Cornwall's DEFRA F&M helpline ....

On April 1st we lost all our animals in a contiguous cull. We are still on a full Form A. Five other contiguous farms to the outbreak were left unculled. This afternoon I saw that about 20 sheep from an unculled contiguous farm had strayed onto the F&M farm's field. I phoned the DEFRA helpline in Truro and was told that "it is up to the farmers concerned to move their sheep. It is nothing to do with DEFRA."

Excuse me, but why kill all my animals and leave me to rot on a Form A? Why are other animals on contiguous farms being culled across the country?

Why are farmers having to blood test sheep and apply for licences which never arrive?

Why are sheep in the Brecon Beacons and Devon being slaughtered because they have antibodies?

According to DEFRA in Cornwall you can graze your sheep on a F&M farm which has not yet been tested as clear and is still on a Form A. I don't have the words to express how angry I am at this hypocritical meaningless beaurocracy called DEFRA. ......

While I am so angry about my phone call to DEFRA yesterday I would like to tell you about my complaint to the RCVS. I made an official complaint against the DEFRA vet David Fields in July to the RCVS. After several letters etc the college wrote to my solicitor on Oct 12th. Part of their letter says "The issues arising from all these complaints appear to relate to the instructions given by DEFRA (MAFF as was) to an individual veterinary surgeon. In the circumstances a meeting is to be arranged between members of the Preliminary Investigation Committee and DEFRA officials, to discuss these issues and I will write to you again following that meeting, which is hoped will take place before the end of November." Yet again I am left feeling angry. 1) Shouldn't the RCVS be talking to the farmers and smallholders who lodged these complaints? 2) The RCVS complaints procedure only allows one to officially complain that the vet signed the wrong bit of paper i.e. the Form A. The fact that this man killed my five cows who were 15 years old and 38 lambs aged 4 days to one hour old, 120 ewes including my favourite ewe who had just lain down in the sheep house and was starting to push out her lamb when the slaughterers walked in the building, is not allowed to be mentioned.

After he murdered all my animals, David Fields said to my partner Nick that he had checked each animal and none showed any signs of disease, so he hadn't wasted time doing any blood tests.

Please God that there will one day be justice against what these evil people have done. ..................

..................The first part of the letter reads "Your clients should shortly receive a letter from their regional office explaining that the Form A notice served on their premises is to be withdrawn and replaced by a Notice in Form D under article 13 of the FMD Order 1983. The restrictions imposed by this notice are set out in article 13 of the order. You will notice that paragraph (5)(a) of that provision gives the department the power to impose additional conditions or requirements."

The only problem with DEFRA's thinking in this letter is that on the date they wanted to serve us with a form D, we no longer had any animals on which to serve a notice which states that the animals have been exposed to F&M. Our solicitor pointed this out to them, and they still haven't sent a "Modified form D". This form is also referred to as a Form 37A, and is now replaced with a Form 37 B. I hope you can follow this?

On a separate issue, if we win our Judicial Review on Discrimination I will let you know, as there are many farmers and smallholders who would be able to use it as a precedent.

Warmwell sends its wholehearted sympathy at this outrage - one that has been repeated up and down the country - and hopes to be able to report further on this case.

Jane from Farmtalking responded to this:

This whole situation is beyond belief and appalling and I agree with every word said under this heading except for one point! You mention 9,000 holdings culled. I fear it is many more than that! In Cumbria alone there are over 9,000 registered holdings and over 7,000 of them have been culled or partially culled and it's still going on! When you add all the holdings in Scotland, Devon, Gloucester, Lancs, Yorkshire, Northumberland, Kent, Essex, Leicestershire, Wales, etc ., - I'm finding it hard to remember them all!- but consider that added to the confirmed Infected Premises there were many more contiguous, slaughter on suspicion, dangerous contacts as well as the infamous voluntary culls in Scotland etc, its a lot more than 9,000 holdings. The Govt/Defra have quoted an average of between 4 & 5 culls for every IP. In my experience it was rarely so few, on many occasions a dozen or more, even up to 32, holdings were lost, for one IP.

The same goes for the numbers of animals slaughtered. I become inscensed with rage everytime I hear the oft quoted figures by the Press, Media and others, of between 2 & 3 million animals slaughtered, IMO a figure anywhere between 15 & 20 million, and rising, would be much more accurate!

Jane Barribal -