Betty sends this request for help in tracing someone for her good friend,

"Sabine wonders if you know someone by the name of Gareth Jones who was an
expert with
Chlamydia. He has been with the SVS, than at Moredun Research and has later
disappeared. He is self employed now a days and Sabine never managed to
contact him since."

If anyone can help, please contact us and we will forward the information.


Richard North gives his opinion on the BSE-in-sheep fiasco:

As for BSE and sheep, I have never believed and still do not believe that
vCJD is in any way caused by the consumption of beef.  I do not believe that
BSE is a new disease, and have some sympathy with the Purdey hypothesis of
causation.  However, I do disagree with him on OPs being the cause of BSE.
The research funded by his friends and supporters showed that OPs could
increase susceptibility of hosts and shorten the incubation period.
Therefore, the indications are that OPs were involved in turning a low-level
sporadic disease into an epidemic.  However, whatever the precise mechanics,
the view that sheep might somehow be involved and be a potential risk to
health (human) is - in my opinion - simply a manifestation of the obsession
of government-funded scientists to prolong public (and political) concern
about BSE and thus keep the gravy train rolling.


From Janet:

A quick note on BSE in sheep. I too am extremely concerned - I didn't sweat
bricks in the last few months over FMD to have this Government slaughter out
my flock for so-called BSE. The breeder of my sheep is the most intelligent
farmer I know and he has a scrapie resistant flock. Unfortunately my
remaining original sheep are now so old that they predate testing but he
thought my senior stock ram should be OK. He also said that Mike Dawson of
the VLA told him at a meeting that scrapie susceptible sheep go down with
BSE if fed BSE material, scrapie resistant genotype sheep do not. So I now
see why the panic over scrapie all of a sudden. However, we still have BSE
in cows and they are not slaughtering the national herd - so why kill all
the sheep even if one was shown to have BSE? There is another agenda
somewhere but it isnt entirely obvious to me yet (apart from the usual too
many sheep, directives from EU etc). This one feels different. Any ideas


From Ley:

I feel a great affinity with Jean from Northumberland
in what she says about sheep, life and everything
else...and I agree with her proposal for a sheep
defence force, or whatever it may be.  Sheep are being
demonised for some reason I can't really fathom and we
need to work together to protect them. Let's do it.

In response to the piece from Warmwell quoting Krebs,
there seems to be confusion all round about sheep and
TSE's. The chairman of our breeders' group wrote
urging me to sign up to the NSP and saying 'Sheep
resistant to scrapie are also resistant to BSE' a
rather daring statement I thought considering that no
sheep as far as anyone knows has ever contracted BSE,
scrapie-resistant or otherwise. But it just goes to
show what we're up against! With friends like these

In the 'worst case scenario', if the govt implements
another scorched-earth policy WRT sheep, (and we know
they can and will, if they deem it politically
expedient) we must at the very least have some
contingency plan for protecting rare and other breeds
from extinction - this is no longer a commercial issue
but a zoological and evolutionary one.


Valerie from the USA writes:

If sheep are 'under suspicion' of being able to contract BSE ( OSE shouldn't
it be ? )......because of being fed ruminant derived feed, doesn't that mean
that sheep that were not fed ruminant derived feed would be in the clear?

Did your sheep eat any of the above?

Is it not possible that there is a considerable number of sheep  that have
never been fed the stuff?

and therefore, or am I being really dim here, why would the whole national
flock need to be destroyed even if sheep could contract OSE?

Please let me know if I have missed some salient point

Also........scrapie has been around for a LONG time............and by token
of that fact, we would know if scrapie in sheep were a health hazard to
humans.  So we know it isn't.  For YEARS I have been eating lamb that is far
from 'well done'.  And so have the French


Our comment:  This captures our own thoughts exactly.  We cast our minds
back to 1988 when we first began to buy feed for sheep, and enquired what
ingredients were in the pellets.  Agricultural merchants looked at us as if
we had just stepped out of an alien spacecraft.  Why did we want to know
what was in the feed?  All that anyone else wanted to know was, how much did
it cost?  But if you persevered, which we did, out would come a dusty book
with a list of ingredients.  Cereals, vegetable extracts, soya meal, sugar
beet, fish meal - hold it, fish meal?  Sheep are vegetarians, they don't eat
fish.  We were assured that they did, in pellets.  We don't remember seeing
meat or bone meal in sheep feed, though that is not to say it wasn't used by
some manufacturers.
Personally, we always refused to buy any sheepfeed containing fishmeal and
pressed our suppliers for alternative sources of protein to be used in its
place.  Only now, long after BSE, has fishmeal finally been banned from all
ruminant feed - by the EU, not by our own government incidentally.

But what did happen, for certain, is that feed mills using ruminant-derived
meal were cross-contaminating other product lines.  They operated on a
short-batch system, bagging up a few tons of one type of feed, then
switching to another, without cleaning down in between.  It was fairly
common to find "foreign" pellets or ingredients mixed in to a bag of feed.
Pig and chicken rations certainly contained the meat and bone meal, and we
know now that so did cattle feed.

So we can claim that our own sheep have never knowingly been fed any
ruminant-derived meal, or fishmeal; but we can't be certain that they were
not exposed to very low levels through cross-contamination of feed.

On the wider front, it seems obvious but we'll say it anyway - nearly all
sheep that might, just possibly, have eaten ruminant-derived feed in the
late eighties/early nineties are long dead.  Commercial breeding ewes are
culled from most flocks at the first signs of weakness in teeth or udder,
and few are kept beyond six or seven years of age.  Small tame flocks may
differ in this respect, and we have several "pensioners", no longer called
upon to breed, that range up to thirteen years old.

What happens to the cull ewes in the food chain?  We used to think that they
went for petfood, but now we are not so sure . . . .  but anyway, the point
is that most UK sheepmeat is eaten as LAMB, not mutton - when did you last
see mutton for sale?  Lamb can be anything from three months to approaching
twelve months old.  Now, cattle are supposedly safe to eat up to thirty
months, because BSE is a slow, degenerative brain disorder.  Scrapie is not
normally seen in sheep until at least eighteen months of age - to quote from
a textbook "It attacks adults at anything from eighteen months to nine years
old, and it takes from eighteen months to three years for the symptoms to
appear.  The peak incidence is at 3.1/2 to 4 years."

So, even accepting the hypothetical possibility for a moment that scrapie
could be masking the symptoms of BSE in sheep, how can the consumption of
lamb pose any possible risk to human health, when a slow degenerative brain
disorder cannot have begun to affect such a young animal?  What is the
problem?  Why are they looking for something which, even if found, would not
present any problem to consumers of lamb?  Why are New Zealand lambs being
used in UK baby food as a "precautionary measure" when there seems nothing
to be "precautionary" about?

Richard must be correct, otherwise we just don't get it.


Forwarded by Betty:

NFU bulletin to-night reports another flock with positive
       anti-bodies in blood tests.  Flock to be re-tested before any
       decision made on slaughter. The farm is at Exbourne - between
       Hatherleigh and Idesleigh - right where it all started. Devon had
       been hoping to go "clear" next week, but that wont be now - must be
       looking at mid November even if these results are not positive in
       the new tests.  90% of all flocks in Devon have now been tested


Richard also writes:

Re the "vibration" directive, you are absolutely right about the "victory".
The Commission/Council "common position" actually allowed for a SIX year
introductory period and the Parliament amended it to FIVE.  Some victory.
And this still means that industry (and farmers) will face a bill of up to
#9 billion to "prevent" a problem that simply does not exist.  Aren't we
lucky we have a European Parliament (and the EU) to protect us!!


Jane responds to yesterday's message:

Hi Alan and Rosie - Thanks as usual for the diary!  I have just a couple of
points in response to tonite's items -

With reference to the proposed labelling of 'Scrapie Resistant meat'. By Sir
John Krebs, What a joke! We have slaughtered many thousands of scrapie
resistant sheep, including the largest flock in the world of pedigree
Wensleydales, all scrapie resistant and not suffering from FMD! He's rather
'Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted' isn't he? Not
forgetting that it was his 'mates' who opened the door in the first place!

As regards Jean's suggestion of another website devoted to sheep. By all
means if someone is willing to do it, why not?

However, some of the remarks made concerning the existing websites are
surely not justified! To keep a website constantly updated is hard work and
time consuming and as far as I understand it, all are run on a voluntary

IMO all the websites have and continue to provide, an excellent source of
information and help for all who visit them.
Farmtalking and Heart of Britain also have a message board, open to anyone,
where information, advice and ideas can be exchanged. Farmtalking has links
to various other sites including sources for the sale/purchase of livestock,
machinary, property, and lots more!
There is a lot going on to help save not only the sheep!
If people are feeling frustrated and not sure what to do, they have only to
give me a call for plenty of suggestions of how they can  help!
Heart of Britain needs more members and there is plenty of help and
encouragement available for anyone who really wants to get involved and get
things done!
It seems to me that there are many so called 'like-minded supporters' whose
efforts to 'support' amount to no more than critical observations of those
who are actually 'doing' something!
I can assure you I am not "wringing my hands, tearing my hair out,  beating
my chest, navel gazing, or lying in a feotal position wishing it was all a
bad dream" I simply haven't got the time to spare!
As for each site having our own seperate agendas - I really don't understand
what is meant by that remark - each site is different but surely all have
the same agenda, which as far as I can judge are not disimilar to those
stated on Farmtalking since its inception, namely that 'A problem shared is
a problem solved!' and not fogetting Edmund Burke's ' For evil to triumph
all that is required is that good men to do nothing'

Best wishes to you both!  - Jane

Established 10th March 2001
Visit the 'Farm-talking' web site at:
For  Information, Help and Advice, Your Legal Rights and the Law
For Farmers, their families and others affected by the FMD crisis in the
Find out all you need to know about life in the Countryside today
What's on! -Links - Articles - News - Message Board!
Help-lines: 01361-850282/850680
"You're welcome!"



From the Farmers Weekly website:

24 October 2001
Cow & Gate wants BSE-proof lamb

By Adrienne Francis

BABY-FOOD maker Cow & Gate has announced that it will buy lamb only from
sheep which are genetically resistant to diseases such as BSE.

The news emerged amid mounting concern after the failure of government tests
to see whether BSE has passed to sheep, reports the Daily Mail.

Nutricia Ltd, which owns the Cow & Gate brand, is insisting its farm
suppliers only buy genetically resistant breeding rams, says the paper.

The company is also considering extending the requirement to all rams, which
are already on the 50 farms supplying the company, it adds.

The paper says the move will put the company ahead of the government in its
effort to reassure customers about the safety of lamb.

Nutricia claims it is acting on recent advances that allow the exact
identification of sheep which are resistant to scrapie.

The Food Standards Agency responded by saying that was no reason for anyone,
including babies, to avoid eating British lamb.


Our comment:  How can sheep be tested for genetic resistance to BSE - when
they don't suffer from BSE?  More panic, more confusion.

From the Warmwell website:

Oct 24 ~ Tests on the 300+ cattle at the Kirkbride farm have, as expected,
come back "negative"
But this wasn't the usual case of overzealous instructions from London
following misdiagnosis in sheep. These cattle had been in distress and
frothing at the mouth. The father of the farmer was sure that it was foot
and mouth. Surrounding farms are naturally relieved at the news. We remain
puzzled at Defra's apparent certainty that this was a definite negative. Not
then one of those cases of a negative result - as at what is still referred
to as the "outbreak" at Barbon - where, as Mr Ray Anderson unforgettably put
it,"the negative blood tests don't prove that the result is negative" ?
Perhaps only when results are in fact positive are they considered in
DEFRAWORLD to be negative, particularly in a sensitive area where a positive
result would most positively have a negative effect.The authorities seem
quite positive about the negative result at Kirkbride.


Brussels steps in over BSE sheep
Farmers Weekly
(warmwell note: So suddenly there are "BSE sheep"? Is no one going to blow
the whistle on this fabricated scare story?) BRUSSELS is considering tighter
food safety measures after Britain's tests for BSE in sheep ended in fiasco,
officials said on Tuesday (23 October). More must be done to help counter
the theoretical risk that BSE is present in UK sheep, warned European food
safety commissioner David Byrne. "To date our approach has been
precautionary," he told farm ministers in Luxembourg. "We now need to
consider if further measures are necessary." Mr Byrne said European
officials had hoped research results from the UK would shed important light
on the need for extra precautions. But British scientists mistakenly worked
on cattle brains rather than sheep brains for the past four years, rendered
the research results useless. Mr Byrne said: "This is very disappointing and
the continued uncertainty leaves us in a very difficult position." The
European Commission is already planning to introduce random tests in sheep
from January next year. The aim is to improve the epidemiological picture of
the incidence of scrapie which could be masking the presence of BSE. But Mr
Byrne said the time had now come to consider further measures and the
commission would be making proposals shortly. These are expected to include
full traceability and an extension to the BSE-risk material which must be
removed from sheep for human consumption.
(warmwell note: All this surrealism has been brought about by madness in
scientists jumping the species barrier into politicians. There is no BSE in
sheep. There is no indication that scrapie has any implications for human
health. There is no evidence that scrapie "masks" BSE. But sheep farmers are
now more than ever in the power of those who use fear about health to take
measures for motives of their own: more restrictions, more rules and
regulations, more power to impose "scrapie resistant sheep" )


From the Newcastle Journal:

Plague Tests Prove Negative

More than 300 cattle were culled at Wedholme Farm, Kirkbride, after a farmer
reported a suspected case to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs. Government officials confirmed that blood tests taken from animals
belonging to farmer, Alan Todhunter, had all come back negative. There
hasn't been a confirmed foot and mouth case anywhere in the country for 23
days. Farmers now have a sense of optimism that the outbreak, the worst
since 1967 in this country, is at last coming to an end after a terrible
year which has seen millions of cattle and sheep slaughtered. If the case
had been confirmed the fears were that the disease could continue throughout
the winter, with the virus thriving in cold conditions. A Defra spokesman
said: "It is always a relief when a case proves to be negative. But this one
has even more significance because it means we haven't had a confirmed case
for more than three weeks now." Neighbouring farmers are breathing a sigh of
relief because their animals will not have to be slaughtered. Some
restrictions in that area had just been lifted before the scare. The last
confirmed case of foot and mouth in Britain was at Little Asby, Appleby, on
September 30


From the icWales website:

North Powys free of foot-and-mouth

From midnight last night North Powys, the worst hit area in Wales, became
classed "foot-and-mouth free", with South Powys, Monmouthshire and the South
Wales Valleys downgraded from "in-fected area" to "at risk" status. Rural
Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones said it was excellent news for the farming
community in North Powys, and praised those who have had to endure the
heartbreak and financial hardship of seeing their animals destroyed. The
down-grading of the other counties to "at risk", he said, was "an important
first step in moving these areas of South Wales towards achieving disease
free status." But he warned the disease could still be lurking. "The advice
from the State Veterinary Service is that there is a possibility that there
may be as yet undiagnosed disease in some sheep flocks and the risk that
disease may spread from them," he said. For this reason, he said,
restrictions would continue in place on sheep movements but cattle and pigs
would be able to move out of the areas. Cattle, pigs and sheep from other
"free" and "at risk" counties would be able to move into the areas from
today. . . . .

Our comment:   It's classic fairy-tale stuff, this . . . "as yet undiagnosed
disease in sheep flocks and the risk that disease may spread from them"  -
yes, got to keep up the fear factor, Carwyn, keep hitting 'em with that
scientific advice  -  otherwise they might begin to realise that they've all
been conned, and then you'd lose the power that you crave, your control over
their lives . . . . . .

From The Guardian:

Farmers told to cull unhealthy sheep
James Meikle and  Patrick Wintour
Tuesday October 23, 2001

Sheep farmers will be forced to slaughter or castrate their livestock if
they cannot
prove their flocks are resistant to BSE-like diseases, the government
last night.
The environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, said 45,000 flocks with 20m
breeding stock would have to be tested to ensure they were not genetically
susceptible to such conditions as she denied any cover-up in the "wrong
research fiasco.
She enraged Tory MPs by refusing to apologise for the episode in which a
year experiment sought to establish whether BSE had been in sheep during the
early 1990s when the cattle disease was at its height.
Her department was forced to announce last week, on the eve of expected
publication of results from the #217,000 experiment, that scientists
seemed to
have been testing cattle brains rather than sheep brains.
Mrs Beckett said the government would take steps for compulsory slaughter
sheep not tested resistant to scrapie, a BSE-like disease, because it could
afford to wait 15 years for a voluntary scheme to work. The news will anger
farmers already suspicious of both government and scientists but the
Farmers' Union promised last night it would cooperate to reassure consumers.
Mrs Beckett also admitted that inquiries could still show that sheep were
from BSE, leaving the remote possibility that the entire national flock,
reaches 40m when animals slaughtered for food are taken into account, might
have to be replaced.
She said the independent Institute for Animal Health, responsible for the
sampling muddle, could still have a sample at the back of its   fridge
showing BSE
in sheep. Independent investigations are under way to see where the mistake
Mrs Beckett provoked Tory laughs of derision as she admitted that the
finding there
was no sheep material in samples sent for DNA testing on her department's
orders was a totally unforeseen development.
Mrs Beckett said: "Of course there was embarrassment and dismay amongst
those involved with this work, but there was no embarrassment   or dismay
for the
government. I am blowed if I see why we should take the blame."
Tories are furious the matter was not reported to the Commons last week.
Ainsworth, their rural affairs spokesman, accused Mrs Beckett of trying to
another embarrassing story".
"All we have been treated to is a staggering display of complacency ... This
is not
just a humiliating embarrassment for you and your department but raises
questions about the government's handling of bad news and represents a
massive setback to the credibility of government scientific agencies."
Vets have begun blood tests on some flocks to see if they are genetically
to scrapie, a disease never known to have harmed humans. There is a
risk it may mask BSE, which has never been found in sheep outside laboratory
experiments, but so far only 4,700 farmers have volunteered for genetic
tests on
their flocks.
These tests are relatively   simple compared with those trying to establish
sheep have BSE or scrapie. The government has promised in most cases to
compensate farmers #90 per sheep slaughtered, but only #30 for ewes at the
of their breeding lives.
Ian Gardiner, deputy director of the NFU, said farmers should cooperate. He
recognised scrapie was under-reported but it was still present in only a
minority of



"Sheep farmers will be forced to slaughter or castrate their livestock if
they cannot
prove their flocks are resistant to BSE-like diseases, the government
last night.
The environment secretary, Margaret Beckett, said 45,000 flocks with 20m
breeding stock would have to be tested to ensure they were not genetically
susceptible to such conditions as she denied any cover-up in the "wrong
research fiasco.
Mrs Beckett said the government would take steps for compulsory slaughter
sheep not tested resistant to scrapie, a BSE-like disease, because it could
afford to wait 15 years for a voluntary scheme to work."


from Alan & Rosie