thugs with a low loader, who then shot them. There was a lot of panic in the pens and were obviously in great distress. I questioned this team who told me "To F**k off or they would "Do" me. One of them held a pickaxe handle.
4. Cull lorry, small local village, emptying all sorts of "gunge" from his tilted unit. We took pictures. He became very worried and lowered the unit immediately. In this particular area there were 26 farms in the Parish. By the time MAFF had finished, not one stood.
5. MAFF Field Officer, left a field containing recently culled sheep, that were being sprayed with disinfectant as I arrived. He walked to his car in jeans and a fleece, played around the back of his Ford Focus hire vehicle and walked back into the field amongst the sheep. He then left again. As I photographed him, he threatened me, tried to grab my camera and then phoned the police. Not once did he have any protective clothing on. Police involved.
6. Many, many cases of bio-security suits left in bags, left by the side of roads, often covered in blood and very often seen lying around lanes and on fence posts.
7. Great piles of culled sheep, pathetically and ineffectively covered with tarpaulins, gates left open with no yellow tape and legions of bio-suits left all over the place, including a public road.
8. MAFF cull lorries, containing "infected animals", cattle in this case, leaving the dirty farm and enjoying a well-earned tea break in a lay-by near the M6. Oh, and worthy of note, the lay-by in question was right next to a field of healthy Swaledale ewes that were culled a few weeks later.
9. TVI`s, we presume, seen taking blood from some culled sheep. No gloves or face masks but were wearing bio-suits with waterproofs over the top. Left the area fully dressed in their hire cars.
10. Many, many, slaughter teams incorrectly dressed during culling.
11. During sero-surveillance, teams moving from pen to pen, no gloves or face masks, cars & 4x4`s driven off farms with no de-tox of vehicles seen.
12. More MAFF cull lorries disobeying rules. One I followed, left the M6 going North to Carlisle, left the motorway and pulled into Southwaite services. The driver drove to the ESSO garage, exited the cab, bought some cigarettes in the shop, came back & continued North to Hespin Wood. When questioned, MAFF said, "The driver heard a noise coming from a wheel and decided to pull off the motorway." Oh yeah, just happening to buy some cigarettes in a public service area and not once looking at ANY of his wheels.
13. MAFF Field Officer seen wandering around local Petrol Station., wearing a very dirty white bio suit. Filled a water container from a stand pipe after buying some chocolate.
14. Piles of dirty bio suits and some wellington boots seen in the back of a Field Officer's car. "What the f**k has it to do with you?" was the reply when I asked him for comment. "Put that camera away or I will smash it." he said.
These are just a handful of examples of MAFF violating bio-security rules here in Cumbria. There were dozens & dozens of others.
7 The inference that the contiguous cull was not effective in curbing the disease; the Lessons Learned inquiry noted that it played a critical part in disease control in the 2001 outbreak.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: (Hansard 12/11/01 Col 625)
For example, culling was due to take place on 34 farms in the Forest of
Dean, but it took place on only 18. A successful legal challenge by farmers
resulted in the Minister using his discretion to arrange for blood tests to
be carried out on the animals on the remaining 16 farms. Those animals were
saved from the cull, and it eventually turned out that none of the farms had
any infection at all.
From Nicola Morris - after exhaustive examination of data http://www.warmwell.com/uly1lnicolamorriscull.htm
"Given the delays in identification and slaughter of the pre-emptive cull farms, the fact that around 40% of this slaughter occurred around negative and untested infected premises and the over estimation of risk of exposure to disease by the models, it is highly likely that most of the pre-emptive culling carried out during the UK 2001 epidemic was unnecessary. Significantly the statistical facts are supported by the extensive, detailed anecdotal evidence reported across the country.
However, until detailed independent analysis of the 'truly' infected premises is permitted by DEFRA the true scale of the epidemic can not be established; disease transmission remains a mystery and more importantly the most appropriate disease control strategy for the future can not be determined.
We can say for certain that the scale of the culling in UK 2001 epidemic was unprecedented; the scale and nature of the epidemic is, as yet, unknown.
7 The suggestion that the 3 km cull in Cumbria and Dumfries and Galloway may not have had a basis in domestic law.
This was dealt with on warmwell this morning (Dec 16 2002)
Dec 16 ~ Gordon Adam still hopes to convince the EU FMD Committee that there is "no doubt at all about the legality of the cull"
Has Mr Adam not yet realised how much of the rationale for the much disliked Animal Health Bill was to make legal the firebreak cull imposed on Cumbria under the guise of a "voluntary" scheme? The letter to farmers in Cumbria who resisted this "voluntary cull" makes it perfectly clear that there was nothing "voluntary" about it: "According to our records you were not willing to give up your sheep. This letter is to advise you what arrangements are now being put in place to include your sheep in the cull."
Roy Hathaway's memo on 6th November 2001 also reveals that the firebreak cull was erroneously known as a "voluntary" cull. As Lord Whitty said " A pre-emptive cull, by definition, does not require us to be able to prove that an animal had the disease. That is precisely the firebreak or wall strategy that Anderson said should be more clearly available to us in legislation but which is not present in the current legislation." On November 8th, at the EFRA Select Committee, Mr Morley said "At the present time, we do not have powers for a fire break cull."
Margaret Beckett said on November 12th, at the second reading of the Animal Health Bill: "The foot and mouth disease provisions fall into two main categories. First, there are powers if need be to enter premises on a precautionary basis, whether for culling, vaccination or testing, to prevent the spread of disease--without having to prove, as under present legislation, that the animal has been exposed to disease." Thus, all the DEFRA Ministers admitted that the legal powers for the extra killing had not been in place in 2001.
7 The allegations that there were breaches of human and environmental health guidelines from emissions and groundwater pollution following pyres and mass burials and that there was no monitoring of the environmental effects of these disposal methods. In fact the relevant UK and European legislation and guidelines were followed, and in particular the Waste Licensing and Groundwater regulations. Monitoring has been undertaken and continues in certain cases.
From the Devon Inquiry http://www.warmwell.com/devoninquiry.htm
Geoff Bateman, from the Environment Agency, said burial had been the standard disposal method in the 1967/68 outbreak of foot and mouth.
But there was evidence that private water supplies to individual farms had been affected by leachate from those burials.
"Our understanding of ground water and ground water pollution problems has increased and so has the legislation," he said.
"Our role was to protect Devon and the interests of Devon people.
"Where it was possible to bury, burial was one of the options used."
Mr Booth said only one farmer actually came forward to ask for his culled cattle to be buried on his land although burials had been approved by the agency on 10 occasions.
"That is a signal of the rarity with which we found conditions which would not lead to knock-on environmental problems afterwards," he said.
Commenting on the controversial proposal to use the site at Ashmoor for disposal of culled cattle, Mr Bateman said the Environment Agency did not want the project to go ahead.