Here follows a message from Lady Apsley, forwarded to us by Mary at the
Warmwell website:


Attached is the reason I have been out of circulation for a while - a bit
busy!!

I launched a National Campaign yesterday, to call for a Public Inquiry into
FMD. It is a Parliamentary Petition, to be presented in Parliament with I
hope 5 million signatures to get this blessed govnt to rethink these
ridiculous inquiries they have set up.

I need your help. Could you possibly post this on your Web page? Also anyone
else who would care to do the same thing would be great. Farming online
etc., I have spoken to Gaina today.

This is the big guns Mary - I have Bill Cash MP, who drafted it with me and
got the Clerk of Public Petitions to OK the wording. We have the support of
the NFU, The CLA, The Countryside Alliance and The BASC, all of who are
publishing it on their web or circulating it to their members. (About
350,000 in all!) We even have good old Frederick Forsyth behind us as well
as Jim Davidson!!

We are putting it everywhere - and I very much hope you might be able to
help by posting it on your site and forwarding this to all your e:mail
contacts and ask them to do the same thing and so on, a sort of electronic
chain letter.

HOWEVER, and this is really, really important - the original form of the
petition must be used, which is why I attach it and ask people to print it
off their computers before completing the 25 signatures on each. This is so
vital - I cannot stress it enough.. The Rules of Parliamentary Public
Petitions state that the top sheet has to be on manuscript, (that's all done
this end) and every continuation sheet has to be printed with the petition
wording and remain uniform to all the other sheets attached. Complicated,
but necc.!!

The signatures for each petition must be hand-written, no electronic
signatures will be counted - it is all frightfully formal, and we must not
get it wrong, so I have included a sheet of Information for each person
attached to the Petition, so they can see what needs to be done. Please send
it to everyone you can think of, by mail, e:mail, fax, you name it - please
send it. I alone will be sending around 2,000 of these things out!!!

ENDS


Our comment:  The petition form and information sheet are attached to our
message tonight as a Word document (virus checked).  If you have any problem
with attachments, visit the warmwell site or look out for the petition form
elsewhere - there will be plenty around.  It is up to all of us to support
this by gathering as many signatures as possible.


#                                #                                #

This message comes from Bryn:


The UK will be importing vaccinated meat from Argentina again, but have the
cattle been eating GM foodstuff ?


"Genetically modified food products have not been proven to be dangerous and
Argentina should continue to promote their development in order to cut costs
and improve the nutritional value of foods, an Argentina government official
said. Argentina, a major world producer of grains and oilseeds, is second
only to the U.S. in the production of genetically modified products,
reported CBS MarketWatch."

ENDS

#                                      #                                 #

From the Telegraph:

Foot and mouth is back - and the Government isn't ready
By Alice Thomson

LIKE their predecessors in 1914, the Government encouraged us to be
optimistic in the early days. It would soon all be over, not just by
Christmas but in a matter of months. Now, like our grandparents, we know
different. The fight against foot and mouth looks likely to continue into
winter and beyond. The general staff in Whitehall has shot a generation of
British livestock and thrown them into muddy trenches to no avail. In
Northumberland today, farmers are fighting for the same ground they thought
they had captured in March.

Like the foot soldiers of that earlier war, rural communities have lost
confidence in their ministerial generals. They obey them only because, after
so much bloody sacrifice and piles of stinking corpses, no one can bear to
admit that it has all been pointless. Think back to the Easter holidays. On
April 19, the Government's chief scientist, Professor David King, said foot
and mouth was "fully under control". The chief vet, Jim Scudamore, waved
computer models showing that new cases would be down to one a day by May.
Phoenix the calf was saved by Alastair Campbell. On May 3, Tony Blair
announced the disease effectively beaten. Farmers had to reopen the
footpaths.

At first, Mr Blair's optimism seemed vindicated. Three million dead animals
didn't harm Labour at the general election. Agriculture wasn't mentioned in
the Queen's Speech, just a Bill to ban hunting. Margaret Beckett, the
minister in charge of the newly created Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs, went caravanning in France. There were still up to five new
cases a day, including an outbreak among the hefted flocks around Brecon, in
Cumbria and Yorkshire, but so what? Even the Tories didn't care. The
leadership candidates were too busy arguing about Europe and eating curries.

In Devon this summer, the disinfectant mats dried and curled in the sun, the
only smoke came from barbecues. Tour buses returned to Exmoor. Walkers were
eating steak at the Royal Oak in Withypool, children were swimming at the
Tarr Steps, salmon were caught on the Exe. One farmer took his first holiday
in 10 years after receiving compensation, others bought new milking
machines. One local farmer kept his binoculars trained over his fields to
catch wandering ramblers, many gave up bothering.

Now foot and mouth has returned to where it started, in Northumberland.
There were 13 new cases by last night. The tabloid front pages were full of
Posh Spice's new lip stud. But this is scarier.

No one knows how the virus crept back, once again choosing the most
beautiful valleys to attack. But its tactics look ominously familiar. There
are red warning notices around the 400-square mile exclusion zone in the
Allendale area. The marksmen have returned. The B&B owners are distraught.
The pan- asiatic virus type O hates sunbathing, it prefers the damp and rain
and will thrive on the increase in animal movement that occurs in the
autumn. It could be the start of a long winter campaign. We're not ready for
it.

The body count has already crept up to nearly four million. Almost all of
these were healthy animals. The bill for killing them has reached over #2.2
billion. The Institute of Directors predicted that the cost to the country
could reach #20 billion if the epidemic continued into July. It is now
nearly September.

Mr Blair has done nothing over the summer to prepare for another onslaught
of the disease. Instead, his policy has been focused on getting rid of as
many small farmers as possible, first undermining them in the eyes of the
public, then trying to pay them off. Rumours were spread that farmers had
been buying infected sheep's tails (never proved), the public was told that
infected farms in England were getting #100,000 to clear up (it was more
like #35,000), and that farmers are now happy millionaires as a result of
generous compensation claims (if they're all doing so well, why is the
suicide rate still 60 per cent above the national average?).

Lord Haskins, the new "countryside tsar", was primed to forecast that more
than half our farms would be out of business within 20 years. Others would
be "milking their cows in the morning, then working on a BMW assembly line"
during the day. This would leave a few agri-businesses to mass produce cheap
food for the supermarkets and chains (including Lord Haskins's Northern
Foods and Express Dairies). Mr Blair also set up three private inquiries and
seven non-governmental inquiries. But none of his efforts has been directed
at halting the spread of the disease or, indeed, coming clean about the
Government's chaotic approach to it. Nothing, for instance, has been done to
stem illegal meat imports.

Yesterday, a group of MPs called for a full public inquiry. This will take
months and the Government never took any notice of the Duke of
Northumberland's extensive report into the 1967 outbreak.

There is only one weapon we can deploy to beat this virus: vaccination. Ben
Gill of the NFU, speaking in Cumbria this month, was still insisting that
vaccination wouldn't work because vaccinated produce would have to be
specially labelled in supermarkets. But consumer associations have dropped
this demand. Animals are already vaccinated against other diseases. And
vaccinated meat is safe to eat: the Argentines have it for breakfast.

The tourist industry, the Soil Association, animal welfare groups and many
vets have backed vaccination, first suggested in the 1967 report. The
farmers are still divided, worried about their export markets. But when
Holland was invaded by the virus in March, only the infected livestock were
killed and a policy of "ring vaccination" of adjacent farms was employed.
Holland was confirmed virus-free on June 25. It is exporting meat again.

French, Dutch and German farmers are now pushing for the EU to adopt an
official policy of ring vaccination without slaughter when ministers meet
for a summit this autumn. This is Britain's only hope. It should volunteer
to test vaccination for the benefit of other European countries. The
estimated cost of such a programme is #200 million but it could save
billions. Mr Blair should support it if he doesn't want to spend the winter
bogged down in Northumberland mud.

ENDS

From the BBC website:


Graziers on the Brecon Beacons are considering taking legal action after
sheep were slaughtered, they claim, without their consent.
Around 200 more sheep were slaughtered on Monday after earlier straying from
a flock earmarked for cull into a neighbouring flock near Talybont-on-Usk.

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones said the cull had gone ahead with
farmers' co-operation, but grazier Stephen Brychan, who lost 40 sheep in the
latest slaughter, said they had not given consent.

"They did not have our consent," he said. "We gathered the animals for
testing but we made it clear we did not want healthy animals slaughtered.

"We are considering taking legal action because of the way this has been
handled."

Brecon livestock valuer Peter Francis said the form signed by farmers was a
valuation form and did not consent to the cull.

"The whole thing has been extremely frustrating for the farmers involved,"
he said.

Farmers had earlier refused to comply with the cull because their sheep had
already been grazing beside other animals for weeks. They protested the
measure was illogical.

The strays were killed while sheep from the flocks they mixed with were
prepared for blood tests in pens.

Mr Jones said the cull had gone ahead after scientific advice from
epidemiologists had been followed.

He accused those who oppose the culling policy of putting pressure on
affected farmers with a telephone persuasion campaign.

"This has nothing to do with disease control," said Mr Stephens, who earlier
refused to let his animals go to slaughter.

"It's more like a selective cull. It's not about foot-and-mouth; it's about
clearing the Beacons of sheep - otherwise, those on Buckland would be killed
as well.

"They are picking which ones live and die. They slaughtered thousands of
healthy animals using the European stock reduction fund to pay
compensation."

ENDS


From the Times:

Scots told to keep English off their farms

BY ANGUS MACLEOD AND VALERIE ELLIOTT

SCOTTISH farmers were told yesterday to keep English and Welsh people off
their land if they wanted to avoid a repeat of the foot-and-mouth epidemic
The warning came from Jim Walker, the President of the National Farmers
Union in Scotland, as the results of tests for the disease at six farms in
the Borders were awaited.

Today Ross Finnie, the Rural Development Minister, is expected to announce
whether he has put on hold an announcement declaring Scotland disease-free..

The six farms, all in the Lauder area, were served with a notice banning the
movement of livestock until the test results are available.

Mr Walker's warning came in a radio interview as a fresh outbreak of
foot-and-mouth in Northumberland, rose to 13 cases. He said that the last
thing the industry in Scotland needed was for "killing squads" carrying out
animal culls to return.

He added: "This is about farms all over Scotland. We must keep people off
farms, particularly from England and Wales, until we are clear of the
disease in this part of the country."

The farms involved in the latest scare are thought to have had "a dangerous
contact" with one of the farms south of the border where the new outbreak
has been confirmed.

Yesterday the National Union of Farmers broke ranks with the Government over
its handling of the epidemic and for the first time backed calls for a
fully-fledged public inquiry.

The U-turn follows widespread disillusion amonggrassroots of the
organisation with the limited "lessons learnt" inquiry set up by Tony Blair
and Margaret Beckett, the Rural Affairs Secretary.

After studying terms of the inquiry to be headed by Dr Iain Anderson, the
NFU fears that the outcome could be a whitewash.

In a statement last night the union said: "We have always said that any
evidence that there has been mishandling of the crisis, mistakes made or
negligence should come out into the public glare."

It added that after studying the remit: "The more we have learned about it,
the more worried we have been that it will not fulfil this requirement."

The NFU leadership is now urging its members to support a Campaign for the
Truth launched yesterday by William Cash, the Conservative MP, and which was
also backed by the Country Land and Business Association, the Countryside
Alliance and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation.

Mr Cash hopes to collect more than five million signatures for a petition to
Parliament to require the Government to set up a proper public of inquiry
under the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1921. This would require witnesses,
including relevant Ministers and civil servants, to attend and give evidence
under oath.

Last night a Cabinet Office spokesman said that Dr Anderson had not yet
started work on the inquiry and that the Government's priority was to
eradicate the disease.


Spending by foreign tourists in Scotland has dropped sharply since the
foot-and-mouth outbreak began, a survey has shown. Overseas visitors spent
26 per cent less in the first seven months of this year than the same period
last year, according to the tax-free shopping firm Global Refund. Across the
UK as a whole, overall tourist spending fell by about 7 per cent, the
company said.

 ENDS


From the Newcastle Journal:


"We've fallen off edge of precipice" Aug 28 2001


It is hard for Marjorie Maughan to describe her feelings. This time last
week she had every reason to believe that her farm had escaped the ravages
of foot-and-mouth and she could possibly look forward to a future in
farming.

Now that she has just seen her sheep and cattle destroyed after being one of
the eight cases diagnosed in the Allendale disease hotspot, her future is
very uncertain.

The return of foot-and-mouth in isolated pockets had long been predicted,
but in Allendale - a small, tight-knit community unlucky enough to be the
place where that return actually took place - the effect has been
devastating.

"It's like living in a nightmare," said one villager yesterday.

For Mrs Maughan, who has farmed at Low Mill for 36 years, the past few days
have been a jumble of emotions.

She said: "We always knew that it could flare up again, we'd been told that
it was likely to come back and it could happen anywhere. Unfortunately, that
anywhere was here and it's been an absolute nightmare.

"Today it's over as far as I'm concerned, but what happens tomorrow? Right
now the adrenalin is flowing because there's been so much happening and so
much to think about, so to get it over with is something of a relief. You
knew the phone call was coming, but the waiting was awful.

"People are devastated here, and it's not just the farmers. It's horrendous,
and I wouldn't want anybody to have to live through it."

Two more cases of foot-and-mouth were confirmed in the Allendale area
yesterday, and two more suspected cases of the disease are being
investigated. Another 20 farms have been classed as contiguous cases and
will have their animals culled.

Among the farms are at least two which had animals taken out last April
because they were classed as close contacts with infected premises on the
other side of Hexhamshire Common. David Smith, the chairman of the National
Sheep Association who lives at nearby Haydon Bridge, has spoken to some of
the farmers concerned and said that the agony of seeing animals culled twice
was almost beyond description.

He said: "Some of the farmers are devastated. People were traumatised when
they lost their sheep in April and thought they'd at least managed to keep
their cattle.

"There seemed to be a chink of light at the end of the tunnel, and now
that's gone.

"I'm very worried for farmers around here because it's so hard to get
information about what's happening. We've been told we're in a blue box, but
what does that mean?"

In an effort to control the outbreak within the Allendale area, stringent
controls are being put in place involving disinfectant mats and restrictions
on the movement of livestock.

The outbreak has brought life in Allendale almost to a standstill, even
outside the farming community. One couple in Catton, a village at the top of
the East Allen valley, are considering cancelling their baby's christening
for a second time because visitors were due to come from around the country.

The rector of Allendale the Rev Judith Hampson - who is also honorary
chaplain of Northumberland NFU - has received many worried phone calls over
the past four days, and said that people in the area were very concerned
about what would happen next.

She said: "Frightened is the word I would use. The hardest thing is coping
with the uncertainty. It's the not knowing that's affecting farmers and
friends alike. We've fallen off the edge of the precipice. You just can't
believe that it's happening, it's like being hit by a brick."

ENDS


From the Farmers Weekly website:


30 August 2001
Farmers warned over test refusals

By FWi staff

LIVESTOCK farmers who refuse to co-operate with foot-and-mouth tests have
been accused of putting at risk Devon's ambition of disease-free status.

The National Farmers' Union and National Beef Association urged members in
south-west England to co-operate after a request from government officials.

NFU spokesman Robert Deane said it was reasonable to give weather-dependent
seasonal work initial priority over blood testing in the short-term.

But he urged co-operation with the procedure, pointing out that having
negative results has some advantages when selling stock.

Mr Deane said farmers worried about officials carrying the virus should ask
to be visited early in the day, and demand to inspect clothing and vehicles.

ENDS


Our comment:  We deduce from this report that DEFRA are meeting with some
resistance to the blood testing programme . . . . we would argue, of course,
that it is the total failure of government policy that is putting Devon at
risk!  And if our smallholding lay in a screening zone, no DEFRA officials
would be allowed onto our property either.

from Alan & Rosie