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COMMENTS ON THE FMD CRISIS

By Nick Green

CUMBRIA

Last weekend a "leaked" memo from DEFRA, Page St. London was sent to The Heart of Cumbria, in particular myself & joint founder Elaine Commander. For many months now we have exposed the incompetence & downright evil methods conducted by MAFF/DEFRA in this County. After the courageous and hard hitting Public Enquiry ordered by the people of Devon, it was recorded publicly that the performance of MAFF/DEFRA during the FMD crisis in Devon was "LAMENTABLE"! I took the time to acquaint myself accurately with this adjective by consulting the Oxford dictionary:- LAMENTABLE, Deplorable, regretable. Deplorable! That accurately describes the Ministries conduct in what has probably been the worst crisis to hit Cumbria, Devon, Dumfries & Galloway and Yorkshire for many years if not ever. Perhaps here in Cumbria the word lamentable is far too weak!

Maff/Defra have acted in a callous, arrogant and completely unscientific manner throughout. They have been a complete disgrace. They have bullied and coerced many farmers and rural dwellers in Cumbria since the end of February. Have any of us once heard any sign of remorse from what is now the most hated Government department in history. I for one needed no proof of how deplorably Maff/Defra have performed, but the memo printed here today will expose beyond doubt the true colours of this incoherent bunch of bullies.

The document as you can see was sent by Mr Roy Hathaway, Head of Foot and Mouth Division, Area: 2/02A, 1A Page Street, London, 6 November 2001. In this memo, sent to Mr Elliot Morley & Mr Ray Anderson, head of MAFF/DEFRA Operations Carlisle, amongst others, Hathaway confirms that the "Voluntary" cull in Cumbria was not "voluntary" and that the Ministry are so concerned that local farmer Mr Bindloss, who is legally contesting the fact that when his stock were culled in the "voluntary" scheme, he was not allowed to appeal against the valuation. We have supporting documents to prove this. We see that the Ministry, rather than lose in Court and therefore set a legal precedence, have been advised "not to contest the case since the Court would doubtless conclude from the evidence that Mr Bindloss had been denied the right to appeal against valuation as a result of the way the 3KM cull policy was presented and applied in Cumbria." Quite Mr Hathaway, you are so right! In fact so scared is the Department of losing this case that they are prepared to "pay any legal costs incurred by Mr Bindloss."! Actually, Mr Hathaway, it is US the Tax Payer who will meet these costs and the #20 Billion wasted by your department and President Blair during this crisis. Of course, typically, MAFF/DEFRA continue to side step the issue by saying " That Penrith Farmers & Kidd told Mr Bindloss that he had no right to dispute his valuation." PFK were contracted by MAFF to complete all administrative duties concerning valuation.They have a copy of this memo and I am sure that we all await their response with interest!

So, appallingly, MAFF/DEFRA have admitted that there was no such thing as A "Voluntary Cull". Strange, as much of the official paperwork has "Voluntary Depopulation Scheme" clearly noted! Even stranger is the fact that the Junior Agricultural Minister, Morley, who recently blamed those farmers that had the guts to resist the cull on healthy animals, for extending the epidemic, has completely retracted this first absurd effort at ridiculing our farmers where he stated "the majority of farmers who appealed against the contigious/3km cull have subsequently become I/P's!" At the Commons Select Committee Meeting on 6 November 2001, Morley told the Chairman that out of 103 cases Nationally that resisted the contigious/3km cull 7 became infected! More lies then Morley! He was also informed of the FACT that Devon Solicitor Allayne Addy had personally represented 200 "appeals" and that NONE of these premises actually went down! He states." I am not sure where that figure of 200 comes from unless they were appeals to our DVM. We are not looking to maximise the slaughter of animals, we want to reduce the slaughter of animals." Really Morley, it doesnt seem that way to us! Morley also states at this Commons Meeting that, "At the present time we do not have powers for a fire break cull. There WAS the 3km cull in Cumbria BUT that was a VOLUNTARY CULL and people were invited to participate in that. If there was a situation where it was recommended that a fire break cull would be desirable, then it (The Animal Health Bill 2001) gives you power to do that."! This last comment is staggering! On the same day that Mr Roy Hathaway told Morley that there was NO VOLUNTARY CULL, Morley is saying they had no powers to conduct a 3km cull and that there WAS a VOLUNTARY CULL! So gentlemen who is lying?

The facts are that MAFFR/DEFRA had no power to conduct a FIRE BREAK or 3km/cull. The facts are that there was no voluntary cull. A letter given to any farmer who resisted the 3km/contigious or Fire Break cull states:- "To advise you what arrangements are now being put in place to include your sheep in the cull. In the infected area, sheep, goats and pigs within 3km of infected premises will be treated as a Dangerous Contact. NIKKI ELLIS Assistant Director of Operations (MAFF, April 2001"!!! Just a little coercion there I think! Doesn't seem to be "voluntary" to me Morley!

Further documentation received exposes MAFF/DEFRA bullying is typified in a leaked memo from Ann Waters, Deputy Director FMD Operations HQ, 08 June 2001. "The purpose of this brief is to provide MAFF staff with information to enable them to seek to discourage farmers from resisting MAFF's slaughter policy by citing the favourable judgements of the High Court. The strong possibility that farmers will be liable for MAFF costs in future cases should also be a deterrent."!! She goes on, "Although the Judge did not award MAFF costs in earlier cases, it is likely that the court will now award costs in future successful cases."!!! This is absolutely scandalous! At that time, NO Judge had awarded costs against any farmer and after consultatation with a well known firm of solicitors they advised that this particular document was "An Incitement to harass and intimidate!" MAFF "Pre-judged the Judge!

So, we can all now clearly see how this Government and MAFF/DEFRA have continually lied to the people of England and in particular us here in Cumbria. There is very strong evidence to suggest that FMD was present in England as early as October 2000; very strong evidence. We know as a fact that they have lied to us almost continually and we know that Blair and DEFRA have not got the guts to sponsor a completely Independent and Open Enquiry. The three enquiries being conducted at the moment are a complete farce! So much so that legal action is being taken against Margaret Beckett and DEFRA to force an Open and Public Enquiry.

The people of Cumbria have suffered appallingly at the hands at what clearly is a corrupt administration. We have paid a huge price for this incompetence! I urge ALL farmers, forced to give up sheep in the "Voluntary Cull" to immediately seek legal advice with the view that you will be able to contest valuation. This will amount to thousands of farmers; a real embarrassment to a corrupt system of Government! Further, legal action should now be taken by all affected to challenge why they were told the cull was "Voluntary" when it wasnt! In the opinion of legal advisers the document re-produced here is " An incitement to Perjury!"

This may well be a Bridge Too far for MAFF/DEFRA and Blair. I am sure this new evidence will open the flood gates to thousands of farmers taking legal action against them! For your readers information I record the phone number of Burgess Salmon, experts in FMD cases and based in Bristol:- (0117) 9392000. Rise up now Cumbria, take action!

I leave you with one last quote, from, interestingly a Government Official!

"CORRUPT & BAD GOVERNMENT CAN BE A BREEDING GROUND FOR TERRORISM!"

I could not have put it better myself!

NICK GREEN

HEART of CUMBRIA

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