I RETURN TO GT. ORTON AIRFIELD
 
Nick Green. Cumbria. 10th June 2002
 
 
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 though!
 
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 Orton!
 
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 dug pits.
 
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 Cumbria! 
 
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 late....again!
 
I could only hear the noise of the wind; it felt cold for a summers day. There were no flowers by the gate.