Heart of Hampshire
11 Ramsdell Road
Please may we ask for your assistance.
Foot and Mouth disease (FMD) has this country in a vice-like grip, with the result that because of the policies such as slaughter and the closure of footpaths there is a climbing number of bankruptcies, job losses, suicides and animal deaths. The psychological scars for the farming community will take years to heal.
The issue becomes even graver when you consider that not just farm animals are involved but also wool sheep, rare breeds and zoo animals, pets, wildlife, llamas, alpacas, poultry, horses and dogs. Of particular concern are irreplaceable rare breeds such as the Chillingham Wild Cattle, a unique breed which will still be killed should they fall within the "contiguous cull" zone.
We enclose 2 fact sheets. Leaflet A is a selection of some of the animal cruelty cases that are recorded (there are more than 3500 complaints to the RSPCA so far relating to the FMD crisis) and Leaflet B describing leading scientific and governmental opinion on the crisis as managed so far.
During this appalling time:
7 8 million animals have been slaughtered (6.5 adult, 1.5 million new born)
7 90% of the animals were healthy - blood tests confirming the animal was not diseased coming back after culling had been performed
7 1 million businesses have been affected, some to the point of bankruptcy
7 12 suicides
7 20 billion pounds have been spent
There is also the major issue of carcass disposal, which is extremely expensive as well as a serious risk to water tables if burying, air pollution if burning, sea pollution if dumping at sea and consequently to human health.
We believe that this slaughter is simply unacceptable to any society which cares at all about animal welfare, quite apart from the human, health, long term psychological and economic cost. The authorities accept that foot and mouth disease is curable and in any event has very low mortality; that vaccine is available and effective and that the slaughter policy is based purely on artificial economic grounds related to live animal exports, which is in itself an animal welfare issue.
We have full expert evidence that the contiguous cull is unnecessary; we know that vaccination is effective (proven most recently in Holland where the outbreak was stopped after 30 confirmed cases) and that it is NOT necessary to slaughter after vaccination.
We must ask for your immediate attention as, once blood test results showing antibodies (demonstrating immunity to the disease!) are confirmed in the next two weeks, culling of entire flocks and herds will follow immediately.
Please could we ask you to fill in the form we attach, and return it using the stamped addressed envelope we have provided. Please feel free to write separately should you prefer. This information will be used to build a petition to Government in an attempt to change the slaughter policy to one of vaccination instead.
To quote Gandhi "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Thank you very much for spending the time to consider this important issue.