Diana has sent this contribution:
So, what IS actually going on? For several days now TV and radio have
slotted little fragments about FMD into their news and current affairs
programs, usually with regard to "why we didn't vaccinate". As you know,
we've got a whole half hour to come on the subject on Thursday evening. What
are they building up to? I can only think that the results of the conference
in Bristol are about to be unleashed, so they've got to forstall them. Last
night (Tuesday) at midnight, no less, I found myself listening to speeches
from the Bristol conference, slotted in to the late night news without
warning - an interesting, if short, article, in which the lady vet, whose
name escapes me, explained what she would like to do to MAFF with the pair
of foot trimmers she was sporting, and in which Professor Brown expressed
the one wish that he would live long enough to give evidence at the future
(Tell me if I've got the name wrong, but all these professors confuse me -
you know who I mean)
Early this evening Professor King appeared on our screens, in a short
snippet which told us that (wait for it) the 24hr and 48hr culls had been
the reason they got FMD under control. They produced a graph to show how the
disease had peaked just before the cull, and then had another small peak
"just as they were getting on top of it" caused by the "Phoenix the calf
incident, and the subsequent relaxing of the cull". Since they had tightened
restrictions, and reinforced the cull, they have been in controll again!!
Then the lies really started. When asked why they had said it would be over
by June, when it patently wasn't, King insisted they had never implied such
a thing - he had always said it would tail into the autumn. They just meant
that the worst would be over by then.
Then he was asked why we had not vaccinated. He said vaccination had only
ever been considered in one case - that of the housed cows in Cumbria. And
there was me thinking Blair had made plans to vaccinate in Devon! And it got
worse - apparently if we had vaccinated we would have had to cull even more
animals, because, as the Dutch found, you have to cull vaccinated animals!
Furthermore if we had vaccinated, we would not have been able to clear whole
areas with blood testing, because serological testing would not have
Need I go on? He finished by completely contradicting himself and suggesting
they are planning a vaccination program when this outbreak is over, to guard
against any future outbreaks .....
Words fail me. I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type, but let's not
lose sight of the problem here - something is up. I don't know what yet, but
perhaps Thursday's program will throw more light on it?
On a different matter - as far as I know you can't AI sheep, which is why
you can't buy semen - it just doesn't work for some reason. Perhaps it's
just difficult to administer, or has a low success rate. I have wondered
what the RBST are planning to do with the semen bank they have set up
though - I mean it's not much use if you can't get it into a sheep, is it?
Why not ask your vet - give him something to think about! Or you could try
visiting a ram, armed with a Durex and a large syringe! Seriously though,
there are FMD restrictions associated with the purchase of semen, even
supposing you could get it. As they change every day, you'd have to ask
And on that happy note I'll sign off - Diana.
A self-explanatory news release from Alistair:
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We had a long telephone conversation yesterday with Adrian Arbib the
photographer, who told us the sad tale of Hector Christie's pigs. Hector
has been trying for some time to sell weaners, but found himself caught
between the movement restrictions and the economic consequences of these.
Briefly, to move say three piglets to a prospective buyer would entail
cleaning and disinfection ( C & D) of the transport beforehand, veterinary
inspection of the animals, then C & D again afterwards, all of which would
cost considerably more than the sale price of the three little pigs. Hours
on the telephone to DEFRA produced conflicting information on who paid for
what, when and how, until in the end Hector decided that he simply could not
afford to go on feeding the rapidly-growing pigs any longer. He called in
his own vet to tranquillise and then kill them by lethal injection. A very
sad outcome for both Hector and the pigs, and all caused by "the policy".
Next time that you hear any politician or DEFRA official talking about
animal welfare, just remember those piglets.
This has no direct link to FMD, but you will all recognise the hidden agenda
here - from the Warmwell site:
Anger at secret monkey BSE tests
Anger at secret monkey BSE tests
Andrew Osborn Sunday September 30, 2001 The Observer
European Union scientists have secretly given their blessing to
controversial experiments in which live monkeys will be infected with mad
cow disease. In a move that has outraged animal rights campaigners, the EU's
most powerful scientific committee has concluded that 'important and
valuable information' can be gained from such experiments.
They believe the information will help scientists better understand how BSE
is caught, particularly by humans. The monkeys will be fed brain matter from
British and French meat infected with BSE.
The Observer has learnt that the European Commission, which relies on the
panel for advice, chose not to publicise the news despite new rules over
public access to information.
It chose instead to bury the contentious opinion on an obscure page on the
internet and did not issue a press release despite the fact that it is
routine practice to do so for significant opinions from the Scientific
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has reacted with
fury to the news and said it was appalled to learn that the EU had approved
the use of primates in what it considers to be barbaric experiments.
'At a time when the moral justification for using primates is being
questioned this is clearly a backward step and will cause hideous suffering
to the animals involved,' said Sarah Kite, BUAV's information director.
'This research is likely to be misleading in trying to find a cure for this
human disease. Scientists are now realising that even using our closest
relatives, chimps, in Aids research is misleading.'
The committee stopped short of giving the go-ahead for large scale
experimentation on chimps although they did approve the use of chimps for
'future vaccine strategy evaluation.'
From the Yorkshire Post:
Tests show sheep exposed to disease
SHEEP are to be slaughtered near Skipton after tests showed they had been
exposed to foot and mouth.
The animals at Hyles Moor Farm, Wigglesworth, were checked as part of blood
tests throughout the Skipton and Settle area, and antibodies to the virus
were found in their blood.
A spokeswoman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
said the sheep were not believed to be infectious and were not thought to
have had the disease in the past.
They may have been exposed to a tiny amount of the virus, causing their
immune systems to develop antibodies in the same way as they would to a
More tests will be carried out on the sheep as there is a chance they have
had the disease in the past and recovered from it, but they are expected to
prove negative. If they prove positive, culls will be carried out on all
There have been no outbreaks of foot and mouth in the Skipton-Settle cluster
since August 18. Fears that a new case had been found in
Horton-in-Ribblesdale proved groundless earlier this week when posthumous
tests proved negative.
Our comment: So now sheep that "were not thought to have had the disease"
are slaughtered anyway - maybe the slaughter teams just like to keep their
hand in? What has this to do with disease control? But then, we all know
by now that the killing has nothing to do with disease control, and with
this announcement it seems that even DEFRA have stopped pretending that it
does any more.
Foot and Mouth lingers on
Channel Four News
It might be out of the headlines but foot and mouth disease certainly has
not gone away. According to Government scientists the epidemic could
continue for months - well into the spring. In the biggest analysis of the
disaster so far, two teams of researchers say about a million animals - and
four hundred farms - could have been saved if officials had acted sooner to
control the disease....Farmers in areas free of foot and mouth disease are
being warned tonight they're still at risk. According to two teams of
leading scientists - one working from Edinburgh and Oxford, the other in
London - the virus could jump out of the infected areas. The Derbyshire
Dales and south west Wales are named as potential danger spots. Their
analyses of the disaster, published in the leading journals, Science and
Nature, show the epidemic could continue into next spring - and what happens
in the coming months is crucial. Their figures show it need not have been
like this: If what was then the Ministry of Agriculture had acted
immediately on their advice to slaughter infected farms in 24 hours and
neighbouring or contiguous farms in 48 hours, a million of the 4 million
slaughtered animals would have been saved, and 400 of the 2,000 outbreaks
would have been averted. The figures show the number of cases started
falling before the scientists recommended the new strategy - they peaked at
50 a day at the end of March. This, it seems, was partly because many
farmers simply stopped moving around - so they stopped spreading the virus.
The numbers fell rapidly as the new policy - the 24/48 hour cull - kicked
in. But at the end of April came the rumpus over Phoenix the calf:
restrictions were relaxed, people became complacent and the numbers started
rising again. The clampdown on biosecurity at the end of May kept outbreaks
down to less then a ten a day - now there's an average of one a day: but the
situation will be critical for months to come. The reports suggest
vaccination would have helped if it had been used at the start of the
epidemic. And it's now clear that vaccination of all animals against foot
and mouth disease to prevent another disaster is at the top of the agenda.
Professor Anderson and his team are calling for a central database holding
details of all farm animals and where they go - and a contingency plan which
(See below for our comment)
From the BBC website:
4 October, 2001
Cull delay 'worsened epidemic'
Expert advice was not immediately followed up
The foot-and-mouth crisis in the UK would now be over had a more aggressive
culling programme been implemented earlier in the crisis.
Had the policy been implemented from April, we believe case numbers would
have been reduced by at least 20% overall
That is the conclusion of two detailed scientific assessments of the
epidemic published in the leading journals Nature and Science.
Researchers from Imperial College, London, believe that "at least a million"
fewer animals would need to have been slaughtered had ministry officials
acted sooner on expert advice.
Since February this year, more than 3.8 million animals have been
slaughtered - and one or two cases are still being confirmed every week.
The new studies suggest a more robust approach early on would now have
brought the foot-and-mouth crisis to a complete end.
Fewer animals would need to have been slaughtered
Professor Roy Anderson, one of the government's chief advisers, said tension
between Ministry of Agriculture (Maff) vets and independent advisers had
delayed the adoption of an aggressive culling policy.
This tension came to a head in March when mathematical models indicated the
best way to stamp out the epidemic. This policy of so-called contiguous
culling involved killing all animals on infected farms within 24 hours, and
those on adjacent farms within 48 hours.
However, the advice was not fully followed for several weeks.
Professor Anderson said vets resisted the policy, believing it to be too
rigid and draconian - and, he claimed, basing their stance on personal
opinion rather than hard scientific assessment.
He added: "The whole basis of the policy depends on speed of action and
efficiency of action and therefore delays in making those decisions about
which premises to remove - giving discretion to the local vets - was not
One of the new studies' lead authors, Imperial's Professor Neil Ferguson,
told the BBC: "Had the policy been implemented from April, we believe case
numbers would have been reduced by at least 20% overall, and the number of
farms culled over the duration of the epidemic by approximately a third."
There were farmers taking injunctions out against the cull of contiguous
premises [and] that slowed down the cull process enormously
Professor Anderson said it was important that Maff's successor - the
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - took more
outside scientific advice.
But the government's chief scientific adviser, Professor David King,
insisted the government had actively sought and always listened to
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We brought the epidemic under
control towards the end of April, perhaps even earlier than that.
"We have to recognise that a degree of complacency crept in not only amongst
vets but the public and farmers. There were farmers taking injunctions out
against the cull of contiguous premises. That slowed down the cull process
He conceded: "There was a period when the implementation of the policy was
not being achieved. It was not as efficiently run [as it should have been]."
Professor King added: "It could be over by Christmas; it could be over
Meanwhile, additional work undertaken at Cambridge and Edinburgh
Universities, and at Defra, throws light on the controversial issue of
It concludes that vaccinating livestock - a strategy urged by some at the
height of the crisis but consistently rejected by the government - would
have had little impact on the spread of the disease.
Had immunisation been carried out from the start, together with all the
culling measures, the number of cases would only have been reduced by
between 15 and 20%, believes Dr Matt Keeling and colleagues.
"In the more likely scenario in which we vaccinated during the tail of the
epidemic from May onwards, we found there would only have been a small -
possibly one or 2% - decrease in the number of cases," Dr Keeling told the
"So, although in some respects vaccination from early on would have been a
good policy, it looks as if you could actually better results by just
implementing the culling procedure more rapidly and more stringently from
Our comment: So let's just get this straight - Roy (liar) Anderson & Co ar
e now saying:
1. If contiguous culling had been used from the start, fewer animals would
2. If 24/48 hour slaughter on infected/contiguous farms had been
implemented sooner, fewer animals would have died
3. If some naughty farmers had not resisted the contiguous cull, fewer
animals would have died
4. If some naughty vets had not resisted the draconian culling policies
because of their "personal opinion rather than hard scientific assessment",
fewer animals would have died
5. If vaccination had been used from the start, between 15 and 20% fewer
animals would have died (according to Matt Keeling)
BUT - next time "vaccination is at the top of the agenda" !!!!!
Anderson and Co. seem to operate via an entirely different logic sequence to
the rest of the world. To respond to the abvoe points:
1. The contiguous cull has been criticised and discredited by every
scientist with veterinary scientific expertise in FMD throughout the world,
including the UK (Donaldson and Kitching)
2. By killing more healthy animals, more rapidly, somehow fewer animals
would have died? Oh really?
3. The annoying thing for Roy about naughty farmers like us, is that all
their animals subsequently blood-tested negative, thus proving
scientifically that countless thousands of uninfected animals around them
had been slaughtered for no reason, and discrediting the contiguous cull
even more (if that were possible)
4. We have read the original "hard scientific assessment" that was the
basis of Anderson's computer modelling hypothesis - and there isn't any
science in it at all, only his assumptions based on - you've guessed it -
5. If vaccination is such a poor alternative, howcome a)the rest of the
world uses it so effectively; and b) the UK is clearly going to use it "next
No, Roy, you couldn't lie your way out of the Oxford situation, and you
can't lie your way out of this one either. Your contiguous culls, so
enthusiastically promoted by you and your Royal Society fellows, have been
an abject failure by any yardstick other than your own. No-one can possibly
take you seriously any more.
From the Ananova website:
Foot-and-mouth inquiry to be broadcast live via internet
A public inquiry into foot-and-mouth disease being coordinated by Devon
County Council is to be broadcast live via the internet. It is believed to
be the first time an inquiry in public has been accessible in sound and
pictures over the world wide web. A total of five cameras will transmit
pictures from the inquiry, to be held over five days from next Monday at the
authority's headquarters in Exeter. The internet service will be available
on Devon's website. There were 173 cases of the disease confirmed in Devon
during the crisis. Since the inquiry was announced on August 22, more than
350 detailed submissions have been sent to the inquiry's co-ordinating unit
at Devon county hall. Story filed: 17:44 Wednesday 3rd October 2001
Finally, Tom is puzzled by a previous joke but supplies a new one:
Hi Alan & Rosie,
I am still trying to work out C D's. In the meantime another joke for you:
A blind man enjoyed parachute jumping and a friend asked him how he figured
out the right time to bend his knees for the the landing?
Easy, says the blind man, I just wait for the dog lead to go slack.
Solution to CD joke: Where does Saddam Hussein keep his CD's?
Ans: In Iraq (pronounce as "in a rack")
from Alan & Rosie