Protection for British Livestock and Farmers

Open Letters about the handling of the FMD Crisis

Oct 7 ~ A whole month later, Gill gets a reply - and replies! Richard adds a comment.


Aug 4 ~ This Open Letter to the most dangerous man in Britain by Jon Dobson speaks for many, many people who are exhausted with the pain and frustration of what is happening.

A letter from Gillian Swanson to Mrs Ellen Kenny at DEFRA (for address - see Priority page)

No Movement Anywhere. July 2001

In spite of very cogent arguments in favour of vaccination and the passionate appeals by members of the RCVA Council and others for a change to the "postcode slaughter" policy there has been no movement on this issue. "Kill everything quickly and listen to no one" is the only policy being pursued.

I suppose all this is fine if one agrees with the plans to kill off traditional British farming, to get rid of the traditional roaming sheep rights, to hold classes in rural management and"marketing" for the broke farming community and for the New Labour government to be seen to be delivering its squeaky clean new countryside.

The fact remains though that all this killing is illegal, that farmers are being intimidated, that the tourism industy is floundering, that communities who protest legitimately about the health hazards of disposal are studiuously ignored, and that Tony Blair and Defra have been criminally incompetent at best or deviously manipulative at worst. Add to this the billions of pounds spent on chasing the crisis, the millions spent on GM trials (against the wishes of the majority of taxpayers) and Clare Short's apparent ignorance of the realities of "globalisation" and the biotech ambitions directed towards the third world - and it all adds up to more than the sentimental anxiety of a few crackpots like me, at the distressing murder of a few million animals and their young.
Mary Critchley

July 14 David Ellis wrote a letter printed in the Craven Herald this week....Even without the presence of military personnel, analogies to war are all too prevalent. Witness the language used by politicians, DEFRA and the media - "completely eradicate", "wage war", "stamped out once and for all", "biosecurity". Over the past two months living in the Dales has often felt sickeningly like being in a war zone....

July 11 Alan Beat's letter about value of the Internet

A reply from Roger Eddy June 25 (RCVS president) to Jane Barribal at

June 25 Letter to County Hall Exeter about the opening of footpaths and now reply received

June 21 A letter from Jon Dobson to the Charities..We must ask for your immediate attention as, once blood test results showing antibodies (demonstrating immunity to the disease!) are confirmed in the next two weeks, culling of entire flocks and herds will follow immediately..

June 20 Letter from Jane Barribal to Roger Eddy (RCVS) about the cull at Skipton

June 20th An email to from Hilary Peters in Cumbriaabout the way farmers are persuaded

June 5th Two Devon mothers take a 5000 signature petition to Defra/Maff

June 4~ situation in Devon

(Microbiologist Dr Harash Narang, 58, supported vaccination of animals rather than culling them during the current crisis. He is also critical of the Conservative Government's policy on BSE. He claims he was effectively sacked from his position as a Government scientist for linking mad cow disease with CJD in humans.)

Dr Harash Narang's letter to Tony Blair

An open letter to the electorate from North Cumbria by Mrs Coleen Taylor

A letter sent to Mr Roger Eddy, President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons

letter to D Maclean M.P. Scotland and the reply from Mr Maclean....

A letter from Powys

A letter to the Western Morning News from Cornwall

letter to Maff in Exeter

See also

1. Have Vets done themselves proud?

2. The Gilwern Slaughter - a critical analysis of the Gilwern Report, and cumulative law breaking actions of Monmouthshire Council. By Capt. Bryn Wayt, Heathfield, East Essex

Open letter to RSPCA(..The Prince of Wales gave £500,000 to help farmers two months ago and urged businessmen and charities to follow suit. The Duke of Westminster made a similar donation and the RSPCA promised financial support. This week it gave the ARC-Addington Fund £2,000...)

(published in Northumberland Gazette May 25) A letter to Tony Blair

May 26 2001

Open letter from

Open letter to anyone interested in the outbreak Some urgent questions asked

Hilary's email June 20

In other words, it seems as though Maff/Defra officials are making farmers frightened of asking for support. Has this got anything to do with science or a reasoned attempt to end the incidence of disease?


footpath closure: reply from Exeter

Mr L Wright

Your ref:Date:26 June 2001Phone: Enquiries:Exeter 01392 382000My ref:CED
F(49) ref 68Please ask for:Mr D AndrewDirect line: Exeter 01392 382175Fax: 01392 382135
Dear Mr Wright,
Re-opening of Public Rights of Way
Mortehoe Footpath 16, Ilfracombe Footpath 24 & 34

Further to your e-mails regarding the above, you are aware from conversation with Council Officers that the decision has been made for Morthoe Footpath 16 to remain closed at the present time and Ilfracombe Footpaths 24 and 34 to reopen this Saturday, 30 June. The formal decision letter will be issued this week, at the same time as those to other landowners who have applied for an exemption.

As stated in my previous correspondence we are working to the latest DEFRA Guidelines, which are being applied across the County and these lead to the conclusion that the two paths should not remain closed.

Yours sincerely,

David Andrew
Assistant Director

****************************************************************************** ***************************************************************************** ************************************************
Edward Chorlton
County Environment Director
Lucombe House
County Hall
Topsham Road

Your ref: CED F(49) ref 68

Dear Sir,

Re-opening of Public Rights of Way

The letter which I received today, by e-mail from Mr Andrew is misinformed and completely unacceptable.

I should be grateful for the courtesy of a reply to the points which I have raised. I should also be grateful to be informed, urgently in view of the precipitate action you seem to be imposing, why it has been necessary to deal with the re-opening of footpaths in this part of the infected area with such haste as to prevent proper consultation: and to know whether you are working to a decision by the elected members of Devon County Council or a diktat from central government.

The points which I have been making apply generally to the footpaths in this area. With regard to Ilfracombe footpaths 24 and 34, I wish to know who, specifically, has taken the decision that they should be re-opened, their authority; and the reason for the decision.

I will wish to appeal against the decision, when I have received formal notification of it: and I should be grateful for confirmation that their opening will be suspended pending this appeal.

Yours faithfully,

Lawrence Wright


From: The F & M "Real People, Real Lives" Campaign 7 Park Place, Winkleigh, Devon, EX19 8JN

Contact: Sara Mitchell Tel: 07979 608 939/ 01837 83155 Sarah Waldron Tel: 07980 146 233

Two Devon mothers take their fight against Foot and Mouth's ongoing devastation from the heart of Devon right to M.A.F.F.'s front door.

Many communities in Devon are suffering terribly - from the physical and psychological to the economic and emotional. Two mothers from the heart of Devon have found their voice and are using it to shout loud so that someone where the decisions are made can hear them, take note and do something. In an amazingly short space of time (less than two weeks) they have organised a powerful campaign and gathered a huge amount of local support and encouragement. In only five days they have gathered a petition of 5,000 signatures.

"The people of rural Devon are at their wit's end. No one seems to be listening. Out of the county the impression seems to be that it's all over here yet pyres are still being built and plans made for future culling," says Sara Mitchell, one of the two mothers behind the campaign. "I've heard too many awful, awful stories over the last few weeks - I can't just sit and say and do nothing."

Accompanied by their children, Sara and Sarah are taking the petition right to the front door of M.A.F.F.'s headquarters in Smith Square, London on Monday 4th June. "The damage being done in our name to people, animals and land will affect my children and generations unborn. Media coverage seems to be deliberately being restricted and cover-ups made. The public outside of Devon don't realise the extent of the animal and human suffering still going on here. Healthy animals are still being killed - and killed needlessly, carelessly and callously. We need new guidelines and legislation and a public enquiry into the catastrophic mismanagement of this crisis. We need action to save our communities. This shouldn't be happening now and must never happen again." TOP

Alan Beat's letter to the Western Morning News about the value of the Internet

J Vincent (WMN June 23rd) asks "what is so good about the Internet?", declaring his preference for the written word. He is right to criticise some aspects of the Internet, for there is a great deal of trivia out there; but the same can be said of the media in general. It is up to the user to be discerning.

The Internet is complementary to older forms of communication, yet paradoxically, it adds a new dimension to them. Just look at the foot of this page to see the preference for E-mail letters. The vast majority of everything that you read today is transmitted electronically from keyboard to the final printed page because it is faster, cheaper and more efficient this way.

For an example of what the Internet can offer, consider the foot and mouth crisis. As a smallholder with sheep, I was hungry for information from the start, but little was available. Long weeks passed before MAFF sent anything at all by post, while the media coverage was limited to "killer plague" stories, or to the statements of politicians. But I wanted to know the scientific facts about the virus, how best to protect my flock, the disease control options that could be employed, and so on. All that was available was the official government line - surely was there more to know?

Yes, of course there was more information, and only the Internet gave access to it for ordinary folk. I was able to "visit" research laboratories all over the world, to read scientific papers relevant to this virus, how other countries deal with disease outbreaks, the issues surrounding vaccination, and much more besides. This guided the protection measures put into place on my smallholding.

When the "contiguous cull" policy was introduced, I already knew that it had no basis in veterinary science and began campaigning against it. Soon I was sending long E-mail messages of science, news and support to more than one hundred people every day, and receiving many in return - easy and cheap to do via the Internet, but laborious and expensive by any other means.

By the time my own flock were directly threatened, I had learned enough to resist their unjustified slaughter, without placing any other farms at risk. Many other livestock owners have been empowered to do the same.

The Internet has fully justified its worth for many of us during the foot and mouth crisis.

Alan Beat


4 July 2001

Re: Foot and Mouth


As the culling of healthy livestock continues many of us are distressed because we know in our hearts that this is wrong. Sidestepping the political and scientific dogma, the 'best advice' from veterinary experts, the increasingly vacuous economic argument, reports of animal cruelty and the very real concerns of farmers and business-people in the Dales we have but one issue to address, whether we really want our society to unnecessarily kill millions of healthy animals. They are or were part of our interconnected natural world - killing them in this way is killing part of our soul too.

It has been argued that many of them would have been killed for food anyway, but this is like saying that soldiers at the Somme in 1916 would have died of natural causes if they had not been slaughtered on the battlefields - it was not their time to die. Even without the presence of military personnel, analogies to war are all too prevalent. Witness the language used by politicians, DEFRA and the media - "completely eradicate", "wage war", "stamped out once and for all", "biosecurity". Over the past two months living in the Dales has often felt sickeningly like being in a war zone. We have learned throughout history that war never solves any problems in the long term. It is the same for the foot and mouth virus. We have not and will not control any virus on this planet; they are as much part of our natural world as the buttercup or songthrush. Yet we are again willing to sacrifice others in a vain attempt to wipe out the virus for some perceived economic and political gain.

Those of us opposed to culling present different options, from vaccination to the 'hands off' approach (nurse the sick animals, cull the suffering and leave the rest alone). The important point to remember is that there ARE alternatives - we do not have to repeat the slaughter. Note that the 1967 foot and mouth outbreak was described at the time as "the most virulent, destructive, and dangerous outbreak in the country's history", and this was tiny in comparison to the present one. If we do not learn any real truths from this year we can guarantee that the natural world will not be as lenient next time. As always we have a choice - if you look into your true heart there is only one real choice and that is to show love and respect for all creatures in our natural world.

David Ellis

16 Romille Street, Skipton TOP