SUBMISSION BY

SUZANNE GREENHILL

12 PARKSIDE AVENUE

                    COCKERMOUTH CA13 0DR

CUMBRIA

TEL: 01900 822358

 

 

                    What has happened to society in the rural areas of Gt. Britain is horrendous.

 

                    The Government has endeavoured to make farmers criminals in the eyes of the Nation, blaming them for spreading the disease by lack of bio-security and by resisting culls. MAFF/DEFRA`s  own bio-security was appalling and in many instances, non-existent. There appeared to be a rigorous regime for farmers and a very lax one for officials. Culls were only resisted by farmers when they felt their stock was healthy and no test results were to be allowed before slaughter. So often the animals were found to be healthy and the farmers proved right.

 

                    Farming families were virtually imprisoned on their farms, often for weeks on end, not only those who had stock but those who had been culled out. Many were not allowed to leave their farms whilst others chose to barricade themselves in. Children missed weeks of schooling, examinations had to be delayed and often families were split up with children being sent away for weeks at a time. If the wife was lucky enough to be able to continue in a job, she would leave the farm thus isolating the farmer even more just when there was a need for the family members to be together to support one another.

 

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                    The Gower report of the 1950`s and the Northumberland report of the 1960`s both mention the trauma and terrible sense of loss to both farmers and their families when they saw their lives` work destroyed in a day.

 

                    In this, the World`s worst F&M epidemic, where only  3 in 10,000 animals tested positive which resulted in the loss of over 11 million animals in total, the human health aspect of this appalling disaster has been largely ignored. There has been very little proper recognition of the human cost associated with the stresses imposed upon Rural Communities and there have  been  increases  in drug & alcohol problems amongst farmers (Border tv 9th. April).

 

                    So many lives have been affected; far more than in previous epidemics because of the huge increases in tourism and allied businesses since 1967.

 

                    The way in which this epidemic was mishandled by politicians  and officials led farmers and their families to live in fear and dread for many months that they would be  next. The unnecessary anxiety and hopelessness generated by the policies adopted put whole communities and businesses under unbearable strain.

 

                    With funeral pyres visible for miles, spreading choking smoke plus a foul stench for weeks (so hot in fact that these pyres were recorded by satellites as being the hottest places in Europe!); with ash and parts of animal flesh falling in from the smoke drifts; with carcasses left rotting at roadsides and then transported, dripping from leaking vehicles, over long distances;

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with pits dug, often in very inappropriate places; with culls often carried out inhumanely and incorrectly and in some cases, in front of children and the general public, it is no surprise that we all thought we were living in Hell!

 

                    We consider ourselves a Nation of animal lovers, a civilised society, advanced in both science and technology. These ideals  went up in  the smoke from the pyres and the mistakes were buried alongside the dead animals.

 

                    When vets were agreeing to destroy healthy animals and slaughtermen were leaving half-dead animals to suffer, vaccination was dismissed as was the advice from all the World Experts on FMD. Then add to this the fact that the farmers were being threatened and bullied into having their healthy stock destroyed.

 

                    This barbaric, inhumane and discredited evil method of dealing with FMD should NEVER be used again. It has been proved to be so wrong and moreso when you see how poorer countries deal with the same disease. No wonder the rest of the world see us now as a nation so wealthy and uncaring that we can waste billions of pounds killing healthy livestock without a shred of good scientific reason.

 

                    Our so-called “Leaders” have treated law-abiding citizens with utter contempt, without consideration for any basic human rights. They have inflicted irreparable damage to the Environment.

 

 

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                        Suppressive vaccination would have cost comparatively little when set against not just the current costs but those costs which will go on into the future. In human terms the benefits would have been immeasurable with normality returning to the Nation in less than a month. Even the British Museum would have been spared from 5% losses!

 

                    Farmers and Tourist businesses alike wanted vaccination but tragically the NFU, whose representation of farmers is only 35% and far less in the worst hit areas of the epidemic, were misled by Government and sadly, only the NFU officials voices were listened to, not those of their ordinary members and farmers who were not NFU members.

 

                    These misguided policies have divided communities almost as effectively as sectarian divides in other parts of the World. There are the “Have`s” and the “Have not`s” Those who kept their stock and those who did not. It has set neighbour against neighbour, families against families.

 

                    We must surely re-introduce the EU policy of blanket vaccination which up until 1991 kept F&M at bay. With the greater movement of people and the exchange of trade throughout the world and with no border restrictions in the EU and further Eastern European countries joining the EU in 2004 this has to be the only way forward.

 

                    We are left with huge losses of wonderful livestock, many people suffering huge financial losses and struggling under mountains of bureaucracy; restrictions in farming with extra costs. Tourism trying to recover with even more losses as a result of September 11th.  family life under stress and untold damage to the environment.

 

SUZANNE GREENHILL  12 PARKSIDE AVENUE

COCKERMOUTH CA130DR

 

SUBMISSION TO THE CUMBRIA COUNTY COUNCIL

FOOT & MOUTH INQUIRY

 

EXEMPTION FOR HEFTED  SHEEP & RARE BREEDS

 

There was an exemption published on 4th. May by MAFF. It was too late, unworkable and in reality, never adhered to by MAFF.

 

On 26th. May, Nick Brown stated to Parliament that “special circumstances to be provided for rare breeds of sheep and of moorland & hefted flocks based on bio-security and testing”. But on the same day, despite endless protests to Brown, Blair, Morley and Ross Finnie in Scotland, 1,000 English Herdwick sheep overwintering on the Scottish Borders were shot although blood tests had proved negative.

 

HEFTED  & RARE  SHEEP BREEDS

 

                        A  LACK OF KNOWLEDGE BY MAFF & MINISTERS

 

The system of farming hefted sheep was a complete mystery to all at MAFF & for Ministers. I had to send a paper on the subject to Page Street and more copies were sent at each change of personnel.

 

INFORMATION TO FARMERS

 

The lack of useful information to farmers was a disgrace. MAFF/DEFRA put some information on their website, often late, difficult to find and only possible if you had access to pc. Carlisle HQ had insufficient phone lines, was often unable to answer questions as every decision had to come from Page Street leading to lengthy delays.

 

Even when Page Street were warned well in advance of issues such as welfare problems, tupping and shearing,  delays were unacceptably long, frequently as the policy issued was unworkable and had to be re-written.

 

BLOOD TESTING

 

Completely inadequate provisions for blood testing because of too few staff and lack of facilities at Pirbright (only 400 tests per week available at the start) Also delays for results and refusal to allow the use of private laboratories.

 

 

 

LOSSES

 

Many young sheep (hoggs & shearlings) from quality, irreplaceable flocks, were unnecessarily killed on overwintering grounds when it would have been feasible to move them safely to the high pastures back on the Cumbrian Fells.

 

Vast areas of the Pennines are now bereft of  hefted sheep from  North of Manchester to the Alston area of Cumbria. Only the Howgills have the remnants of  Rough Fell sheep left. The local economy depends to a very large extent on these environmentally-friendly flocks to create the landscape so necessary for tourism and allied businesses.

 

CUMBRIAN SHEEP & LAMB LOSSES:                       1,087,405

 

43% OF THE CUMBRIAN SHEEP FLOCK HAS BEEN KILLED

 

20% OF THE NATIONAL SHEEP FLOCK HAS BEEN KILLED

 

BREED LOSSES

 

SWALEDALES  65%

HERDWICKS 40%

ROUGH FELLS 40%

N. COUNTRY BLACK-FACE 20-30%

HILL CHEVIOTS 33%

 

ONLY 3 IN EVERY 10,000 ANIMALS

BLOOD-TESTED PROVED POSITIVE

FOR FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE.

 

 

PAPERS SUBMITTED BY

SUZANNE GREENHILL, 12 PARKSIDE AVENUE, COCKERMOUTH

 

 

7        AFTERMATH: RECENT POLICY & THE FUTURE

 

7        CUMBRIA REPORT

 

7        EUROPEAN REPORT: costs & losses; pp 15-20

 

7         EUROPEAN INQUIRY AGENDA

 

7        EXTRACT FROM THE NORTHUMBERLAND REPORT 1967

 

7        ELLIOT MORLEY: LETTERS FROM CHAIRMAN OF MITCHELL`S AUCTION COMPANY LTD;

 

7        NFU INTERVIEW  3rd April 2001.

 

VACCINATION

 

7                            PROF. FRED BROWN:  CORRESPONDENCE

 

7                            DR. RUTH WATKINS (VIROLOGIST): ARTICLE

 

7                           JIM CLAPP (VET) & SOIL ASSOCIATION: LETTERS

 

7                           ARGENTINA 2001; FMD OUTBREAK & REPORT

 

7                           URUGUAY 2001 FMD OUTBREAK & REPORT

 

VETERINARY

 

7        ROGER WINDSOR (VET): ADDRESS TO R.C.V.S.

 

7        ALAN RICHARDSON  (VET): REPORT COMPARING 1967 & 2001 OUTBREAKS OF FMD.

 

7        ROB SMITH (DEFRA VET) BLOOD TESTING INFORMATION

 

7        MOUTH LESIONS & SORE MOUTH  IN SHEEP