(If you have been directed to this one page only.... See Warmwell website for independent, constantly updated information about the foot and mouth disease crisis in Britain)
Links to other important items - ARCHIVES
June 14 ~ email from farmer slightly reassured about process of bloodtesting
June 12 An email from Mr Lawrence Wright about bloodtesting and "depopulation scheme" in Devon -report of exchange of letters with Maff/Defra...."Is this all stock in Devon - or the whole of Britain? Does it include deer and hedgehogs too?....."
June 12 ~Is "sorry" good enough?
between e-mailer who had spoken to a Maff vet in Powys about the large number of misdiagnoses and a knowledgeable vet who considers the level of TVI incompetence and the discredited Maff policy a "scandal"
Most recent posting from Nick Green in Cumbria ~June 12 Nick's earlier reports are further down this page
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e-mail to Smartgroups about Veterinary Record articleabout faulty diagnosis :"Oral lesions in sheep and cattle in Dumfries and Galloway"
e-mail to Smartgroups about slaughterman's words re Powys - June 9th
an e-mail that reminds us where the blame really lies - and where, perhaps, it does not - June 8th
useful posting about likely EU requirements for regaining FMD status - June 9th
e-mail to Smartgroups about the coming widespread sheep testing - June 8th
An email from a distressed farmer in Worcestershireposted June 7th
June 12 ~An apologist for the cull is answered by Jon
"Am I wrong? Am I misguided? Or am I witness to something which in Magnus Linklater's opinion is where, 'The research was wrong, the science was outdated, the slaughter unnecessary, the policy unethical, and the strategy ineffective'(April 26th , The Times)?"
2 reports from first-hand observer in Cumbria June 4 -4th and June 6
and June 7th
Other e-mails from May and June in the now suspended (for the time-being) INBOX
More from Death ValleyAfter a few days in "normality" working in Keswick I came down to earth with a bump after the recent outbreak in Keswick as I returned home one evening to witness MAFF shovelling dead sheep from a field over a fence into a cull lorry! Please note though that they had not even had the decency to "hide" these appalling actions but were loading the sheep in a small layby right next to the A66 for all the tourists to see! These people really do have brains of maggots! This incident has followed closely from what I can only describe as a living hell as the area around us (Appleby area) has really been put through the mill lately! My previous notes may have portrayed some of the agony we have fealt here but it gets worse! Temple Sowerby were hit today; saw the usual horror scenes on my way home tonight. The field next to this farm are now going as well. Sheep and some cattle. The farm itself was a large dairy farm; some of you may have seen it when travelling through Temple Sowerby, its the one with the banner "NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A MINORITY"! Well, Blair`s got you now! Sadly I seem to take these awful scenes in my stride now! However the sight of Maff herding young cattle into the sheds to meet a grisly end, the Snowie lorries & worst of all the smiling slaughtermen & vets chatting at the farm gates! It still leaves me cold. I observed this scene several times tonight but really could do nothing.
The last 3 weeks has seen about 32 farms go down around here, just how many contigious etc. I would not like to guess but it must be at least 100! This disease rolls on relentlessly, travelling West back to Penrith, East to the Pennines and South to the Howgills & Orton, Tebay, Gt Asby, Kelleth etc. Next Sedbergh?
Well, funnily enough, spoke to a friend who has a "pet" slaughterman tonight who stated:- "We will be culling in Sedbergh in 5 days!" Wake up guys, prepare now!!!
Also, after a 4th stint watching Maff tonight, I decided to go into Appleby to buy a bottle of wine. Just in front of me were some lads who I assumed were Maff slaughtermen! Those who know will understand how I knew! Anyway one lad wore a Botcherby rugby shirt (rough part of Carlisle) and his friends mobile rang:
"Hello mate!" "I`m in Appleby". "Right carry on today!" "Right carry on, three marksmen!" "Right carry on, couldn`t hit a barn door!" "Yeah, useless!" "Appleby buying some piss!" "See you later".
With that they left in the usual large white tranny! The lady serving said they were Maff. "Smell them can`t you she said!" Funny they are staying around Appleby! Beware everyone!
The country side is open says President Blair! Yep, please come and see this beautiful place in all its glory!
I`ve had enough, seriously sick!
NICK GREEN CUMBRIA
From Ron - on sadness
I don't really know how to start this, because I realise that many of this Group are increasingly suffering stress, anguish and pain, and worst of all total frustration and rage. I am trying, with my contacts, to help on a long term basis, but I wish I could turn the clock back and perhaps go back to a time when all this horror, was not even a cloud on the horizon,
Each week, I drive to Newcastleton, first I drive though fields with cattle but no sheep, then for a few miles there are ewes and lambs, and then as I cross the Border there is nothing. There is the beautiful Border scenery, but there are no white dots, or larger brown and black patches on the distant hills, no sheep or cattle, all slaughtered for a probable negative blood test and/or a bad case of Orf.
I have stopped crying, I think my tear ducts have dried up, I feel like the sad clown who has to go into the ring three times a day and make people laugh. This is not like normal human grief, the loss of a child, a parent, a dear friend. The loss of all those dear pets we have owned over the years, could not be the same. My sadness is for the human race, I have always believed that we are put on this earth to be Stewards, to care for our poor little insignificant planet, so tiny in such a Universe. We, the Human Species, blunder away through life, most of us totally unaware of the millions of life forms within a few feet of us. I understand that life is a compromise and that for each species to survive other species will die. I cannot accept that due to some flawed `scientific' plan millions of animals are slaughtered, many terrified in their last moments. This is being done by people who are the same species as me, supervised by Vets, who are in the same profession as those who have cared for our pets, who have several times helped our pets to die quietly and at peace.
Around me, when I am in Carlisle, there are thousands of people, going about their business, seemingly oblivious of the sadness and horror just a few miles from them. The Television is on in the other room, some inane game show, some idiot who probably thinks it's all over or who never knew about it in the first place. Somewhere along our way, we the Human Species got lost, I only hope that at the Final Judgement, whatever that is, that the small band of caring people, such as the folks on this Group, will be allowed to plead for mercy for the rest of the Human Species.
Today I am the sad old Quaker from Bewcastle.
Tricia writing about the distress
"One of the days I will remember during all this horror was Good Friday when, for the whole day, wagon after wagon of sheep and lambs drove by my house", which is in a very narrow street. The noise was unbearable. It left me with nightmares for some days and was extremely distressing on the day.
Tuesday and Wednesday's horror in Skipton is actually now having the same effect. On Wednesday I was horrified, shocked and angry. However, I knew that I had a contact locally who could get this story to a couple of people in high places connected with this whole abomination. So the emotional side was suppressed while I liaised with Jane to get the exact, brief details. I managed to get the information over in the evening. I felt tense, but ok.
Yesterday, not so good. Today very weepy, tired and had enough and cursing an all too vivid imagination. The aftermath of the adrenaline of Wednesday's anger and rage has subsided and a small amount of shock has set in. I wasn't even there so I can't imagine what it must be like for those at the scene.
I write this, not for a 'poor me' rant or to extract sympathy, but just to get it out somewhere where folk will have some understanding. I want to walk into the centre of town with a loud hailer and tell everybody of Wednesday's horror, but they don't want to hear and I have some sympathy for those who want to avoid the truth. It isn't pretty. Part of me wants to wake friends of mine up, and part of me doesn't want to push this on them.
My experience of Wednesday is from an enormous distance and yet I feel shock and some of the emotions that go with that. I know other people on this website feel the same and that there are people working enormously hard whilst holding down jobs as well. The aftermath of this holocaust I think will be horrendous both emotionally and mentally for many people, particularly those directly involved and, in some ways, for those on the periphery. As well as being an excellent place for giving and receiving information to help with any campaigning to stop this appalling slaughter, I can't help feeling that this website also allows some outpouring of the grief and horror that is felt in these times.
The image of that poor cow suspended from a JCB bucket will live with me for a long time, however hard I try to push it away. My underlying rage that this was allowed to happen will also stay with me, long enough to continue piddling away in the background trying to help to make a difference. My contribution feels futile and pathetic, but I'm told it is at least something. My desire to find those people involved with Tuesday/Wednesday's 'hanging' and to physically take out all my rage and anger on them knows no bounds. As I'm a complementary therapist, I'd better do something about this before I lay my hands on my next patient!!
As I said, this is not 'poor me'. There are plenty of people out there who are right in the middle of it all and having a very hard time of it. Its just a way of voicing this somewhere, somehow.
Weekend away from this and then hopefully back on track next week. Oh, and by the way, this information gathering for a huge dump of stuff on Blair and DEFRA. Lynne reported here that the Countryside Alliance are doing a similar exercise. Trying to find out what they are intending. It seems daft to replicate this 'project' and CA will have more clout to get the info in. Maybe my job can then be to encourage people to keep on sending the stuff in - the more there is the better for a public enquiry. If there is to be a squashing of this enquiry, a public show of the volume of complaints might push the Government to do it.
Parking a Theme - 1st July 2001
I like Vets. I've known many of them over the years and number quite a few among my friends. While working alongside them as a veterinary nurse, I found them eccentric, erratic, bad tempered, untidy and rude. Usually in a rush, unable to make up their minds and very demanding. It may seem unfair of me to make such a sweeping judgement of their characters but I think it is relevant to the FMD situation today. On their better days, they were kind, considerate, thoughtful and caring individuals. In an emergency, they were quick to take action and most often successful. However, the occasional failure sent them into a fit of depression and quiet reflection.
So it is today. The FMD outbreak called for the rapid deployment of Vets for diagnostic purposes and volunteers answered the emergency call in droves. Firmly believing they were doing the right thing. It was only a few weeks into the epidemic when some of them started to question their diagnostic skills. Many became disillusioned and depressed and abandoned their employment by MAFF. Others bravely spoke out against the killing of healthy livestock and questioned the validity of the policy. Deeply unhappy about the situation, some have stayed 'on the job' doing what they could to alleviate the pain and suffering endured by farmers and their animals. The majority of DVM's and TVI's I've spoken to were courteous and helpful and obviously torn between the Government's belief that control measures would ensure the return to FMD free status and their personal doubts.
As the months rolled by it has become obvious that the control measures have not been successful. The serological testing programme, started barely a month ago, would seem to confirm their worst fears. I am 'guessing' the results are drawing the following conclusions. What is more, I would bet 'a pound to a penny' that I'm right.
Serological testing over the past few weeks is revealing that the disease may be undetected, transient or unnoticeable (sub-clinical) in sheep. It seems likely that without extensive testing, ie: testing all the animals in a flock, infected flocks will not be found. It seems likely that sheep shed virus at a high level for several days up to about a week, with the risk of infecting others, declining over the following two weeks but they can be persistently infected for up to 9 weeks with a small number carrying virus for as long as 9 months! If movement restrictions are lifted, uninfected sheep in clean areas or lambs whose antibodies received from their dam have declined, could fall victim to infection and new outbreaks occur in previously uninfected areas. As the disease spreads slowly through a flock, other animals in the flock can become affected over a long period.
What a dreadful dilemma this poses. The blood-testing programme has confirmed the worst fears. To put it bluntly, sheep are likely to continue to infect each other and other species for months or maybe even years to come.
Time is running out. We need to move our sheep about but that is too risky. As proven by a Slaughter on Suspicion' case in Wiltshire, awaiting lab results, as recently as 28th June. To put a complete ban on sheep movements is not only impractical, over what may be an extremely long period, but impossible to police and will almost certainly ruin the sheep industry.
No wonder most of the Vets are extremely unhappy. Apart from a few narrow minded and brainwashed individuals, they know the policy has not and will not work. Even more tragically those who have sworn to heal the sick and relieve the suffering of animals have been party to the murder of hundreds of thousands of healthy creatures condemned for nothing and their conscience troubles them.
We have lost our FMD free status and under the present policy, I'm told even Mr. Scudamore, the Chief Vet, believes we are not likely to regain it before 2004. We have to ask how long will it be before no Country can claim such a status? There is always the possibility that by 2004, no Country will. The global movement of people and merchandise increases the risks of transmission of FMD and other animal and human diseases daily.
So, what are we to do? Our best option is to face the facts. As in the well known prayer, perhaps we all should utter," Lord give me strength to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
It is now patently obvious that an enormous change must take place with regard to Agriculture in the U.K. We know those in Government have discussed these matters at length, both here and in Europe. It is perhaps to be regretted that such discussions were not made more public earlier, enabling those who would be affected to get used to the idea and ease toward it. However, there is no use crying over spilt milk or being wise with hindsight. We have a severe problem and must deal with it rapidly, openly and honestly. Above all, accepting the necessary changes to survive.
As I see it, animal welfare must be a priority. Cheaper food can be produced abroad and the advice we can offer to other countries concerning animal welfare is second to none. Our diplomatic skills must be used to ensure they seek it and act upon it.
Our agricultural subsidies must go and the industry be reduced. A free market for our products, must prevail, Our landscape and heritage must be preserved and a vast increase in tourism as a major income source, be encouraged. The horror expressed by the idea that Britain should become a vast 'Theme Park' is really not so bad, once we get used to the idea and start to put plans into action. We will retain many farms but they will have fewer animals and most likely, many will be of the more traditional 'mixed' nature. British farmers will do what they've always done best, rearing rare and special breed animal and vegetable produce, providing disease resistant, sound stock for breeding and cross breeding, around the world in the future.
So how do we start? We need a quick result in the next few weeks to relieve the present situation and allow future plans to be made. I am certain my proposal is not too far off the mark and would also be expressed by some Politicians, Farmers and Scientists in high places, including my friends the Vets, if they had the freedom to express themselves as I do! 'We should leave the sheep alone and vaccinate cattle and pigs' It's simple really - most solutions to problems usually are!
Before everyone throws up their hands in horror at my suggestion, please make a cup of tea, sit down and think about it. I've 'parked a theme' in your mind so take a look at the pro's and con's. I will be doing the same and return to the subject over the next few days. The implications of such measures for various parts of the farming industry as well as the Country as a whole, need examination and doubtless more controversial suggestions for the future will emerge.
I'm hoping, of course, that I survive the wrath of a few 'grumpy' old Veterinary friends for my earlier remarks, and no doubt some 'flak' from readers who may, at present, disagree!
Jane Barribal - Farmtalking.com TOP
'Heart of Galloway' FMD Countryside Support Group
I cannot understand why the press, MP's, etc. aren't concerned about the massive unnecessary costs that are being incurred whilst trying to clean up after FMD. If a contiguous farm is left its cattle then all that farm has to do to fields or sheds that have had sheep in/on them at the time of the cull is 'mist down' its sheds with disinfectant and leave them for 5 weeks and the fields left without stock for 4 weeks.
If a contiguous farm has had its cattle taken then that farm is treated like an infected premise. It cannot restock for 3 weeks after being signed off on its disinfectant cleaning program and only then with sentinel stock and I believe blood testing of those animals. It can wait until 4 months after signing off and then fully restock.
Some of the farms have had to demolish buildings, timber has had to be replaced and burnt, the insides of sheds have to be cleaned and disinfected to a very high standard, cracks and walls have to be plastered and concrete torn up if it is in poor condition. In the fields, whins have to be torn up and burn or disinfected but they haven't started chopping down trees yet. Wooden fence posts remain with no treatment. Silage pits have to be remade or refurbished, even though as far as I understand, the virus cannot live in the conditions in a pit.
One 3 km. culled farm I know even sprayed their fields so they could restock with sheep earlier. Surely these measures are just a manifestation of bureaucratic power and not based on either scientific advice or practicable considerations.
We had our cattle checked by a vet and when I asked him why, has the disease changed so it now goes unnoticed in cattle? He said no, it's being done for political reasons. To meet EU requirements and as there are no sheep left within 3 km. of an infected premise in Scotland they have to check the cattle as that's all that is left.
My neighbour has sheep on another farm that needed to be moved because he had no keep for them, had to have them blood before they could be moved but was then allowed to move them before the results came back. This is all pure madness and no-one questions it. Why?
INSPIRATIONAL EMAIL! July 15thHi Ann
I am another Ann .How about forming your own Heart of ... group you can find a friend to help you .
I have started one in an area of total apathy and we are all ready getting going . I got a great response from local shops for raffle prizes in just one morning of walking around explaining what I was doing . Its worth having a go you will find it easier to focus on an objective than just worry about whats happening .
Andy has written some great help tips and I held the first two meetings in pubs because I didn't have enough cash for a room . But with just one good raffle we can now afford to hire one for a bigger meeting .
Go on take the plunge ; you know you can do it .TOP
You realise that you are being politically incorrect to even suggest that some farmers may be jumping on the bandwagon? There were certainly people round here (not all, I hasten to add) who seemed to be actively inviting FMD.
One "sheep badger" who used to drive a beatup old pickup, is now sporting a brand new BMW. Another was heard in the pub to describe FMD as like winning the lottery. He said that it was the best thing that had ever happened to him. On the other hand, one elderly couple who did take every precaution to protect their sheep are deeply ashamed that they gave in to MAFF's bullyboy tactics and surrendered their healthy livestock.
They feel they betrayed their animals.
I suppose it is for people like this it is worth going on.
and another email adds...
A neighbour of ours runs an animal feed business in Monmouth and he was telling me that the topic of fmd causes strong feelings - one man's meat etc. He described an incident in his shop when one farmer was boasting that as far as he was concerned foot and mouth was the best thing since sliced bread, to collect a hefty smack in the mouth from another irate farmer who was hoping to hang on to his animals. Well done that man! TOP
Fascinating and worrying.
It had occured to me that the reason certain farmers seem to have been unfairly singled out and that MAFF/DEFRA are bulldozing their way to carry out the illegal slaughter before the law can stop them is that there is something being covered up. Why are some D notices not being lifted when neighbouring farms have had their's lifted. DEFRA refuse to give explanations!
If, as you say, there has been experimentation into edible vaccines, could something have been introduced into a livestock feed or supplement, either accidentally or on purpose) that they have since found harmful.
This seems unlikely as the wholesalers would smell a rat if they were asked for lists of those buying certain products. How about vets though? There are dozens of antibiotics and medicines routinely given to all livestock. Could there have been a faulty batch let out on the market?
Makes you think! TOP
The tea-time news today actually mentioned foot and mouth.However, the casual observer would be forgiven for thinking it was all over bar the shouting. Sheep in Wales are to be tested after being rounded up. No mention of the thousands and thousands that have been and continue to be murdered by Defra (Denying Even Fundamental Rights to Animals).
Is the media so afraid of this govt. that they dare not mention what is really going on?
I hope Devon is ready for the P.M. when he holidays there. Would he only come to Yorkshire. After being in the Skipton convoy today and then driving home via Hebden and Greenhow, I was still shocked to see how few animals are left alive here.
Let me know of the next demo and I shall endeavour to be there. It was lovely to meet such super people today.