23rd January 2002

10 million animals were slaughtered in foot and mouth cull

By Robert Uhlig Farming Correspondent
THE number of animals slaughtered in the foot and mouth outbreak could be as high as 10 million - more than twice as high as official Government figures. On the day that Britain was officially declared free of the disease by the world animal health organisation, so opening the way for exports to resume, the Meat and Livestock Commission said that more than six million beasts had not been included in the official slaughter toll. ..........
according to Jane Connor, economic forecaster at the Meat and Livestock Commission, many more animals were overlooked because they were either killed with their mothers - and counted as only one animal - or because they were killed after foot and mouth had closed the market for them, in which case they were not counted at all.
"We will never know exactly how many were culled but it was many more than the official figure," Mrs Connor said.
According to her calculations, at least 1.2 lambs "at foot" were killed with each breeding sheep - amounting to four million lambs slaughtered but not counted.
And the official toll of 595,000 cattle did not include 100,000 calves and 50,000 calves close to birth that were killed with them, the commission said. About 500,000 lambs were killed in the light lamb disposal plan because they were considered unsellable.

Last night, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the commission's figures as accurate but concentrated on the resumption of exports.

20th January 2002

Copied from Sunday Post 20-01-2002

Slaughter toll three times official figures.

By Craig Robertson
BRITAIN is now free of foot and mouth, but the cost in terms of livestock is far greater than the Government has previously admitted.

Our investigation has revealed the number of animals slaughtered was nearly three times the figure released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The Department has now admitted they neglected to count MILLIONS of sheep and cattle.

DEFRA say four million animals were culled. However, the Meat and Livestock Commission has confirmed that nearly 11 million animals were slaughtered in the cull.

The Government's official figure records sheep and cattle killed on the 2030 farms which were struck by foot and mouth plus the 5000 neighbouring farms cleansed in precautionary culls. However the number does not include beasts killed through the welfare, disposal scheme, the light lamb disposal plan or, crucially, those lambs -and calves killed with their mothers.

Jane Connor, chief economist of the Meat and Livestock Commission, says that a conservative estimate of 1.2 offspring per breeding sheep culled would mean four million lambs were killed but not accounted for.

Lambs "at foot" of sheep marked for slaughter were also killed but the official tally would only record one animal. The same procedure operated for culled cattle.

Similarly, there were 595,000 cattle culled but the official figures don't include the 100,000 calves killed with them or the 50,000 calves close to birth.

The Welfare Disposal Scheme - set up to cull animals that could not be moved because of restrictions accounted for another 1.6 million sheep and lambs, 169,000 cattle and 288,000 pigs. Another half million light lambs were culled because there was no longer a market for them. None of these is included in the Government's total. .

Jane Connor says, "We will never know exactly how many were culled but it was many more than the official figure."

A spokesman for DEFRA initially insisted the number of sheep and livestock culled included offspring killed- with them However, after being told that MLC said otherwise, they -checked their figures.

The press officer returned to admit, "I stand corrected on that one. It- -seems it is standard practice - to count ewes and offspring as one animal. Your information is correct."

The final toll was at least -10,849,000 animals killed.



(Note from Ron)


Like Arthur Scargill, who admitted he was wrong when he under estimated the number of mines that would be closed under Thatchers policies. We all under estimated the predicted slaughter when we said 8,000,000 animals would go. Ron

The Mail on Sunday, Letters 20-01-2002

The foot-and-mouth epidemic may have been declared officially over this week, but my farming business is still suffering terribly. We are now swamped by bureaucracy When an animal needs to be moved, we have to apply for a licence and wait 20 days. Then the lorry has to be disinfected both before and after, costing at least £20 a time.

It's likely to get worse.

The Government's Animal Health Bill, now going through the Lords, would allow officials into farms, without a court order, to slaughter animals whether they have the disease or not. More new laws will tell farmers when they can and can't spread fertiliser and there are plans to require us to pass an annual written exam before we are deemed fit to farm.

Because so many animals have been slaughtered, there is a real shortage of replacement stock. In a typical year my farm turns over 2,000 cattle. This year it will be about 200.

No compensation allows for this.

There is also a tremendous knock-on effect on the local businesses that supply us. As a result of this Government's policies, many family-run farms like ours will be lost, to the detriment of the countryside. The Government seems blind to this, and would rather see British farming go to the wall

Paul Turner, ChulmIeigh, Devon.