A farmer's wife writes

27 July 2002

I simply can not believe that it is impossible to identify the person who instituted the 3k cull.

Did Mr. Scudamore, who came up to Cumbria in March 2001 to convince the NFU to tell the farmers to co- operate, not know on whose behalf he was bringing the message?

In the light of the failure to identify the culprit does not the responsibility fall on Mr. Blair?

I was saddened but not surprised to hear Margaret Beckett again diverting blame onto the farmers. Even a mention for the lost pig at the slaughterhouse, again. What has happened to the mysterious case of that anonymous pig. Have the police found the owner yet?

I have been trying to sell my Shetland sheep flock and although our local trading standards department were unfailingly kind, polite and helpful, they could not issue the licence as DEFRA did not update its computer for several days and so a new holding number was not on it. I was told that in extremity TS would be have to ask Page Street for permission to issue a hand written licence.

So not many lessons learned there yet..

I watched Mr. Whitty Yesterday with great sickness of heart. He apparently did not know the difference between scrapie susceptible and being sick with the disease. Has a survey ever been done on the elderly sheep of Britain to see what their genetic profile tells us. I had two pet Shetlands over seven who are hale and hearty not to mention my aged Texel cross [rescued at birth from a slaughterhouse, incidentally].

Is it possible to obtain a transcript of what Mr Whitty said to the peers, (Yes. See left margin) as I am convinced he said that if he found flocks with an absence of scrapie they could be exempt from further testing.

I do not think he happened to mention that there was no leeway of this or any sort in the scheme, he was forcing on the farming industry. The reason for lack of response is the extreme measures one has to agree to. None of us wants it, we have all been busy working hard on the schemes set up by breed societies. It appears to us that is is just a case of forcing the scheme upon us by putting a gun to our heads [ The plan to put any trust back between the government and the farmers is like the trains somewhat delayed] The current attitude seems to be that the floggings will continue until morale improves.