This first item was forwarded by Richard North:


Two suspected cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been reported in
Leicestershire.

The outbreaks near Loughborough and Hinckley come four months after the last
confirmed case in the county.

Thirty-seven cattle have been slaughtered as a precautionary measure, said a
spokeswoman for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Blood samples have been taken from the animals for testing.

Emergency restrictions have been imposed on the farms and others within a
3km area will be kept under surveillance, but there are no plans for a
contiguous cull, the spokeswoman said.

The last confirmed case in Leicestershire was on April 23 in
Ashby-de-la-Zouch.


See this story on the web at
http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_394131.html


ENDS



From the Farmers Weekly website:



10 September 2001
Leicestershire awaits virus results


By FWi staff

LEICESTERSHIRE livestock farmers await results of tests on blood from stock
on two farms where foot-and-mouth disease is suspected - three months after
the county was given the all-clear.

Emergency disease controls have been imposed around farms near Hinckley and
Loughborough.

Others within 3km are under Form D restriction and farms within 8km are
under less restrictive form C notices. No contiguous cull is planned unless
disease is confirmed.

About 18 cattle were culled at Copt Oak, near Loughborough, on Saturday.
Initial blood tests were negative but further it was decided that further
tests are necessary.

The results of these should be known by Wednesday morning (12 September),
the East Midlands NFU said in a statement.

About 20 miles away, up to 50 cattle are being culled on a farm at
Sketchley, near Hinckley, where there were a handful of outbreaks in the
spring.

The last of six cases in Leicestershire was confirmed on 23 April.

In a statement, the East Midlands NFU said it would be a "severe setback"
for local farmers if disease is confirmed:

"We are deeply concerned at the prospect of foot-and-mouth reappearing in
the region following the period of four months without and outbreak."

It emphasised, however, that both farms have been slaughtered on a
precautionary basis as it has not been possible to rule out foot-and-mouth
after lesions were found in cattle.

There were five new confirmed cases in Cumbria and Northumberland on Sunday
(9 September), taking the total to 2013.

The Times reports on fears that a resurgence of the virus is likely around
Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland where it is believed the disease
originated in pigs.

This follows confirmation of a new case near Hexham. The dairy farmer
involved also owns a mixed farm near Heddon.

The paper also claims that the government is failing to meet its 24-hour
slaughter target during the Northumberland outbreak.

ENDS


Our comment:  We heard on the radio that this was, quote, "old disease" in
cattle, with signs of healed lesions etc.  Well, this certainly makes a
change from "old disease" in sheep  -  BUT the significance of this, if
correct, should not be underestimated.  First, it implies that these cattle
have suffered the disease and made a full recovery WITHOUT ANYONE
OTICING  - undermining the claim that the symptoms are serious and easily
seen in cattle.  Second, it provides the stick for our EU masters to beat us
with - because now, they will say, you have to test all the UK cattle as
well as sheep to "prove" that you are FMD-free.  It's a perfect excuse for
the goalposts to be moved yet again.



Mike of the CullMaff website sent us this message:


Most of you will probably be well aware of the frightening prospect of a
completely new outbreak in Leicestershire.  FMD has not been confirmed yet,
but you may be sure that if it is, we will se a new round of bloodletting
akin to what has happened in Cumbria, Northumberland, Brecon & elsewhere.

The purpose of this message is to put you all on standby so you are ready to
act if things turn nasty.  We obviously don't know what is going to happen
just yet - we may need help in mailing out help packs (which should be
available as a free-issued stapled booklet by the end of this week).  We may
need farm gate action.  We may need an "old fashioned" phone, fax, email &
letter campaign to defra, MPs, etc.  Who knows.....  I hope we need nothing
and this turns out to be a false alarm, but forewarned is forearmed.

If anyone feels they have anything more to offer, any ideas for distributing
help-packs, any thoughts of how to highlight the ongoing horror to the
public at large, pls let us know.  Sadly, the fact remains that without a
few committed, caring individuals like yourselves this bloodbath will
continue unchallenged.

Pls "stand to" & be ready to act.  Thanks.

Mike

ENDS


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


Lawrence has sent us this contribution:


Dear Alan and Rosie,

I e-mailed a contact within the Specialist Cheesemakers Association, saying:

"As the prospect of the use of vaccination to control FMD seems to come
closer, Karen and I are starting to worry that if we [and other farmers] are
obliged to vaccinate against FMD, we will also suddenly find that we are
forced to pasteurise all our milk.   We suspect that this need not be a
requirement - certainly not for human health protection; and probably not
for
prevention of spread of disease to other animals - particularly when the
milk
is used to make a hard pressed matured cheese.

Is there anything we can do to pre-empt this possiblity?

I hope to go to the FMD Forum with Prof. Fred Brown, Dr Simon Barteling and
Dr Paul Sutmoller at the University of Bristol on 15th Sept. and will try,
if
the opportunity presents itself, to raise this food producers' issue."

The reply was that she "would also raise this question, but as things stand
if vaccination does go ahead, it is likely to be accompanied by slaughter as
happened in Holland.
Your best hope is that the disease won't resurface in Devon and that the
restrictions will be lifted."

Rather worrying, since she attends the London 'Stakeholder Meetings' and so
must have a fair idea of the way the wind blows...

With best wishes,

Lawrence.

ENDS


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

Betty sent us an article from the Farmers Guardian covering Professor King's
speech in Glasgow the other day, which contained the following extract:


 Prof King said sheep could carry the disease for long periods
   without showing any symptoms, but still be highly infectious. The only
   way of keeping track of the disease in symptomless animals was to carry
   out blood tests. But any test of blood from a vaccinated animal would
show
   up positive, even if there was no infection present. "We lose the ability
to blood test the animals to see
   if they have the disease," said Prof King. "If I thought vaccination
   could be effective in any way I would be recommending it to the Prime
   Minister"

ENDS


Our comment:   It should concern everyone in this country when the Chief
Scientific Officer makes statements that have no basis in fact.  "be highly
infectious" for long periods?   Can't differentiate vaccinated animals from
infected ones?  Let's not mince words, David King is deliberately distorting
the science to suit the political agenda of his masters, and in so doing he
brings disgrace to his office and to his profession.


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

From the Yorkshire Post:


Brian Dooks
Chief virus vet must go, says farmers' leader

A FARMERS' leader is demanding the sacking of the veterinary officer
fighting foot-and-mouth disease in Cumbria after Government officials
effectively admitted the epidemic is expected to continue into next year and
block meat exports in the autumn of 2002.

The vice-chairman of the National Farmers Union's hill farming committee,
Richard Betton, said Andrew Haywood had failed to stamp out the disease in
Cumbria, which has had 883 confirmed cases - 707 more than any other county.

Mr Betton, who farms in Wensleydale and Teesdale, said the Cumbrian hotspot
was threatening to spread the disease back into Durham and North Yorkshire
and called on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to
appoint a new veterinary officer to stop it.

His anger follows an announcement by the Intervention Board, a Government
agency, warning farmers that this year's #10 a head compensation scheme for
light lambs - those under 15kg - would not be repeated "even if there are
delays in lifting the current ban on exports".

The Government agency's letter, which is already being interpreted as
another blow for farmers worried whether they will have a market for their
animals when the crisis finally ends, adds: "Farmers will need to bear this
in mind when considering breeding plans for this autumn."

It was immediately interpreted as a lack of Government confidence that foot
and mouth would be over in time for next year's meat exports to resume.
Although supermarkets are promoting lamb sales, the traditional market for
light lambs had been to Spain and Greece.

NFU regional spokesman Rob Simpson said it was the last thing hill farmers
wanted to hear.

"The Government are saying they don't want light lambs and effectively that
means they are saying they don't want hill farmers."

A Government spokesman said it was up to farmers to decide whether they
allowed their livestock to breed in October and November, but he warned: "We
are saying that even if the ban prevents farmers from exporting next year
there will be no compensation."

It suggests a Government lack of optimism that was confirmed by a Defra
spokesman in London who said: "It will probably be a year before exports
resume."

He said there could be regional exceptions, but exports would be from areas
that had remained disease-free.

With four new cases in Cumbria and two in Northumberland over the weekend,
Mr Betton is worried that the disease is spreading east along the A66.

"Defra have never been in front of the disease in Cumbria. They have chased
it from one end of the Eden Valley to the other yet the chief vet in
Carlisle, Andrew Haywood, is still in post. It's about time they put someone
in who can track it down.

"If we want to have an export market next year, we have to stop this
disease," he said.

Last night a Defra spokesman said there were no plans to remove Mr Haywood
in whose abilities there was "full confidence".

ENDS


From The Times:


24-hour slaughter goal is still not being met

BY ANDREW NORFOLK

GOVERNMENT officials have failed to meet their own foot-and-mouth slaughter
targets during the recent cluster of cases in Northumberland.
Although there have been only 22 confirmed cases in the Hexham area since
August 23, several farmers have waited more than 24 hours for their animals
to be slaughtered.

The report-to-slaughter target was introduced in late March after scientific
advice that it would be play a vital role in restricting the spread of the
epidemic. It requires the culling of all the livestock on an infected farm
within 24 hours of the farmer first reporting signs of infection.

This weekend, however, a senior official at the Department for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) admitted that the target had often been
missed.

John Bradbury, regional operations director at the Disease Emergency Control
Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: "We're trying desperately to meet the
cull target of 24 hours. The target has been missed, principally by hours
rather than days, and we've had some very difficult circumstances to deal
with, but the vets wouldn't like me to make excuses."

Defra's website recorded last week that the target had been achieved
nationally in only 40 per cent of cases in the week ending September 2. A
government spokesman said that a mistake had been made in recording and
collating the statistics and the website was altered to suggest a success
rate of 67 per cent for the week ending September 3. In that seven-day
period, there were only 13 confirmed cases across Britain, seven in Cumbria
and six in the Hexham cluster.

When The Times contacted four of the six affected farmers in the Hexham
area, three said that the cull on their premises had missed the target. The
fourth refused to say how long the cull had taken.

Mr Bradbury said that the target failures had not been caused by a lack of
resources, but logistical problems which have included the rounding up of
animals that are not enclosed but roam the fells. Some of the affected hill
farms are also too small for the lorries used for the culling operation to
enter the farmyard.

Animals - including 60,000 sheep and 7,600 cattle - have been slaughtered at
almost 100 farms since the last week in August. Their cases were confirmed
as the total number of outbreaks passed 2,000.
 ENDS


More from The Times:


MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10 2001

Fears of disease returning to Heddon

BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRSIDE EDITOR

FARMERS feared last night that a resurgence of foot-and-mouth disease was
likely around Heddon on the Wall, Northumberland, where pigs were first
infected with the disease. The alarm followed confirmation of a new case
yesterday near Hexham.
John Spence, of Frankham Farm, Fourstone, the dairy farmer involved, also
owns a mixed farm near Heddon. Animals at these premises are now to be
slaughtered as "a dangerous contact", but farmers fear that virus has
already been detected there.

The news spread quickly, and there was also growing concern about five new
cases disclosed yesterday: three in Cumbria - one at Appleby, two at Kirkby
Stephen - and two in the Northumberland cluster, near Hexham. The total
number of cases nationwide is now 2,013.

There were also separate rumours, though unconfirmed, that vets had
identified two suspect cases in Leicestershire. If confirmed, this would be
a setback for the Government's control strategy.

One case, in the Copt Oak area, north of Leicester, involved the slaughter
of 18 cattle; the other was at Hinckley, involving 19 cattle. A spokesman
for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed last
night that the animals had been slaughtered on a precautionary basis. The
carcasses will be tested, but it will be several days before the results are
known.

There were six cases in Leicestershire earlier this year, the last being
confirmed in Ashby-de-la-Zouche on April 23.

Rab Thomas, the Leicestershire livestock representative for the National
Farmers' Union, said last night that he was aware of rumours, but had been
given no firm information by government vets.

Senior farming sources suggested that the Government had been blood-testing
animals in the county and it was likely that they had found evidence of
antibodies in a herd or flock.

The presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean the virus is present in
the animal. It can mean they may have been infected with the disease in the
past, but in some cases animals show antibodies without ever being in
contact with the disease.

ENDS

Our comment:   We especially liked the last paragraph in this piece . . . .
but seriously, this is The Times and we might reasonably expect some
accurate reporting in this top-quality newspaper.  Instead, we get
"antibodies without ever being in contact with the disease"!

Funny, we thought that was the effect of vaccination . . . . .


All for tonight

from Alan & Rosie