Bulletin on Sam - Sunday 29th September 10.00 a.m.

Sam is turning out to be such a fighter. His pancreas may be failing we think - so the next day or so will be decisive. If he can eat small amounts without being sick it would be the wrong thing to put him to sleep - but if not then we must accept that this would be the kindest thing.

I am just so glad to be able to have him here at the moment - and so grateful that the good young vet phoned at nearly midnight to tell me he had hopelessly entangled the drip in his distress. I went to fetch him - with her blessing. He slept very peacefully next to me last night and when he woke up he stretched as if he were perfectly well.

I have felt cheered by the kindness we've received by those who have have written, many of whom have told me about the last days of their own much loved animals. How lucky I am to have the choice of when to help Sam leave - and for him also to share in that choice.

Like many others, I keep thinking of those whose choices were destroyed by a senseless piece of nonsense from the clueless Science Committee last March. The 70 year old gentleman in the Forest of Dean who slept out in the field with his sheep to try to protect them - and of all the bewildered farmers and stockholders who will never be the same again. I often wondered how Carolyn Hoffe is these days (we published this letter from the Northumberland Gazette in May 2001) and have just been told that "she is still struggling to deal with it all". Her home was invaded by police and ghurkas and her elderly parents manhandled "This is the real world, not Disney World," she was told by a contemptuous "law" enforcer - and then, under a blaze of television cameras, she had to cope with the enforced killing of the five sheep she tried so courageously to save. It is an unbearable memory for her - and a dark disgrace for Britain that can never be explained away. And it happened to many, many others whose plight was never reported.

We shall never forget and forgive the horrors of last year - partly because they have never been properly acknowledged. The letter written by Nick Green about the Cumbria Inquiry Report, is well worth printing out ( in this new window) and looking at carefully. We live in very nasty times indeed. When will the complacent section of the population wake up to the fact that we are sleepwalking into a state of powerlessness?

Thank you again, all who have sent a message about old Sam. In the eyes of our government he would not merit a single moment's interest. In the eyes of many readers of warmwell he evidently - and most cheeringly - represents the patient, suffering natural world so exploited and disregarded by by those who have grabbed hold of our country. They have given in to the temptation to centralise everything from primary education to cutting-edge science - and this can do nothing but damage. It destroys local decision making and takes away personal responsibility. And it was the lack of both that resulted in the horrors of FMD 2001.