From The Gloucestershire Echo

CALF KATIE IS A SIGN OF HOPE

10:30 - 12 March 2002 Farmers survive virus scare
The first calf of 2002 has been born at a farm devastated by foot and mouth disease. The scare at Bozard Farm, Woolstone, near Bishop's Cleeve, also led to the cancellation of last year's National Hunt Festival.

The Prestbury Park racecourse was within a five mile exclusion zone around the Gilders' farm. Now the family is looking forward to the future with the birth of this year's first calf. Katie was born early on Friday to Zoe - one of a herd of 48 cattle brought to the farm when it restocked in September. Another calf was born on Sunday night and more are expected over the next few weeks.

For David, his wife Caroline, and children William and Emily, it is a sign of hope. David, 34, said: "We will probably build the herd up to the size we had before in a couple of years."

The Friesans were bought from a farming couple in Aston-on-Carrant, near Tewkesbury, who were retiring.

Caroline, 33, added: "Obviously they are not our old cows but we were very lucky to get them. "They have been very well looked after by their previous owners. We couldn't have asked for a nicer herd."

The family faced their worst nightmare when their 64-strong dairy herd, 122 beef cattle, 190 ewes and 100 lambs were slaughtered. They were victims of a controversial policy of killing all animals on suspicion of having the disease.

The family was distraught a few weeks later when their animals were given the all-clear from the disease.

Officials at the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs still count the case as confirmed because clinical signs of the disease were found in animals.

The family is angry and would like to see a proper investigation of the crisis.

Caroline said: "There was nothing wrong with those animals. I am sure it was just political.

"I don't believe anyone round here had the disease. How they cannot allow a public inquiry I don't understand. "There was so much of an effect in this area alone with the races. Just look at the knock-on effect from that."

She said the new clutch of calves was lovely and offered the family a new start.

Eventually Mr Gilder, who runs the farm with Ralph Sharp, hopes to restock sheep as well.