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Classical Swine Fever - a link with FMD?

Extract: If they could move pigs illegally at the height of the swine fever outbreak who knows what else they did. It's a bit rich that they were the ones moving pigs illegally while the cruelty protestors were fined. As the Times report revealed, BQP had friends in high places, The company chairman was Garry Weston, a friend of the Prince of Wales, and the board included the Tory former Cabinet minister John MacGregor as an independent non-executive director.


Classical Swine Fever News - 7.00am 26/09 At the open NPA meeting at Manns of Saxham, yesterday, MAFF announced that as of 4.45pm 25/09 they had confirmation of a new outbreak site. They would not give details except to indicate that it was in the Denton area. MAFF epidemiologist Hugh Morris gave a comprehensive report on the spread of the disease to date. He explained that our current outbreak is from a strain of CSF that currently doesn't exist in mainland Europe but one that is endemic in South East Asia. He briefly gave us an overview of the animal health diseases that are lapping on the EU's South Eastern shores, including foot and mouth and blue tongue from Turkey, Iraq and the Balkans where these diseases are endemic. Hugh Morris reminded us that the epidemiology of this current strain is different from past outbreaks. In particular it is slower to incubate, and slower to multiply. This is why MAFF have had to review their testing procedures and one of the reasons why the lifting of surveillance areas will take longer. No one is giving any "best guesses" about when existing areas will be lifted. We were told that in epidemiology terms, the current outbreak is under control. This means that all the current outbreaks have a link with the index site at Quiddenham. Hugh Morris felt that the disease is "well contained" in East Anglia.


PIG CRUELTY EVIDENCE WAS ILLEGAL link to full article


QUOTE ....The RSPCA itself initiated court proceedings against the Roughton pig farm after seeing film evidence of cruelty. But yesterday the case against Woodlands Farm was dropped after a judge decided the evidence provided by two animal rights' protesters could not be used because of the illegal way it had been gathered. Instead he fined Wendy Valentine and Richard Holland, who were behind the covert film, almost £5000 for breaking swine fever restrictions to obtain the footage.

The farm has the Freedom Food stamp of approval which tells consumers that any meat carrying its logo is from a farm where animals are kept in the best possible conditions. But the RSPCA's decision to act on the footage sends a worrying signal to consumers who often rely on such quality assurances......
British Quality Pigs, of Framlingham in Suffolk, Howard Revell and Christine Rhatigan, both of Station Road, Framlingham, and Michael Wijnberg, of Bridge Farm, Old Newton, Stowmarket, had each faced one charge of knowingly causing the animal unnecessary pain or distress between the same dates......." ENDQUOTE


These two people made a videotape to prove cruelty and got what appears to have been incontrovertible evidence. When it got to court something very odd happened. The two whistleblowers were themselves fined and the case against British Quality Pigs was just dropped. The two people had crossed a restricted zone (because of swine fever) to get their film. This was given as the reason for their fine.

The story seems to have died there. In fact MAFF then went after the two people. They were, under virtual house arrest - perhaps as a precaution that they had been near (but not in) the farm at Heddon on the Wall, perhaps not.

Classical Swine Fever was in East Anglia in August 2000 and MAFF were, for various reasons not apparent, covering up the fact that the disease was limited at first to BQP farms, (which it seems to have been) It's possible that no one wanted a spotlight shone on any BQP farm and it was vital to squash the story. BQP pigs were involved in the early swine fever outbreaks. It was the largest outdoor pig production company in UK. It had intended to join forces with Eastbrook Organic farms and everything looked rosy. 250 farms in East Anglia looked after the BQP owned pigs. In March 2000 BQP denied that there was any question of selling up and then, in November sold the company a week before facing fines of up to £900,000 for illegally moving 880 pigs during the epidemic.

If they could move pigs illegally at the height of the swine fever outbreak who knows what else they did. It's a bit rich that they were the ones moving pigs illegally while the cruelty protestors were fined. As the Times report revealed, BQP had friends in high places, The company chairman was Garry Weston, a friend of the Prince of Wales, and the board included the Tory former Cabinet minister John MacGregor as an independent non-executive director.