First another reminder of the following important event:
FORUM ON FMD CONTROL
Kindly sponsored by
Compassion in World Farming Trust
The University of Bristol
School of Chemistry
Saturday 15th September 2001 - 2.00 - 6.00pm
With no end to the epidemic in sight this will be a unique
opportunity to hear and discuss the science of:
7 RAPID DIAGNOSIS
7 USE OF VACCINATION
7 FUTURE DISEASE CONTROL
Speakers will include the leading global
specialists in Foot and Mouth Disease:
PROFESSOR FRED BROWN OBE FRS
DR SIMON BARTELING MSC VET MED
DR PAUL SUTMOLLER PhD DVM
Our comment: This is an opportunity to hear, and put questions to, the
world's leading experts on FMD and is not to be missed. We will be there.
A comment from Janet on last night's message:
Hi Alan and Rosie
My sympathies in your problem with the restocking next door. Once upon a
the State veterinary Service existed to help the farmer and to gather useful
information on the health status of farm animals - a mutual benefit. The
local VI centres did a good job and the vets there were known by the farming
community. Then they axed several of the centres, cut the SVS and
the lot and this is part of the mess we are in today. The problem for DEFRA
is that Lord Haskins is probably right - there will be more part time
in future but they will consist of people like yourselves who do think and
question decisions. I don't know how DEFRA is going to rebuild bridges with
the farming community - I used to work for MAFF and I find myself being
mistrustful, even though I knew some of the key personnel from my days at
CVL. Good luck anyway.
And more on this subject from Val in the USA:
VERY sorry to hear your neighbours failed to alert you to the arrival of
You know, here in Maine, life is very hard for most people.......the economy
is not brilliant....people are largely taken up with just surviving
financially.....and communities have long since lost any sense of being a
community.............( this being aided by the pernicious consumerism that
has taken over the 'man-in-the-street's' mind )
and I no longer expect people to keep their word here.
That is not how I think of North/West Devon...................
Hey...maybe we should start ending with jokes to cheer ourselves up
bloody fed up? Well I never would have thought I'd be so bloody skeptical
about our societies at this age of my life.........
I'm still trying to think of something to make us laugh............
It seems that we are not the only ones who felt rather uncomfortable as Tony
Blair denounced the terrorist attacks in the USA by automatically assuming
that the moral high ground belonged to western capitalist "democracies".
We thought of the injustice and cruelty handed out by his own government,
upon his own people, during the FMD epidemic and his words suddenly had a
very false ring to them. We do not condone violence in any form and our
hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy, but we also agree with what
Jane writes below:
11th September 2001
As I sat at my computer this afternoon, the radio announced that an aircraft
had crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York. I was shaken with
disbelief and switched on my T.V. As the full horror unfolded and I viewed
the pictures of a second aircraft crashing into the other building and heard
a similar attack had been made on the Pentagon, my telephone rang.
The caller was a farmer's wife whom I had spoken to over the past few days.
Desperate to save the few hefted sheep they have left, after losing all
their healthy dairy cattle and lowland sheep, as a contiguous cull.
Solicitors are negotiating with DEFRA on their behalf and she was very
concerned that the matter may come to Court and they would be unable to
cover the costs if they were to lose the case.
I tried to reassure her and explained we were collecting donations for a
Fund to help in such an eventuality, and that I would certainly do my very
best to ensure that any losses that might be incurred, would be paid from
the Fund. Thankfully she seemed relieved by my words, but added that DEFRA
officers were being very aggressive and intimidating towards her family and
they were frightened. I tried to offer more reassurance and promised to
speak to her solicitor as well, to ensure he was aware of my promise to try
I returned to the T.V. and listened as reporters speculated on who might
have perpetrated such a heinous act. Various suggestions were made, from
Saddam Hussein to an Afghanistan based terrorist group. A Palestinian
Organization denied responsibility, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Perhaps
you're wondering why, let me explain.
Although my parents were British, I was born in Nazareth in a country that
was then British Mandate Palestine. The year was 1943. For many Palestinian
children born at the same time, their lives have been very different from
mine. Many of them have spent the last fifty-eight years, living in shacks
in refugee camps in a country torn apart by almost constant violence and
depravation. They are sadly not alone, in many other parts of the world;
children have been born into a violent and cruel society and grown up
harbouring the hatreds instilled by adults from their earliest memories. As
a result it's not surprising that they themselves have led violent and
I was very fortunate that my parents believed all men equal and so Arabs,
Jews and many other nationalities were welcomed in our home and I grew up
learning to accept people with a different colour, language, manner or
culture as easily
as rain or sunshine. I guess my history has led me to have sympathy for
those who are bullied and become the underdogs in any Society.
This afternoon I returned to the television in time to see our Prime
Minister Tony Blair, condemn the atrocities in the U.S.A., promising
solidarity with America, to rid the world of this evil terrorism and uphold
democracy and justice. He was obviously shaken and angered by the events of
the day but his words seemed so commendable. Then my thoughts strayed to the
many farmers, pet owners and their families that I've spoken to over the
past months. Each one of them victims of cruel intimidation and abuse,
becoming frightened, desperate and so often their spirit broken with their
heart. They too are victims of terrorism, perpetrated by their own
countrymen at the instigation of our democratic government and Prime
Minister. Not a terrorism born out of many years of depravation and lack of
human rights but created in an effort to control a mild disease in their
animals for which we have a vaccine.
It may not be the case in law, but it is my opinion that whoever they are,
the human rights of the terrorists in America, the victims of their
atrocity, the vets, slaughter men, farmers, pet owners, their families and
many children, have been violated, one way or another to some degree. If
such horror is to cease, it can only be so, if each one of us examines our
conscience and the road we have chosen to travel. So often we are to too
quick to blame and punish and too slow to understand with compassion. Should
not the latter include the perpetrators of disasters as well as the victims?
Perhaps we should 'take the beam from our own eye before removing the mite
from our neighbour's'. To continue blindly on the same path certainly only
leads to more disaster.
Jane Barribal - Farmtalking.com
From the Farmers Weekly website:
12 September 2001
Euro-vets reject regions' export plans
By Philip Clarke, Europe editor
EU vets have roundly rejected UK suggestions that some foot-and-mouth free
regions, such as Scotland, should be allowed to resume exports.
A 150-page situation report, outlining the controls in the UK and the
special circumstances in Scotland, was presented to the Brussels-based
standing veterinary committee on Tuesday (11 September).
But every member state which commented, including France, Spain and Ireland,
said it was far too early to even consider relaxing the export controls.
"Recent outbreaks in Northumberland and this week's scare in Leicestershire
have heightened their fears that foot-and-mouth is still circulating," said
a UK government source in Brussels.
"It seems they want a clear run with no outbreaks at all before they will
consider even limited regionalisation."
Farmer representatives said they were disappointed, but not surprised at the
"They're not saying no to regionalisation under any circumstances, but they
want us to eliminate the hotspots," said director of the NFU's Brussels
office, Betty Lee.
"There is concern that, even with testing, the disease could reappear."
There may also be more political will to move things forward once France,
Ireland and the Netherlands have been granted their formal
foot-and-mouth-free status by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE)
which meets next week in Paris.
The issue will be discussed again at the next standing veterinary committee
meeting on 25 September.
12 September 2001
Farmers call for winter welfare aid
By Alistair Driver
THE government is coming under increasing pressure to act to avert an animal
welfare crisis that looms on farms in counties in the high-risk
The NFU has called for higher payments under the Livestock Welfare Disposal
Scheme (LWDS) after it warned that thousands of animals face starvation over
Under new autumn movement arrangements announced by on Tuesday (11
September), livestock in high risk counties are banned from leaving their
These counties include Cumbria, Northumberland, Powys, while sheep are not
allowed to leave Devon.
These restrictions, say the NFU, will confine thousands of animals that
would normally have moved to other parts of the country in the autumn to
NFU president Ben Gill said the prospects for many livestock farmers are now
"Farmers face the daunting prospect of winter approaching, with depleted
feed supplies, increased stock numbers and a severe lack of cashflow."
He accepted the reasoning behind the tight controls "with a heavy heart".
But he said the NFU will be holding urgent talks with Defra ministers in a
bid to get higher payments for affected farmers under the LWDS.
This was backed by the National Sheep Association, whose chief executive
John Thorley warned of dire welfare problems if the weather is wet over the
But he also accepted the restrictions, saying they strike the right balance
between disease control and allowing farmers to operate.
But National Beef Association chief executive Robert Forster is opposed to
moves to increase payments under the welfare scheme.
"The last thing we want to happen is for all our cattle to be slaughtered
under the welfare scheme," he said.
"The government is not paying very much under the scheme and that is good
because it means it must rescue livestock by helping to get food and bedding
on to farms."
Shadow Defra secretary Tim Yeo said there were a lot of concerned farmers
whose livestock are at risk if they can't come down from the hills.
He said the government must make plans to avert a welfare crisis.
"It is absolutely vital that the government has an effective contingency
plan in place for any eventuality," he said.
From The Independent:
Scotland declared free of foot-and-mouth
By Ben Russell, Political Correspondent
12 September 2001
Farms across Scotland were declared free of foot-and-mouth yesterday, and
the Government's chief scientific adviser said the final disease "hot spots"
had nearly been stamped out. Professor David King said the disease had been
contained in Northumberland and northern Cumbria, and a huge programme of
blood tests had confirmed foot-and-mouth was not endemic in Britain. He said
vaccination would not have contained the present outbreaks and was never an
Professor King said there was now cause to be "cautiously optimistic" that
the disease had been contained. "The remaining foci of infection are in very
small areas of Great Britain and in the remaining areas we are lifting
restrictions." He said that blood
tests on 710,000 sheep had produced only 377 positive results. "The disease
is not endemic in Britain. The use of serology has been vital in lifting
restrictions across Britain. We would not have had serology to use if we had
gone down the vaccination route."
Last month, Professor King said he had recommended vaccination to protect
cattle when they left their winter shelter.
Our comment: Professor King the Chemist continues to peddle the lie that
serology cannot differentiate between vaccinates and infection - it can do
so, and well he knows it, but it suits his political purpose to conceal this
Note also that only 377 out of 710,000 sheep tested have shown antibodies
(not live disease, remember) - bear that fact in mind next time you read
of sheep as "silent shedders" and the source of all flare-ups from "old
disease" - doesn't quite fit the facts, does it?
From The Times:
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12 2001
Foot-and-mouth curbs may harm herds
BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR
THOUSANDS of animals trapped in upland areas and on over-crowded farms could
starve to death in the worst affected foot-and-mouth areas this autumn.
The bleak prospect was highlighted yesterday by farmers' leaders who fear
that the tough new animal movement controls to help to eradicate the disease
will trigger animal welfare problems. Ben Gill, the president of the
National Farmers' Union, called on the Government to offer emergency help.
Margaret Beckett, the Rural Affairs Secretary, said yesterday it was
impossible to predict how many animals were likely to be affected as it
depended on the weather. But Lord Whitty, the Food and Farming Minister,
made clear he anticipated "a significant welfare problem" and said he hoped
it could be kept to a minimum.
Mr Gill said there were already many farms in Cumbria with serious problems
of overstocking and with farmers unable to sell the calves or lambs that
would normally be traded at this time of the year.
He said: "The prospects for many livestock farmers are now extremely bleak.
Farmers face the daunting prospect of winter approaching with depleted feed
supplies, increased stock numbers and a severe lack of cash-flow because
they have had no income for months."
He stressed that while the priority was to see farmers sending animals into
the food chain or selling stock to lowland farmers for finishing, this was
not possible for all farmers and they would need help from the Government.
He will stress the urgency of the situation in meetings with Ministers over
the coming days. One of his requests is for increased payments under the
Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme for farmers in the hotspot areas.
Professor David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser, is already
aware of the problems caused by movement controls. He met a delegation of
seven farmers from Cumbria on Monday and was shown video footage of farms in
the Longsleddale Valley. He and Jim Scudamore, the Government's Chief
Veterinary Officer, are planning to visit farmers in Cumbria shortly to
witness difficulties on the ground.
Professor King made clear yesterday that he was optimistic the current
slaughter policy would eradicate the disease and he ruled out vaccination.
He said he did not believe it would ever have controlled the epidemic.
Our comment: So Professor King, having told us that vaccination would
definitely help in April, is now saying that it wouldn't. Of course, it
remains an option, is kept under constant review, etc. etc. - who do they
think they are kidding? Here they all are, telling us that there will
definitely be a major welfare crisis this winter and imposing further
restrictions on an already crippled farming industry, when all this is a
direct result of their slaughter policy and could all be avoided by using
vaccination. We hold those in authority personally responsible for all the
welfare atrocities of this epidemic - they were all avoidable.
from Alan & Rosie