More anti-small-farmer evidence from Lawrence:

Another example of the nonsense being visited upon us by our malign

We had kept several of our coloured Shetland ram lambs entire and we have
another 'spare' Friesland or Dorset ram.  Someone in Bideford Pannier Market
had asked if we had a Shetland ram lamb for sale and another friend wants to
borrow or buy a ram.  All fairly simple one might think - they are both only
about 20 miles away from us and the animal would be travelling in their own
or our own vehicle, direct from farm to farm.

I have just picked up the following message on my telephone answering
machine from the lady who wanted the Shetland ram lamb.  I have transcribed it word for word:

"I sent off for my licence and I've been informed that I needed to get my
vehicle inspected and sealed over at South Molton [my note: about 21 miles
from us, about 25 miles from her: thus making the full trip about 66
miles] -
and I needed to get a vet at your place.  All these things I have to pay for
and - umm - I decided its just too much extraordinary hassle; and also our
trailor probably wouldn't get passed because its got quite a lot of rotten
wood in it.  So I just wanted to say - thank you for all you've done - all
the looking out for rams and all that sort of stuff."

I 'phoned the Devon helpline to check for myself.  The chap who dealt with
told me the same.  I ventured that it all seemed pretty ridiculous and
ones trailer disinfected and sealed for a fee of about #60 made lending or
selling a ram out of the question.  He not only agreed but ventured that
heart bleeds for 'you farmers'" and that the government "hadn't a clue".
"Those high up people in London who think they know it all need to be
down here and have their noses rubbed in it!"  and much more in the same

Earlier I had spoken to a neighbour who said he had sent a batch of 25 lambs
to the abattoir 50 miles away.  He had to pay #70 to have the trailer
disinfected and sealed - the price of two lambs.  And then he sold 22 cattle
to a farm about 40 miles away .  The lorry had to be disinfected and sealed.
It had to wait at the farm for a DEFRA official to come from Taunton, 60 or
70 miles away.  This official had to be there to witness the unsealing of
the lorry so the loading had to await his arrival; then he had to follow the
lorry to its destination to confirm the same cattle got off at the correct
farm.  Then he went back to Taunton.  My neighbout noticed that the dealers
'who started it all here' had been paid out at a rate of about #1,000 per
compulsary purchase for slaughter.  They were now buying stock from farmers
like us, pressed to move stock and beset with these restrictions at #200 per
head...  All set up by the government of Mr Blair who was so concerned about
the armlock the supermarkets had over the farmers y'know.  He evidently
thought the armlock wasn't secure enough.


He also forwarded this item:

From NFU Bulletin for Devon: 21 September 2001:
Signs of recent disease found near Tiverton:  On Wednesday, DEFRA received
the results of routine surveillance blood tests from a flock near Tiverton.
The results showed an alarmingly high proportion of the sheep tested (90 out
of 130) had FMD antibodies, indicating that at some stage, possibly
the sheep had fought off disease.  The flock have been slaughtered, with a
"probang" sample of throat tissue being taken from each sheep to test for
live virus.  Blood samples have been taken from cattle on the farm.  The
results of these tests should be known next week.  No further action is
taken at this stage.


From the BBC Devon website:

Antibodies found in Devon sheep
More than 300 sheep have been slaughtered at a farm in Devon, after
foot-and-mouth antibodies were spotted in some of the flock.

The blood tests were carried out at Chevithorne Farm near Tiverton. Throat
swabs have been taken to see if the sheep carried the virus, and the results
will be known next week.

In the meantime, a 3km restriction has been placed around the farm. The
department of the environment, food and rural affairs says that the
discovery of antibodies will not have any implications for Devon's
designated "at risk" status.

Farmers are hoping that the status - which restricts the movement of sheep
and goats - will be relaxed next month. Defra says that will only be
jeopardised by positive throat swabs.


Val continues the "what can we do now" theme:

This summer when I was in the Rocky Mountains I met the son of a cattle
farmer in Montana.

The conversation got started because someone had made a casual remark about
rich farmers.  The young man laughed, so I asked him if his father was a
farmer:  yes, he has cattle and wheat on a 5000  ( remember five
thousand )acre farm.

Now get this:  they are struggling !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

His Mum has a salaried job off the farm, and when she is home she works on
the farm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! alongside his father ( driving the
lorry ).

When I suggested the quality of life had to be spiralling downwards because
no one would be able to even prepare proper meals in such a
situation.......he agreed.

He said the farm used to support several men and there was plenty of work;
the  working horses are all but gone ( this was cowboy country )......they
have ONE left.  No doubt government tax schemes have comspired to force the
farmer to sell his horses and buy vehicles instead ( this is MUCH better for
capitalism ).  With the drone of machines and fast food on the
table.......the soul of the landscape, the romance......... is relegated to
our memories..

The farm cannot support this young man for a summer job in between his
university studies.  SOOOOOOOOOO he works in the National Forest.

But what gets me is I don't think of 5000 acres as a small family what humongous size farm does this capitalist, global
economy aim for?

The mind fairly boggles....................

I agree we need to DO something.........Bonnie's film will be
tremendous.........the demos are vital..........educating as many as
possible is crucial.....the conferences are revealing.........

But the politicians are carrying on regardless.............and THEY NEED TO

 Come on everyone.................ideas!!!!!!    action ideas

We know the facts of what they are doing...........we must find a way to
change the course of action........

everyone THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Think out of the can
we MAKE things happen?????????????

Rosie and Alan.......and everyone else out not for one minute
think I am underestimating the MAMMOTH amount of work you are doing........


( that's how small I feel in this global, human 'rat-race' )



Michaela has forwarded this message:

From a friend in the north.

>I don't know if you are interested in the continuing saga of the pit at the
>top of our valley, but here goes.
>I spent the first couple of weeks of September in Devon, and arrived back
>here to find near chaos.  The pit is leaking.  Samples were taken from the
>stream into which it drains by a study team from Sunderland University -
>were subsequently lost, as were the Environment Agency's own records.  The
>Environment Agency's spokeswoman now says that they "forgot" to take
>samples.  She went on to say, to my face, that samples were not taken on
>occasions when they know that I was there with them at the time.  This is
>amusing surreal world.  One may have been present but, nevertheless, it did
>not happen.
>What subsequently occurred was that the stream that drains the site dried
>up.  Nobody knows where the rain runoff now goes - but it does not come
>our valley.  This is important.  All the fish have died and the local
>works (which serves our village) has neither water to maintain its flow nor
>anywhere into which to dilute its effluent - so everywhere stinks.
>While this was going on, every farmer in the valley was visited by Home
>Office staff (Home Office, not DEFRA) and asked to sign a formal document -
>the 1911 Official Secrets Act.
>I can well understand how people become paranoid.  I think that this is
>simple incompetence - but spectacular incompetence.
>Our valley has to live with this pit for at least a decade.


From the Warmwell website:

Sept 22 ~ ASH TIPPING CONTINUES.... Contaminated pyre waste from
Teeside/Cumbria is being brought into a foot-and-mouth-free area
at the Calvert landfill site between Buckingham and Bicester by train and
the number of loads- although each is smaller in size - has increased. David
Orpwood, chairman of Bucks, Oxon and Berks National Farmers Union, said
Farmers are not happy about it but we just seem to have no say any more.



More correspondence with Pirbright:

Dear Andrew,

You may have read about the Forum on FMD held last Saturday in Bristol,
where Fred Brown, Paul Sutmoller, and Simon Barteling presented their views
of the science behind the disease and the way forward for the UK.  I
attended with my wife Rosie and we found it a most interesting day.  We
compiled a report for our E-mail contacts and this is included for your

Apparently Fred Brown was amused to learn that the ELISA test that is
currently being used here has not been fully validated by the authorities .
. . .

Best wishes


Andrew's reply:

Many thanks, Alan, for your excellent report, which I have passed on to Alex
Donaldson and Soren Alexandersen. It is not really for me to comment on most
of the points raised, and there are several I won't even touch on. Suffice
it to say:

Money: Peter Poll's calculations would, I imagine, have counted the cost
only to little old Holland, whereas disease control is best decided and
implemented (and hence has to be costed) on a continental scale. Yet Poll
would probably have neglected the cost to Holland of going it alone in
sacrificing its clean trading status. That isn't to say that vaccination is
not cost-effective. The argument in favour is obviously stronger in the case
of the UK, where the cost of the no-vaccine policy - not just
agriculture-related costs, but the entire cost to the economy - has been
humungous (similar to last week's atrocities in America). I, for one, think
the calculations do need to be reworked, and doubtless are being. The
assessment isn't just about money/farmers' livelihoods. Another factor is
human sensibility and its impact on politicians. T Blair will surely never
allow himself to be placed in the position of having to preside over another
such disaster; the first time the electorate forgave him, but they wouldn't
a second. So! It is Poll's calculations that are probably fallacious, not
his conclusions, about which the jury (MY jury - the Follett enquiry) is
still out.

Portable testing device: As I told you, we have been evaluating the American
PCR machine in behalf of DEFRA (Fred may have been tickled pink at hearing
that the serum test has not been validated, but nor, of course, has "his"
machine). We have been using PCR for more than a decade, and generally find
the technique (both this machine and the laboratory ones) gives almost
identical results to the standard infectivity test in bovine thyroid cells.
If anything, we used to find PCR a little less sensitive, but I don't think
there is a lot of difference. The problems with PCR are: (i) The machinery
and reagents are expensive; ours cost ~#50,000, and the UK would have needed
quite a lot of them early on. Technology continually advances, and
Government have a big problem trying gauge how much it is worth keeping
spending for a contingency that, in the UK's case, hadn't arisen at all for
20 years and had never ever started as disastrously as this epidemic. (ii) I
doubt that its use is entirely fool-proof. PCR is a biochemical
amplification process which is notoriously prone to contamination. A
molecule of viral RNA crossing over from a neighbouring sample chamber of
the machine, or left over from a previous machine run, can readily be
amplified to give a false positive (it is a kind of 'infection', a bit like
FMDV itself). Thus, my colleagues worry about how fail-safe the equipment
would prove to be, when it is being trundled around infected regions of the
countryside and repeatedly used. The technology certainly needs to be
validated. By contrast, the conventional infectivity test is very simple,
robust, and, in the hands of a laboratory like ours, fail-safe. Moreover, a
testing service based on infectivity can be geared up virtually instaneously
to cope with any number of samples. The test detects any of the seven major
groups (serotypes) of FMDVs without one having to know which it is in
advance. And, of course, it is internationally validated. The well-known
disadvantages of the infectivity test are (i) samples have to be sent to
Pirbright and (ii) the test takes several days for a confirmed negative. [A
further, minor, disadvantage is that it requires fresh bovine thyroid
glands, although a spin-off of my own research may well overcome that need
in future.] Which test is best? One answer is: "Wait until we have evaluated
the machine!" In the meantime, our guess is that expensive, dodgy-to-use,
hi-tec gizmos are probably not the best way of responding to an epidemic of
unpredictable extent and timing. Not at the present state of the art anyway.
There is a third test (a fourth actually, but this discussion is not
concerned with the standard ELISA). Better, we think, is likely to be the
stick test for FMDV which we have developed at Pirbright. It is used just
like a DIY pregnancy test. It is cheap. Can be deployed in unlimited
amounts, anywhere, and used by anyone. It gives a result in minutes.
Admittedly, it won't be as sensitive as PCR or infectivity, and there would
still be a place for some back-up testing in our laboratory. Nevertheless,
if an animal is showing lesions, one doesn't need an especially sensitive
test to tell whether the condition is caused by an active FMDV infection or
eating brambles. So, it could be useful as a quickie test on site.
Naturally, we are evaluating this test alongside "Fred's" gizmo. We shall
just have to wait and see how it pans out.

I can't agree with Simon Barteling about mechanical spread by non-animal
conveyance (footwear etc), although I concede that the risk is accepted as a
matter of official DEFRA policy and that many vets - even some here at
Pirbright - think the same as Simon. An article spreading infection is
technically known as a 'fomite'. For example, humans spread the common cold
virus (a distant relative of FMDV) to other humans - NOT by sneezing or
coughing, as is popularly thought - but by direct contact (if you shake
hands with someone suffering from a cold, always wash your hands
afterwards!) or by leaving the virus on doorknobs, etc. In the latter case,
the doorknob is a 'fomite'. If a second human touches the doorknob before
the smear of virus has dried out, and then puts it in his mouth or rubs his
eyes with it, there is chance that he will become infected and succumb to a
cold. However, Simon's scenario is more complex, because it requires a chain
of fomites. The infected animal deposits the virus on e.g. some pasture
(fomite A). Then, the boot or whatever (fomite B) picks a bit of it up,
transports it to another location, and deposits some of what is left of it
on fomite C, where another animal comes wondering along, licks fomite C, and
gets infected. The veterinary authodoxy further requires this mechanism to
operate exclusively with human-derived fomites (feet, tractors, dogs and
horses) but not starlings or other wild-life. Sorry! I think it is garbage!
No other diseases spread that way. If they did the world would be impossible
to live in. Of course, I am not saying that humans can't spread FMDV; a
sheep dealer at a market handling one mouth after another would certainly be
a fabulous fomite.

Regarding the 10-year-old cows in France and Holland, did Simon say that
they carried FMDV antibodies? Because I wouldn't have expected their
antibody levels to be detectable so long after vaccination. They would
surely be fully susceptible livestock, indistinguishable from everything

Regarding carrier animals, I have rehearsed all the arguments before. If I
were in charge of the world I would be prepared to take short-term risks
with vaccinated animals. However, it would be dangerous to allow potential
carriers potential access to susceptible livestock on a long-term basis,
because there IS evidence - albeit anecdotal - that the disease can suddenly
flare up under those circumstances. That means you either vaccinate
everywhere or just ring-vaccinate and then slaughter all the animals you
just vaccinated. The latter is what the Dutch did. It gave them time, but
may have increased the final death toll. Thus, it is very difficult to
sustain arguments for any half-way measures. One either vaccinates
mandatorily or one operates a disease-free policy with all the horror that
that occasionally brings. It may well be that half-way measures have worked
sometimes in some places, but that doesn't guarantee their safety, least of
all in the eyes of the international regulatory bodies we all have to abide
by. In our view the solution to the problem will come from research to
produce either a fool-proof test for carriers, or a vaccine, or other
treatment, that will prevent, or cure, the carrier state.

For Fred to describe airborne spread as "a myth" is - well! - it is
incredible, especially in the light of the evidence that he and I, together,
have published.

To say that FMD is not self-sustaining in sheep means that it dies out
BEFORE it has infected all individuals, as opposed to dying out AFTERWARDS.
The outcome depends critically on stock density, but has little bearing on
control policy. Being non-self-sustaining sounds reassuring, but doesn't
mean that that one can ignore the disease. Quite the reverse! Being
non-self-sustaining actually means that the danger is MORE long-lived. By
contrast, the whole purpose of culling is to reduce the danger period. If
the insidious spread of FMDV during the 2001 UK epidemic - mainly a sheep
epidemic - has taught us anything, it is that sheep can do one hell of a lot
of damage before the virus dies out in infected flocks.

That's all for now.

Now that the West Country and Wales are declared disease(antibody!)-free, I
hope life is beginning to return to normal.

Best wishes


Andrew M.Q. King
Head, Division of Molecular Biology (Pirbright)
Institute for Animal Health

Dear Andrew,

Thanks for your interesting response on these points.

The comment has been made that the current epidemic would surely have been
an ideal testing ground for "Fred's" machine, to see how it performed in the
real world alongside the validated tests.  Had this been done and useful
results obtained, it could have played a part in reducing the death toll of
uninfected animals on contiguous premises.  It does seem, to the layman, an
opportunity wasted.  By the way, Fred quoted a cost of #16,000 (I think) for
the machine.

To be fair to Simon Barteling, he did include animal/bird vectors in the
"sticky virus" scenario as well as human related movements, though I
personally found this a little difficult to reconcile with his proposition
that railways, roads etc were barriers that the disease was unlikely to
cross.  I think it more likely that such barriers are effective at
preventing direct animal to animal contact, which I am convinced is the
principal means of spread from observations on the ground.  But the
animals/birds/humans angle may well account for the unexpected outbreaks
miles from the nearest source - much more likely than airborne spread when
no intervening farm is affected!

The ten-year old cows were not claimed to display antibodies, his point was
rather that these animals had co-existed alongside unvaccinated stock with
no problems for all these years, thus highlighting the irrationality of
slaughtering recent vaccinates.

Regarding Fred's reference to airborne spread as a "myth", from memory I
believe he used this term in connection with the 1981 outbreak in the Isle
of Wight, so he may have meant long-distance spread specifically.

Now to non-sustaining disease in sheep!  With respect, I cannot agree that
this makes the problem worse.  What it says to me is that if cattle are
vaccinated, the disease will die out naturally in the sheep and that's it,
epidemic over.  According to Paul Sutmoller, whom I questioned closely on
this aspect, that is what happened in Uruguay for example, so that after two
years of vaccinating the cattle only, they were able to stop vaccination and
remain FMD free for a further four years.  The sheep did not cause any
recrudescence of disease.  So in terms of disease control, non-sustaining
disease is an advantage, you don't need to vaccinate that species at all.

And from the sheep-keepers' perspective (mine!) you can argue that the
disease is simply not our problem - the symptoms are mild or non-existent,
it dies out naturally, we don't need to take any action against it when
there are far more serious conditions that we do need to protect our flocks
against.  FMD in this epidemic is principally a disease of cattle, and the
onus lies with cattle owners to protect their stock as they see fit, with
vaccination the obvious course of action, as routinely used  for other
diseases.  Just imagine if roles were reversed so that cattle were hardly
affected but sheep were the principal victims of FMD - do you think we'd be
slaughtering UK cattle in their millions to save the sheep?

No, you bet we wouldn't!

Best wishes



Further to the astonishing article carried by the Telegraph yesterday, this
analysis is posted on the Warmwell site with Mary's comments:

Foot and mouth vaccination is not the answer Author: Prof David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser
( Comments added in red )

Prof David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, explains why he believes that culling was the right way to deal with the crisis

NEITHER I nor my science group has ever proposed a mass, nationwide vaccination programme to tackle this crisis.

In fact no one is seriously proposing mass vaccination, and I will run through the reasons why not. (several people are seriously suggesting the mass vaccination of cattle)

First, mass vaccination, which would involve more than 40 million animals, does not completely remove the virus. Those animals that are incubating the disease when vaccinated will still become infectious. (And will therefore be slaughtered once showing that this has happened - but those in the herd not incubating the disease - and it only affects a few at a time - will be protected)

And vaccinated animals can still carry the virus, and may be infectious to other animals. The virus can live in the tissues of their throat for some time. (True and it is not infectious. No animal that has been vaccinated has been shown to pass on the disease through bodly contact)

There is little evidence that vaccinated animals that carry the virus can spread it, but the risk, however small, remains. (This is nonsense. the risk is a "zero risk")

Foot and mouth disease-free countries such as New Zealand and America will ask why they should take even the slightest risk of importing vaccinated animals. (They would be far more likely to refuse to take animals from Britain where the disease has not been eradicated but has remained a nightmare for over seven months)

Second, nationwide mass vaccination does not necessarily stop the disease spreading from generation to generation. Mothers can pass antibodies to their offspring through their early milk. This gives temporary protection but, at the same time, interferes with the young animals' immune response. Because of this, it is difficult to vaccinate young animals successfully, and leaves them vulnerable to disease. This prolongs the period over which the virus can continue to persist. (No. Vets attending the conference on Saturday in Bristol were told by Dr Paul Sutmoller that although younger animals may need two injections rather than one, they are successfully vaccinated )

Third, mass vaccination would make it impossible to tell the extent to which the virus is present in the country's livestock. There are no internationally recognised tests that are able to distinguish between vaccinated and infected animals. (Oh but there are. They are "internationally recognised" in South America whose countries are now way ahead of us in treatment and eradication of the disease.)

If we had embarked on such a programme, we would not have been able to free up large areas of the English and Welsh countryside. ("Free up"? What can Prof King mean here? Free for what? Stonecrop and Lundy cabbage?)

We knew that this outbreak could have a long tail. (Actually, the disease has embarrassingly confounded any government "knowledge". It was supposed to be "on the home straight" by early May and to have finally disappeared by June 9th) But we have grounds to be cautiously optimistic. The current outbreak has been dominated by the disease in sheep. (what has this statement to do with refusal to vaccinate?) Blood tests conducted on more than 700,000 sheep in areas that formerly had the disease have shown that the vast majority of animals are healthy (well, so were the ones who were found with antibodies, such as the healthy Brecon Beacons hefted flocks, but they were all killed too since their presence was an affront to those seeking to prove a disease-free status. ): less than one tenth of one per cent gave any cause for concern. (unfortunately, serological tests cannot be given to the wildlife population and are merely an attempt to prove to the EU that we are free of disease. We are not.)

The cull policy has wiped out the disease in much of the country. (and wiped out millions of animals and their young, the work built up over many generations and several despairing farmers who have hanged themselves) About 77 per cent of the areas that have suffered infection during the outbreak have now been declared free of the disease. (And, after seven long months of misery, about 23% of the country has not. In addition, over vast swathes of the country, the bureaucratic shackles of movement controls have further added to the near impossibility of keeping small farms running)

The vaccination debate is frequently characterised as a straight choice between mass vaccination against no vaccination at all. (When? By whom?) Vaccination has been used overseas as a supplement to the cull policy, and the animals are often subsequently slaughtered. (This did happen in Holland as a result of EU blackmail - but only after the farmers had been misled into believing their vaccinated animals were safe. It was a national scandal - but pales into insignificance in comparison to our own.)

Ring or buffer zone vaccination can be used with culling around an infected farm or area. Animals incubate the disease for up to 14 days, and vaccination will not work for them. ( Only a few animals in any group incubate the disease at any one time. The rest can be saved with vaccination. Animals that do develop the disease can be destroyed)

Rings would have to be very large to catch all incubating cases, some of which appear more than six miles from the source. (warmwell note: one of the great advantages of vaccination is that rings CAN be ten miles wide if necessary) In Hexham and Settle, for example, such rings (what rings?) would not have been large enough to catch outlying cases. (but large rings would) Regaining our disease-free status would also be affected by the presence of such animals (and NOT doing so meant we have not yet become disease-free with or without status ).

The one situation where I did recommend vaccination was in April when much of the 200,000 cattle population in Cumbria was still being overwintered in sheds. (warmwell note: It was hardly Prof King's recommendation in spite of his use of the first person pronoun. Mr Blair was very anxious to use vaccination before the election since he realised that the vast pyres and their resultant dioxins were causing concern. He was outmanoeuvred by Anderson, Gill and Blackburn and caved in. The farmers were blamed.)

They would have been vulnerable to infection when let out into fields. It was felt at that time to be worth all the consequences of declaring Cumbria a vaccinated area. (warmwell note: what "consequences"? Freedom from the devastation that has destroyed lives and the rural economy of Cumbria so completely? No, Prof King is thinking of Brussels bureacracy here)

The cull policy remained the Government's primary tool in bringing the epidemic under control, and we did not feel that manpower should be drawn away from that strategy to introduce vaccination. (warmwell note: Defra's "manpower", far from effectively controlling the outbreak, has been mainly employed thoroughly to intimidate farmers with threats and blackmail. A sad recompense for the years of loyal obedience British farmers have given to the Men from the Ministry in whom they have put their misplaced trust.) However, without widespread support from the farming community, such a programme would have been ineffective.

Despite lengthy discussions, farmers remained unconvinced. (warmwell note: if they remained unconvinced then it was because Prof King's heart - assuming the existence of this organ - was not in persuading them while the advice they were getting from Ben Gill was misleading in the extreme. Moreover, most farmers in Cumbria were given no opportunity to respond either way)In the event, a large number of cattle in sheds became infected before they were let out.

I believe that we are in the final stages of the outbreak. But there is no room for complacency. (warmwell note: when are these politicians going to stop using this thoroughly unpleasant word? As if anyone involved for the last seven months, apart from the cushioned politicians, could possibly feel any complacency whatsoever) There may be old disease among a few flocks of sheep that could suddenly be stirred up into new local epidemics, as recently occurred in Northumbria. (warmwell note: this statement is unbelievable in its audacity - "old disease in sheep" does not and did not cause the Northumberland outbreak as Prof King very well knows)

Any autumnal movement of livestock has to be carefully controlled so that it does not result in greater movement of the disease. (warmwell note; the restrictions will cause such welfare problems that many small farmers will wearily welcome the welfare cull and bow out of farming) Sept 21

We felt that this article simply could not be allowed to pass without extensive comment

Warmwell has received these additional comments from Lawrence:

I enjoyed your annotation of Prof King's letter to the Telegraph. One extraordinary contradiction which you didn't highlight was his consecutive statements that:

The current outbreak has been dominated by the disease in sheep.

Followed by:

Blood tests conducted on more than 700,000 sheep in areas that formerly had the disease have shown that the vast majority of animals are healthy : less than one tenth of one per cent gave any cause for concern.

So what evidence does this provide of the outbreak being dominated by the disease in sheep?

Later he writes about Cumbria:

In the event, a large number of cattle in sheds became infected before they were let out.

So they weren't infected by sheep... Alan has commented several times on the lack of apparent evidence for this blaming of sheep for the spread of the disease. It seems more like and excuse to wipe out as many as possible.

At the Bristol Forum Paul Sutmoller told us that in Uruguay, 10m cattle were vaccinated and 40m sheep were left unvaccinated - and the disease was eradicated. It was not sustained by the sheep and it died out. He said the same had been found in other S American countries. So what evidence does Prof King have to refute this scientific evidence - and why is our disease different?

Paul Sutmoller described the 01 strain as a 'guerilla virus' which is very difficult to control without vaccination because it can exist in a subclinical form and then break out in its fully developed form. Vaccination neutralises the natural carriers.

Finally the thing which is and has been killing off the small family farms[and all Rural Businesses] has been the restrictions which inevitably accompany the slaughter policy. [See my last few e-mails for recent illustrations.]


 #                         #                            #

And finally, our joke for today comes from deepest Cornwall:

 thought you might enjoy this

regards Simon & Pam

A team of sociologists have planned an experiment in isolation. They send

an Englishman, a Frenchman and a Japanese man to a deserted island and

arrange to come back and pick them up in a years time and see how they

have adapted.

The sociologists leave, and the three men decide to split up the tasks

amongst themselves. "I'm an engineer" says the Englishman, "So I'll

handle building a shelter". He turns to the Frenchman and says: "You French

pretty good cooks - why don't you handle the cooking?" The Frenchman

agrees, and the Englishman turns to the Japanese man, "That leaves you

to organise the supplies" he says. The Japanese man agrees and each man

sets about his tasks.

A year passes, and the sociologists return to see how the men have

coped.  They expect to find three desperate men, unhappy with having to live

the island, but instead find a huge wooden house with verandas and porches

and balconies. The Englishman comes to greet them, and when they express

their surprise about the house he just shrugs and says "Yeah well I had a

of raw materials so I kind of went to town and did the place up"

The team are amazed and are shown inside to the kitchen where they're
greeted with

the most amazing smell of delicious food. The Frenchman sees their surprise

and just shrugs "I had lots to work with" he says, "This island has loads of

edible herbs and plants."

The team sits down to eat and are about to

start when one of them inquires about the Japanese man.  "Oh we don't know

what happened to him" explains the Englishman, he ran off into the woods to

sort out the supplies and hasn't been seen since". They all agree that they

should find the man, and a search party is organised. They make it about

100 yards into the woods, when the Japanese man jumps out from behind a

tree, stark naked with half a coconut on his head, and peacock feathers

sticking out of his arse, and shouts:.................







from Alan & Rosie