From a farmer at Stoneleigh

After Richard Sibley's contribution Ken immediately stood up and told him that his talk was full of misleading remarks and innuendos. I then followed by saying that his talk was entirely based on the arguments against vaccination and not in line with the title " to vaccinate or not " which I had come to listen to.

I went on to say that farmers are fed up with being given biased info.

I also told him that his account of the Dutch experience ( they culled 10,000 plus animals for each infected farm) (24) was not correct. He compared it with much lower UK figures and said that that proved vaccination was a waste of time. Apart from being purposefully misleading , his comments represent an insult to the intelligence of the Dutch - ...... The Chairman then shut down the meeting sensing that there might have been problems.

From Anne

I have had a quick look through the diaries and newsheets of the BCVA (written by Richard Sibley) and they make very interesting reading. They are all worth glancing at but probably the best are 18th and 28th March and 1st, 6th and 9th April.

18 March - views on importance or otherwise of sheep - insight into the sheep versus cattle thinking; supprt for scorched earth policy; views put by the public are "crass"; vaccination.

28th March - contiguous cull confusion; pre-emptive cull Dumfries and Galloway.

1st April - Blair takes control; shambolic nature of everything to date; showdown averted; vaccination, with Prince Charles and others "pontificating"; "Any vaccination and live policy will be vigorously resisted", by the BCVA.. "We cannot sit back and let this persuasion by media, and control by popularity work against our own interest."

6th April - FMD accepted on clinical diagnosis or suspicion, wthout blood tests; merits and otherwise of the contiguous cull; vaccination details - BCVA will continue to support slaughter.

9th April - mathematical models; contiguous cull interpretation; serosurveillance; "need to get better links with some of the industrial groups who have managed to get input directly into the Cabinet Office" because "our involvement (in policy making)getting more diverse".

26th April - Phoenix and cull policy

20th May - concern over large number of negative results; discussion over anti-body significance and sero-survillance; perception of massaging of figures; reaction to Kitching; illogicalities of the cull; " endeavour to explain the discrepancies between the mathematical models and the experiences from the field, providing practical and constructive advice to the Science Group."

10th June - inaccurate statistics fed into the models, resulting in discrepancies; mention of the "rights" of farmers when discussing biosecurity.

3rd July - "anxiously" awaiting Channel 4 Dispatches; shambles re Welfare Disposal Scheme.

As the BCVA have regular input to government policy on FMD, this may be of interest to you. Best wishes, Anne

from Sam

Dear Anne

Whatever else Mr Sibley may be, he is not a vet to care much about the sentient beings under his care is he? I can't help noticing such phrases as "Thousands of over age cattle are devouring precious forage for no reason other than a system for their removal does not exist. " and " Many of us are now struggling to help farmers get barren cows back in calf in the naove belief that they will be worth megabucks in the restocking period. The reality is that farmers are lumbered with barren cows and out of date beef stock which is consuming valuable food for no reason." It seems that the poor old cows are there merely to be exploited. Any idea that the raising of farm animals might still be a contract, allowing them a reasonable life in exchange for their eventual meat and produce, must seem ludicrously sentimental to the majority of industry farmers.

I am not "sentimental" but i am sickened by the raw deal our farm animals get. Isn't it a tragedy that someone like Mr Sibley, who could so easily have been an influence among the vets for regaining sanity over this mad culling thing, has chosen instead to approach the disease from the perspective of the calculator and the bank account. He might just as well be a politician.