From Mike at

Subject: FMD - black humour!

Mary had a little lamb,
she called him little Ralph ...
but now he's burning in a field,
coz he got foot and mouth!

Many a true word is spoken in jest.

There was one one simple cause of the world's worst foot and mouth epidemic...


and it does not need 10 resource-sapping national enquiries to identify this....
As we increasingly moved towards treating farm animals as commodities, rather than as living creatures, the seeds of disaster were repatedly sown. Lesson one was BSE
Lesson 2: Salmonella
Lesson 3: E.coli 0157
Lesson 4: PMWS
Lesson 5: FMD

In the case of foot and mouth, in the lead-up to the epidemic, MAFF was unable to meet its statutory responsibilities to safeguard animal welfare.

If animal welfare had been protected, a pig farm in Northumberland would not have been allowed to continue poor management practices for so long, and hundreds of thousands of sheep would not have been travelling the length and breadth of the country, passing repeatedly in and out of markets.

The only question is "Why did MAFF not meet its statutory responsibilities for farm animal welfare?"

The writing was already on the wall, that this was a problem...

In recent years, "undercover investigations" of intensive livestock farms have brought UK farming (and meat as a food) into disrepute. But livestock industries cannot police standards of care on farms, only MAFF can do that.

Abusing animals can save, or make, money in the short-term, so we need a supportive economic environement coupled with civilised standards of care, to ensure that competition does not drag down our sensitivity to the needs of animals.

How often does MAFF/DEFRA visit, prosecute or close livestock farms for breaches of animal care? Very rarely! - even the RSPCA does more, despite not having statutory resources or powers.

Are we going to wake up to this problem in 2002?

Is there anything (more) that you can do to help?

Best Wishes