20th June 2001

Dear Mr Eddy,

You may not be aware that a horrific cull of farm livestock involving cows, calves and sheep, took place at Skipton, Yorkshire, last evening and early this morning.

I have spoken by telephone to two of at least four local residents, who witnessed the atrocity and have reported it to the R.S.P.C.A. They have photographic evidence and are willing to appear in Court to give evidence. What they told me beggers belief. For a full description, may I suggest you visit the Message Board on http://www.farmtalking.com. I understand that the Vet in charge of this operation was, Reuben Whitaker BVSc., M.R.C.V.S.

I have been in touch with John Avizienzius at R.S.P.C.A. Headquarters this morning. He has told me an Inspector is on the scene now to interview eyewitnesses. To my horror he also told me that he has received a report of a similar incident involving calves in Cumbria. Immediately after speaking to him I received information that another witness has photographic evidence of an incident at Bracewell a week ago. I have of course passed the details on to the R.S.P.C.A.

I am aware that you issued a cautionary warning to Vets, published in the form of a letter in the Veterinary Record, (9th June), and drawing their attention to the Guide for Professional Conduct with reference to signing the 'A' forms for the slaughter of healthy stock. However, it would seem little notice is being taken of your advice to date.

I am informed that DEFRA are instructing foreign vets, who have been resident in this country for longer, to inform farmers that they have only been in the Country for three days in an effort to persuade farmers to allow them access for testing/examination/monitoring purposes. I am further informed that DEFRA are only sending a 'clean vet' on farm visits if the farmer insists upon it, that Vet traveling to other farms afterwards, as indeed was the case when animals were blood tested on the farm here, a couple of weeks ago. It would seem that DEFRA are quick enough to accuse farmers of poor bio-security but have little or no regard for it themselves. As also evidenced by the complete lack of any disinfecting procedures at the DEFRA vehicle park in Gisbourne, Yorkshire.

You will also, no doubt be aware that DEFRA have issued new instructions to RDO's concerning the advice to be given to their officers and Vets. (I attach the article I wrote concerning this matter and sent to the Press last Monday.). This brief would appear to incite Vets and officials to intimidate farmers not to resist the cull of their healthy livestock.

I would like to know if the R.C.V.S. now condones the fact that Veterinary Surgeons in the Government's employ are to be used as arresting Policemen?
May I also request that you protest to Government, in the strongest terms concerning their incitement to such intimidation and deception? I would like you to assure me that any complaints the College receives regarding the conduct of Vets employed by DEFRA, will be dealt with immediately and if proven negligent or party to cruelty, they will suffer the severest penalty the College can deliver.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Barribal - Farmtalking.com

The President
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.                    

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