More on the forthcoming London protest:
----- Original Message -----
From: Nick Green
Sent: Sunday, August 12, 2001 10:31 PM
Subject: [FMDnew] LONDON DEMO. ON!
Sick and tired of the Government ignoring you? Sick of the continuing
massacre around the country? Sick of the lies? Sick of the spin? Frustrated
Well, we have the answer!! This is the one we have all been waiting for!
Today (Sunday) Elaine & I & many others attended the FFA meeting ably
chaired by David Hanley. The results of which I am able to release to you
It is now obvious that the only thing this government will listen to is
controlled direct action! They are already aware that the FFA, supported by
many other groups means business! Just look at the recent change of tack by
various ministers and our own lovable Ben Gill! This morning Gill called for
sensitivity for North Cumbria as we have lost 75% of our stock! Slight
change of view there Gill! This is just the start of a massive operation by
the government to spin their way out of trouble! Too late! Action by FFA and
other groups has been organised and will be classified as "THE FOOT & MOUTH
ALLIANCE" during this action and future ones. The FIRST operation is as
MONDAY 20TH AUGUST 2001
MAJOR PERSONALITIES PRESENT
TO BE ORGANISED BY FFA (They know how!)
MORE DETAILS TO FOLLOW
1. TO ENFORCE A FULL AND OPEN PUBLIC ENQUIRY.
2. TO IMPLEMENT A VACCINATION PROGRAM
Now is YOUR chance to really make a difference! To be successfull we must
have numbers! We can immediately return to the front pages of all
newspapers, Nationally & Internationally! What do you do? Just turn up! FFA
have had great success in these type of events. This is to be a peaceful and
law abiding demonstration, but will scare the pants off Blair! Remember, if
Blair does not listen on the 20th., we will step up a gear! It is essential
that YOU are there! Forget the arguments, forget the fall-outs, fight now
for what YOU believe in, what we ALL believe in! YOU can make a difference!
The worlds media are waiting for this! Be apart of history!
HEART of CUMBRIA
# # #
Bert Bruins of the Green Party here in the south-west sent us these
Dear Alan and Rosie,
I'm just putting some thoughts to paper, that have occurred to me reading
near endless debates on the efficacies of this or that vaccine, and the
qqualities of this or that expert. It strikes to me that the debate over
foot and mouth in this country has been very English: that is that people
are trying to decide on, and sway the debate with scientific argument. This
is a very rational country, but the result has been stalemate in the FMD
debate. What is missing as a result is a validation of feelings and
emotions: isn't it incredible that we haven't been able to say, and hardly
have heard people say out loud: we feel this is wrong, morally wrong and
therefore its got to stop?! I was reminded of this when the Handleys of
Farmers for Action organised last week, and the power of the fuel protests:
I may have disagreed with the aim of those protests, but it was succesful
without the need for a drawn out scientific debate: emotions and
organisation did it. That's why I am glad Farmers for Action is organising:
they are willing to say: we think this is wrong, and to hell with the
experts! I think this is important: there are other examples where the
rational debate led to the loss of a good cause (fluoridation of the water
supply in parts of England) and bloody mindedness led to winning the same
battle (fluoridation abandoned in Holland).
I am personally only marginally interested in the scientific debate around
FMD, as it does not touch the real issue for most people in this country:
the culling is morally wrong! If we had to start this campaign all over
again (and I have had far less time/stamina than I would have liked to have
for this cause) that's what I feel should have been done: to denounce the
"expertocracy" and insist on debating morals. They are so weak on that
level, and yet we have not even tried, I feel....
Bert Bruins South West Green Party
# # #
We attended the meeting at Shebbear village hall on Monday, addressed by
Anthony Gibson of the NFU south west region. The hall was pretty full with
an estimated 150 people present. Anthony was late arriving but was greeted
enthusiastically by a welcoming audience - he is a popular figure locally,
both within farming and also in the wider community. However, he is not so
popular with those of us who have been fighting the tide of misinformation
that has flowed from the NFU hierarchy throughout this epidemic.
You would expect him, after 30 years in the job, to be good at it - and so
he was. Professional, amusing and clear-spoken, he spoke for an hour on the
broad subject of "the future of farming beyond foot and mouth disease". He
struck an immediate rapport with this audience and held their attention
throughout. There were some easy targets that he made good use of, for
instance by saying that DEFRA were trying to decide upon a new logo and he
suggested a hearing aid (loud laughs all round). But in a wide-ranging
speech he covered where farming stood now, and how he saw the future for the
small family farms that were his audience. We took a few notes and these
are just some of the points he made.
He stressed that the epidemic must be eradicated soon, it could not be
allowed to drag on much longer, certainly not into the autumn. If slaughter
was not able to finish the job, we must consider vaccination as an
alternative strategy, or part of that strategy. He outlined vaccination
could be used in several different ways, and that animals did not have to be
slaughtered afterwards. He was scornful of the idea that vaccinated meat
would not be acceptable to the supermarkets, when most meat was from
vaccinated animals already and some imported meat was vaccinated against
He suggested that farmers must determine their own future, not expect
politicians to do that for them He thought the way forward was through
farmer-owned co-operatives, with more money from food-processing and
retailing coming back into the farmers pocket instead of dissipating
elsewhere. There was a place for organics and other niche products, but
this was not the solution for the majority of farmers in his view.
On the mismanagement of the FMD crisis so far, he said he favoured the
"cock-up" theory over conspiracy theory. He had no faith in the contiguous
cull and thought the improving weather through April was the important
factor in the decline of FMD in Devon. Nor did he believe the disease was,
or ever had been, endemic in the sheep flock. He was scathing about "all
these inquiries" called by the government and gave his view that whatever
else, the inquiries must be "public" in the sense that they must be open,
with witnesses cross-examined and the opportunity for members of the public
Overall, we were quite surprised by his openness on some of the more
disputed issues like vaccination. He seemed well-informed and willing to
share his information.
There was an opportunity for questions afterwards and Alan was the first one
forward. He outlined the risks inherent in the re-stocking procedure for
those farmers with livestock on neighbouring premises, namely that
contiguous culling would re-start if the worst happened and sentinel animals
went down with FMD. AG was clearly taken aback and admitted he had not
realised this. Alan pressed the matter by saying he had corresponded with
Ben Bennett at Exeter DEFRA and this situation had been confirmed. AG said
that it seemed unnacceptable to him and promised that he would raise the
matter directly with DEFRA.
A range of questions from the floor followed. Vaccination featured in
several of these. AG explained that in the early days of the epidemic, the
messages from the veterinary scientists were almost entirely negative.
Prominent men said that we don't vaccinate in the UK, that is only for
third-world countries who are not capable of controlling it by slaughter
etc. It simply was not on the agenda. But as the epidemic spread, opinion
among farmers was split 50/50. When the NFU asked the now infamous 50
questions about vaccination, they did not receive reassuring answers to many
of these, for instance, it was unclear if sheep would be vaccinated at all
or simply slaughtered. The farmers really did not have enough information
to have confidence that vaccination was the right route, and opinion swung
firmly against it. AG now realised, with hindsight, that the authorities
were still stuck in the '67 outbreak mindset. The rest of the world had
moved on, vaccination had been refined and become more effective, but the UK
had largely ignored all this. FMD was simply history, it didn't happen
here. Then when it did, nothing was in place to take effective measures
from the outset. He repeated that vaccination deserved to be a part of any
contingency planning for the tail of this epidemic and for future outbreaks.
Local farmers themselves questioned the sense in exporting the same amount
of lamb that we import from New Zealand! There was a good level of
awareness among the audience of all the main arguments.
Over a cup of tea afterwards, Alan again collared AG and emphasised the
re-stocking policy risks. AG openly agreed that it was extraordinary to put
the livestock of neighbouring farms at risk of culling, agreed that
barriers should be used around boundaries to prevent this and undertook to
raise this as a matter of urgency.
Our comment: Reflecting on the day afterwards, it is hard to know just how
genuine are AG's claims about the early advice given to the NFU on
vaccination. He made it sound convincing. We suspect that it is partly
true, at least, though possibly exaggerated to excuse the misinformation and
doubt that was spread about by the NFU hierarchy. Let's face it, they are
STILL spreading it about today - the official NFU press office states that
sheep cannot be vaccinated, while Ben Gill continues to peddle the myth that
vaccination allows carriers to spread live disease etc. We have often felt
that AG the man holds rather different views to AG the NFU representative -
and yesterday this could be seen at times in his "body language" as he
inwardly strove to answer a question "correctly".
Overall, an interesting meeting and hopefully informative to those farmers
# # #
From the Farmers Weekly website:
14 August 2001
Scotland almost disease-free - Finnie
By Shelley Wright, Scotland correspondent
SCOTTISH Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie has announced that Scotland is
almost free from foot-and-mouth disease.
All of the country - other than Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders - has
been classified as "provisionally free" from the disease, he said.
Assuming there are no more cases of foot-and-mouth, those areas should also
qualify to be considered disease free by the end of August.
Mr Finnie said it was essential that the sheep export ban for Scotland was
lifted as soon as possible so the trade could resume.
"I am determined to do everything I can to make that happen and allow
Scotland's rural areas to return to normal," he said.
Meanwhile, provisional results from a new survey indicate that few, if any,
Scottish farmers affected by foot-and-mouth disease intend to give up
Research from the Scottish Agricultural College shows that no-one has
decided to quit although 17-20% of farmers have yet to make up their minds.
Peter Cook, SAC head of rural business, said: "The sheer resilience of this
industry in being optimistic is amazing."
"But there is also a real negative coming through in the survey answers, and
that is that people are staying in farming because they can't do anything
The survey suggests Dumfries and Galloway will see an increase in dairy-cow
numbers, a consolidation in the beef sector, and a marked decline in sheep.
Mr Cook suggested that change was essential, pointing out that Scottish
farming had suffered years of falling incomes, despite #500m in subsidies a
He added: "The definition of insanity is carrying on with the same thing and
expecting a different result."
14 August 2001
Light lambs to stay in Asda?
By FWi staff
SUPERMARKET chain Asda has announced that it may stock light lambs
permanently after a sharp increase in sales of the meat.
Retailers including Asda, Sainsbury, Tesco and Safeway pledged to buy more
British light lambs which could not be exported due to foot-and-mouth
Light lambs, which weigh less than under 14kg, are popular in Italy and
France, but not traditionally in Britain.
From the Western Mail:
Testing in Brecons tops 16,000 Aug 14 2001
Sue Goddard, The Western Mail
A FURTHER 1,000 mountain sheep are to be culled in the Brecon Beacons today
bringing the total number of animals slaughtered in the National Park to
And a widespread programme of random testing in the Beacons is continuing to
check the spread of the disease among the area's hefted flocks, which have
been bred to graze their own areas, without the need for fencing.
The National Assembly said a total of 6,000 sheep and lambs were being
culled as part of the contiguous cull on Sunday, yesterday and today.
Graziers had previously refused to allow untested sheep to be slaughtered,
but they agreed to the cull after being presented with evidence showing that
testing all animals before slaughtering was proving too slow to halt the
progress of foot-and-mouth.
An Assembly spokeswoman said, "These sheep were contiguous to the hefts at
Libanus and close to the Nant Ddu Hotel on the A470. Around 4,000 were
slaughtered on Sunday, 1,000 were being slaughtered on Monday and the
remaining 1,000 will be culled on Tuesday."
The 6,000 sheep have not been tested for foot-and-mouth antibodies, but they
will be tested for the disease after they have been killed to establish how
far the disease had spread.
The spokeswoman said that the random testing of 30,000 sheep across the
Beacons from Brynmawr to Ystradfellte was continuing.
"We are working from both directions. The contiguous testing is being
carried out from the inside out and random testing of hefts is being carried
out from the outside in.
"One heft, close to Ystradfellte, has already been shown to be clear."
National Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones has said he is
confident that the contiguous cull, together with the random testing
programme, should lead to the disease being "snuffed out in days rather than
Brecon Beacons National Park chief executive Chris Gledhill called the
latest cull "very sad, but necessary." He said, "If we don't stop the
disease spreading we will have no sheep left.
"The whole thing has been a nightmare for the farmers in this area and we
are not out of it yet."
From the Telegraph:
Trio save pedigree bulls by living in barn for 18 weeks
By Richard Alleyne
A VET, his girlfriend and a stockman barricaded themselves in a barn with a
herd of pedigree bulls to protect it from foot and mouth disease.
Dr Alex Maute, 32, Caroline Kuntz, 30, and Will Rogers, 46, spent 18 weeks
with the animals, worth several million pounds.
They breathed air from a pump, filtered for viruses, and lived in a sealed
office just yards from where the Holstein bulls were kept in the specially
designed barn. The three employees were allowed to leave the barn after
eight weeks but had to remain isolated from other animals until yesterday.
The extreme measures were taken in March when it was thought that the foot
and mouth epidemic was encroaching on the Duke of Westminster's estate in
Cheshire. Such was the value of the animals, which could bring in #10
million each during their breeding lifetime, that the extreme measures were
Yesterday the three workers were given the all-clear to live a normal life
again after government officials confirmed that the threat of the disease
Tim Heywood, managing director at Cogent, the Duke's breeding company, said:
"We were forced to take this action to make sure the herd remains free of
foot and mouth. When we sealed the bulls up foot and mouth was getting
closer all the time but now the nearest outbreak is a considerable distance
"We are still maintaining high levels of security. The bulls are being kept
separate from the other cattle and no movement is allowed. Even when foot
and mouth is a distant memory we will maintain restrictions."
Mr Heywood, who praised the action of his employees, said the slaughter of
the bulls would have badly damaged Britain's dairy industry.
"These bulls have been developed over the past six years from top quality
bulls and cow families. They have turned around the whole dairy industry in
Britain. Their semen is in high demand because it produces high-quality milk
"The worst of the disease may be over but we will not be taking any chances.
At the first sign of the virus we will have the sheeting back up on the
barns and the bulls back in isolation."
During their self-imposed imprisonment Dr Maute and his colleagues were
equipped with food, a television and computer and had newspapers delivered.
From the News.com.Australia website:
Huge foot-and-mouth test planned
AUSTRALIA will test its capacity to respond to an epidemic of foot-and-mouth
disease when it stages a large-scale simulated outbreak next year.
Authorities plan to launch a massive military-style operation to test the
adequacy of emergency quarantine measures, federal Agriculture Minister
Warren Truss revealed today.
"The proposal is to conduct a simulation exercise next year, like a military
manoeuvre, to test how in practice we would actually ... deal with a major
outbreak of the nature that occurred in the UK," he said in Sydney.
"That will involve massive resources ... it will be nationally co-ordinated
... and we will be inviting the international community to also be
Mr Truss was brief on details today, but said the simulation would be staged
in a community most at risk of being hit by an outbreak of the disease.
It would start in the latter half of next year and run for a considerable
time, mirroring the UK experience where farmers have battled with a
foot-and-mouth epidemic for six months.
Britain's epidemic, now officially said to be under control, broke out in
February, devastating the farming industry and causing the slaughter of more
than 3.6 million animals.
State and commonwealth authorities would have to test their responses to
issues such as how to treat and dispose of infected animals and how to
manage the dissemination of information and the public response, Mr Truss
The cost of the simulation had not yet been worked out.
"We haven't put a budget on that sort of figure ... (but) the cost will
obviously involve resources not just from the commonwealth but also from the
states," he said.
The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE) has
predicted an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease would cost the livestock
export industry $8.9 billion in lost revenue in the first year.
The overall cost to the Australian economy would be as high as $25 billion,
with GDP falling by 3.5 per cent and unemployment rising by one per cent.
The risk of epidemics of foot-and-mouth and other disease was increasing as
people travelled more and freight between countries increased, Mr Truss
He said border control was the most important way to prevent the spread of
disease and pests.
The Government had already increased funding so that within a year all
luggage, mail and cargo coming into the country will be x-rayed or inspected
by quarantine staff, he added.
New Zealand is the only country in the world that has a 100 per cent
"Australia is on track to match that ... we are very close at some airports
to 100 per cent ... but we certainly hope to have the full measures in place
in about 12 months," Mr Truss said.
From the Yorkshire Evening Press:
Farmer's fury over mixed messages
Yorkshire Evening Press
AN ANGRY North Yorkshire farmer has hit out at confusion caused by
conflicting messages in Fortress North Yorkshire's foot and mouth
restrictions. Peter Hutchinson, who farms at Westwick Hall, Roecliffe, near
Boroughbridge, moves his 70-strong dairy herd 15 yards along Boroughbridge
Road each time he is going to milk or graze them. He holds a licence to do
this issued by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
But because his farm is in the bio-security zone set up to stop foot and
mouth spreading to the crucial pig breeding areas of East Yorkshire, he has
to disinfect the road every time the cows cross. And on Friday, Mr
Hutchinson, 60, was contacted by the Environment Agency, who told him the
disinfectant was polluting the nearby River Ure - though it did not say he
had to stop disinfecting. But when the Evening Press contacted the EA, a
spokesman said it was not concerned about a pollution risk. Instead, he said
the EA's only problem was it was not consulted by DEFRA when the farmer's
licence was granted. Mr Hutchinson said the two agencies should "get
together and sort things out". And he said there was no way he would stop
moving his cattle, as that would mean bankruptcy. "It's not very good, is
it?" he said. "The two should sort things out because I'm doing what I'm
told to by one, but the other were saying they aren't happy about it and at
one point looked like they would haul me across the coals. A DEFRA
spokeswoman said: "We understand the concerns expressed by the Environment
Agency and are liaising with them on this issue."
Sheep were today being slaughtered on Birkwood Farm, Snilesworth, near
Northallerton, on suspicion that they have foot and mouth disease. But DEFRA
said its random testing of thousands of sheep across a swathe of North
Yorkshire was continuing to produce negative results.
All for tonight
from Alan & Rosie