Bonnie Durrance has now moved on to the Brecon Beacons for the next stage of
filming, leaving us to reflect upon a few hectic and fascinating days spent
in her company. It would take too long to deliver a diary-style account
that experience; suffice it to say that we visited a number of people whose
lives have been deeply affected by the FMD crisis, and interviewed them on
film about their own personal experience. Each story was unique and
interesting on its own, yet there were also common threads that ran through
the entire process. The whole purpose of the film is to link these
individual experiences together to portray the wider view.
A few moments stand out. A view of Matt and Suzanne's beautiful Devon
cattle grazing the lush vegetation of Culm grassland, bathed in late
afternoon sunshine, against a background of empty fields on slaughtered-out
farms stretching as far as the eye could see. An elderly farmer overcome
with emotion as he described the botched and cruel slaughter of a
neighbour's cattle. A gentle couple describing how the bodies of their
beloved pet cows lay decomposing within yards of their back door for more
than two weeks awaiting collection. The silence of empty landscapes,
The common threads were a disregard by those in authority for the legal and
moral rights of people, of animals, and of the rural communities of which
they are part, resulting in disillusion and a new mistrust of all forms of
authority. People and their livestock were treated not with compassion,
too often with contempt. Faith in democracy and justice was destroyed
alongside the carcases. Time may heal most wounds but these run very
These few days filming have been an emotional experience for all of us.
young woman expressed her surprise and gratitude that whenever MAFF had
threatened slaughter, she had telephoned for help to find complete strangers
turning up to defend her gate. Some, she said, had driven for
three-quarters-of-an hour to reach her. We reflected that Bonnie has
nearly half-way round the world to make her own contribution, such is her
passion for what has happened and is still happening here. We have
confidence that her film will form a valuable and accurate interpretation of
This comes from Theresa in Powys:
Did you hear the appalling interview with Lord TWitty on Farming Today with
Miriam O'Reilly? All the usual stuff,'vaccination is still being
considered,(but he couldn't say what the considerations were when pressed)'
culling is the most successful control method' and so on.
Where is he
The main point in writing is the problem of disposal of ram lambs.
from movement permits and vet examinations, there is a rumour that from
17th Sept all animals being moved will have to have a blood test (probably
Apparently the Merthyr Tydfil abbatoir is not taking sheep at present, and
it appears that smaller groups of animals may be transported to a collection
centre at Talgarth and then onward transported with other flocks to an
abattoir near Birmingham!
We believe that there is also an abattoir at LLanybyther but difficult of
access. This all seems a nonsense, not only for the hustle to the
lambs, but also transporting animals such a long way through 'clean' areas.
Is this your experience in Devon?
We are apparently in a surveillance zone,- arbritarily as they have
deignated our main road (A4067) as the dividing line, nothing to do with
distance from Libanus etc We would be glad to know of other
perhaps we are not fully informed
Any comments, anyone?
These items were forwarded by Betty in Holland:
The attachments are extracts from the More from the Moredun news ...(with
permission to forward):
Fighting against FMD
Very few people anticipated the return of FMD to the UK but those who had
were all too well aware that the large increase in the size of holdings,
flocks and herds would present a much worse problem than it had been in
previous outbreaks. None had fully realised the devastating effect that the
rapid and extensive movement of live animals was going to have on the
uncontrolled spread of infection at an early stage in the outbreak. Thus,
within weeks of first being recognised disease had sparked up in seven
regions of the UK as well as in three other European countries. When it
flared up in Dumfries and Galloway, Moredun was asked if we could help by
supplying staff to act as temporary veterinary inspectors (TVI's) and Animal
Health Officers. Twelve hours later the first contingent was dispatched -
none fully knowing what lay ahead. It was to be an intense and emotional
experience sharing in the tragedy that was unfolding - resulting in just a
few weeks in the destruction of more than 50% of the livestock of the area.
Dr Hugh Reid, head of Moredun's Virology division worked as a TVI in
Dumfries and Galloway for over three weeks.
My introduction to the disease was a flock of blackface ewes - not one
standing - scattered across the pasture with crows thick on the ground
between them. As we approached the crows took off but the sheep did not -
all were reluctant to rise and when they did all appeared lame, many hobbled
on their knuckles and some did not rise - they were dead. Classical lesions
of FMD were present in the mouths and affecting the feet. This was the mild
disease likened to the "common cold". My immediate conclusion was
virus was "adapting" to sheep and I was gripped by an awful feeling
apprehension. I was later to realise that while the disease may be
feeding sheep, around lambing and in nursing ewes it can be devastating.
As a TVI I was responsible for supervising the efficient humane slaughter of
the livestock while all the time having concern for and attempting to
comfort the often emotionally distraught farmers and their families who face
the abyss of the unknown and loss of their livestock with which they (often)
have a deep and emotional bond.
It was a demanding and often hectic experience but we all felt that we were
doing a job which we had trained for and were amazed how well we coped. The
final days when I visited farms to make a final inspection of livestock
before lifting restriction orders gave me a really good feeling - the battle
in which I played a small part was won and with time things would get back
to normal - but there will always be the memories.
FMD - Your Questions Answered
Our last newsheet, which was on the subject of foot and mouth disease
included a feedback from. The form asked whether, after reading the
newsheet, you had any further questions on the subject, or would like to
tell us what lessons do you think could be learnt from the 2001 outbreak. We
received a huge response - thank you for those of you who returned forms to
us. Our scientists have tried to respond to everyone who had additional
questions on FMD, please accept our apologises if you haven't received a
The following questions were amongst the most common so we thought we would
print the responses for everyone's benefit.
Q1 When an animal has FMD antibodies in its blood is it still infectious or
is it simply a healthy animal having had the disease but now with some
protection against future outbreaks - is it therefore necessary to kill this
animal because it has antibodies?
A1 When an animal has FMD antibodies in its blood it has recovered from
infection with that strain of virus and is resistant to infection with the
same strain but is susceptible to other stains of FMD virus. Some animals
with antibody may still carry virus in their throats, cattle for up to 3
years and sheep up to 9 months. These 'carrier' animals present a potential
risk of infecting other susceptible animals. While they exist it is not
possible to claim freedom from disease. That is why in the UK flocks or
herds containing animals with FMD antibody are culled.
Q2 If virus can only be detected in blood for up to 5 days and antibodies
can only be detected from three weeks, is there a large proportion of the
sheep that are negative on lab results actually positive?
A2 As in all infectious processes, individual animals produce a range of
responses. Virus is readily detectable in blood for up to 5 days at the
start of the disease. There is then a period when both virus and antibody
are present before virus is no longer detectable. It may be as long as 3
weeks after infection before antibody is at a high enough level to be
reliably detectable in all animals. During the period when the virus and
antibody are both present the sensitivity of laboratory tests can be
reduced. That is one of the reasons why blood samples from more than one
animal on a suspected farm are normally tested.
Q3 If the virus dies quickly after the host animal has died how come it can
cross international borders in a piece of meat?
A3 The virus in muscle is killed quickly after death by the natural
production of lactic acid. The virus survives longer in blood, lymph nodes
and bone marrow. For this reason meat imported from countries which have not
eradicated FMD must be deboned and the lymph nodes removed. Processed meat
products containing dried, smoked or insufficiently cooked animal tissues
present the most likely way in which FMD can cross International boundaries.
Q4 What are the long term effects of the disease on the animal? Why is it so
necessary to stamp FMD out?
A4 The worst long term effects occur in cattle. These include prolonged
convalescence with infertility, mastitis, leading to long term loss of milk
production and lameness, causing wasting. With pigs and sheep, chronic
wasting can occur. The stamping out policy aims to halt, as rapidly as
possible, the spread of a highly contagious disease. As well as causing
serious short and long term disease, presence of FMD prevents any
International trade in livestock and livestock related products. Taken
together the economic effect on farmers would be crippling.
Our comment: The vet's report above is the first reference that we have
seen throughout this epidemic of sheep deaths resulting (by implication)
from FMD. At the other extreme, we have documented examples here in Devon
of sheep inspected regularly by ministry vets without any clinical signs
being observed that on subsequent blood testing have shown FMD antibodies
and live virus. Hence we are very cautious about accepting this report at
face value and suggest that another factor was at work in this instance.
Will try to check this out and report back. As for "the battle . .
won" ???? Oh, really????
Mary of the Warmwell website sends in this message, which is followed by our
my overview of the situation today - comments if you have time
We want an end to foot-and-mouth - Labour wants an end to British farming
(September 5th 2001)
Foot and Mouth just won't go away. Poor Lord Whitty is beginning to sound a
bit rattled. Will Cockbain of the NFU in Cumbria eloquently appealed for Jim
Scudamore or David King to go up to Cumbria to tell the stricken county what
are its contingency plans. Asked the same question on Farming Today, Lord
Whitty replied, "The contingency plan is to..er..have a more effective
culling process, supported in particular circumstances, if necessary, by
Why the delay? We have a splendid vet, Mr Jim Clapp, in Northumberland,
backed by farmers, who has volunteered to vaccinate all the stock in the
valley. There are thousands of thinking people right across the country,
sickened by the millions killed, the methods employed by Defra and the
horrible disposal sites who want vaccination. Now even the Cobra group wants
vaccination. As Will Cockbain says, 60% of the NFU executive in Cumbria now
favours vaccination, and the only farmers who do not, have been misled about
there being no market for vaccinated meat and milk. Ever more frenzied
killing of sheep, including the exceptionally valuable Swaledales, Herdwicks
and other hefted breeds is taking place on the highly questionable basis of
their immunity to the disease suggesting prior contact. But animals with
antibodies do NOT spread the disease.
Could the real reason, apart from natural reluctance to perform a U turn, be
the fact that the Blair government is all too aware that our own livestock
industry must be drastically reduced to make way for the cheap imports of
meat now essential to protect our own non-agricultural export trade? The
World Trade Organisation prevents trade barriers against imports of lower
quality and the Prime Minister has admitted that if the UK did not buy
sub-standard meat from overseas, exports would be jeopardised by possible
retaliatory international trade sanctions. How welcoming he was, on his
South America jaunt, to the import of their beef into Britain.
This ludicrous and dangerous situation has come about because the ever
widening free market. The G7 countries representatives will spout high
sounding phrases about globalisation "helping the third world". It
course, do no such thing. Big business and big business alone will benefit
from the liberalisation of trade. Meanwhile, our farming industry is being
catastrophically held to ransom, individual families are in despair and
irreplaceable rare breeds systematically being wiped out.
It is time for the country to wake up. It is time for vaccination.
After the last several days of interviewing and filming those affected by
the FMD crisis here in Devon, I am left in no doubt that something sinister
is happening. When the authorities break their own laws and all moral
values routinely in pursuit of "the policy" there has to be a wider
than simply disease control. We can only speculate as to what that agenda
is, but from where I stand down on the ground, it looks increasingly like an
exercise to benefit globalisation and the multi-nationals at the expense of
our own UK interests.
It is past the time to wake up; the real threat of this crisis - to our
civil liberties and to our independence - is lost on the majority of the
population whose lives are already controlled by centralised power.
Advance notice from Cilla:
Just in case people don't know, 'Country File' this Sunday morning, BBC TV,
is about vaccination.
This disturbing item comes from Bryn:
Poland, as you know, is not in the EU yet but is looking for its backdoor
Poland has more farms than ALL the other EU countries put together (ask Bill
Cash MP !).
So what were our little EU Commission busy-bodies doing behind our backs
(with full NFU approval no doubt) in Brussels on the 4th Sep 2001 ?
Well.....it has proposed further liberalisation of farm trade with Poland,
including cereals and beef.
These fine ideas still have to be endorsed by the EU 15 and builds on the
so-called ``double zero'' negotiations.
Gregor Kreuzhuber, spokesman for EU Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler, said,
``This is designed to be an intermediate step prior to enlargement. It will
facilitate the process,''
I bet it bloody will !!!!!
He went on to say......``We are seeking a mandate from member states,
although it might be unpopular with some of them,''
This guy can read our minds over in the UK !!!!!
I don't know much about this "double zero" deal, but it reduces
barriers, as well as reducing the EU's export refunds.......sounds a bit
Arthur Daley to me.
That deal covered almost all fruit and vegetables, pork and poultry, some
beef, cheese and wheat.
The only product explicitly excluded was sugar...........we don't do a lot
of that in the UK do we !!
Gregor Kreuzhuber also said talks could be under way by the end of the year,
and the new regime in place by mid-2002..........and remember, the whole new
deal has not even been
endorsed yet !
No wonder this bloody crazy government wants to annihilate British
We are self sufficient (well we could be, just like WW2) and that is not
what the EU wants !
Maybe farmers in the NFU should be asking some serious questions of their
Sad, sad times.
Bryn and Carol
PS : Ref is http://agtrade.org/weekly_news.htm
This was sent in by Jonathan:
A friend of mine from university days, Katrina Porteous, is a poet and lives
in the North East. Her poem "An ill wind" was featured in the
recently and is an eloquent statement on the traumas being suffered in her
area. Ironically she read this poem just before the new outbreaks in
I would send you the text but there may well be copyright issues in doing
that. The whole text is, however, on the BBC Proms website as is the
powerful rendiition given by Katrina.
From the Farmers Weekly:
Farm virus 'costs firms #125,000'
THE average cost of the foot-and-mouth crisis is likely to top #125,000 for
affected firms, the Institute of Directors has warned.
The claim is made in a submission to the National Audit Office. It is
critical of the government's refusal to introduce vaccination against the
The institute also criticises the National Farmers' Union "obsession"
restoring the UK's disease-free status in order to resume exports.
The union is chasing disease-free status at the expense of any other
considerations, says the submission.
But the cost of foot-and-mouth has been significant for the transport and
tourist industries, according to an institute survey.
In April, the average loss was more than #50,000. But that has now risen to
over #125,000, the survey of institute members found.
An editorial in The Daily Telegraph, which reports the story, calls for the
introduction of ring vaccination in an attempt to control foot-and-mouth.
"The NFU argues that it can see "no reason" to test vaccination
epidemic. But when else can it be utilised?," the paper asks.
Later, it adds: "If the vaccine was used to fight the virus in even one
infected county, it could give invaluable research material for future
From the Warmwell site:
James Naughtie interviews David King on the Today Programme, Sept 6th 2001
transcript from warmwell.com
James Naughtie: The Chief Scientist, David King, today will be speaking at
the British Association Conference in Glasgow - and of course, all eyes and
ears are on him...what will he say for example about vaccination and what he
expects will happen in the course of the latest outbreak.
I spoke to Professor King this morning. I asked him first of all if he had
any new scientific weapons against the current outbreak in Northumberland
Prof King: What's happening up in the North East at the moment, in
Northumbria (sic) outbreak is ..um...old disease in sheep that has been
stirred up by cattle being mixed in with the sheep and..er.. what we are
still taking up are infected premises from the point of that initial farm
breaking out. All of the farms we are taking out now were already incubating
the disease..er... when we came across the first key infected premise in the
area. Now in terms of "weapons" the..um...my belief is that the
outbreak will be snuffed out..um.. fairly quickly...
JN: But isn't it possible that what happened in Northumberland could happen
elsewhere. Isn't it a warning?
PK: Absolutely,and..um.. I would say to you that we had anticipated
outbreaks of this kind. We've been doing serological testing up and down the
country..um..the percentage of positives- that is sheep that are discovered
to be ill where...where farmers hadn't noticed it - is...is very small .045%
at the moment, so the good news is that a very large number of our farms are
clear of the disease but we can anticipate ..um..one or two further
outbreaks of this kind.
JN: Er..Looking at the possibility of that happening, those who have always
argued for a limited vaccination programme - not as a panacea, but as
something that would help in the fight - say that it should now be
considered urgently as one of the weapons that needs to be used. Do you
agree with that?
DK: Yes..er...I mean the...the phrase that..er...we're keeping vaccination
under review is absolutely correct. My science group has been meeting weekly
...um...er..ever since the outbreak ..we met daily in the first six weeks
..but since then at least weekly, and we do keep it under review, we keep
attempting to model the use of vaccination...um...but let me tell you that
..um..we...I have not myself felt inclined to go back and recommend
vaccination in cases of this kind.
JN: Why not?
DK: Much the better way of dealing with ... er.. an outbreak of the kind in
Northumbria is exactly what we're doing. Once the disease has become rampant
in an area such as Northumbria, vaccination wouldn't stop it...
JN:..so it's under review as a weapon?...
DK: It's under review and ..um.. I have, once before, um ...recommended
vaccination. That was in April when cattle in sheds were due to be let out
JN: Why didn't that happen?
DK: It didn't happen for ..two reasons...two reasons...I...I recommended to
the Prime Minister it should be used then provided that manpower was not
taken away from the cull, because the cull is the major way of keeping it
under control but secondly, ..um..provided that farmers cooperated ....
JN: ..and the NFU wouldn't have it.
DK: Well, farmers' cooperation is required because if a team of vaccinators
go onto a farm and the farmer says "No" and then he allows his cattle
spread around the farm it becomes extremely difficult...
JN: So just to get it clear, Professor King, you ..um..said to the Prime
Minister earlier this year that you believed that vaccination was one of the
weapons that could be used but only with the consent of the farming
community and it was because of opposition from farmers' leaders that it
DK: The Prime Minister gave me..er..a week, in fact it was a short time
period, because the cattle were going to be let out to pastureland. I spoke
to farmers, I went up to Cumbria, I spoke at length to ..um..various members
of the farmers' unions and ..er..at the end of the week had to report back
to the Prime Minister that..um..we..er..could not be sure of farmer
cooperation on this.
JN: Do you think if that had been approved at the time, things might have
taken a different course?
DK: Well...that's a very good question, Jim, because I am not absolutely
sure that it..that they would have ...um..we were planning only to vaccinate
cattle in sheds. Um this is a feasible operation because you can get to
cattle in sheds obviously very easily ..um..and it was a fairly limited
operation, and these were cattle in Cumbria. As a matter of
fact,..um..er..many of the cattle in sheds went down with the disease before
they were let out to pastureland, rather to our surprise.
JN: So it might have helped but you can't be sure?
DK: It might have helped but we really can't be sure. JN: Professor King,
Our comment: This transcript contains some extraordinary statements
scientist. For example "old disease in sheep that has been stirred
cattle being mixed in with the sheep" is what we have been told so many
times before, but later he says "many of the cattle in sheds went down
disease before they were let out, rather to our surprise". So cattle
sheds in April can mysteriously catch the disease without mixing with old
disease in sheep . . . . . strange, that? The evidence is that most of
disease transmission during this outbreak has been from cattle to cattle,
with sheep becoming involved mainly where they are in contact with diseased
cattle . . . why does Prof. King continue to ignore the
facts? He is
supposed to be a scientist and to be working on the best available data, not
churning out the same old rubbish that cannot be substantiated.
We are left to draw the only possible conclusion, that Prof. King is
speaking as a politician instead of as a scientist, and in so doing he
betrays the integrity of his position.
Marchers will send message to Blair
YORKSHIRE farmers and rural businesses are being urged to shut up shop for a
day and join a mass march in London to demonstrate against the Government's
handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis. The Five Counties Lowther Foot and
Mouth Action Group in Cumbria, which is organising the demonstration, is
being supported by its counterpart organisation in West Craven. Its
chairman, Jennifer Purcell, of Barnoldswick, said: "We want as many
and rural business people as possible to get off their backsides and join in
the march on October 20. "We will be calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair
put a stop to the culling of healthy animals and introduce a vaccination
programme." Demonstrators will also be calling for a "full and
public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth epidemic instead of the three
inquiries already announced which they fear will be held behind closed
doors. Mrs Purcell, a retired food trader, said:"We are meeting in Hyde
at 1pm and we urge everyone to get down there to show the Government that
the people of the countryside cannot take any more." Foot-and-mouth
is now in its sixth month and almost four million animals in Britain have
faced the slaughterman. Mrs Purcell can be contacted on 01282 813159
The following message has arrived from Robert in Northants. The format
reminds us of something we have seen elsewhere, but we can't quite place
This is a new e-mail support group covering the Earls Barton area, and other
Even living in Wilby, we are surrounded by fly-papers and have to keep
flapping when serving food. 160 tons of chicken manure have been removed
from the farm site. Locals have been accused by the owners of closing down
their egg-production through their complaints.
From the Chronicle & Echo September 4th
SPECIALISTS BROUGHT IN TO DEAL WITH FLIES
Industrial-strength fly spray has been used on a Northamptonshire chicken
farm to get rid of a plague of flies.
A team of specialist contractors has been drafted in by Wellingborough
Borough Council's environmental health officers after their own equipment
was not powerful enough to deal with the infestation.
And another enforcement order has been served after a build-up of manure was
discovered in a shed at the Dunnett and Curtis poultry farm. The dung had
collected under chicken cages after a belt-driven cleaning system had broken
The farm's 30,000 chickens have all been taken away and slaughtered after
the owners of the family-run business decided to shut down production after
being blighted by the fly problem.
The statutory notice is the second to be issued in the space of a month as
environmental health officers try to rid the Main Road farm of the chicken
dung which has provided an ideal breeding ground for the flies.
Environmental health officer Phil Townson said: "We were still getting
complaints about the flies, so we investigated other sources where the
insects could have been coming from, but none were found.
"But manure was found under the poultry sheds, and a statutory notice was
served to clear it away. If the notice is not complied with by Friday, the
council will decide which course of action to take."
The decision was made to recruit the outside cleaning firm, which is
understood to be Northamptonshire-based, after fly expert Professor Murray
Henderson visited the poultry farm last Thursday.
Professor Henderson said the only way to ensure the insects were wiped out
was to bring in the industrial cleaning team.
Mr Townson said: "The council consulted with Professor Henderson, and he
advised for the need to treat an industrial size problem.
"We deal with domestic premises, and we are not a big enough operation to
deal with problem of this size."
If the manure is not cleared away by the end of the week, the owners of the
farm could face the threat of legal action or the council could come on site
and carry out the work itself. The farm managers complied with the first
order when the deadline arrived on August 1
The manager of the Northamptonshire chicken farm blighted by a plague of
flies has claimed the war on the insects is being won.
lan Sheldon told the Chronicle & Echo the problem at the Dunnett and Curtis
farm was nowhere near as bad as it was two months ago.
The farm's 30,000 chickens have been taken away and slaughtered, and Mr
Sheldon has been continuing with the clear-up operation before the
specialist industrial cleaning team arrived at the end of last week. Mr
Sheldon also said the use of industrial strength fly spray which was being
used on the site of the farm in Main Road, Earls Barton, had proved to be
successful in killing off the remaining flies.
He said: "The numbers of flies have been dwindling since the first
were removed from the farm three or four weeks ago.
"The stuff which is being used to clear away the flies which are still
could not be used until all the birds had been taken away and disposed of.
"We need to try to kill the flies' cycle, which lasts for between seven
eight days. We are getting on top of the problem, and if people in the
village are having problems with flies, then I think they need to look
The Chronicle & Echo revealed last month that Mr Sheldon had taken the
decision to close down egg production at the farm.
But despite initial fears he would have to shut the family-run business
completely, Mr Sheldon will continue with the egg delivery side of the
business which operates across the Midlands and Home Counties.
Strange the local Council cannot cope with this infestation, so call in an
expert who says that they cannot cope with this infestation, so must call in
experts. He presumably has left them with a bill for his services.
Other query: Who is laying the eggs?
We are not looking elsewhere
More tomorrow night
From Robert and Helen
OUR comment: We always said there were no flies on Robert . . . . . .
from Alan & Rosie