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http://www.defra.gov.uk/footandmouth/pdf/dringstatement.pdf

J R DRING, VO NEWCASTLE

MY INVOLVEMENT WITH THE WAUGHS

Up until depopulation of their farm in February 2001, Waugh1 brothers

Ronnie (aged 60) and Bobby (56) had kept swill-fed pigs all their adult

lives, working first for their father, himself a swill-feeder, and, since his

death in the late 1960s, on their own behalf. They were based formerly in

the Sunderland area of Tyne and Wear (where their family home was, and

continues to be) and, since October 1995, at 20 Birks Road, East Heddon,

Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland, on the eastern half of which

property they held (and still hold) an agricultural tenancy. This latter

premises will be referred to consistently throughout these pages as

Burnside Farm, the name used for it by the Waughs. Foot and Mouth

Disease (FMD) was confirmed there, in pigs, on Friday 23 February 2001.

Burnside Farm is believed to be the index case for the UK 2001 FMD

epidemic.

1 Pronounced WOFF, to rhyme with cough.

(1) 21-26 FEBRUARY 2001: FMD

WEDNESDAY 21 FEBRUARY

Though usually stationed at MAFF’s Animal Health Area Office at Kenton

Bar, Newcastle, on 21 February I travelled across for the day to the

Divisional Office at Carlisle, where a day-long liaison/training meeting

was being held for local MAFF staff and Local Veterinary Inspectors (i.e.

practising vets who also carry out certain MAFF duties). During the

course of the morning it was confirmed that, after a twenty year absence,

FMD had returned to the UK, having been found in an Essex abattoir.

During the afternoon a list was received at Carlisle (faxed from Page

Street) of premises which required an urgent FMD-related check-visit. Of

the several hundred premises on this list, only one - the Waughs’ - was in

Carlisle Division. I was instructed by Divisional Veterinary Manager

(DVM) Andrew Hayward to make immediate contact with the Waughs with

a view to getting this visit done as soon as practically possible.

I began at 4pm trying to contact the Waughs by telephone. All initial

attempts were unsuccessful, there being no answer at their home address

and a continued engaged signal at their farm. However, at 4.45pm I

succeeded in getting Ronnie Waugh on the phone at Burnside Farm. I told

him why I was calling - because I needed to inspect his pigs urgently for

FMD. He told me he was aware of the situation at Cheale’s (the abattoir

where disease had just been found and with which the Waughs had close

business links) and so knew why I was calling. I asked him if, as far as he

knew, his pigs were well. He told me they were (this proving to be a lie,

2

and putting back diagnosis of disease at Burnside by 18-24 hours). I

suggested visiting to inspect his herd first thing the next morning. Waugh

was flustered and indecisive, claiming to be uncertain at this time of his

movements the next day. (To be fair to him, he was at this time suffering

health problems, then undiagnosed, which would prove to be very

serious. Though he didn’t volunteer this information to me during this

conversation, he had a hospital appointment the next morning which,

understandably, he would be reluctant to break.) Waugh told me that, if I

contacted him at his Sunderland home later that evening, he would by

then be in a position to make a definite arrangement for next day. This I

agreed to do.

I duly phoned Waugh at 7.30pm. However, the phone was answered not

by Waugh, as I had expected, but by a woman I understand was his

sister. She relayed a message that Waugh would meet me at Burnside

Farm at 2pm the next day. Since, according to this woman, Waugh was

not in the house at this time, such that further dialogue or negotiation

with him was not easily possible, I merely confirmed acceptance of this

arrangement and left it at that.

THURSDAY 22 FEBRUARY

At 2pm, as arranged, I arrived at Burnside Farm, Heddon-on-the-Wall to

inspect the resident pig herd for signs of FMD. I was accompanied by

Animal Health Officer Jim Storey, a MAFF colleague also based at the

Newcastle Area Office. The Burnside herd at this time comprised 527 pigs,

with culled adults and pork/bacon pigs in approximately equal numbers

alongside a lesser number of young stock. (For full stocking data, see

classification/distribution table attached.)

Before beginning my inspection, I again asked both Waugh brothers

whether they were aware of any current or recent ill-health in their pigs

and was again told that, as far as they were aware, all their pigs were

well. However, inspection quickly revealed the presence of widespread

FMD, clearly well-established, with old lesions in many pigs. The younger

pigs in particular were visibly unwell/unthrifty, putting the lie to the

Waughs’ specious claims (see Appendix Three) of a herd in apparent good

health. Lameness in the older pigs will have come and (largely) gone, but

also have been patently obvious in previous days.

Forms A and C were served. Samples were collected and dispatched to the

Diagnostic Laboratory, Pirbright, Surrey on the 2030 flight ex Newcastle

airport (assistance in this rendered by colleagues Rupert Hine VO, who

had been summoned from a nearby farm, and Jim Storey). Tracing

information collected (i.e. a list of farm and market premises either visited

by the Waughs or which had supplied pigs to the Waughs in the recent

past). Relevant documentation (reports + Notices) faxed from Animal

Health Office, Kenton Bar, Newcastle to Page Street, London.

3

FRIDAY 23 FEBRUARY

More work (in liaison with Carlisle office) ref tracing information. Then

across to Brown, Heddon View, the farm adjoining Waugh's where the

latter's swill was supposedly processed under Article 26 licence (see

below). Due to link between farms, if Waugh's herd went, Brown's would

have to go too, as a direct contact (DC) premises, even if not actively

diseased. Brown so informed. Brown then asked to agree to disposal on

his land of both herds (since no space available at Burnside for either

burial or burning). Brown agrees and he and I assess disposal site options

at Heddon View. Due to high water table, burial not possible. Optimum

cremation site identified.

Disease officially confirmed mid-morning. Waugh and Brown informed.

Agree valuer with Waugh after difficulty locating his first and second

choices - Robert Whitelock of Hexham and Northern Marts subsequently

attends. I ask Waugh how he intends to feed his pigs between this time

and their eventual slaughter. He replies that he has no processed swill to

offer them and proposes feeding either unprocessed swill (of which he has

plenty, in barrels, on the back of his lorry) or proprietary bagged meal, of

which he has none, and would therefore necessarily need to leave the site

to go and buy, and to which the pigs would in any case not be

accustomed. I tell him to feed the unprocessed swill, which his employee

(David Hall) proceeds to do.

I am requested (by either Andrew Hayward DVM, Carlisle or Steve Wyllie

VA, Page Street - I can’t remember which) to carry out a clinical

inspection of Waugh's pigs and do so for sheds 1 and 2, recording results.

No time for remainder as valuation prevents, although class and precise

location of all pigs at Burnside recorded during this process also.

Whitelock values Waugh's herd, then Brown's. Brown's papers completed

and signed off this evening. Whitelock takes Waugh's papers home to

complete overnight.

SATURDAY 24 FEBRUARY

DVM Andrew Hayward rings to say Brown's pigs should be slaughtered

before Waugh's as latter's are likely to be past high virus-excretion phase

whereas Brown's might be about to start. Slaughter at Brown's

commences mid-am. Pre-slaughter inspection of Brown's stock (pigs,

cattle, sheep) reveals no animal either ill or visibly FMD-lesioned. Postslaughter

examination confirms absence at Heddon View of patent clinical

disease. Valuer Whitelock brings back completed Waugh valuation

paperwork, which is signed off by all parties.

Dr Kitching of Pirbright and an epidemiology team are at Burnside2. Dr

Kitching sends word over to Heddon View that in his opinion Waugh's

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pigs, or at least certain pens of them, should be killed, in preference to

Brown's, as a matter of urgency. Slaughtermen thus go from Brown's to

Waugh's and eventually (because of space constraints at Burnside) work

at both sites simultaneously. I ask Dr Kitching about advisability of

spraying carcases, bagging feet etc. He replies that the number one

priority should be to get the live animals killed ASAP. By day's end, all

Brown's stock (344 pigs, 30 store cattle, 5 calves, 4 sheep) is dead, fire is

part-built, and c180-200 of Waugh's pigs are dead (majority of these are

younger pigs, killed in their pens. Some adults, as indicated by Dr

Kitching, are also killed in passageways inside and out. But number of

adults killed is limited both by time but more so by lack of available

space. Can't kill in pens as once dead would be extremely difficult to

remove).

    2 Dr Kitching’s team blood-sampled 221 Burnside pigs on this day. All 221 samples were tested for FMD antibody, with 195 (or 88%) proving positive. This constitutes

    (a) further confirmation (if any be needed) that disease was indeed present on this site at this time as well as (b) a telling indication of the weight (and thus duration) of infection here. For amplification of (b), see Appendix Three, note 10

SUNDAY 25 FEBRUARY

Slaughter at Waugh's proceeds through day and is finished soon after

6pm. Last carcases leave Waugh's soon after 8pm. Day is relatively still -

light breeze only - but severe weather warning (heavy snow) for dawn the

next day makes lighting of fire this evening imperative. Against this time

pressure factor, precautions against virus dissemination as carcases are

moved from Waugh's to Brown's are limited: carcases are sprayed (feet

and snouts) where they lay following slaughter and again in the teleporter

bucket at Burnside Farm gate and again in the loaded trailer before it sets

off up the road for Heddon View. Before each trailer is loaded, the crack

between trailer body and tailgate is sealed with sawdust to prevent fluid

run-off. The trailer-loads were not individually sheeted due to lack of a

suitable sheet and delay in (i) acquiring one and (ii) applying it to each

load. Neither were carcase heads and feet individually bagged, due to

impracticality, time-constraints and also lack of suitable materials.

Neither was any pre-slaughter disinfection carried out.

Fire (containing circa 917 pig/cattle/sheep carcases from two farms) lit at

8.50pm. Wind at this time blowing to the SE.

MONDAY 26 FEBRUARY

Fire checked at 5.45 am - burning well. Light snow falling. Wind now

blowing to the NW.

.

5

(2) BEFORE THE ABOVE PERIOD: WASTE FOOD AND WELFARE

It seems to me that, in documenting my involvement with the Waughs in

the weeks, months and years (1995-2001) before FMD was diagnosed in

their herd, there are three distinct areas to consider. These are:

The presence or absence of disease at Burnside Farm

The prevailing welfare standards at Burnside Farm and

The Waughs' waste food feeding practices.

I will now comment on each of these in turn.

(i) Disease at Burnside Farm

In comparison with other swill premises I have visited, disease in the herd

at Burnside Farm was never a problem. I was never called there because

of sick pigs or suspected notifiable disease. Neither did I have cause to

note, whilst present, any generalised debility or depression or sub-optimal

performance due to the kind of respiratory or enteric problems which

might commonly be seen on other similar such premises. The herd at

Burnside was routinely a strong and healthy one, and this was because it

comprised either adult animals (cull sows and boars fattened over short

periods for slaughter - such animals fit, strong and old enough not to be

readily prone to such ailments) or good quality, well-grown younger stock

which likewise tended to perform well there. The Waughs were in the

business of producing fat pigs for slaughter, and in those strictly

narrowly-defined terms they were good at their job. This herd was

routinely strong, vigorous, well-grown, well-fed and healthy. Certainly I

saw no notifiable disease there before 22 February 2001, nor was it ever

suggested to me that such was present. On 24 February 2001 Dr Kitching

expressed the opinion to me that the oldest FMD lesions he had seen on

that day were 12 day old - i.e. that the first visible signs of FMD would, in

his opinion, have been seen on the farm on or about 12 February. With

an added incubation period of 8-10 days, he told me he believed the virus

would have been introduced into the herd between 2 and 4 February. My

previous visit to Burnside before 22 February took place on 24 January

(see below). On the strength of this independent epidemiological

assessment, therefore, I feel safe in asserting that I did not on that date

miss the presence in Waugh's herd of FMD. I say this not because I

believe myself incapable of such a thing, but simply because disease at

that time was not there, nor would have been present there for another 9-

11 days, nor would have been visible (and thus discernible to any

inspection, no matter how scrupulous) for another 19 days.

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(ii) Welfare standards at Burnside Farm*

[*Though it is perfectly legitimate that questions should be asked (and answered)

concerning welfare standards at Burnside Farm, I should state at the outset that I see

no direct connection between this topic and the appearance in the Waughs’ herd

during February 2001 of FMD. The two issues, though each of significance, are

essentially separate.]

Though Waugh's herd might in general have been a healthy, thriving one,

your problems if you were a pig at Burnside Farm started if/when you

became a casualty. Though there was never, to my knowledge, an

excessive or untoward number of such animals, still, as with all such

herds of this size, the occasional occurrence of such cases was inevitable.

The usual cause would be leg lameness i.e. disability caused by

inflammation involving usually either the hock or elbow joints. Despite

encouragement to take a proactive approach in considering the welfare of

such animals, the attitude of the Waughs was initially, and at bottom

remained, one of indifference. Though there were dedicated hospital pens

(former boar pens) at the farm, these would not always be used. Rather

the Waughs would leave affected pigs in with their cohorts to take their

chances. Often such pigs would, though lesioned, thrive bodily. Some

would not, clearly disadvantaged by their disability sufficient to leave

them unable to compete for food and their position in the hierarchy of the

pen. The Waughs would remove such pigs into hospital accommodation if

told to do so, and sometimes would do so on their own initiative - but not

consistently.

When I visited the farm on 22 December 2000 a single such pig was seen.

This animal was alone in an unbedded pen (not one of the hospital pens).

It had a swollen and painful left (?) elbow. It was in only moderate bodily

condition and reluctant to rise. Waugh was instructed to remove the pig

into bedded hospital accommodation, which he did, and to make

provision, without delay, for its treatment. He was advised that if the pig

did not respond within three days to such treatment it should be

euthanased.

This visit was made jointly with a Trading Standards Officer (TSO)

following a complaint, alleging poor welfare standards at Burnside Farm,

which had reached MAFF via the RSPCA and then Northumberland

County Council Trading Standards Department. There was discussion

between the TSO and myself about whether a prosecution should be

instigated (for UPUD3 under The Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions)

Act 1968) concerning this pig. Such a case could have been made, the

decision not to make it was primarily mine and it is a decision which in

retrospect I regret having made (though, that said, I do not believe that,

whichever way this decision had gone, the subsequent course of events

would have been any different). However, it was decided to give Waugh a

final warning. He was told verbally at this visit that the next time any pig

was found on his premises in such a condition, video evidence would be

7

collected, written evidence submitted and prosecution recommended. He

was told that a revisit during January would take place and that at this

visit the health and condition of all animals in his herd would be checked

to see that the welfare of each one was adequately provided for. At this

subsequent visit (which took place on 24 January and was made both for

the reason stated above and because Waugh's Article 26 licence4 was due

for renewal), the herd was inspected and found to be well. Two pigs in

hospital accommodation were particularly examined. The welfare of both

was considered to be adequately provided for. Neither of these pigs, nor

any other on the farm, showed any sign of notifiable disease.

Though the environment of the pigs at Burnside was, as on other swillfeeding

premises, a featureless and spartan one, the basic welfare

standards at the premises were acceptable, in my experience, up until my

visit there of Summer 2000 (such routine visits being made twice yearly).

After a series of postponements on my part, this visit, due in July, was

finally carried out on 30 August. On this date, and for the first time, I

found conditions at the farm to be unacceptable. The background is as

follows:

Due to a severe and sustained depression in the market, the Waughs had

for some weeks or months previous to this visit declined to sell their fat

pigs for what they considered to be unacceptably low prices. The animals

thus retained - in the main cull adult stock - thus grew very large and

very strong. Those kept in sheds 4 and 5 at Burnside - wooden Beacon

sheds designed to kennel young stock - proceeded to smash the interior of

these sheds to pieces. The fibreboard divisions between pens were broken

through, either partly or wholly, such that the notion of separate penning

was lost. The gates of several of the pens were similarly damaged. By the

time I came to see them, the majority of these pens, due to the breach of

dividing walls/gates, connected together such that the pigs were in effect

being kept in a few very large pens rather than in 24 individual ones. This

meant that boars, supposedly separate, could meet and were likely to

fight. It also meant that any regulation of sexual activity was lost. What is

more, since the sows were being retained past their usual time, litters

were either being produced or were likely to be produced - I saw evidence

(in the shape of a single live piglet) that at least one litter had been born

into an environment where the newborn would stand little chance of

protracted survival.

In the three other sheds, where the pens were fully breeze-blocked and

thus less prone to damage as above, other problems were evident. First of

all the farm slurry system was choked and overflowing such that slurry

was backing up into the pens, several of which were, by the doorways,

ankle-deep. This rendered the pens - and thus the pigs - wetter and

dirtier than they would otherwise have been. Finally I saw two sows, both

bodily very fit, dead in their pens, the bodies left lying in the accumulated

slurry among their live pen-mates.

8

I left Waugh’s premises to keep an appointment at the Intervention Board,

Newcastle (where details of the swine fever-related Pig Welfare Disposal

Scheme were then being worked out), having taken no immediate steps to

address the problems self-evident at Burnside Farm. I was then paged to

attend a BSE report case up in Northumberland. Dealing with this case

and its attendant paperwork took up the rest of the working day. But the

same evening, at about 7.30pm, by now having had some time to think

about possible ways forward, I rang Ronnie Waugh and told him I was

shocked and disgusted by what I had seen at Burnside Farm that day

(which was true) and that I'd expected better of him (which was also true).

I told him that for the purposes of his Article 26 check I was going to

pretend that morning's visit hadn't happened and that I would return to

the farm early the following week, when I expected to see all problems

resolved i.e. there should be no pigs whatever in the damaged sheds 4

and 5, the dead stock should be removed, the slurry problems should be

resolved and the sows likely to farrow should either be sent for slaughter

before they did so (but only in accordance with WATO '975) or have

suitable farrowing accommodation provided for them on farm. I told

Waugh that unless I was fully satisfied at this next visit, I would

recommend revocation of his Article 26 licence and he would be effectively

out of business. In reality, the grounds for making such a threat are

dubious and the nature of the threat possibly inappropriate. But though

conditions were indeed unacceptably poor on this day - where's the

UPUD? Only the newborn piglets (and possibly their dam or dams) can be

said to have so suffered and unless a sow was actually seen in the act of

farrowing, even this would be hard to prove.

I duly made a return visit and found all much better as I had required.

The excess slurry had been drained from all pens. No dead pigs were

seen. Suitable farrowing accommodation was in place for full-term sows

(6 crates in two groups of three at the near end of shed 3). Sheds 4 and 5

were wholly empty and remained so at my next visit of 22 December -

though, by 22 February 2001, shed 4 again contained ten pigs, penned in

ones and twos, even though in sheds 1-3 there were numerous empty

pens. WHY? Nothing but perversity can explain it.

All of the above is true in every particular. Having said that, anyone

looking for official documentation of the sequence of events related above

will look in vain. This is because, though contrary to normal working

practice, no such official record was made. The reason for this has to do

with local staff depletion (due to serial CSF6 detached duty absences plus

one VO vacancy) creating too much work and too little time to do it in.

The inevitable if regrettable result of such depletion is, subject to

opportunity, the cutting of corners. (NB: the first visit to Waugh’s, but not

the second, is entered in my desk dairy. A record of the second may or

may not be on my travel claim for the period in question - I personally

retain no copies of these. The evening telephone call made from my home

9

to Waugh’s can be substantiated, if necessary, by reference to BT

Chargecard account records paid by and presumably retained at Carlisle

Divisional Office.)

Two final points concerning this episode:

(1) That the above sequence of events went officially undocumented

means that Carlisle DVM Andrew Hayward was never made aware (either

verbally or in writing) of what happened at Burnside Farm at this time.

This fact must be borne in mind by anyone seeking to establish how

much the DVM did or did not know, before February 2001, about the

Waughs and their farming practices. In fact, they will (I assume) have

been nothing more to him than a name, signifying nothing.

(2) It may be argued that, if the Waughs were known to have shown, at

least on this one occasion, such a cavalier or irresponsible attitude

towards the welfare of their pigs, why should they not be presumed likely

to show a similar attitude in respect of their waste food feeding practices

also, and why not, therefore, monitor or investigate these feeding

practices accordingly? I accept that, in retrospect, this is a perfectly valid

point to make. However, the link, in my belief, is not as obvious or

straightforward as it might superficially appear and the reasons why I

failed to make it at the time are recorded in section (iii) below.

3 UPUD = Unnecessary Pain or Unnecessary Distress - to cause either to livestock

is expressly forbidden by Section 1(1) of The Agriculture (Miscellaneous

Provisions) Act 1968.

4 Article 26 licence = the licence, granted under Article 26 of The Animal By-

Products Order 1999, allowing the feeding to livestock of processed waste food.

(Previous to 1999, this licence, then issued under The Waste Food Order 1973 (as

amended), was known as an Article 10 licence.)

5 WATO ‘97 = The Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997 (i.e. current

legislation controlling conditions under which animals may legally be transported).

6 CSF = Classical Swine Fever. At the time in question, an epidemic of this

disease, confined to East Anglia, was in the process of being controlled, for which

purpose MAFF staff from around the country were temporarily deployed to that

area.

10

(iii) The Waughs' waste food feeding practices

The Waughs held an Article 26 licence (formerly an Article 10 licence - see

note 4 above) allowing them to feed processed swill cooked at the plant of

a neighbouring processor, J & J Brown of Heddon View Farm, Heddonon-

the-Wall, Northumberland. This was first granted in October 1995 and

thereafter renewed annually each January, during which month the

Browns’ processing licence also fell due for renewal. It was my practice to

visit both farms, one after the other, towards the end of each January, to

inspect for renewal of Brown's processing licence and Waugh's Article

10/26 licence.

Thus Waugh’s farm was visited by me not only on 24

January 2001 but during the last week of January in each

of the six years 1996-2001. With regard to the timing of

this visit, then, there is or was nothing sinister or

suspicious. It had nothing to do with “disease” or, more

specifically, with undisclosed, unrecognised or suspected

FMD. Rather, it was wholly routine.

Brown would receive additional waste food-related visits through the year

by MAFF technical staff, though none routinely from me. Waugh, because

an Article 26 licence holder, would receive an additional visit from me,

usually towards the end of July, for the purposes of clinical inspection,

but no other routine MAFF visit.

My principal concern in making these visits was to verify (i) the efficiency

and full effectiveness of Brown's cooking plant and (ii) the health and

freedom from notifiable disease of both herds. In neither of these regards

(and setting aside for the moment the separate question of welfare) did I

ever have cause to doubt that all was well.

At Waugh's, as noted above, there was an additional welfare concern

which the six-monthly clinical inspection for notifiable disease helped to

monitor. As to fault-finding concerning his waste food handling and

feeding practices, I repeatedly encouraged Waugh to keep the front of his

premises (where his processed swill was off-loaded) cleaner than was his

habit. I twice warned him also not to leave unprocessed swill standing by

the front of his premises in uncovered barrels, which he occasionally did.

My assumption at the time regarding this swill was that it was swill offloaded

by his collection wagon, for subsequent transport to and

processing at Brown’s, with the wagon then departing to collect further

pick-ups. With the benefit of hindsight, however, I now see that this is

much more likely to have been swill, dropped off close to his holding tank,

for incorporation, without prior processing, into his feeding system.

Otherwise, why not transport the swill directly to Brown’s? Possibly

because Brown was himself cooking that day, or because Brown did not

wish to have Waugh’s swill standing in storage on his premises. But since

there is convincing circumstantial evidence (e.g. c1,300 pieces of cutlery

11

retrieved from his holding tank) that unprocessed swill was indeed on

many occasions put through Waugh’s feeding system, these barrels, of

which I plainly took too little notice, must be regarded as one of the

principal overt signs. Then again, at the time of FMD diagnosis, when

Waugh’s pipeline system was no longer working and the above reason for

dropping off swill at this point would no longer apply, there were four

barrels of uncooked swill standing there. This points, on this occasion at

least, to a more “innocent” explanation - but then how long had they been

there and on what date precisely did the pipeline cease to function? To

neither of these questions do I have an answer.

I also twice had to remind Waugh of the requirement to keep his

processed swill holding tank covered. To my knowledge he used no less

than three separate lids for this purpose. His excuse for having no lid

when this proved to be the case was that the lid he was using had been

stolen. Since his tank was close to and in full view of Birks Road (the road

past his property), this was probably true. The first two lids he used were

large rectangles (the first of metal, the second of wood). The most recent,

of galvanised tin, was of the same rectangular shape as the previous two

except for a tea-tray sized notch removed from one corner. This notch was

removed so that the lid could be placed on the tank, onto one corner of

which was latterly fitted a powered grinding appliance. The significance of

this is that this appliance will have been fitted onto the tank to act as a

crude macerator i.e. as an appliance used to reduce the particle size of

unprocessed food sufficient for it to pass, when mixed in with either

processed swill (used as a carrier medium) or water, through the farm’s

pipeline feeding system to the pigs. It was a second positive overt sign,

therefore, which I again failed to recognise, of Waugh's active flouting of

the law prohibiting him from feeding unprocessed waste to his pigs. Of

course, it would be instructive to know when exactly this appliance was

fitted. Unfortunately I cannot say. Certainly (as evidenced by the first two

rectangular lids) it was not part of the tank all along and I suspect will

have been a relatively recent addition. I don't clearly recall noticing it at

my December 2000 or January 2001 visits to the farm nor indeed at all

until the incidence on the farm of FMD, though it may have been (indeed

probably was) there for some months prior to this. Neither is the evidence

of the lids conclusive, for on 24 January the tank was uncovered and I

saw no lid. The first time I saw the galvanised lid was in March 2001,

after the incidence at Burnside of FMD.

I did not miss the presence on this farm of FMD - in January it wasn’t

there, and by 22 February it was well-established and so easily seen.

However, I certainly did miss the above signs of the illegal feeding practice

by Waugh which led to its occurrence. The same can be said of the

presence about his farm of cutlery, though for how long this was

accumulating is difficult to say. I am led to believe that Waugh’s pipeline

feeding system failed towards the end of 2000 and did not work

thereafter. Cutlery would not have started to appear in the pig pens before

12

this time (NB: this statement assumes that, for as long as the pipeline

continued to function, Waugh would have fed his pigs exclusively by this

means) and, once it did start to appear (i.e. once he started to feed

unprocessed waste food by hand, which, without a functional pipeline he

would be forced to do), I also believe that he would have taken some care

to have it removed from the pens themselves, as its appearance in

containers standing about the farm, and in quantity within a small

rubbish heap by the gate, suggests. Only at the end, with Ronnie Waugh

unwell and his brother unable to hold things together did this clean-up

system break down such that cutlery lay about in the pens in plain view.

But even then (February 2001) I failed to perceive it, and even when its

presence was drawn to my attention I failed immediately to comprehend

its significance (though I soon worked it out). In truth, when I visited

Waugh for Article 26 purposes, I concentrated on the health and welfare

of his pigs and paid scant - evidently too scant - attention to his waste

food feeding practice. When he first gained his licence I saw his system in

operation and satisfied myself that it was both fully functional and

capable of being operated within the requirements of the law. I also then

explained his record keeping obligations to him. Thereafter I assumed

(naively and to my bitter regret) that he would continue to use the system

in the manner intended (and authorised by licence). I never once

subsequently thought (even during or at any time after the particular

welfare incident recorded above): I’d better closely re-examine this man’s

feeding practices. And why? Because I believed I knew what they were.

That he might wish to deviate from them in any significant manner, or

indeed that he could - that his system might lend itself so readily to illicit

manipulation - was not known to me, nor did it occur to me. Nor was his

motivation plain. For he had readily at hand the means to cook and was

well aware of the risks of not doing so. What is more, it would have

entailed more work and effort to maintain 500+ pigs daily on barrel-fed

uncooked swill than on pipeline-fed cooked swill. So why not consistently

cook?

The most "straightforward" answer, as intimated above, is that he did

cook - but not consistently, not all the time, but merely just enough to be

able to feed his pigs by pipeline. Cooking takes lots of time - the best part

of a day for the entire process - therefore every cooking operation saved

equals a day’s time saved and time to Waugh (given his dual role as pig

farmer and Cheale’s North-East agent) would have been precious. That

said, the proper functioning of his pipeline was also very important to

Waugh, and for much the same reason i.e. because feeding his pigs this

way was relatively quick and simple, whereas feeding without it would be

a long hard daily job. So the likeliest scenario is that Waugh cooked

perhaps once a week (see Appendix Two below), then mixed unprocessed

waste food in with his processed swill, and then (perhaps with the

addition of water to thin the mixture) piped the resultant gruel through to

his pigs. He would therefore (in his eyes) achieve the best of both worlds -

a minimum of cooking (perhaps as little as 25% of what full compliance

13

with his licence would require) and a piped, very easily managed feeding

system. It is perhaps also worth making the obvious point that cooking

consumes oil (the Browns’ boiler is oil-fired) and that oil costs money.

Given the adverse economics of pig-keeping during this period, this would

have been a further incentive to the Waughs to minimise the boiling of

their swill.

The alleged failure of the pipeline system together with its non-repair

seem to me of the greatest significance. First of all, why should a system,

apparently so simple and reliable, fail? Most probably because it was

choked to a standstill with raw swill, a product which, even in dilution

and even put through a macerator, it was never designed to handle.

Second, what evidence is there, other than word of mouth, that it did fail?

The secondary large covered green holding tank at Burnside Farm stands

threequarters full of very old and stale swill, left stranded there,

unusable, once the pipeline blocked. Though this proves nothing, it

certainly lends credence to the suggestion of pipeline dysfunction. And

thirdly, what of this question of “significance”? Simply this: if the Waughs

were men of integrity whose sole intention was to feed in strict accordance

with the law, then the proper functioning of their pipeline would, as noted

above, be of primary importance to them and, once it was blocked, they

would have needed to do everything within their power to get it working

again as quickly as possible. Only if they were quite content to feed

without cooking would they not bother to have the blockage remedied - as

appears to have been the case. Possibly, too, they believed the time they

saved in cooking little or none of their swill was a favourable trade-off for

the much greater time and effort required of their employee in feeding the

pigs uncooked swill daily by hand. Possibly they only cooked when they

believed an inspection visit was due i.e. for appearances sake. Possibly

they cooked only when they had particularly young pigs on site (because

cooked macerated swill would be more palatable to young pigs than

uncooked). Or possibly, and most deviously, at some point late in 2000

(and with the then-current epidemic of CSF to exercise their minds) the

Waughs merely decided to start feeding their pigs a diet comprised wholly

of uncooked swill in the hope of deliberately acquiring an outbreak of

notifiable disease of their own and so cashing in their herd for a

favourable valuation.

In fact, since their illicit feeding practices appear to predate this time by a

significant margin (see Appendix One para (2) + Appendix Two below), an

explanation so wholly cynical as the last one above is unlikely. But at the

least, the advent of CSF in the summer of 2000 ought to have served as a

warning to the Waughs of what might befall anyone feeding unprocessed

waste to pigs. But did this warning stop them? Plainly not. Did it then

encourage them? Did it spur them on? Or were they merely blindly

indifferent to the possible consequences (in the event, profoundly serious,

damaging and far-reaching consequences) of their actions? The truth is

known only to them.

14

Whatever their thinking and whatever their behaviour, there must have

been a reason, some reason why, that seems or seemed valid to the

Waughs. That such a reason might occur to them but not (until too late)

to me, their MAFF inspector, constitutes a failure of the imagination on

my part which, allied to the failures of perception noted above, is hard to

forgive. After all, a mere ten days before FMD virus was introduced into

this pig herd, and at a time when illicit feeding practices were clearly in

train, and had been for some time, I inspected this premises with a view

to renewing the Waughs’ Article 26 licence. Had this inspection been more

rigorous than it was, had the licence not been renewed, or renewed only

subject to radical revision of the Waughs’ patently deficient feeding

technique, then this awful 2001 FMD epidemic would never have come

about. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20, and between that and total

blindness is a long way. All the same, my feeling now, eight months on, is

that in January 2001 I tended more to the latter than the former, with

consequences which could scarce have been worse.

SIGNED: .......................................... DATED: ..........................................

15

APPENDIX ONE

INDICATORS OF UNLAWFUL FEEDING AT BURNSIDE FARM:

(1) ABSENCE ON THE MORNING OF FRIDAY 23 FEBRUARY OF ANY

COOKED SWILL EITHER AT BURNSIDE FARM OR HEDDON VIEW FARM

ON WHICH WAUGH’S PIGS COULD BE FED

The only feed available to Waugh at this time was a wagon-load of

uncooked swill. If the Waughs were feeding legitimately at this time,

where was this day’s food? It will not do for Waugh to say that he was

prevented from cooking the previous day by MAFF presence. Waugh,

according to his own testimony, believed up to late on Thursday afternoon

that his pigs were well. He must therefore have believed that, come

Friday, MAFF would be gone from his farm, having given his herd a clean

bill of health, leaving him free to return to normal activity. Since both the

Waughs plus their employee were on site on the Thursday, and since in

any case MAFF staff did not arrive until 2pm, there was nothing to stop

one of them going over to Brown’s either during the morning or the

afternoon to cook Friday’s food. So why didn’t they? Because it was not

their habit to do so. Because Friday’s intended food was already on

Burnside Farm, on the back of their collecting lorry: several barrels of

uncooked swill.

(2) CUTLERY

Barrels of unprocessed swill, sourced from catering establishments such

as hotels, restaurants, canteens and school or hospital kitchens,

commonly contain one or more pieces of cutlery. This is because, when

kitchen staff discard waste food off a dinner plate and into the swill

barrel, a knife or fork, or maybe both, sometimes goes accidentally into

the barrel also. Though some of this cutlery will be retrieved there and

then, some will not. All those pieces unretrieved are duly taken, mixed in

with the unprocessed swill, back to the swill-feeder’s pig farm.

Once back at the farm, in order to comply with the law and before it can

be fed, this swill must be processed. All of Waugh’s swill is meant to have

been processed at Heddon View Farm, in the occupancy of J & J Brown.

The simplest processing systems involve tipping the waste food into a

tank, adding water, heating the mixture and then scooping the processed

product back out with a bucket before feeding to pigs. It can be seen that

a knife or fork may readily pass through such a system, being tipped into

the tank along with the unprocessed food, then scooped out again along

with the processed food, before eventually being decanted, still in the

cooked food, into a pig trough. However, in more automated cooking

systems, the passage of metal cutlery through to the processed food endproduct

becomes less likely or indeed impossible, depending on the

nature of mechanical barriers which impede or preclude such passage.

16

The presence or absence of cutlery in the pens of swill-fed pigs, then, can

be an accurate indicator of the type of cooking process to which the swill

has or has not been subjected.

Due to its incorporation of a macerator, no individual piece of

cutlery can pass through the Heddon View processing unit and so

into the processed waste food fed to the Heddon View and Burnside

pig herds7. Thus, though the unprocessed waste food arriving at Heddon

View Farm may contain cutlery, the processed waste food produced there

may not. Therefore, if feeding was carried out strictly in accordance with

the law, no item of cutlery should have been found in any Heddon View or

Burnside pig-pen (and indeed, in respect of Heddon View, none was

found). In addition, since Waugh was supposedly introducing only

processed waste food into his automated Burnside Farm feeding system,

no part of this feeding system, either, should have contained any piece of

cutlery.

In fact, large quantities of cutlery were found at Burnside Farm, both

disposed about its grounds (not itself directly indicative of illegal activity)

but also within pens and the feeding system. Individual pieces were

present in many of the pig pens, indicative of the feeding, direct from the

barrel, of unprocessed7 (because cutlery-containing) swill. Though on the

morning of Friday 23 February I gave permission for such feeding to take

place (see Part One of this document), the pens seen to contain cutlery

included several of those not occupied by pigs during this immediate

period. This indicates that such feeding, in these pens at least, pre-dated

this particular day, thereby making it illegal. In some of the pens thenoccupied,

cutlery was also seen with old, dried faecal material adherent,

showing it to have been there for some time, and thus again illegally7

introduced.

Over and above cutlery in the pens, circa 1,300 pieces were retrieved from

the bottom of the first Burnside swill-holding tank (i.e. the input point

into the automated feeding system of the supposedly processed swill). As

noted above, if only processed swill had gone into this tank, the number

of pieces of cutlery retrieved from its bottom should have been nil. What

the presence of cutlery indicates is the introduction into this tank of

unprocessed7 (because cutlery-containing) and therefore illegally-fed swill.

What the quantity (c1,300 pieces) indicates is feeding by this illegal

means not on the odd occasion but repeatedly over a very long period.

How long? At least long enough for 1,300 knives, forks and spoons to

accumulate, however long that is. (Precision here is not possible, for a

barrel may contain three or four or five pieces of cutlery, but may equally

well contain none. All you can conclude is that 1,300 pieces of cutlery -

and this, of course, may have been merely the latest of many such

batches previously removed from the tank - indicates a sustained and

wilful flouting of the law rather than an individual instance or even

isolated short period of transgression.) Two ashtrays plus Chinese

17

porcelainware, also retrieved from the tank’s bottom, are likewise

indicative of unprocessed waste throughput.

7 Waugh claims that, macerator notwithstanding, the cutlery in both his holding

tank and his pig pens came over from Heddon View Farm in barrels of properly

processed waste food. Though this is inconsistent with the statement that the

Heddon View processing plant would not allow the passage of cutlery, Waugh

claims to have emptied the cooling tank there manually, by bucket, rather than

automatically, by macerator/pump and hose. He claims, in other words, to have

short-circuited the system such that it would allow the odd piece of cutlery through.

This gives him an explanation, other than illegal feeding, and which is at least

theoretically possible, for the presence of cutlery in his holding tank and pig pens.

It is an explanation, however, devoid of any shred of credibility. Why would he

choose to manhandle, with a bucket, between five and six tons of swill a day (see

below) when there was a perfectly serviceable pump available to him to shift the

stuff from tank to barrels automatically? (NB: the pump is known to have been in

good working order, for it was periodically used by the Browns to feed their own

pigs without problem.) The Waughs neither employed sufficient manpower nor

themselves had sufficient time to be able to work their system in this tremendously

labour-intensive and time-consuming fashion, even if, for some unfathomable

reason, they had wished or attempted to do so. This “explanation” amounts, in my

view, to nothing more than a transparent fabrication concocted for self-serving,

exculpatory reasons i.e. to explain away otherwise damning evidence of wrongdoing.

(3) NON-FUNCTIONING OF THE PIPELINE SYSTEM

See text above. If feeding legitimately, the functioning of the pipeline

would have been critical to the Waughs. They could not have managed

long without it and, once blocked, would have needed to get it repaired

with an absolute minimum of delay. (Note: one ton of cooked swill feeds

an average 90 pigs per day [extrapolated from ADAS data8]. Thus Waugh’s

herd of 527 pigs would have required between five and six tons (or

circa 1,300 gallons) of swill per day to feed them - to manhandle such

huge quantities by bucket on a daily basis is plainly a wholly impractical

proposition - see note 7 above.)

If feeding uncooked, however, the pipeline’s loss would have been of much

less significance to the Waughs. Why? Because uncooked swill cannot be

piped in the same way that cooked swill can - the presence of a

functioning pipeline system thus ceases to become critical. That latterly

they fed without one for some weeks or months strongly suggests,

therefore, that the food fed during this period was not processed before

feeding.

8 Reference: Pigs: swill feeding - ADAS Booklet 2277, published 1984

(4) MACERATOR FITTED TO WAUGH’S HOLDING TANK

18

No reason other than to add unmacerated waste to his feeding system.

Catering waste is traditionally high in carbohydrate but deficient in

protein. Barrels of chicken and butcher’s waste stood both under and

inside the two lorry-backs standing near the holding tank: if not to feed

(uncooked - thus illegally - as a protein supplement), then why?

(5) THE PRESENCE IN WAUGH’S HERD OF FMD

Prior to its appearance at Burnside Farm, FMD had not been seen in

mainland Great Britain for 33 years. Furthermore, prior to 2001, the

strain of virus responsible for this last epidemic (type O pan-Asiatic) had

never previously been seen in Western Europe ever. It had previously

caused disease only once outside Eastern Europe/Asia - in South Africa

in September 2000. Though the South African epidemic involved

principally cattle, where was disease there first detected? On a swillfeeding

pig farm - exactly as was to happen here five months later.

That the South African and UK epidemics should have had a similar

beginning is no coincidence. The Northumberland Report, written after

the 1967-8 epidemic, recognises (in Part Two, para 200) the “specific

danger” posed by swill with regard to the introduction of FMD. Table X

(Part One, page 77) shows that in the period 1954-1967, 70% of the 179

“first cases” appearing in this country to which a definite source was

attributed had the source recorded as “imported meat/meat wrappings”.

The other significant source during this period was direct cross-Channel

spread (because during this time there was a great deal of disease in

France (particularly) and Belgium). In the present time, when disease in

Northern Europe is routinely non-existent and this second source of

introduction thus removed, imported meat remains the single sole

significant recognised risk.

But there is an anomaly here. For though swill both is and has for many

years been recognised as the likeliest single means by which FMD may

be introduced into a disease-free UK animal population, yet the

processing of swill was required by law to prevent this very thing. Thus

its emergence in clean country on a pig farm tells you not merely that the

pigs are almost certainly being fed swill, but also that the swill is not being

processed (or at least merely improperly so). For, via properly cooked

swill, disease cannot be transmitted; via uncooked swill it most certainly

can be. With regard to FMD at Burnside Farm, then - uncooked swill

apart, where else could it have come from?

The most obvious answer to the above question is - from another,

previously-infected pig farm. After all, the Waughs were collecting cull

sows from other North-Eastern pig farms on a regular basis and it is

plainly possible, at least potentially, that they inadvertently introduced

disease into their herd from elsewhere. But once FMD was identified at

Burnside, all these other farms were visited by MAFF vets as a matter of

19

urgency. No disease, either recent or well-established, was found at any

one of them. And in any case, since swill-fed pigs may travel only direct

to slaughter, (and therefore not legally from the producing farm to the

abattoir via the Waughs’ home premises) none of these other premises

could possibly be licensed swill-feeders, as were the Waughs, so the risk

of disease appearing first at any one of them rather than at Burnside is

thereby slashed at a stroke (see risk analysis below). Moreover, no

infected farm of any description (i.e. with cattle, sheep, pigs or any

combination) was found to be carrying animals with lesions which predated

those of the Waughs’ pigs. In every outbreak, however large or

small, there has to be a first or index case. In respect of the UK 2001

outbreak, all the evidence points to the index case being that of Burnside

Farm.

But returning to the particular risk posed by swill-feeding: to suggest

that disease should emerge in clean country on a swill-feeding premises

and yet not be connected to swill-feeding is to strain credibility beyond

breaking point. But, even so, let us consider for a moment the possibility

of a random introduction: say the virus was introduced into this country

as the result of an arbitrary event (for instance, the migration from South

Africa to the UK of a swallow - ignoring for the moment that swallows do

not migrate in winter, when the disease first appeared here). What are

the chances of a swill-feeding premises being the unlucky chance

recipient of the virus? Since there are approximately 165,000 livestock

farms in the UK (2000 Census figures) and were, early in 2001, 93

licensed swill-feeding premises, it follows that on a purely random basis

the chances of infection on a swill-feeding premises are a lowly one in

1,7749 or 0.056% (and yet, time and again, it is this type of premises on

which disease has first been found). The chance of disease appearing

specifically but randomly at Burnside Farm is one in 165,000, or

0.0006%, or six in a million. Added to this, all Waugh’s pigs were

housed, so no passing bird could readily infect them; nor, likewise, could

any passing traveller with the carelessly-discarded remains of a ham

sandwich. The road on which Burnside Farm stands is a dead-end and

thus carries no through-traffic. Nor does any public footpath run through

the property. Neither of the Waughs themselves had recently travelled

abroad. All these things mitigate very heavily against the emergence of

FMD at Burnside Farm being a mere random, chance or indiscriminate

event. Rather, the presence at Burnside on 22 February of old FMD,

taken in conjunction with the other five indicators noted in this

appendix, make a compelling case against the Waughs concerning the

non-processing of their waste food. They chose to feed without cooking -

many thousands of others (indeed, every taxpayer in the land) paid the

price.

[9 If management scale is factored in (i.e. the recognition that such pig enterprises

are typically small, self-contained and intensively run compared with sheep

enterprises in particular, which are typically extensively managed on much larger,

20

open areas of ground with significantly greater headage - all these things making

for a statistically greater likelihood of chance incursion) then these odds grow even

longer.]

(6) THE ABSENCE OF DISEASE AT HEDDON VIEW FARM

By the time the last of them came to be killed, FMD virus was being

actively excreted by the pigs at Burnside for more than a fortnight. On the

face of it, it is very remarkable that in all this time disease appears not to

have spread the short distance from Burnside Farm to Heddon View

Farm. After all, if Waugh was cooking at Heddon View as he alleges, the

traffic of both personnel and vehicles/equipment between the two

premises would have been regular. Waugh would have had to occupy

Brown’s reception area and use Brown’s cooking equipment on at least

four and more likely six occasions during this period, with virus

contamination of Brown’s premises and onward transmission to Brown’s

pigs a near certain consequence - for surely in these circumstances the

spread of disease from one herd to the other would have been inevitable.

However, if Waugh was not cooking his swill, there would be no need for

him to visit Heddon View Farm; there would be no such movement of

either personnel or vehicles between the two places, and he personally

would not have been the means of transferring infection from his pigs to

Brown’s. Brown’s livestock in this circumstance would have been at

considerably less risk of becoming infected at all.

At slaughter, all of Brown’s animals were visibly clean, which points once

more to the conclusion that Waugh, because not cooking, had not recently

been near.

21

APPENDIX TWO

SUBSTANCE OF A CONVERSATION BETWEEN J BROWN SENIOR AND

MYSELF WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE FRONT YARD OF HEDDON

VIEW FARM ON THE EARLY MORNING OF SUNDAY 25 FEBRUARY

2001. THIS SUBSTANCE WAS RECORDED CONTEMPORANEOUSLY

BY ME IN A MINUTE WRITTEN IN THE EARLY HOURS OF THE

FOLLOWING DAY. ON ITS COMPLETION, I E-MAILED THE MINUTE

TO A D HAYWARD, DVM CARLISLE; HE, I BELIEVE, FORWARDED IT

TO PAGE STREET, LONDON, WHERE IT WILL NOW DOUBTLESS SIT

SOMEWHERE ON FILE. THE CONVERSATION BETWEEN MR BROWN

AND MYSELF WAS ALSO WITNESSED AND OVERHEARD BY J A

STOREY, T/SAHO NEWCASTLE. MR BROWN WAS NOT GIVEN ANY

FORM OF CAUTION PRIOR TO THIS CONVERSATION, THE NATURE

OF WHICH WAS FRANK BUT INFORMAL.

I asked Mr Brown frankly about Waugh’s cooking and

feeding practices:

Q: In the past three weeks, how often had Waugh cooked

waste food in the Heddon View plant?

A: Once a week.

Q: How often would Waugh need to cook at Heddon View in

order to feed his herd totally on cooked waste food?

A: Twice a week minimum.

Q: Had Waugh’s regularity of cooking diminished of late?

A: No, once a week had been his average all along.

Q: So you suspected that Waugh was a persistent and

regular feeder of unprocessed swill?

A: Oh yes.

22

23

APPENDIX THREE

CONSIDERATION OF WHETHER IT IS REASONABLE TO BELIEVE

THAT THE WAUGHS, THOUGH AWARE OF ITS PRESENCE,

DELIBERATELY CHOSE DURING FEBRUARY 2001 NOT TO REPORT

SUSPICION OF NOTIFIABLE DISEASE IN THEIR PIG HERD

(1) Having myself on 24 February seen day-one FMD in four sows at

Burnside Farm, and having noted the acute and blatantly obvious

distress caused to these animals by their associated foot lesions, I cannot

believe that such signs could have gone unnoticed by anyone tending

similarly-lesioned animals in any number on this farm. Lesions of

advanced disease seen by myself in many pigs during the period 22-25

February indicate that the number of such similarly-lesioned animals

present here in previous days will have been significantly high.

(2) But what exactly does previous days mean? Visible signs of FMD are

believed by Dr Kitching to have been present at Burnside since 12

February or thereabouts and so the time period in question runs from

this date through to MAFF’s visit on the afternoon of the 22nd - though

the majority of lesions will have appeared acutely in the earlier part of this

spell rather than the latter. Going back to 12 February, then, it is

conceivable that one or other of the Waughs noted one or two lame pigs

on that date but decided to do nothing but “wait and see”. Given that they

would at this point have no reason to suspect the true cause of the

lameness, their failure to notify suspicion of notifiable disease could not

at this stage be criticised.

(3) However, the epidemic nature of the disease is such that, on each day

immediately thereafter, the number of visibly-affected pigs would rise

exponentially. As soon as this fact became evident (and I do not see how it

could plausibly be overlooked), then the Waughs should have taken

positive action to establish a diagnosis, either through a private veterinary

surgeon (who would have been duty-bound to notify his suspicions to

MAFF), or directly through MAFF.

(4) So why not do so? Possibly because, though unwell, none of the pigs

were actually dying. Indeed, the first-affected would start to show signs of

“recovery” after three or four days. Perhaps they believed, then, that they

could “ride it out”. Another possibility is that, because never present on

farm, the Waughs were in fact unaware of the true condition of their pigs.

Even if this were so, it would not, of course, absolve them of

responsibility, for ultimately they must take responsibility for the

decisions and actions not only of themselves but also (whilst at work) of

their employee(s). Quite possibly the pigs were being tended on a daily

basis by a farm-hand who took sufficiently little interest in their condition

to care about a wave of illness sweeping through them, much less to do

something about it. Still, sooner or later, the Waughs themselves would

24

necessarily have become aware of illness in their pigs, either by being

verbally informed of the problem (by their employee) or by discovering it

for themselves.

(5) Thus the next question is this: could the Waughs reasonably be

expected to recognise FMD once it occurred on their farm, or, if not

immediately, then when? Since in mid-February there was no epidemic

and thus no thought in anyone’s mind of particularly looking out for the

disease, it is reasonable to conclude that, on first seeing acutely lame pigs

at this time, the Waughs would not immediately say: “Ah, Foot and

Mouth!” After all, neither of them is likely to have seen the disease before.

However, I was told by Ronnie Waugh that during the 1970s the brothers

did have experience of Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD). SVD, an otherwise

minor vesicular condition affecting pigs only, was made notifiable for one

reason only: because the presenting signs of porcine FMD and SVD are

clinically indistinguishable. Though the Waughs may not have seen pigs

with FMD, then, they have seen pigs with a notifiable disease which looks

exactly like FMD. So when significant numbers of their pigs started to

show signs of illness in mid-February, Ronnie Waugh should have been

able to say to himself: (1) This looks like SVD; (2) Since SVD and FMD

look the same, this could actually be FMD; and (3) Whichever of the two it

is, both are notifiable, both are trouble, so I’d better get on the phone

quick sharp. Yet no such phone-call was made.

(6) The first public suggestion of FMD in the country was made on

Monday 19 February when it was announced that a possible case was

being investigated at Cheale’s abattoir in Essex. Since the Waughs have

close links with Cheale’s, they would have become aware of this

development very quickly. If the thought of FMD in the country was

previously in no-one’s mind, as of this date (19 Feb), this was no longer

the case. So from this point on, there becomes increasingly less excuse for

the Waughs not to act i.e. not to report suspected notifiable disease on

their own premises. They supplied Cheale’s regularly with pigs (up to and

including the end of the previous week). They had obvious epidemic

disease in their herd. Now FMD is reported at Cheale’s - yet still the

Waughs say nothing.

(7) Once disease is confirmed at Cheale’s, MAFF’s first checks are back to

the three farms which sent in the pigs showing signs of disease. None of

these farms has any sign of FMD in its resident livestock. So checks are

instigated to all other premises which have supplied Cheale’s with pigs in

the past 14 days. A list of approximately 600 such premises is produced

and circulated around the country for checks to begin. Disease is found

at one of them, and one only: Burnside Farm, Heddon-on-the-Wall.

(8) When on Wednesday 21 February I telephoned Waugh to explain that I

needed to come and inspect his pigs, he already knew why. He told me he

was well aware of the situation at Cheale’s. Yet when I asked him if his

pigs were well (and despite the fact that FMD at Cheale’s must have

25

planted thought of the disease firmly in his mind), he told me they were

well; that there were currently no disease problems at Burnside Farm.

Subsequent events proved this to have been a patent, brazen lie. What is

more, when I arrived at Burnside at 2pm the next day, I again asked the

question and the same, fallacious response was repeated - and at this

point, there could be no excuse (such as previous absence from the farm)

for such ignorance/dishonesty. So why lie in this way? No logic can

explain it. But the Waughs’ attitude all along has been one of denial - not

merely of overt wrong-doing but of any connection between themselves

and their activities at Burnside and the subsequent country-wide

epidemic of disease - and what the above lies seem to me to represent is

but another manifestation of this same malign process of self-delusion.

(9) So at what point would it be reasonable to have expected the Waughs

to report suspicion of disease in their herd? If they were aware of its

presence (i.e. if they spent time on the farm), then the answer is: as soon

as the epidemic nature of the illness amongst their pigs became apparent.

Based on epidemiological opinion, I would date this period as beginning

on 14-15 February. With each day following this, there would be less and

less excuse for a competent or conscientious stockman not to report.

Why? Because, as the epidemic took hold of the herd, overt disease would

have appeared in more and more pigs every day, thus making it harder

and harder to miss, or misconstrue, or merely ignore10. But even making

allowance for the degree of competence or conscientiousness of the

Waughs, or assuming that they visited the farm sufficiently rarely that

they might not actually have seen the state their pigs were in (even if they

had been told), still once the suspicion of disease at Cheale’s was made

known, then the Waughs should have (and in my belief certainly would

have) known of its relevance to their own disease problems - by now,

then, the act of non-reporting becomes ever more difficult to justify.

Finally, when I know they were present on-farm (where I first telephoned

and then visited them), and whilst aware (for how could they not be?) that

their pigs were ill, and knowing too that there was FMD not only in the

country but in the abattoir to which they routinely sent their pigs, still

they volunteered absolutely nothing by way of notification or suspicion of

disease. When directly asked if their pigs were well - when, in other

words, offered the chance to concede that they were not; that there might

in fact be a disease problem on the farm which might warrant

investigation, and without delay, they chose rather to lie, baldly, stupidly

and quite pointlessly. Merely to postpone the inevitable in a situation

where every day, indeed every hour, might make all the difference.

(10) But is the rapid reporting and diagnosis of suspected disease really

so important? Does a day or so either way really matter? To quote from a

Defraweb brief entitled “Current Outbreak: Comparisons With 1967”:

The ability to control an outbreak is directly

proportional to the speed with which it is reported.* The

26

primary outbreak which triggered the current (2001) epidemic

was never* reported. It was only detected after pigs had been

sent to an abattoir hundreds of miles away. By then, infection

had already spread to other farms across the country.

(*my emphasis)

By 28 February, indeed, disease was established in no less than 12

counties dispersed throughout England and Wales, having been moved

there via sheep/pigs from Northumberland in the period when disease

was present in the country but undisclosed. The epidemic was already,

then, underway and running unchecked, out of control, with no chance of

containing it from this point other than through a long, bitter and

arduous eradication campaign.

Had disease been reported rather earlier, the subsequent picture might

have been very different. And the simple answer to each of the two

questions posed above is: Yes.

(11) In spite of this, did the Waughs deliberately decline to report

suspicion of disease in their pigs when it was plainly their duty to do so?

Yes, of course they did - knowingly, recklessly, repeatedly. No other

conclusion is possible.

10 Though there is necessarily some supposition concerning timescales here, there

is also certain hard evidence to add weight to the ultimate conclusions.

Specifically, on Saturday 24 February 2001, 221 blood samples were taken from

pigs in the Burnside herd. Of these, 195, or 88%, tested positive for FMD antibody.

If it is accepted that a pig will not show a positive antibody response until at least

five days post first visible lesions, and not show visible lesions until circa three

days post first infection, then this means that by Friday 16 February (i.e. eight days

before the blood-test date), 88% of the Burnside herd was already infected with the

virus and by Monday 19 February (i.e. five days before the blood-test date), 88%

of them were already showing, or had already shown, patent, visible lesions.

This shows clearly that disease was:

(a) indeed on the farm for many days before MAFF visited on the 22nd (this can be

surmised because a level of 88% infection on 16 February, scaled up from a

presumed initial infection in a single animal, must itself have taken several days)

and

(b) because visibly present in so many animals (and 88% of 527 - the size of the

Burnside herd - is 464 pigs), therefore surely impossible to overlook by any

“innocent” means.