It is gratifying to hear privately just how many people have been starting to ask questions about Swine Fever and are following this series of posts.
If you recall, I have taken you carefully through the story from the emergence of new pig diseases in the UK before Swine Fever appeared and explained why MAFF were so keen to underplay the significance. The threads "Salmonella in Eggs", "More Revelations" and "Next Instalment" give the details. I notice nobody is seriously disputing what I've been saying. They can't. It is true, provable - and there is worse to come.
The State Veterinary Service were almost certainly instrumental in spreading Swine Fever beyond the initial group of sites. In order to keep the secret that CSF was appearing only at sites where other pig diseases were already well established, they abandoned the most elementary biosecurity. There was also blatant animal cruelty caused by their deceptions.
It was my wife, Mrs P, that first spotted it - very early in the epidemic. It was like Piccadilly Circus outside in the lane. Typical MAFF chaos familiar to anyone that has been in either a CSF or FMD zone. MAFF, Animal Health, Trading Standards all milling about - and usually lost. It was hot sunny weather and every time a car drew up we knew who it would be. Sometimes it was for us and our one sow. More often they were just lost and peering at maps in the lay-by created by our entrance. They did not have enough OS maps to go round either.
This area is very difficult for anyone to find there way about. There are few landmarks and almost every village shares the same farm names. It is the land of deserted churches often miles from the actual village. So even if you get to Walnut Tree Farm, is it the right one?
We went out to help and quickly spotted that they were very reluctant to say what they were looking for. They were under the strictest instructions not to disclose which farms were infected. I've never been involved with MAFF before and presumed it was normal, but as Mrs P pointed out, we were unable to change our routing to avoid passing close to infected farms. They were in such trouble that they themselves were getting onto infected premises without realising it
The vets used various strategies to keep the information confidential from evasiveness, to quoting RCVS rules, to plain rudeness. Some were disarmingly honest.
The worst was our famous blood test faking vet. I have not told you this bit of the story before or its relevance. Within ten minutes of them arriving, I was convinced this vet was completely mad. I quietly passed this gem to my wife, who had not heard what had been said to me. For reasons that need not concern us, I agreed with my wife that we would say nothing whatever the provocation.
We watched whilst our sow, who had been blood tested a few days before was grossly ill-treated. The vet then went onto the piglets are repeated the performance. There was then, to add insult to injury, a substitution of samples and an open faking of the written record. My wife protested and was told "you are too honest for your own good." Mrs P held her temper and smiled sweetly offering a promised cup of tea.
The vet then started a long rambling story about someone who had tried to claim for the cost of an injured pig and had taken MAFF to Court and lost. I took the inference that they were bragging about just how above the law they were, probably to ensure that we did not report the blood test faking. It never crossed my mind that they had injured a piglet.
A couple of days later, early in the morning, Mrs P came running in to say that a piglet (actually finished boar) had a blood vessel hanging from its penis and was limping.
I hadn't a clue what the symptoms of Swine Fever looked like and my first thought was of a legal duty to report a sick pig. I told my wife that I would take the opportunity to find someone senior and sensible to tip them off that they had a lunatic loose in the field (I did not, of course, know that my "lunatic" was a senior member of the 220.)
I picked up the phone to find that the Epidemic centre at Bury St. Edmunds was not manned. I rang Page Street who seem surprised. Eventually with great difficulty I got through to Bury and with even more difficulty got through to a vet. It was a woman, presumably a DVM, English accent and the conversation was a farce. I never got as far as mentioning the "lunatic." They did not want to hear about any sick pigs either, whatever the symptoms. All I got was an aggressive lecture about the virtues of the RCVS and told to phone my own vet (which we did of course later, I have the bill to prove it.)
It was quite clear to that DVM, from our address, despite being within a mile of a known or waiting confirmation case of CSF, that we were not on a secret list of at risk sites. The whole thing was a total charade. The State Veterinary Service were lying through their teeth.
Worse, much worse, is to follow. Page Street - pack your bags. RCVS get ready to lose the "Royal"