We start today with further discussion around the Netherlands outbreak,
being an exchange of messages that followed our recent item concerning the
slaughter of vaccinates and whether this was ordered by The EU or the Dutch
government.


Alan

You may be interested to learn of the Commission Decision2001/279/EC of 5
April 2001 concerning vaccination in the Netherlands.  This amended
Commission Decision 2001/246/EC (which gave the Netherlands permission to
carry out 'suppressive' vaccination) adding 'protective' vaccination in
respect of all species in the 25 km area around Oene.  Slaughter was
required
in respect of the 'suppressive' vaccination but, far from being required in
relation to 'protective' vaccination, the permission was granted subject to
the condition that the animals 'are not subject to pre-emptive killing'.

 


Thus, the decision to slaughter these animals was a policy decision by the
Dutch authorities - and their decision alone - aimed at restoring export
status faster,
the resumption of exports being permitted three months after
vaccination - as opposed to one year when animals were not slaughtered.

Hope this helps.

Richard North

         #

 Hello Betty and Piet,
>
>       This message comes from Richard North, who works for the EU and is
>       normally well-informed on such matters.
>
>       He seems clear that the choice lay between 3 months or 12 months
>       return to exporting, and that the Dutch government chose to cull
>       for the 3 months period.
>
>       Do you believe this?
>
>       Alan


        #


Dear Alan & Rosie,

Piet's answer:

Why the Dutch killed their cattle. Part II.

Leaving out emotion this time I want to explain what happened over here in
respect of FMD.
My views are based on articles in our press, stories and interviews on radio
and television. Betty and I took part in action groups and we have collected a
pile of valuable information on the subject.

One thing must be very clear: the non-vaccination policy is not a Dutch
invention. It was one the UK's nonnegotiable conditions for joining the European Union in the early nineties. Our former Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Gerrit Braks, stated this on television.

Our vaccination policy worked well.
I must add the Dutch did not need much encouragement to support the new
policy. Costs of vaccination could be saved and new markets opened up. Anything for
an extra guilder. One outbreak every ten years was taken into account.
Compensation payments would be ample. And there was always enough vaccine in stock when things got out of hand.


The new policy on FMD was embedded in Dutch legislation although not very
much publicity was given to the subject. Sleeping dogs were left lying. Part
of the non-vaccination policy was the suppressive vaccination scheme, vaccinate to
slaughter. There is no suggestion whatsoever from my part that our
government was not aware of the consequences. They were, kept their fingers crossed and waited for it all to blow over when the first bad news came over from
England in March.

And then the FMD shit hit the Dutch fan.

Much to our governments surprise there was massive protest against the first
slaughter. The calls for preventive vaccination became louder and louder.
Our Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Brinkhorst, pleaded to have the vaccination ban
lifted, but Brussels said no. There was no exemption not even for susceptible zoo
animals or for children's farms or for rare breeds of sheep.


In April panic was all round. The source of the disease seemed untraceable.
Now it is generally accepted that illegal imports of sheep from the UK via
France some 20.000- is the most likely cause. The Dutch are no saints. No doubt about that.

There were several outbreaks in the middle of our country. The vaccination
triangle around Oene was introduced. All livestock susceptible to FMD was to be
vaccinated.

Did the Dutch government make this decision? Yes, this is a true statement.

But as I wrote before the cattle was to be saved and contained in the
triangle for a year. Many, many of the Dutch backed this. The EU did not permit it. It was slaughter and nothing else. No mercy. Protest grew even more. Yet there was
the decision to slaughter. And again the Dutch themselves made it. Farmer's
leaders were granted a say in the matter and in the end they consented for the
reason that in case of vaccination to live all EU member states would be closed for all Dutch agricultural products. Not only for meat, but also for poultry, dairy
products etc.
Dutch agricultural export represents a value of over 12 Bn. guilders. Our
government did of course have a choice in the matter. But not a real one. It
was a choice between the plague and cholera. Not giving in meant the economical
end. This is what happened in my observation. On these grounds I say -and I am
not the only one, not by far- the EU forced us to kill 230.000 healthy and
what's more vaccinated cattle using indecent methods setting aside democracy preaching the British gospel of mass cull being the only solution. The battle was to be
won soon in the UK. At the end of April your chief vet stated that the "disease was
fully under control" thanks to the mass cull approach. Mr. Blair was on his famous "home straight" still not being anywhere near home now.

There is a wide spread believe in the Netherlands the EU would not have come
down on us so hard if we were a larger member state. One of our farmer's
leaders cynically said the only hope for preventive vaccination was a major outbreak
of FMD in Germany. The Germans would not give in to the British and start
vaccinating immediately. The rest of the union was to follow in their track.

Personally I think many former advocates of non-vaccination are trying to
keep their shirts clean at the moment now it has brought Britain almost to the ruin.
First this fairy tale the mass slaughter in Holland was dictated by a consumers
boycott.
Followed by the suggestion the Dutch killed their livestock on their own
initiative. It is all walking away spinelessly from the fact an unjust policy was forced down our throats.


Best wishes.


Piet van Geest



Our comment:   We originally sought to verify newspaper reports that the EU
had obliged the Dutch to slaughter their vaccinates.  It now seems clear
that this was not the case, in the strict sense that slaughter was not
specified in a legally-binding EU decision.  However, Piet makes it equally
clear that instead, the method used by the EU to achieve rapid slaughter was
economic blackmail, in the face of which the Dutch government had little
choice but to "voluntarily" slaughter, against the clear wishes of the
majority of its people.

It is hard to believe that our own UK government would have made any
different decision to the Dutch under the existing "rules" of the EU.  Is
this the new "democracy" to which the politicians of all three major UK
parties are committed?

#                                  #                               #




Michaela forwarded this message to us:


A comment from a friend who lives in C Durham on RN's letter re carbon
dioxide sinks, hill clearance etc.:

Richard North's letter - I think that a number of people have been saying
all this since late April, including yourself.

Re getting rid of UK livestock farming  I think I told you that this has
been discussed in the EU Commission (not the Council of Ministers, which is
what I think North means when he refers to the 'Council', rather than the
European Council proper).  Their meetings are held in secret and they do not
publish their minutes, but openly admit that this was discussed and rejected
for the time being.  (This was B4 FMD).

A 'secret' or 'convenient' agenda of getting rid of unprofitable,
troublesome hill farmers has been the opinion of many since March, as you
know.  In Cumbria it is no longer discussed as it is just taken as fact.
  To
put Cumbria into perspective, and allow comparison with Brecon, here, when
to the press the outbreak is all but over, our pits are receiving 15,000
slaughtered animals every week (nearly all sheep).
  Ironically, they bus
these carcasses into Co Durham to dump where we have been free of a case
since 17th May.

The RSPB proposal - the 400,000 acres that they want sounds a lot, but big
numbers can get misleading.  This is only a circle of radius 14 miles,
spread throughout the whole of the UK.

I think I have mentioned this before - vaccination became a hot issue again
once the big pig farmers had the outbreak in the Hambleton Hills on their
doorstep.  There has been a funny reaction to DEFRA's cordon sanitaire
around this outbreak.  The livestock farmers around Thirsk just point out
that this only represents the precautions they have been taking all along,
since February.  The only people now been made to conform and obey these
regulations, rather than wander willy-nilly onto and between livestock farms
are DEFRA officials.

Incidentally, there are now only two parliamentary assemblies whose
legislatures meet in camera and who keep their proceedings secret.  North
Korea and the EU - both unelected bodies.

ENDS


#                                    #                              #


Richard North commented on a press report about the EU paying 60% of  FMD
costs to the UK:


What's this reference to the EU paying 60
percent?  There is no basis for this claim.


Alan replied back:


I have read other reports about the 60% payments from the EU that sounded
pretty convincing, with quotes from concerned staff in Brussels saying they
would have to look into this etc.  In fact, I attach a report from the
Independent on Sunday about this.

"The European Union is threatening to withdraw hundreds of millions of
pounds in aid from the UK over allegations of fraudulent foot and mouth
compensation claims.

Up to 60 per cent of the British taxpayers' #2bn bill for the foot and mouth
epidemic is being paid for by Brussels - thanks to a little-known European
Council directive on foot and mouth disease dating back to 1990.

But an EU spokesman has told the Independent on Sunday it will now conduct
its own fraud investigation."
ENDS


Richard came back with this:


The reports are correct: this is Council Decision of 26 June 1990 on
expenditure in the veterinary field (90/424/EC).  The EU will make a 60
percent contribution to costs incurred by member states in:

a.  compensating owners for: the slaughter and destruction of animals; the
destruction of milk; the cleaning and disinfection of holdings; the
destruction of contaminated feedingstuffs and, where it cannot be
disinfected, contaminated equipment; losses incurred by farmers as a result
of restrictions imposed on the marketing of livestock and pasture-fattened
animals as a result of the reintroduction of emergency vaccination...
b.  Where applicable, the transport of carcasses to processing plants;
c.  any other measures which are essential for the eradication of the
outbreak of the diseases.

The last part of section (a) is interesting.  It appears that the farmers
fears of losses
through the 'two-tier' market arising out of vaccination were unfounded.


They are entitled to compensation.

However, it should be the noted that, because of the Fountainebleau
agreement and the Brussels accord on the UK rebate, a 71 percent clawback applies to
payments, deducted from the rebate.  Thus the UK, in fact, will pay 83
percent of the costs.

ENDS


Our comment:   This all goes to emphasise that you should never take what
you read in the newspapers at face value.  His last paragraph defeats us but
we happily accept his calculation!  Thanks for sorting this one out,
Richard.

#                                #                                 #

Announcement from the DEFRA website this evening:


Inquiries into the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak
(9 August 2001)

Three independent inquiries into the lessons to be learned from the foot and
mouth disease outbreak of 2001 and the future of farming and the countryside
were announced by the Government on 9 August 2001.

The independent inquiries which will report to the Prime Minister and the
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett
are:

. Inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the Foot and Mouth disease
outbreak of 2001 and the way the Government should handle any future major
animal disease outbreak, to be chaired by Dr Iain Anderson;

. Scientific review by the Royal Society of questions relating to the
transmission, prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks of infectious
disease in livestock, committee to be chaired by Sir Brian Follett FRS;

. Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, as pledged by the
Government, to be chaired by Sir Don Curry.

Inquiry into the lessons to be learned from Foot and Mouth
The Inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the Foot and Mouth disease
outbreak of 2001 will be headed by Dr Iain Anderson working with the Cabinet
Office Civil Contingencies Secretariat.

Dr Anderson will offer recommendations to the Prime Minister, the Secretary
of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved
administrations within six months of his starting a full programme of work.

While Foot and Mouth Disease is still present, the number one priority for
farming and rural communities and the country as a whole, must be to
eradicate it. While Dr Anderson may undertake preliminary work as soon as he
wishes, the Inquiry will not formally begin until it is clear that it will
not distract from the eradication of Foot and Mouth Disease.

Terms of reference: "To make recommendations for the way in which the
Government should handle any future major animal disease outbreak, in the
light of the lessons identified from the handling of the 2001 foot and mouth
disease outbreak in Great Britain."

The recommendations should be addressed to the Prime Minister and the
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and to the
devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.

Timetable: The Inquiry would not begin until the outbreak is over and should
aim for completion of the work within 6 months. If there are important
emerging recommendations which should be passed to the Government sooner,
the Inquiry could publish interim findings.

Scientific review by the Royal Society
The Royal Society will lead a scientific review of the complex issues
arising from serious animal disease outbreaks. It has agreed to provide its
recommendations by summer 2002. The review will be carried out by a
committee chaired by Sir Brian Follett FRS and include veterinary
scientists, virologists and epidemiologists, together with representatives
of farming and consumer groups.

Terms of reference: To review scientific questions relating to the
transmission, prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks of infectious
disease* in livestock in Great Britain, and to make recommendations by
Summer 2002.

The inquiry should take close account of related inquiries, notably the
administrative inquiry into the handling of the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak
and the policy commission on the future of agriculture. It should cover:

a) Transmission/Prevention
The research base for identifying present and future risks of disease - what
we know about risks to Great Britain posed by animal disease world wide;
whether we know enough; and whether early warning/horizon scanning
arrangements are scientifically and logistically adequate;


The availability, scientific efficacy and adequacy of preventative measures
(including vaccination) in the light of assessment of the risks, including
the risks associated with current and future livestock practices.

b) Controls
The availability, scientific efficacy and safety of current technology
(including vaccines) and methods for the surveillance, control and
eradication of infectious livestock diseases* in Great Britain;


The potential for enhanced use of quantitative epidemiological models in
understanding and predicting the spread of disease and the impact of policy
options.

The review should:

- Pay particular regard to any hazards to human health;

- Identify any actual or potential constraints such as ethics, costs and
benefits, economic incentives and social concerns.

*ie transmissible disease that have the potential for very serious and rapid
spread, irrespective of national borders, that are of serious socio-economic
or public health consequence and that are of major importance in the
international trade of animals or animal products.

Policy Commission on Farming and Food
The Policy Commission will advise on how to create a sustainable,
competitive and diverse farming and food sector within a thriving rural
economy which advances environmental, health, and animal welfare goals. It
will have a key role in informing the Government's approach to policies
affecting rural areas in future. It has been asked to report by the end of
this year. The Commission will cover England only.

The Commission will decide its own working methods, working in an open and
inclusive manner involving a wide range of stakeholders, supported by a
Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. Full details on the membership of the
Commission will be announced soon.

Terms of Reference: To advise the Government on how we can create a
sustainable, competitive and diverse farming and food sector which
contributes to a thriving and sustainable rural economy, advances
environmental, economic, health and animal welfare goals, and is consistent
with the Government's aims for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform,
enlargement of the EU and increased trade liberalisation.

Coverage: The Policy Commission will cover England. In carrying out its
tasks the Commission should take account of the following institutional
factors:


- domestic agriculture and food policy is governed to a significant extent
by EU law and the sectors operate within the framework of the EU single
market.


- while responsibility for UK negotiations on EU matters such as the Common
Agricultural Policy rests with the Government, agricultural policy within
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the devolved
administrations. UK policy towards the CAP is decided by the Government in
consultation with the devolved administrations in accordance with concordats
drawn up as part of the devolution settlement.

Working Methods: The Commission should set its own working methods. But we
envisage an open process, drawing in advice from a wide range of
stakeholders, supported by a Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. The
Commission will have access to Civil Service technical advice and support as
required.

The Commission will be able to draw upon high quality economics expertise
and expertise on the EU legislative and policy framework, as well as
knowledge of successful international models for agricultural reform.

Timetable: The Commission is asked to report to the Prime Minister and the
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by 31 December
2001.

 ENDS


From the warmwell website:

Aug 9 ~ Curious and Worrying. There were 5 cases in Cumbria again
yesterday -
3 in the village of Winton (about 1 mile from Kirkby Stephen) - Winton has
not had an "Infected Premises" ( IP) for 31 days! - why 3 together now? The
loss of the Winbrook Dairyshorthorn herd is tragic news for the breed - and
for their stricken owners.
Every single IP since end of July has had cattle - (except one where the
sheep had already been slaughtered - when?) One has to wonder - the majority
of recent cases have cattle (except Beacons sheep farmers where all there is
seems to be recovered sheep with antibodies) Some cases have already been
clearly associated with milk tankers. In affected areas it would have been
less expensive to have had farmers dump the milk and to have paid
compensation for lost milk revenues

ENDS


Outrage at Blair's farm chief U-turn
Western Daily Press
There was anger and incredulity among farmers after Lord Haskins, the new
'rural recovery co-ordinator', indicated that a mass vaccination programme
had been the right answer all along. After millions of animals were
horrifically slaughtered and thousands of farmers left distraught, Lord
Haskins said if there was a repeat of the foot-and-mouth epidemic a mass
vaccination programme would have to be "considered very seriously
now"....Farmers leaders said the Labour peer had been brought in by Tony
Blair to do a 'hatchet job' on the industry, and his comments about
vaccination were insensitive. "A vaccination programme should have been
considered very seriously a long time ago - they do it everywhere else,"said
Kenton Honeybun, the vice-chairman of Farmers For Action and a Wiltshire
dairy farmer. "There is a case for vaccination, but the reason this got out
of hand in the first place is through Government incompetence." Aug 9

ENDS


From the Telegraph:


Culling teams caught breaking infection rules
By Grant Smith and Richard Alleyne
(Filed: 09/08/2001)


GOVERNMENT culling teams as well as farmers have broken rules designed to
stop the spread of foot and mouth disease in the new bio-security zone in
North Yorkshire, trading standards officers said yesterday.

Spot checks have been set up in biological security enforcement zones around
the infection hotspots in Thirsk and Penrith to stop agricultural vehicles
and feed suppliers suspected of bearing traces of organic material capable
of carrying the virus in direct violation of Government regulations.


From today officials from the Department of Environment Food and Rural
Affairs are riding with milk lorries in the Penrith containment area to
ensure that they are properly disinfected, a measure pioneered around
Thirsk.

So far trading standards officers and police who patrol the 900-square mile
zone around Thirsk have found 77 inadequately disinfected vehicles out of
the 569 checked since they were set up at the end of July.

Of the 1,165 farms surveyed in the disinfection crackdown, 80 lacked
footbaths at their entrances.

A spokesman for North Yorkshire trading standards disclosed that culling
teams dispatched by the Government were among those cautioned for failing to
meet disinfection standards.

The official said it was the machinery, rather than the vehicles of the
culling teams, that had been found with suspected traces of animal waste and
should not have been taken outside infected areas. The incidents would be
included in official statistics.

So far offenders have only been cautioned, but a number of incidents have
arisen that may result in legal action, according to trading officers.

ENDS


From the BBC Devon website:


People living near a huge unused burial pit for foot-and-mouth carcasses in
North Devon say their fears over its safety have been proved correct.

The membrane in one of the three pits at Ash Moor has needed 30 repairs,
even though it has never been used. It has sparked fears that dangerous
material could leak out at some point in the future.

Local people from the action group, Stop the Ash Moor Pit, continue to keep
vigil around the clock at the gates of the unused pits near Petrockstowe.

The huge barrows were built to bury foot-and-mouth carcasses and have so far
cost #7.5m.

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says there
are now no plans to use the pits, but the site will be kept for the next
year for emergency use in case foot-and-mouth flares up again.

But local people fear if the pits ARE used, toxic leachate from rotting
carcasses may leak out.

A construction report carried out by the contractors shows there were 29
holes and rips in the membrane of the first pit built. All the faults have
now been repaired. DEFRA says it was all part of the initial construction
work, but that hasn't allayed the fears of protesters.

"Each repair creates an inherent flaw. The patch put on each of those
repairs will in itself pose another problem. We have a document saying that
cell nine at Ash Moor cannot be guaranteed leak free, that is from the
people who tested the cell," said Ron Dawson, a member of the action group.

Defra says it is usual practice for companies to issue a disclaimer.

Meanwhile estate agents have confirmed that properties near the site would
be affected as long as DEFRA considered the pits to be a national site.

They also confirm the housing market in Petrockstowe and Meeth has stagnated
because many buyers are not prepared to move into the villages because of
the pit's uncertain future.

"Would you want to live here. No is the resounding answer, I wouldn't. If
was looking again to move to this area I would avoid Petrockstowe and Meeth
like the plague, as people are because houses here just aren't selling,"
said agent Mark Tomlinson.

DEFRA has written to locals saying if the barrows are used, compensation is
possible if it can be proved that properties have been devalued.

ENDS

That's all

from Alan & Rosie