Report from Radio Lancashire (June 18th)

"Over 200 people attending the meeting at Rainhall Road County Primary School, following last week's first outbreak in Barnoldswick, were stunned when he detailed the complaints.
Slaughtermen have reportedly been chasing cattle with quad bikes and forward drive vehicles until (the cattle were) exhausted, then shooting them with rifles, taking two or three shots."

The RSPCA is investigating allegations that slaughtermen have acted with unnecessary cruelty when culling cattle infected with Foot and Mouth disease.

RSPCA Inspector Richard Oddy revealed there had been six complaints of 'unwarranted cruelty' in East Lancashire during a heated meeting in Barnoldswick.

Said Mr Oddy:"I have received half a dozen a number complaints from farmers who have of culls not being done in a humane method."

Over 200 people attending the meeting at Rainhall Road County Primary School, following last week's first outbreak in Barnoldswick, were stunned when he detailed the complaints.

Slaughtermen have reportedly been chasing cattle with quad bikes and forward drive vehicles until exhausted, then shooting them with rifles, taking two or three shots.

He said:"It is totally unnecessary and causing a lot of suffering."

The RSPCA believe it is possibly one or two 'rogue teams' employed by the DEFRA (formerly MAFF) responsible for the cruelty. They are appealing for evidence from farms to take forward to the Agriculture ministry.

While there were reports of ill-treatment by some culling teams, others praised the sensitivity of the DEFRA's slaughtermen.

Ministry condemned

Those attending were angry with DEFRA and Gordon Prentice, Barnoldswick's MP, for failure to turn up for the crisis meeting.They declared a lack of confidence in the ministry's handling of the outbreak.

Said Lord Greaves who chaired the meeting: "People of Barnoldswick don't believe the present policy is working and they are frightened that it will spread further."
DEFRA's policy of 'contiguous culling' was condemned and those present called for vaccinations.

He added: "Contiguous culling should stop.There is no evidence at all that it is working and almost certainly a policy of vaccination is going to have to be brought in."

Lord Greaves will bring up the anxieties raised at the House of Lords next week.