First a request for information

First a request for information.  Has anyone in their possession a licence
from MAFF/DEFRA to permit the movement of farm slurry or manure from a form
D premises?  If you have, please contact Alan ASAP - thanks.

Audrey has sent in this contribution:

A farmer neighbour has recounted how moving sheep is now achieved:
A vet must inspect all the animals on the farm as well as those to be moved
within 24hrs of the intended movement - possibly the day before. #45-#60 per
hr + travelling. The vehicle has to go (in this case) 8 miles to a depot to
be disinfected and sealed. #20.  Then return to the farm to load up.  An
inspector comes from Taunton (in this case) and travels behind the loaded
vehicle all the way to the destination farm, and of course back.
At the destination, the inspector (standing in the road) said what are you
going to do with straw, etc on vehicle floor?  Why not scrape it out into
the gateway!!!  Farmer said no, I'll take it back home.
Back home after cleaning out the straw etc, the vehicle must then go back to
the depot, 8 miles, to be disinfected. #20.  And so home.
At the depot, farmer was told his vehicle couldn't be disinfected as it had
wooden gates and floor.  Farmer said, alright, order me a new all metal one
and send the bill to DEFRA.  Man grudgingly agreed to disinfect.

Farmer near Winsford with grazing rights on the Moor, quite near, cattle
grid at boundary within a few minutes walk, gained consent to put animals
from farm back onto the Moor.  Not allowed to walk them up the road - they
had to be transported in a disinfected vehicle, under supervision.  Once
over the grid they were let out and had free range over moor and road.
Are we in some sort of Ruritanian fantasy land or what?
Best wishes,   Audrey.

Bryn send us this intriguing item:

Raise your eyebrows at this ?

Lord Christopher Haskins has given the Labour Party #5,000 a year since 1992
(with an extra #14,000 in 1997). He was knighted by Blair in 1998. He is
Chairman of the Government's Better Regulation Task Force and a member of
the New Deal Task Force

From Jane Barribal of the Farmtalking website:

'Choking on Cake' -
14th August 2001

I guess you've all heard of the saying, 'to have your cake and eat it'? Well
of course under normal circumstances that is an impossibility. However, it
seems that DEFRA manage to do it quite well.

A Cumbrian farmer who has observed strict bio-security since February, to
protect her cattle and sheep, has been ordered to unlock her farm gates and
allow the world and his wife free access through her farm and across her
fields part of which is designated a by-way.

Under normal circumstances these holiday visitors are welcomed, but this
area of Cumbria is still severely affected by FMD and the road leading to
her farm, as well as the land just two fields away, are still restricted on
a 'D' notice.

She has received instructions from DEFRA that she must thoroughly disinfect
herself and her vehicle whenever she leaves the farm or comes home again,
but pony trekkers, ramblers, hikers and assorted vehicles have no need to do
so, even though they may have come from an infected area and are certainly
going to cross her fields while her stock are grazing.

Over the past few days many negotiations have been underway in an effort to
find a compromise, especially as there is a perfectly adequate alternative
route that could be taken, without traversing the farm and its land. The
NFU, Trading Standards and the Police all agreeing that her plea for the
byway to remain closed, seems very sensible. Not so the Highways department,
who obtained a Court order that the gates should be unlocked and the route
opened forthwith.

Well, you may ask, what did DEFRA say about all this? After all they are the
ones who have been shouting loud and long that farmers must observe strict
bio-security to protect their livestock. Well, that's just it, they say the
farmer must disinfect and go to a lot of expense in time, money and energy
to do so, but anyone else need not bother.

This situation makes a complete nonsense of all their rules and regulations,
petty or not. Of course if DEFRA really cared about the risks to this, or
any other farm's livestock, they do have at their disposal a wonderful piece
of legislation known as' Section 38'. This allows them to close any road,
path, byway or area, whether infected or not, if they deem it sensible to
prevent the spread of the disease. Instead, they have washed hands of this
particular case and told the farmer 'There's nothing we can do'.

Not strictly true in my opinion but just another case of DEFRA 'having their
cake and eating it.' I, for one am inclined to say, I hope they choke on it!
I pray it doesn't happen but, if this particular farm falls victim to the
virus, it is DEFRA who will be wholly responsible and certainly not the
farmer here. She has a few more sleepless nights to come, as if she hadn't
suffered enough already.

I remain extremely puzzled and have to wonder is their some hidden agenda or
collusion here? Highways Dept getting 'one-up' on DEFRA? Why did the latter
back down? They didn't have to.  Or is there a Masonic tryst between local
individuals and the powers that be in both departments?  Whatever the
reason, it stinks!

Jane Barribal -

From Lisa Robertson, Heart of Devon:

I went to the Farmers for Action meeting in Cheshire and thought you
would like an update.

Speakers: David Handley, Tom Houghton and Maurice Vellacott from South

The meeting was well attended drawing representatives from a wide area.
Yorkshire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Devon, Lancashire, Monmouthshire, Wales,
Herefordshire etc.
Many of the Heart of Britain groups were there and it was lovely to put
faces to names and catch up on the current situation throughout the country.
Yet another suicide in Yorkshire - a young farmer who simply felt he could
not cope. How many more are there that we never hear of. The situation in
Cumbria is dire, 15,000 animals dying still every week and a consevative
estimate is that 70% of all stock is gone. For everyone's information they
are at this moment bloodtesting The Howgills in Cumbria, Dartmoor and Exmoor
in Devon, the Brecon Beacons, North Yorkshire, the list goes on and on!
One of the members whose relative is Spanish stated that on Spanish
television it had been reported that Blair has traded arms for Argentinian
meat (Argentine has 1200 cases of FMD at this moment), yet our meat must be
shot and buried! This Argentinian meat will be vaccinated!
David is an honest and forthright farmer who can see they way the government
would like to take farming. He wants to fight for the rights of all our
children to farm if they wish to and for Britain to retain it's farming
community. This is important for all in the Rural community.and I would call
on everyone to attend this march. We need to know the Truth and we need to
have a farming industry. I think Blair's arms deal says it all and we must
make a stand. If he's prepared to import vaccinated meat into this country,
he should look at vaccinating and leaving alive our stock. he must also
accept responsibility for the other industries he has destroyed and damaged
badly by refusing to vaccinate and bring to an early close this epidemic. He
has shown no consideration for any of the Rural community and this has to
PLEASE MARCH ALL OF YOU. Noel has given his support to peaceful protest and
the demand for independent public inquiry and vaccination, before all rural
industries are crippled.
Heart of Devon


Our comment:  We are trying to find out about coaches leaving from Devon for
the march, will keep you posted as soon as possible.

Betty in Holland has sent us this news item:

Lord Haskins loses support
By Sarah Womack and Richard Alleyne
(Filed: 14/08/2001)
DOWNING Street distanced itself from Lord Haskins, the Government's new
recovery co-ordinator, yesterday after he criticised the Prince of Wales and
suggested that British farmers should learn from the French.
Lord Haskins has angered farmers so much that they threatened to march on No
10 and blockade roads and rail lines.
Yesterday he said the Prince - a vocal supporter of the countryside, and
of traditional agriculture methods - was harking back to "some rural fantasy
of the
old days".
He has also suggested that farmers could do more themselves to alleviate
financial problems by getting a second job.
In an attempt to calm the situation, a spokesman for Downing Street said
that Lord
Haskins was "independent", suggesting that he did not speak for the


From the warmwell website:

Well march to London and bring the country to its knees, vow farmers
Western Daily Press
FARMERS from across the West are planning to descend on London and voice
their anger at being a denied a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth
crisis. Militant farmers have pledged to bring the country to its knees if
Tony Blair then refuses to listen to their calls. Farmers leaders have also
revealed they have been holding talks with fuel protesters and already have
won the backing of at least one of the hauliers groups. Foot-and-mouth
campaign groups from across the country held a summit meeting in Cheshire
and decided to march on the capital next Monday.......David Handley, the
Monmouthshire-based leader of Farmers For Action, hit back. He said: If
Tony Blair and the Government ignore what we have got to tell them, then we
will have no choice but to organise direct action. Mr Handley added: I am
not going to go into details about what we are planning, but if needs be we
will bring this country to a standstill. Lord Haskins has said he wants
farmers in this country to be more like their counterparts in France. If
that is what he wants, then fine, we will be following their example and
will take whatever action is needed. We are calling on the people on the
South West to support us. Rural communities are being brought to their knees
and need all the help they can get. Fuel Protest 2000, one of the groups
who helped to organise last Septembers blockades, has thrown its weight
behind the day of action. A spokesman said: There are people who are
watching a lifetime of work going down the pan, joined with them are
thousands of people who can see straight through the propaganda and spin.
This has all been caused by the criminal mismanagement of the Labour
Government in the early stages of the disease. It is time to fight back and
hopefully we can show the Government how many of us there are. The
Countryside Alliance is also keeping a watching brief on the situation.
South West spokesman Mal Treharne said: The Alliance has consistently
called for a clearly transparent and fully independent inquiry. If the three
different inquiries now proposed by the Government fit the bill in all these
respects, then fine. But the small print of their announcement gives cause
for grave concern that they will not......Aug 15


From The Times:


Strike threatens work on epidemic


THE handling of the foot-and-mouth epidemic is expected to be thrown into
further chaos next week when thousands of civil servants go on strike.
Up to 3,000 officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs (Defra) will strike on Monday. Rolling days of non-cooperation
around the country will follow. The civil servants will include those
handling compensation payments for farmers and those supporting veterinary

The action follows a ballot by the Public and Commercial Services Union
backed by two thirds of members over Defra's refusal to pay officials
employed by the old Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the same
rate as newcomers being transferred from the former Department of the
Environment, Transport and the Regions. The union is demanding pay rises of
#2,000 to #3,000 for each official to match the incoming salaries.

The first livestock sale in Britain since the outbreak of foot-and-mouth
will take place in Orkney on Monday.


Our comment:  If you thought that DEFRA were slow, inefficient and inept
before  -  you haven't seen anything yet!

From the BBC Devon website:

 400 of the 1,300 flocks selected for blood testing in Devon have been
sampled. The blood testing of sheep flocks, or surveillance bleeding, must
be undertaken before the county can be declared "FMD free".

In only one case, at Higher Clovelly in North Devon, have positive
anti-bodies been found. This flock has been slaughtered and the results of a
further test to see if live virus was present should be known by the end of
the week.

All for now

from Alan & Rosie