We looked on the "Nature" website for our favourite Professor's latest

lies - sorry, scientific paper - but could only access this summary:

 

 

Transmission intensity and impact of control policies on the foot and mouth

epidemic in Great Britain

 

NEIL M. FERGUSON, CHRISTL A. DONNELLY & ROY M. ANDERSON

 

Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial

College of Science, Technology and Medicine, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk

Place, London W2 1PG, UK

 

 

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to N.M.F.

(e-mail: neil.ferguson@ic.ac.uk).

 

 

 

The foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic in British livestock remains an

ongoing cause for concern, with new cases still arising in previously

unaffected areas. Epidemiological analyses have been vital in delivering

scientific advice to government on effective control measures. Using

disease, culling and census data on all livestock farms in Great Britain, we

analysed the risk factors determining the spatiotemporal evolution of the

epidemic and of the impact of control policies on FMD incidence. Here we

show that the species mix, animal numbers and the number of distinct land

parcels in a farm are central to explaining regional variation in

transmission intensity. We use the parameter estimates thus obtained in a

dynamical model of disease spread to show that extended culling programmes

were essential for controlling the epidemic to the extent achieved, but

demonstrate that the epidemic could have been substantially reduced in scale

had the most efficient control measures been rigorously applied earlier.

 

ENDS

 

 

Our comment: Wow! How about that "spatiotemporal evolution"! A phrase to

make "spread" sound far more scientific. From the press reports we have

seen, Anderson et al state that the average distance "jump" of each new

outbreak in this epidemic works out at 4 km, so our reason for wanting to

see the full text is this - how can the contiguous or even the 3 km culls

have possibly had any effect on preventing 4 km jumps? We saw this kind of

distance effect in our own outbreak here in Bridgerule, about four miles in

a straight line from the nearest previous outbreak; this happened despite

contiguous slaughter around that previous outbreak, and does anyone doubt

that it would also have happened even if a 3 km ring-cull had been carried

out? So to our mind, the 4 km average distance is yet further evidence

against the extended slaughter policies, and furthermore completely destroys

the key assumption made in Anderson's earlier modelling that farm-to-farm

spread would be the primary source of new infections.

 

Does anyone out there have a copy?

 

*********************************

 

 

Christopher Booker's Notebook in the Sunday Telegraph:

 

Interviewer Snow lets "experts" off the hook

 

CHANNEL 4 News was used last week to publicise a curious disinformation

campaign by the duo who have been running Mr Blair's foot and mouth policy

since March. Professor David King, the Government chief scientist, and

Professor Roy Anderson, whose Imperial College computer directed the

"contiguous cull", which was responsible for the slaughter of three million

healthy animals, now predict that the epidemic will last until next spring.

The news presenter, Jon Snow, did not remind them how last April the same

computer predicted that outbreaks would fall to zero on June 7, conveniently

coinciding with Mr Blair's election date.

The scientists also claimed that, had their cull policy been more

effectively enforced, "one million animals and 400 farms" could have been

saved, working out at an improbable 2,500 animals per farm. Mr Snow failed

to query any of these claims, including the most illogical that, if there

was ever another epidemic, vaccination would be at "the top of the agenda",

but that, if it had been used this time, it would only have made the

epidemic last longer. This claim produces gasps of disbelief from genuine

experts of world renown such as Professor Fred Brown and Dr Simon Barteling,

who have been saying since March that vaccination was the only effective way

to bring Britain's epidemic swiftly to an end.

It is one thing for our Government to hand over direction of the crisis to

scientists who have no real expertise in animal diseases, but when their

policies predictably fail, and they try to pre-empt criticism with such

fanciful claims, it is another for the media to be so uncritical in allowing

them to peddle what amounts to no more than propaganda.

Oct 7

 

ENDS

 

Our comment: Hear, hear - and thank goodness he is writing this. Where on

earth is the rest of the media?

 

**************************************

 

From The Observer:

 

Gangs 'doctor' rotten meat for the dinner table

 

Paul Harris

Sunday October 7, 2001

 

Criminal gangs are making millions of pounds from the sale of highly

contaminated meat that is putting the lives of thousands of people at risk,

police have revealed.

 

Officers from at least five forces have launched joint investigations with

environmental health officials into the illicit trade of 'laundering' meat

destined for the pet food industry or destruction.

 

There is evidence the mass slaughter of animals due to the foot and mouth

epidemic has led to an increase in unfit meat being passed back into the

human food chain.

 

Authorities said rotting and diseased carcasses are bought cheaply and then

'laundered' back into the human food chain. Gangs cut off rotting sections

of meat, including cancerous growths and abscesses, and sometimes dye the

meat white again by soaking it in a bucket of salt water and a non-toxic

dose of bleach.

 

The Observer has learnt that police and health officials have launched

investigations in Lancashire, Hampshire, Wales, Norfolk and Derbyshire to

unmask the gangs behind the trade.

 

The criminals obtain false documentation that will claim the meat is

legitimate. They make deliveries at weekends or at night to avoid health

inspectors. The unfit meat can contain bacteria such as campylobacter and

salmonella, potentially lethal food poisons.

 

Last month police and environmental health officials raided a Norfolk farm

and found nine tons of rotting meat, including two dead foxes. The farm had

no hot water, the meat still bore traces of fur, and rat droppings littered

the floor.

 

The meat was not fit for pet food, but inspectors believe it was destined

for the dinner table. 'I have never seen anything like it in 40 years of

food hygiene enforcement,' said Granville Smith, chief environmental health

officer for South Norfolk.

 

Meat scheduled for pet food can be bought for as little as 30p per pound,

but if doctored and sold back into the human food chain it can fetch as much

as #2 per pound. One Rotherham gang netted several millions in three years.

 

'There is a lot of money to be made,' said Yunes Teinaz, a senior

environmental health officer in Haringey, London. Teinaz's team has made 30

confiscations in the last four months and obtained 21 court orders ordering

unfit meat to be destroyed.

 

One target of the illegal meat traders is halal butchers, whose network of

small family-owned shops is run by owners with little formal trading.

 

A new campaign, spearheaded by London's Regent's Park mosque, has been

launched to help traders and consumers spot unfit meat. Leaflets will be

distributed and mosque sermons will be used to spread the message.

 

Public health officials believe the trade in potentially lethal meat will

become more widespread following government plans to privatise meat

inspection.

 

ENDS

 

Our comment: Pork pie, anyone?

 

 

*************************************

 

From the Warmwell sebsite (with Mary's comments):

 

 

Small farmers to be given millions in aid

Sunday Times

(warmwell note: the headline is not borne out by the subsequent article)

.....Haskins wants subsidies that promote food production to be scrapped. He

favours a system in which farms are ranked on a scale of one to 10 according

to how green they are. Large " blue" farms that use more chemicals and

pesticides would rate a three or four, while Prince Charles's farms, whose

methods are wholly organic, would score a 10. Farmers convicted of polluting

the environment would lose their accreditation and subsidy entitlement.

British farmers receive more than #3.1 billion a year in EU subsidies.

Despite this, they made only#1.9 billion net "profit" last year, pushing

their average income below #9,000. (warmwell note: many of the farmers we

support would be astonished to read this. They are without any income and

owe thousands to their voracious banks) Haskins, the millionaire chairman of

Northern Foods, who was appointed rural recovery co-ordinator in July,

recently upset the farming lobby when he predicted that the number of farms

would be halved by 2020. He said farmers needed to be more enterprising and

less dependent on subsidies and should take on work outside farming to boost

their income. His latest proposals will cause further alarm to the larger

farmers, who receive 80% of EU subsidies. They know his views are taken

seriously by the government. Haskins's blueprint for the future of British

farming is part of his plan for a shake-up of the EU's common agricultural

policy (CAP), which he is working on for the Foreign Policy Centre, a

Labour-backed think tank. There is growing support among the EU's 15 member

states for fundamental reform of the CAP, but all acknowledge it will take

years to achieve. Haskins argues that it should occur before enlargement of

the union in 2004. .....Baroness Young, chief executive of the Environment

Agency, said Britain needed to halve its 44m-strong sheep flock and enforce

strict new environmental standards on agriculture. Speaking at a fringe

meeting at the Labour party conference, she said farmers should be made to

draw up "whole farm plans" showing how they would meet environmental targets

set by the Environment Agency and the EU ( warmwell note: "should be made

to" we're hearing a lot of this sort of language lately. Control, control,

control - the death knell to Britain's food producers just as FMD has been

to so many of the Baroness' unwanted sheep) .....

Peter Riley, a Friends of the Earth food and farming campaigner, said:

"Environmentalists have called for a shift in farming subsidy from

production to care of the land for many years. If Lord Haskins can deliver

this it will be very welcome." But the National Farmers' Union will

vehemently oppose a rapid shift in subsidies. " If you take money away

quickly from commercial farms they will collapse," said Martin Haworth, the

policy director. ...............A second report by the Rural Task Force,

headed by Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, is due out in the next

two weeks and is likely to recommend ways in which up to 20% of the money

paid through CAP - about #600m - could be legitimately diverted into

environmental projects.

Oct 7

 

ENDS

 

*************************************

 

Betty forwarded this news item (source unknown):

 

 

Euro-MPs back farm disease inquiry

A CAMPAIGN to force a European inquiry into the handling of the foot-and-

mouth

crisis was almost won last night.

Tory Euro-MPs were jubilant after winning a victory that could be a blow to

the

Government, which has consistently rejected demands for such an inquiry.

A massive show of support among Euro-MPs from all nations means that the

request will now be considered by the presidents of the main party groups.

But the Tory members are confident of getting through this last hurdle

because

centre-right and Liberal leaders have signed up to the move.

It could mean Ministers and officials from the Department for Food and Rural

Affairs being asked to give evidence. And although the committee of inquiry

will not

have the power to subpoena them, it would be deeply embarrassing to the

British

Government if they refused.

The inquiry will be held in public in Brussels and will scrutinise the way

the

Government handled the crisis, which has devastated farming in large parts

of

Britain and cost billions of pounds.

It will also look at how the outbreaks of the disease in Holland, France and

the

Republic of Ireland were handled.

Opponents claim the three official inquiries announced by Prime Minister

Tony

Blair into the outbreak in Britain will be a whitewash and do not amount to

a

proper public inquiry.

There is every likelihood that Britain's chief veterinary officer, Jim

Scudamore, will

be asked to give evidence, along with former minister of agriculture, Nick

Brown -

if he is willing to attend.

 

ENDS

-_______________________________________________________

 

 

Val sent this message from Maine, USA:

 

 

You can view the Kill or Cull programme on the net on the Devon BBC site.

 

thursday.

 

Valerie

 

 

Our comment: We checked and she's right - why didn't we think of that?!?!

Here's the link:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/devon/realmedia/farming/close_up_vaccinations.ram

 

 

***************************************

 

We are short of jokes, folks!

 

So that's all

 

From Alan & Rosie