Mrs E.Jane M.Bariibal - 2 Howpark Farm Cottages - Grantshouse - Duns Berwickshire - TD11 3RP
GRAIN LORRIES FOR CARCASSES - 21.05.2001
It was at the start of the FMD crisis in the U.K. that the Government made an appeal to Road Haulage companies to provide trailers for the transport of culled animals from farms to burial pits and pyres.
The type of vehicles required were large trailers with tipping gear pulled by artic tractor units. Many responsible haulage companies responded to this appeal.
I have spoken to one reputable company who normally transports grain and foodstuffs. The Government assured them that after the crisis was over their vehicles would be thoroughly disinfected and they could return to their normal usage without any problems.
This company then provided five modern vehicles and drivers to work in Cumbria. I am told that in addition to the mastic sealant used to seal the trailers to prevent any leakage, the Company also arranged for some extra welding to be done in Cumbria to further secure and seal the loads. They were extremely cautious and did everything they could to ensure they observed strict bio-security. They were however, surprised to notice that although after each load their vehicles were thoroughly disinfected, MAFF personnel were driving in and out without similar precautions.
Although they had a contract with the MAFF with a thirty-day termination clause, a few weeks ago their contract was terminated instantly by the MAFF. The reason given for termination was, 'changes in circumstances'. In addition, they were told their vehicles could no longer be used for the transport of grain and foodstuffs. I also have to hand a list of some seventeen Haulage Companies who also had their contract terminated at the same time.
I have this afternoon, spoken to a representative of the R.H.A. (Road Haulage Association) who have written to the MAFF concerning this matter. They were told that a meeting of interested parties would be convened in the near future. That was two weeks ago and although further correspondence has been sent to the MAFF so far they've received no reply.
Of even greater concern is the fact that now large Food Manufacturing Companies are likely to not contract with any company that may have participated in the transport of carcasses. It is not enough for the Haulage Operator to assure particular vehicles will not be used. If they have been under contract to the MAFF they will not be employed to transports foodstuffs again.
Unless this situation is resolved, this company and others who may well find themselves in the same position, are facing huge losses that are extremely unlikely to be covered by any payments from the MAFF for the work they have done while under contract.
It is bizarre that the scientific evidence regarding the life span of the virus and the disinfectants to be used that will kill it, together with the fact that it does no harm to human beings is to be totally disregarded.
My conclusion may be in error but it seems to me that this Company's contract may well have been terminated because their standards were too high. Among the many reports I've received are the following. Leaking lorries in various parts of the Country, Farm tractors with open trailers and assorted small tipper trucks being used for carcass transport. Lay-bys and roadsides used for loading, not being disinfected and car parks used for lorries having no disinfecting procedures in place.
It seems that the MAFF, who no longer deem it necessary to inform the public of the true figures of infected farms, dangerous contacts, contiguous and slaughter on suspicion culls, let alone the truth as to the number of animals slaughtered, now prefer to use cowboy operators to assist them in their dirty deeds to spread FMD around the Country.
As new outbreaks occur they have the audacity to blame the farmers for poor bio-security and the spread of the virus.
The Government's handling of this crisis is abysmal with thousands of good farmers out of business, efficient hoteliers bankrupt and allied trades in serious trouble or bust. It seems they are soon to be joined by reputable Road Haulage Transport Companies who will be forced out of business by these draconian and unnecessary restrictions.
Jane Barribal - Farmtalking.com