I RETURN TO GT. ORTON
Nick Green. Cumbria. 10th June
I had to go to Carlisle today, Thursby to be exact,
a few miles West of the city.
On my way back I travelled via Gt. Orton airfield.
I wondered what I would find; stupid really, this was my 4th visit, but very
nearly a year has passed since my last.
I felt very uneasy as I drew close.Very little,
overtly, has changed. There is a new security fence all around the
perimeter dressed with signs proclaiming "We will prosecute
trespassers". No illegal entry I thought! Plenty of illegal killing
As I pulled alongside the main entrance I couldn`t
help remembering those very dark days of March and April 2001. On my first visit
to the scene of the most barbaric, unscientific and illegal act ever
imposed on the rural communities of England, I saw vast numbers of press and
television reporters. They littered the roads around the local area. I remember
them interviewing me. I was not very articulate! They thanked me and wished me
luck! They appeared shocked at what I told them! There were flowers resting
pathetically against the fence and the unrelenting stench of the pyres wafted
across this desolate landscape. Truck after truck of healthy sheep arrived,
condemned to the slaughterers gun. Many were heavily pregnant, giving birth as
they were unloaded into holding pens near the killing tent.The pathetic cries of
newly born lambs wrenched from their mothers. It
was a scene from hell. There was an air of total confusion. I had been offered,
jobless as I was due to the crisis, £4.50 an hour to work at Gt
No birds sang in the vicinity for many months. The
killing went on, officially, for around 3 months. Officially, around half a
million healthy sheep were killed here. Of those tested, only 3 tested positive!
(with anti-bodies). Add to that figure around 1.6 lambs per ewe and we will
arrive at what is nearer to the truth. The real figure will be over 2 million
healthy sheep and lambs killed at Gt Orton. One sheep fell every 6 seconds! A
travellator transported dead lambs to their graves. Some of these lambs had
their lower jaws blown off as veterinary surgeons authorised the use of
CBI`s to kill them. The more fortunate came under the needle, being injected
directly into the heart. Some vets struggled to conduct this task proficiently I
have been told by a witness. One slaughterman was killed with a captive bolt
gun. He remained alive for some time. So did some of the wretched animals who
were buried alive. I have received eye-witness reports from drivers at the site,
who vividly report that many animals were moving as they thrown into the hastily
Around the perimeter of the airfield were the
obvious signs that a huge trench had been dug. Special equipment had been
imported from Europe to dig the trench to stop the escape of leachate. Costs
were huge. None of the pits, in the early days were lined and leakage from the
graves leaked out into the surrounding area and inevitably into the becks and
rivers. This despite a local expert offering his vast engineering knowledge in
the construction of "safe" pits to MAFF. This advice was ignored in March 2001.
No health problems we are told!
All disused aerodromes have a haunting atmosphere
surrounding them, but Gt Orton is different. A chilling depression encompasses
this site. The site of the most horrendous massacre ever.
The security men took great interest in me as I
parked adjacent to the main gate, rushing from the warmth of their
"guardroom" to see who was "spying" on them. A slight over reaction I thought.
Outside the main gate is a large boulder,
strategically placed no doubt; perhaps shortly to be dressed with a plaque
honouring President Blair`s fine leadership in eliminating FMD from
A newly grassed area adjacent, and just inside the
site an old de-tox trailer with that haunting name, SNOWIE, on
the side! Are they still SNOWIE or is that NORTHERN
YACHT CHARTER or....................... yes Mr Snowie has many
different guises, around 15 actually!
Several tankers were lined up; no doubt waiting to
take more leachate across to the North sea. A digger operated quietly. Attached
to the fence was a planning permission notice, April 26th 2001! MAFF
I could only hear the noise of the wind; it felt
cold for a summers day. There were no flowers by the gate.