NFU's Questions about VACCINATION

A Note on the NFU's investments in bio-tech (Monsanto) and supermarket companies

N.B. August 3rd 2001

From: Dr Paul Sutmoller
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2001 5:04 PM

Subject: Ben Gill's claim that vaccination causes abortion in sows

Dear A******,

I have never heard of a report of abortions of sows following FMD vaccination. I have vaccinated pregnant sows (not a large number) and did not observe any adverse reaction.

There is nothing in FMD vaccine that suggests that it might cause abortion. With a "live" vaccine one might suspect that it could affect the fetus, but FMD is a "killed" vaccine.

I will check with some of my colleagues to see if they have any further information. If something turns up - which I do not expect - I will let you know.

Warmest regards,

See open letter to Ben Gill and response to his reply from Professor Verner Wheelock

Where does the NFU executive stand?

extract: Gill would be quite happy to see a number of small farmers driven out of business, to leave the pickings to his 'low cost' - i.e., bigger - enterprises. FMD has provided the opportunity

"As late as 11 February 2000, Bell Gill - alongside economist Sean Rickard - in a presentation on financial support for farmers (published on the FWI website) - argued that 'Ultimately, supply must be reduced which means less farmers, and the sooner the necessary adjustment is made the more security there will be for those better managed, lower cost enterprises'. Clearly, Gill would be quite happy to see a number of small farmers driven out of business, to leave the pickings to his 'low cost' - i.e., bigger - enterprises. FMD has provided the opportunity. " Dr Richard North - see update no. 20

Standard "vaccination" letter from NFU and Michaela's response
Barry Wilson in Dairying Today


- The NFU's said
~ that vaccination didn't work (untrue),
~ that meat and milk from vaccinated animals had to be segregated, (untrue),
~ that vaccination would prolong the epidemic (probably the reverse);
~ that Maff didn't have enough vaccine (untrue) or sufficient resources (untrue)
~ Lastly the NFU's say that farmers are opposed to vaccination.
This is probably still true, but it's mainly because the NFU's have brainwashed farmers into believing their black propaganda.
A truly extraordinary story. But let's hope the lessons have been learnt.

Extraordinary Stance of NFU - apparent ignorance of vaccination information circulated by Maff to every farmer in April

Alan Beat questions newspaper article the journalist was"somewhat taken aback and could only agree"
There are notable, courageous and outspoken exceptions to the "dead hand" approach in the NFU.

Ian Johnson, National Farmers' Union (NFU) spokesman for the South West region, said the "contiguous cull" policy which stretched up to 3km from the nearest infected farm, was scientifically incorrect. He also criticised ministers for "mummifying" farming with bureaucracy. His comments follows claims by the Government's leading foot-and-mouth expert, Dr Paul Kitching, that ministers went ahead with the cull of healthy animals, even though he warned them it was "a total suspension of common sense".

Even more significantly, Anthony Gibson, a voice of sanity from the outset, and NFU regional director in the South West, says,

"The contiguous cull has been exposed for what it was: one of the most bloody, tragic and disgraceful misjudgements made in the name of science."

As Alan Beat says, Official "top-brass" NFU opposition would stop contiguous culling in its tracks, yet still they hold off from advising their members to resist.

The NFU Executive however, most extraordinarily, still appears to hold the following views:

1. The government never told the NFU it thought vaccination was the right thing. Therefore it is wrong to suggest vaccination didn't happen because of the NFU.

2. When in April it was mooted that Northern Cumbria could make use of limited vaccination, the NFU were prepared for that but then veterinary epidemiological advice was to wait and see for a few days. "Looking back, it was the right thing to do" according to the NFU executive.

3.The NFU agreed to wait and now recognises, it says, that the situation does not justify the use of vaccine (sic)

4.The NFU put 52 questions about vaccination to Maff

5.The NFU is not "anti-vaccine" per se. In the earliest days of an outbreak it is justifiable to vaccinate and then slaughter,( as the Dutch did says the NFU) but it still feels there are "too many negatives".

6.The NFU thinks that the state of the outbreaks now has gone beyond the use of vaccine.

.............................................................. However....

1. The NFU is passing the buck here. At any time, presumably, they could have supported vaccination without a lead from the government.

2. It would be interesting to know from what quarter this veterinary epidemiological advice proceeded. Perhaps from within the European farmers federation (COPA-COGECA) itself? Its acceptance resulted in the deaths of many thousands of animals at the time, the end of many rural businesses and a great deal of human suffering. The fact that vaccination was not adopted at that stage may well have prolonged the outbreak to the extent that we have seen and continue to see.

3. The situation justifies the use of vaccine more and more. If a culling policy is to be used at all, (as is accepted everywhere except at the Maff and the NFU), then it can ONLY work in a small, localised outbreak. Why have Uruguay, for example, decided to vaccinate their entire herd of 10.4 million? They tried the small localised cull. After ten days, when it was patently not working, they chose vaccination - in spite of their fears for their trade markets. Incidentally, the EU lifted the ban on their vaccinated meat on May 9th .

4. The 52 questions the NFU posed to government were satisfactorily answered with only a few remaining problems. Compared with a slaughter policy that looks set to cost £20 billion, they are of very minor significance.

5. The NFU has never, as far as I know, given any public statement to suggest it is not "anti-vaccine". The arguments the NFU have raised against vaccination have been dealt with: It is NOT biologically impossible to distinguish between an infected animal from a vaccinated one.

See also

The European Parliament in Strasbourg were told that " mass vaccination would be "a lottery," costly, complicated and with no guarantee of success. Some 300 million animals would have to be vaccinated every six months against the seven known strains of the foot-and-mouth virus." The consensus was against vaccination. The EU members believed what they were told.

But neither of these arguments hold either.

The vaccination procedure is not as complicated as the alternative and as for its success rate:

6.The state of the outbreak in Britain now is hard to pin down because the figures are not now being reported and the results of tests on animals slaughtered on suspicion or as part of a contiguous cull are not made available. The information received here would suggest that many areas in Britain are still suspected of having the disease. Thousands of animals are being slaughtered in a frenzied attempt to eradicate anything with cloven hooves that may have picked up the virus - all presumed guilty before being tried. But this is EXACTLY the time to be using both tests and vaccines. Professor Fred Brown remarked sadly over a month ago, "Culling can only lead to more culling".

The NFU executive is a non-elected body. Ordinary farmers have no time for microbiology. They look to the Veterinary and Public Health team of the NFU to do advise them. Unfortunately, the present policy of the NFU executive , far from being in the interests of its members, is based simply and solely on fear for the markets - and a desire to see small farms make way for bigger, more profit-making agribusinesses.

From the Times May 1 2001

Among the union's investments are holdings worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in five drug and bioscience companies experimenting with genetically modified products, including the American GM giant Monsanto. The NFU has also bought a substantial number of shares in Tesco, the supermarket chain that it has accused of profiteering, and about£168,000 in Barclays Bank, which was accused of abandoning rural Britain last year when it shut down a large number of village branches.

Mr Lambert defended the choice of stocks and shares, saying that decisions were taken by the NFU's two independent financial advisers. "It is a financial consideration: these investments are done purely for the return that we get," he said.

MPs condemned the union for entering into investments that could compromise its ability to speak freely on behalf of its members. Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said: "Farmers in my constituency will raise their eyebrows at the idea of the NFU investing in Tesco, which has quite rightly been criticised by farmers and by their union in the past. And it is difficult to see how the NFU can speak freely about genetic modification while investing in companies like Monsanto."

A senior Labour MP with a partly rural constituency added: "Plenty of other organisations have found that they can invest wisely but invest ethically, so why can't the NFU? Why are they sitting on all this money at a time when the taxpayer is handing over so much compensation to farmers who have lost their livestock?" The NFU is in favour of controlled field trials on genetically modified crops, although the leadership acknowledges that its membership is deeply divided on the issue. TOP