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Feb 23 ~ After yesterday's news that all 12 000 cattle in the FMD infected area of Matsilje in Botswana would be killed we are surprised

to read today that: "The Botswana government has donated 540 000 doses of vaccines worth about US$550 000 to Zimbabwe's Department of Veterinary Services for the eradication of the foot-and-mouth disease. The director of the Department of Veterinary Services of Zimbabwe, Dr Stuart Hargreaves said the bulk of the trivalent vaccines would be used to vaccinate cattle along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border as the two neighbouring states stepped up joint efforts to eradicate the disease which kills hundreds of cattle annually."
What is going on there? Is there sanity at work after all in this bid for joint action between the two countries? Or, fearing for the loss of its FMD free zone without vaccination status, now suspended owing to the recent appearence of the disease, is Botswana expecting Zimbabwe alone to vaccinate? ( Any information about this would be gratefully received.)

Feb 22 ~ Lady Apsley writes:"We would be very grateful if everyone could bear to come to London

for the day, or if you are already in London, give up a couple of hours and lend support to the Petition by gathering at the entrance to St Stephens Gate by NO LATER than 2pm"....see letter about the Feb 28th petition presentation with press presence and full ceremony

Feb 22 ~ All 12 000 cattle in the FMD infected area of Matsilje in Botswana will be killed and destroyed this week. It all sounds horribly familiar, illogical and mediaeval.

According to the news report in in Botswana News online: "North East District Councillors have expressed shock and dismay at the government's decision to kill and destroy all cattle in the Matsiloje extension area which is affected by foot and mouth disease. The councillors said killing cattle on the Botswana side without a corresponding action by neighbouring Zimbabwe will not achieve much as the disease is bound to recur." We read with horror.." Dr Moetapele Letshwenyo of the Department of Animal Health and Production said it was necessary to kill all the inffected cattle to eradicate the disease. He said foot-and-mouth disease is incurable. Therefore vaccinating the animals is merely postponing the problem, adding that the disease can lie dormant inside a healthy animal for three years." But we realise with dismay that the UK can hardly advise anyone anymore. Since the British experts on the disease who know that foot and mouth can be eradicated with vaccination were ruthlessly sidelined, we have, quite rightly, lost all credibility.

Feb 22 ~"Right from the beginning, when the Government was appallingly slow to act, the handling of foot-and-mouth was riddled with ineptitude. The issues are sufficiently important for the country... to want to see those involved called to account.

Instead, the hapless Nick Brown has now been shuffled out of Agriculture to become Minister for Work and Margaret Beckett has been landed with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. (That role may not stop her being deputed to appear on the Today programme to deal with the Mittal affair. Mr Blair is far too superior a being to condescend to answer nasty questions, but when the demands become too shrill to ignore, it is usually poor Mrs Beckett who is dragooned into service.) Tony Blair seems to think that the public should be content to receive shinily spun versions of events and does not need to be concerned with the facts. He may see himself as a benevolent paternalist, expecting the public to trust him and let him get on with putting the world to rights. In which case, he would have had a shock on Sunday morning when he saw the opinion poll finding that 65 per cent of Labour voters think that Mr Blair is prone to "give special help to people and companies that donate large sums to the Labour Party". (Patience Wheatcroft, writing in The Times. See democracy watch today)

Feb 22 ~" the Government's mulish resistance to a full inquiry into the circumstances of the foot-and-mouth outbreak smacks of arrogance.

The epidemic revealed weaknesses not only in farming practice but in government crisis management and Whitehall co-ordination. The failure to hold a full public inquiry will only reinforce perceptions that the Government is congenitally shy of scrutiny, reduce the chance of lessons being learnt which will avert future maladministration and further alienate rural voters who feel their concerns are marginalised. If the Government cannot find time for an inquiry but nevertheless makes time in this Parliament for a bill to ban hunting with hounds then many country voters will conclude that its priorities are driven more by political convenience than the national interest. " See best press - Times Feb 20

Feb 22 ~ Ananova tells us this morning of a scheme in Cumbria and the north west of England where farmers, "particularly smaller ones", are being invited to collaborate

to become "more of a force in the market and save money". The Co-operative Group ( the Co-op supermarket is part of this) is giving £250,000 over the next 12 months to the venture through Co-operative Action.
( We tried to visualise Farmer Giles of Ham, rather leaner than of old but still puffing meditatively on his pipe and with his sheepdog at his heels : "Ar," he is saying, "I reckon it'll be for mutual benefit on account of us benchmarking, an' setting up joint ventures. Us'll be developing new added-value markets.")

Feb 22 ~ The poor old Ministry has now been blamed for an extraordinary fraud perpetrated by a Devon farmer who successfully claimed £131,000 of subsidies for imaginary land located in Greenland

the north Atlantic and the North Sea. The government has now given up trying to retrieve the money lost. See today's Independent

Feb 21 ~" IN my darker moments," writes Boris Johnson in the Telegraph today,"I think the Tories should campaign for the abolition of the £109 BBC licence fee.

It is an anachronistic impost, which falls most heavily on the poorest. Not only does it allow the corporation to compete unfairly with unsubsidised businesses; but the constant injection of government funding bloats and enfeebles the organisation, to the point where it now resembles a great fat man, so paunchy that he cannot see his own toes. And you certainly don't find the modern BBC doing anything so strenuous as chasing a story, not when that might be embarrassing to its Whitehall paymasters. Look at these indolent subsidy junkies. They have 10,000 journalists. They have 32.5 billion of taxpayers' money. They have expense accounts and telephones, and yet when a fantastic story lands in their lap, like the Mittal affair, they seem incapable of bringing a single new fact into the public domain. When you watch or listen to BBC accounts of the scandal, everything is related as if it were some distant row, conducted in the newspapers. Everything is assessed in terms of how much "damage" the latest disclosure will do the Government - normally, in the view of the reporter, not very much. It never seems to occur to him or her to get out of the studio, swab off the make-up, and find out what on earth is going on. "

Feb 21 ~" few of the main players in this crisis emerge with much credit. The National Farmers' Union, now so keen to criticise ministers, went along with the policy of mass culling "

writes Peter Hetherington on today's Guardian, "demanding (and getting) more and more compensation - while vetoing one plan for a trial vaccination in Cumbria at the height of the crisis after agreement was apparently reached at a meeting between food and farming leaders and the prime minister last April at Chequers." (warmwell note: the truth of this is yet to emerge. While the NFU seems to have colluded in the decision not to vaccinate, the farmers on the ground were not even asked)"The Conservative opposition began the rundown of Maff, which appeared to be caught unawares. And the food industry, whose juggernauts cause so much congestion on our roads, has done nothing to curb the movement of sheep around the country - identified by the RSPCA this week as a key factor in spreading the disease. The society warns of a "ticking time-bomb" with the risk of a new outbreak unless action is taken to "limit the distance or frequency of journeys during an animal's lifetime". In spite of government hostility to an open inquiry, questions still need to be asked in public ..."(see whole article)

Feb 21 ~ Interesting contribution yesterday to the Guardian's discussion on "what have we learned" from an emailer who humorously calls himself "sodbuster"

David Shannon's comments are very important. He's referring to the Imperial college team headed by Prof Roy Anderson, whose flawed epidemiological advice steered govt policy on FMD. It is hard to understand why the government and MAFF/DEFRA persisted with their dogmatic implementation of the Anderson "inspired" contiguous cull policy, especially when it has been so comprehensively rubbished by some of the world's leading experts on FMD. Including Dr Alex Donaldson and Dr Paul Kitching, of IAH Pirbright Lab, and Prof Fred Brown of the USDA. ( more)

Feb 20 ~"Investigators watch farmers in their fields secretly to collect evidence of the illegal planting of Monsanto's genetically altered cotton, rape, maize and soya bean crops.

Scott Good, a soya bean farmer in Burlington County, New Jersey, recalled the day that Monsanto inspectors swooped on his farm. "They showed up at my door at 6 o'clock in the morning," he said. "They flipped a badge out. It wasn't polite what they were saying. They acted like the FBI. I was scared..."
Farmers who use Monsanto crops to produce seeds for planting have been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars for patent infringement, and some face bankruptcy. Dozens more are being taken to court and hundreds of others have been threatened with court action. They are charged with breaking patents and copyrights, violation of intellectual property rights and "seed piracy". The farmers claim that they are doing what farmers have done for thousands of years, keeping back seeds for planting from their own crops. ." Read more about the Monsanto nightmare in the Times today.

Feb 20 ~" Of course these new sciences and technologies must be tested rigorously, and the global approach to environmental protection typified by the Kyoto Agreement pursued...."

says Lord Haskins, embracing GM technology, in his BBC Wales lecture One can't help but imagine this undoubtedly kindly man on the deck of the Titanic, attempting to reassure the anxious crowds with similar confidence: "Of course this new technology will have been tested rigorously and the polar approach to hull protection, the necessity for which is typified by these approaching icefloes ..."

Feb 20 ~ In utter exasperation, Astrid writes to Mrs Beckett:

Dear Mrs Beckett, Yes, it has been a small triumph (as you describe your handling of the foot and mouth crisis). A triumph of malign and uncaring government over good and honourable citizens. I do indeed find your view that it was a triumph offensive, and would suggest that in fact you are not at all sorry about this. And Yes, your department did let everyone down.
Without respect,
Ms Astrid Goddard

Feb 20 ~ Requests for tickets for Lessons Learned Inquiry meetings should be sent to:

Samantha Dooley at COI Conference Services, Rm 115, Hercules Road, London SE1 7DU (tel: 020 7261 8400/8385, fax: 020 7261 8588 or e-mail:

Feb 20 ~ Peter Ainsworth MP, the Shadow Defra Minister, has put into operation a new website about Rural Matters.

The article about Defra - in spite of its (in our opinion) muddled thinking about BSE - is something that many visitors to this site may like to read. The website is important because any emails sent go straight to Laura Chisholm in research who then distills the info to feed into various policy groups and the frontbench team to help shape policy. Farmers and rural business people can offer advice to the Conservative Party - and it should have a real impact on policy development.

Feb 20 ~ Jane from says, "I see the Evening Chronicle are still publishing incorrect slaughter figures. Even DEFRA have admitted to killing over 10 million animals!

Why the Chronicle continues to say it's under 4 million, when they come from the worst hit County, is quite beyond me! Perhaps their reporters are just 'lazy'! If this whole tragic business wasn't so serious, I guess their incompetance would be funny, but as it is, I find myself just a touch 'irritated' by it!"
Well yes. The journalists do seem to be merely copying from other sources these days. It is significant though that they can't even be bothered to find out that DEFRA has admitted to the higher figure, as Jane says.

Feb 19 ~ On this most inglorious anniversary it is perhaps worth saying that the last twelve months have brought out the very best in the best of people - and also the worst in the worst.

We are saddened to see the hypocrisy of some of those who moved heaven and earth to include their animals in the cull simply in order to make money - some of whom are weeping crocodile tears today. Far more though, we are heartened to see the continuing humour and determination of those who want to see an end to the lying and the covering -up and who want to move forward into a future where there is more humanity and more reason for trust in common sense and genuine knowledge. Dr Shannon's words today will have cheered those people considerably..

Feb 19 ~ The NSPCC is the latest in a long line of NGOs to fall under the suspicion that money rather than any concern for others is its primary aim. (See democwatch today)

The secondary problem about this sort of Red Queen dash after money is that the "charities" are very reluctant to speak out against the government for fear of losing favour and funding. However good the people on the ground ( such as the many good-hearted RSPCA field officers who tried so hard to help during the worst of the FMD crisis) there can be no real progress against cruelty when the hierarchy has been seduced by the lure of power and money. Rather like the government itself which is so reluctant to have its lid lifted in any Public Inquiry, there is a can of worms here.

Feb 19 ~ " We don't actually KNOW but I suspect that FMD got a special deal (for a change) and Tony Blair maybe got 60% funding from the EU to cull vast numbers of sheep.

In many cases the cattle (on contiguous farms) were not culled and they survived, as would the sheep if they had been left alone. This policy will save a fortune in future subsidy payments especially coupled with schemes not to re-stock to past levels. In other words, to some extent, the cull was self-financing," writes David in another of his, always excellent, letters to the FMD forum.

Feb 19 ~ Thanks to Dot for this curious piece of palindromic information that she found on the internet about tomorrow

"Thought perhaps you might be interested to know that a mathematical, palindromic rarity..... 8.02 pm on February 20th this year will be an historic moment in time. It will not be marked by the chiming of any clocks or the ringing of bells, but at that precise time, on that specific date, something will happen which has not occurred for 1,001 years and will NEVER happen again. As the clock ticks over from 8.01pm on Wednesday, February 20, time will, for sixty seconds only, read in perfect symmetry 2002, 2002, 2002, or to be more precise - 20:02, 20/02, 2002. The last occasion that time read in such a symmetrical pattern was long before the days of the digital watch and the 24-hour clock - at 10.01am on January 10,1001. And because the clock only goes up to 23.59, it is something that will NEVER happen again. Now not a lot of people know that! " Elaine adds, "So watch out for nasty viruses sparked off by that very date phenomena ! 20.02 pm 20.02.2002"

Feb 19 ~ " The Peak District National Park is going to start charging people in cars to visit the area.

A charge of £3.00 per car will be made each and every Sunday and all Bank Holiday Mondays - starting next year. Our wonderful government has also agreed to give the Peak District £750,000 in order to set up this 'little earner' - for the erection of toll booths. At a time when all small businesses in rural areas are fighting for their lives - some lunatic comes up with this idea - which will 'catch on' with other national parks throughtout the country. It is pretty obvious to me that after culling farmers of their incomes, small rural businesses are next," writes Elaine.


The service is to register sadness at the events of the last year and pray for the future. Prayers hymns and readings will be those which are to be used as part of a protest against the culling policy in London on Sunday February 24th. It is a public event organised by Jean Dixon who started the Skipton Petition"Stop The Cull" and is intended for anyone who has been affected by the culling policy in any way. It will be a child friendly event and pets will be welcome. Floral tributes will also be welcome but there will be a collection for ARC Aaddington Fund Reg. Charity 209961. If the weather permits the event will be lit by candles otherwise please bring a torch. Service sheets will be available.Please arrive early to help organisation. Contact 07950 728196

Feb 18 ~ TB the new plague.

Didi writes, "We have had three farms test positive to TB within a five mile radius just last week - all dairy farms. I was talking to a journalist from the Western Morning News, last Friday: 1000 farms have had movement orders put on them while they wait for TB testing to be done. The journalist phoned Elliot Morley on Thursday and he said "We will have all the testing sorted out and the movement restrictions lifted in a few weeks." I think not my little warthog of a man.... Another classic from Morley, who by this statement has yet again shown his total ignorance of agriculture and the practicalities of carrying out 1000's of TB tests! If you farm "up north" do not buy in cattle from North Cornwall or the Holsworthy area of Devon. A few years ago Holsworthy Cattle Market was closed for six months while MAFF tried to control TB in the area."

Feb 18 ~ The Royal Society of Edinburgh has sent us more details about their visit to the Borders on Feb 26th

"The Newcastleton meeting starts at 3.15 and goes on till 5.45. ... we then go on to Newtown St Boswells for the meeting in the Council Chamber beginning at 7.30.
These arrangements have been widely advertised throughout the Borders- eight local papers are taking our notice and all plus local radio have been approached by RSE press officer. Details are going on the web-site. .. Transport will be provided from Edinburgh back to Edinburgh-details tomorrow

Feb 18 ~ "Metric martyrs" to learn their fate (See latest news)

LONDON (Reuters) - "Five so-called "metric martyrs" will find out today if they have won their legal battle to sell goods in pounds and ounces. ....... Lord Justices John Laws and Peter Crane will give their decision at the High Court on Monday following a test case hearing last November aimed at saving shopkeepers from going metric. The five are backed by high profile figures including former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, singer Elaine Paige and actor Edward Fox. At the November hearing, the five's lawyer Michael Shrimpton told the judges: "This is a test case of constitutional importance." The five at the centre of the case are Steven Thoburn, John Dove, Julian Harman, Colin Hunt and Peter Collins, who have been prosecuted for selling things like bananas, mackerel, Brussels sprouts and pumpkins by the pound rather than the kilo. The courts that convicted them took the view that the five were under a duty to use metric measures in line with European regulations. However, the five claim that the 1985 Weights and Measures Act entitles them to stick to pounds and ounces."

Feb 18 ~ An email received this morning reflects the misery felt by many, many people that what is felt to be"the disgusting practice of live animal exports" is to be quietly resumed...

"The fact that this government can waste so much time endeavouring to ban hunting with hounds, while it has happily permitted the recommencement of the export of live animals to the EU for meat fills me with despair. In my innocence, I really thought that the live exports were finished for good, but what do the feelings of a few sheep matter in the face of all that lovely money? Once again big business triumphs," writes Margaret S. (See yesterday's Independent)

Feb 17 ~ "Whitehall is at war" writes Brian Brady, Jason Allardyce and Murdo MacLeod in Today's Scotsman on Sunday under the headline Blair flies back to storm of sleaze

..." the resignation of spin doctors Jo Moore and Martin Sixsmith threatening to plunge Blair's government and the civil service into full-scale war. The fallout from a cash-for-favours row, in which it is alleged the PM influenced a Romanian business deal on behalf of Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian billionaire and Labour donor, becomes more dangerous by the day. And now Scotland on Sunday has uncovered further evidence of Labour's cosy relations with business with the revelation that vaccines tycoon Paul Drayson, who has won multi-million pound government contracts, donated £50,000 to the party. ....... Today Blair faces renewed condemnation over the influence wielded on his government by both big business donors and his army of spin doctors . ...... There is a growing impression that his administration is now embedded in just the sort of sleazy mire that, when in opposition, Blair accused the Conservative government of wallowing in. ... the issue which Blair will have to grasp , is the power wielded by the unelected special advisers at the front line of New Labour's policy machine and its attempts to manage the news agenda. Veteran Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody believes Blair's own high command must bear a large share of the blame for the explosive events that rocked the government in his absence. "The reality is that I think Number 10 has got to rethink its attitude both to civil servants and the way that there appears to be a group of people operating out of Number 10 who are neither elected nor civil servants," said the chairman of the Commons transport committee. "On the whole, there is not a lot of point in having a civil service if you are immediately going to upend everything they do."

Feb 17 ~ These are the people who regulate our lives, try to evade accountability and impose on others the Official Secrets Act. What would have happened if Brigadier Birtwhistle had not elbowed his way into the secret meeting on March 22nd 2001?

An extract from Today's Sunday Telegraph: Brigadier Birwhistle "arrived in Carlisle the day before Tony Blair was due for a meeting - arranged in secret - with farmers' leaders to discuss the escalating crisis. Brig Birtwhisle, waving aside the lack of a formal invitation, not only attended the emergency summit in an upstairs room of a Carlisle pub but - without Ministry of Defence permission - delivered to the Prime Minister his own plan to clear a backlog of 150,000 dead animals and carry out a preventative cull. Frustration was breeding anger. Brig Birtwhistle believes that Britain came close to serious civil unrest last March - unrest that made itself felt as Mr Blair arrived for that crucial meeting on March 22. Inside the pub, The Shepherd's Inn, three circular tables had been pushed together and the Prime Minister was briefed in turn by farming union officials, county councillors and tourist leaders. "After about an hour and half, I was bored, frankly," recalls Brig Birtwhistle. "Eventually, the Prime Minister eyeballed me over the table and said: 'Will the administrative arrangements hold up?' "I replied: 'I am not a logistician, Prime Minister, but in my opinion they won't.' "We then took a break and Blair looked very lonely. Leaders need leading sometimes so I went across to him. He said: 'How long do you think it's going to take?' I said: 'Prime Minister, I haven't got a bloody clue.' ..."

Feb 16 ~ An alternative to the NFU for graziers?

"Calling Chairmen and all graziers..."

Feb 16 ~ Humanity should learn "a lesson in humility"...... Read the article by Barry Commoner in this month's American Harper's Magazine "UNRAVELING THE DNA MYTH" debunking the theory upon which genetic engineering relies

- that the DNA double helix structure is the exclusive agent of inheritance in all living things:
Extract: "Our leading scientists and scientific entrepreneurs (two labels that are increasingly interchangeable) assure us that these feats of technological prowess.... are nonetheless safe and reliable. We are told that everything is under control. Conveniently ignored, forgotten, or in some instances simply suppressed, are the caveats, the fine print, the flaws and spontaneous abortions. Most clones exhibit developmental failure before or soon after birth, and even apparently normal clones often suffer from kidney or brain malformations.......The list of malfunctions gets little notice; biotechnology companies are not in the habit of publicizing studies that question the efficacy of their miraculous products or suggest the presence of a serpent in the biotech garden. ...Last February, Crick's gamble suffered a spectacular loss. In the journals Nature and Science and at joint press conferences and television appearances, the two genome research teams reported their results. The major result was "unexpected".......people are only about as gene-rich as a mustard-like weed (which has 26,000 genes) and about twice as genetically endowed as a fruit fly or a primitive worm-hardly an adequate basis for distinguishing among "life as a fly, a carrot, or a man." ...... if the human gene count is too low to match the number of proteins and the numerous inherited traits that they engender, and if it cannot explain the vast inherited difference between a weed and a person, there must be much more to the "ultimate description of life" than the genes, on their own, can tell us.....The discovery that the human genome is not much different from the roundworm's led Dr. Eric Lander, one of the leaders of the project, to declare that humanity should learn "a lesson in humility."......what is known about the prion is a somber warning that processes far removed from the conceptual constraints of the central dogma are at work in molecular genetics and can lead to fatal disease...." DNA did not create life; life created DNA" See whole article

Feb 16 ~ Shadow Agriculture Minister Ann Winterton will be visiting Tynedale on March 18th to meet farmers recovering from the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

According to the Hexham Courant Mrs Winterton, the MP for Congleton, spent many holidays in the Allendale area in her youth, and is anxious to meet local farmers there as well as going to Hexham Mart.

Feb16 ~ Bob Shaw says,"Things will never be the same again" Those of us who remember Bob's superhuman efforts in the early months of the foot and mouth holocaust will be particularly saddened

by the extract from the Independent story today by Ian Herbert, about "Cumbria's empty fells in which we learn that Bob Shaw's application for the post-foot-and-mouth business support grant has been turned down. Bob is a highly respected contract shepherd "who was tending 18 flocks a year before foot-and-mouth took out 14 of them. His other line of business is shearing alpaca across Britain but he did not leave Cumbria last summer for fear of making dangerous contact with the infected national herd. He's £ 20,000 down but has been unsuccessful in his application for the post-foot-and-mouth business support grants which are decidedly easier to procure if you're in the tourism business. For the first time in 12 years, the Cumbrian lambing season won't provide Mr Shaw with enough work this spring so he'll be off on a nationwide alpaca-shearing tour in the hope of seeing off the Australian and New Zealand shearers who pinched his contracts last year. "It's those of us who weren't directly affected, by not running farms or having infected herds, who have felt this most, financially," said Mr Shaw. "Things will never be quite the same."

Feb 15 ~ Another non-report from the BBC about the Lessons Learned inquiry in Scotland reports this evening that Ross Finnie has praised what he calls the "determination and resilience"

of farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis. "Ross Finnie told an inquiry into the outbreak that those in Dumfries and Galloway and the Borders had been "instrumental" in tackling the threat of the disease spreading further, " says the BBC report which goes on to repeat the word independent and to tell those who do not already know that Dr Anderson's "team, which is studying the effects of foot-and-mouth across Britain, has already visited Devon and Wales."

Feb 15 ~ Now British horses need passports....

An EU regulation requiring that horses intended for human consumption need passports has been interpreted by our regulation obsessed government as justification to insist that ALL horses and donkeys in England and Wales have passports and identification numbers, (at the expense of their owners). In a statement likely to cause owners to laugh hollowly, Defra has promised to "keep bureaucracy to a minimum." According to a report in EDP24, a Norfolk news site, Alun Michael said in a written Commons answer, that by December 31, 2003 all horses and ponies must have passports. "The Government also intends to introduce a unique identification number for all horses and ponies," he added...... A Whitehall official stressed yesterday that the decision has been taken following discussion with "key stakeholders in the industry."

Feb 15 ~ There are now only three more days left before the nationally important High Court hearing

for a proper public inquiry into the foot and mouth crisis - to be fully independent of the government rather than one chaired by a former advisor to Tony Blair and whose secretariat is based in the Cabinet Office. The proceedings promise to be full of interest. Space will be limited. Supporters are advised to arrive early at the High Court in the Strand. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10.30 am.

Feb 15 ~ The National Trust, in a remarkably po-faced reaction, has complained about the astro-turf milk bottle placed in the hands of the nude Cerne Abbot giant

(see below) A spokesperson said that the National Trust was " concerned the actions of the farmers could have damaged the historically-important chalk outline"
We have been concerned for some time that the National Trust, which we used to trust and support to the hilt as a national treasure itself, has now lost its way in a political maze - not unlike several other national institutions such as the RSPCA, the RSPB and others.

Feb 14 ~ Elliot Morley, with an ambiguity unlikely to have been intended, said, "It is regrettable that a further two instances have come to light...''

responding to today's news that meat from the offspring of two BSE-infected cattle has entered the food chain. Mr Morley said that DEFRA would now " tighten procedures to minimise the risk of another case"
Peter Ainsworth comments: "Today's news is yet another serious blow to public confidence in Government measures to ensure the safety of British food. "One mistake might be understandable, but this is the fourth case since November where meat from the offspring of BSE-infected cattle has entered the foodchain, and it begs the question of how many other such cases have been missed. "Barely a week goes by without some further incident which reveals the shambles at the heart of DEFRA. "Consumers and the farming industry deserve better than the carelessness and incompetence that have become the hallmarks of Margaret Beckett's department."
According to Ananova this evening, Defra officials are "investigating the matter" and that" legal action against the farmers concerned" was being considered.

Feb 14 ~ The giant milk bottle (30 feet high) which is now being held by the Cerne Abbas giant in Dorset

reminds us that each year 25,000 tonnes of pesticide are sprayed over the British countryside, including dairy farms, and that we have traces of 300 to 500 potentially harmful chemicals in our bodies mostly as a result of the food we eat. See article in icWales today.

Feb 13 ~ The news that a thousand farms are now unable to move cattle because of a tuberculosis crisis that is spreading across the UK

and that TB has spread - that is to say JUMPED - beyond the South West of England to Cumbria and Scotland - not to mention France - pours cold water on the much vaunted claims by John Krebs and co that bovine TB is spread by badgers... Pat Gardiner of comments: " Another rural myth exploded, Well it wasn't cattle movements and there were not too many badgers hitchhiking up the motorways - so how is TB spread?"

Feb 13 ~ We notice with gloom that £143million was spent by the government on advertising the Labour Party last year.

Alison Hardie, political correspondent of the Scotsman, reports: "The government's record spending on advertising itself is to be put under the microscope, amid suspicions that taxpayers' money was used to boost the Labour Party. Latest industry figures show the government's spree has shot it ahead of multi-national consumer companies, such as Procter & Gamble, to become Britain's biggest advertiser. .... Alex Salmond: "It is indefensible for the government to waste £143 million of taxpayers' money on advertising itself and its own propaganda. In no other country in the world is the government the biggest advertiser. "This is money that should be invested in front-line public services - not blown on New Labour spin." (more)

Feb 13 ~ Slobodan Milosevic went on trial yesterday accused of orchestrating a murderous campaign of "medieval savagery" against his own people during nearly a decade of conflict in the Balkans.

Like Macbeth, he must have known deep down that murder will out and that there would, in the end, be a terrible reckoning. The medieval savagery inflicted on the farmers of Cumbria, Yorkshire, Devon, Wales and elsewhere and on their stock will never be forgotten either and we can only hope that the dawning realisation, noticed on the face of Dr Iain Anderson at the first Lessons Learned public meeting in Okehampton, will soon reach the rest of the population. The majority in our towns and cities still have no idea why the foot and mouth crisis of 2001 will be a stain on our British reputation for "fair play" for ever .

Feb 13 ~For those who sense a global unease rather than merely a British one,

George Monbiot's article in yesterday's Guardian gives much to mull over. "...other interests in Afghanistan are doing rather nicely. On January 29, the IMF's assistant director for monetary and exchange affairs suggested that the country should abandon its currency and adopt the dollar instead. This would, he explained, be a "temporary" measure, though, he conceded, "when an economy dollarizes, it takes a little while to undollarize." The day before, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development revealed that part of its aid package to Afghan farmers would take the form of GM seed." See Democwatch

Feb 12 ~ Letter in Western Morning News

We are informed that in a letter in the Western Morning News, Dr. Iain Anderson (Lessons Learned Inquiry) admits that he was wrong to be seen in the company of top DEFRA official, Mr Tim Render during and after his visit to Okehampton, Devon. Dr. Anderson says that he was not listening to Tim Render whilst they were on the bus together; he was actually asleep.

Feb 12 ~ "We run the risk that by 2010 the UK agricultural industry is acknowledged as the one with great vision, but as we stand up on the podium to receive the cup, we fall over because we have bled to death." says Vic Robertson in today's Scotsman.

We have watched with ever-growing disbelief the catalogue of crises to hit farming. The Inquiries all say they do not want to be "recriminative" to use Dr Anderson's word. We do not agree. If officials are not prepared to be accountable they have no right to be officials. There are many who should be brought to account. The demise of slaughter houses and the hardships this brought both to farmers and animals, the bungling, dodging and weaving of successive food scares, the refusal to allow independent research into BSE, the peculiar and secretive handling of Classical Swine Fever, the eradication of millions more farm animals during the FMD crisis, the secrecy, bullying and imposition of the Official Secrets Act throughout the past months, the pretence of "independent" scientific advice and official inquiries, the treatment of countless people who are still suffering and whose lives will never be the same again ....A proper full public inquiry must be undertaken if Britain is to have any further claim to being a "democracy" rather than a country slipping quietly and unpleasantly into tyranny.

Feb 11 ~ A letter in today's Telegraph from Zac Goldsmith shows how right to be concerned are those who fear the proliferation of GM crops - whose cross pollination is now producing weeds that are super-resistant to herbicides

SIR - Brian Johnson says (letter, Feb 7) that English Nature has "not found gene transfer from crops to weeds, but from one variety of GM crop to another."
In fact the research has discovered cross-pollination between different types of GM varieties, leading to super resistance in their unintended offspring. (The term pesticide is routinely used to cover herbicides and other forms of chemical pest control.)
"In effect," reports English Nature's own press release on the research, "they are on the road to becoming nuisance weeds." Is it really worth taking the risk?
From: Zac Goldsmith, The Ecologist, London SW10"

Feb 10 ~ The number of people who have made money out of other people's misery

just keeps on growing. See email


Feb 10 ~ Franz Fischler's Home Page can be viewed here

"I remain at your disposal for further questions..." writes Mr Fischler. David suggests "I reckon we should inform the people who actually make the decisions that determine our future." and sends a short list of contact links.

Feb 9 ~ " .........On the same day, the government announced 44 new trials of genetically engineered crops, which will be planted so close to fields of conventional crops that the further contamination of the foodchain is guaranteed.

Today, parliament will debate the varied and fascinating career of John Birt, the government's transport adviser, who turns out to be working for one of Britain's major transport operators, Richard Branson. The government seems to be looking for trouble. So what on earth is going on? Given that the government's love affair with big business provides the substance of all the major scandals it has suffered since taking office, why does it keep hopping into bed with corporate power? " More from George Monbiot from Thursday's Guardian

Feb 9 ~ The hunting issue is one that arouses such passions that reason rarely gets a look in.

Rupert Isaacson's essay in today's Telegraph takes a cool look at the situation. It is an interesting and logical article in an illogical country where politicians will fight furiously and at length to introduce anti-hunting legislation to protect foxes (which will then be gassed, trapped and shot) but who sent healthy breeding ewes to their deaths - not to mention millions of other healthy animals and pets - without a murmur of protest.

Feb 7 ~ Mr Roy Miller (see report in icWales) was heard to say "...the handling of foot and mouth? SHAMBOLIC...

" ....We saw a lot of SHAM and there was a load of......."

Feb 7 ~ Mrs Beckett will be talking at the NFU conference today.

Not surprisingly, she will tell be telling the farmers there that they should work in partnership with the government and that they need to "forge links with their markets" and the rest of the food chain to "meet the challenges of a changing world". Meanwhile, that other organisation which works not just in partnership with the government but hand in glove, the new-look RSPB, has conducted a survey among 997(sic) people and reports that only a third of them value the British country as a source of food. 70% of those questioned apparently see the countryside as a place for animals and habitats. ( One wonders whether the other 30% actually stated that all animals and their habitats should be removed from the UK or whether they should be confined to towns.) On the basis of this survey the RSPB is "calling on the Government to act quickly and positively on the recommendations of the Curry Report." According to Ananova a RSPB spokesman said, : "These results fly in the face of the kind of resistance to change we heard farmers' leaders expressing last week." The RSPB is evidently becoming a force to be reckoned with...

Feb 7 ~ José Bové France's highest court upheld José Bové's three-month prison sentence yesterday.

He may get a reprieve, since he has already spent nearly three weeks in jail in the case. A lower court, in applying the high court's decision, could order him to spend time in a supervised work release program. However, Bove said he would refuse any type of punishment except prison. "Either I'm guilty and I go back to prison, or I'm innocent and I shouldn't have been convicted," he said. "If they want to come get me, they know where I live." Several French political parties said they opposed the sentence and stood behind Bove. The French Communist Party called the court's decision "unjust and grotesque," while the Greens praised Bové's "civil disobedience."

Feb 6 ~ Mr Gill said: "I look to our conference to give a clear message about the future direction of the industry, not just to the farming community but to the nation."

The arrogance of this is a little breathtaking. Marie Skinner, the Norfolk farmer who is bavely standing for election as vice-president, was banned by Ben Gill from addressing the council which elects officials."Anywhere else it would be scandalous; in the NFU,.... it's standard. " said the Sunday Times last week....."They had a vote on whether they would let me address them as I am the only candidate not on the council, and they voted against. What I didn't know was they were only voting on whether to allow me to speak for one minute." Her opponents "have lots of cronies on the council; if it were one member one vote, I would get it". Democracy, it seems, is a novel concept: when she asked for room on her election leaflet for a mini-manifesto, they looked incredulous.
"Sir Simon Gourlay, a former NFU president, describes her as a "breath of fresh air" and the council as "old farts". He says he will vote for her, then resign. This election could split the union. "

Feb 6 ~ The news that 8,000 tons of beef will be destroyed because of "faulty tests" comes today from Berlin.

F.A.Z. BERLIN/MAINZ. Following the recent discovery that testing procedures in Bavaria designed to detect mad cow disease, or BSE, were carried out negligently, almost 8,000 tons of beef will be taken off the market and destroyed, it was announced on Monday.
The Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture Ministry said that the meat of all animals over 24 months of age that had been tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy in an unlicensed laboratory in Westheim would be declared unfit for human consumption and recalled......
Like FMD, it is becoming more and more apparent that BSE too is a highly political disease, about as divorced from common sense and genuine scientific integrity as it is possible to get..

Feb 5 ~ The Royal Society of Edinburgh will be visiting the Borders on 26th February (Newtown St Boswells).

"...we shall be entirely in listening mode"
See note from the Royal Society of Edinburgh which makes it clear that you do not have to live in Dumfries /Galloway or in the Borders to ask to give evidence nor to attend the open meetings. Anyone from anywhere with a point to make should come and emphasise their views to the executive. Those who want to give oral evidence in private (i.e. instead of coming all the way to Edinburgh) should write in and say so, whether or not they have made a submission.

Feb 5 ~ Margaret Beckett in Kendal today said Cumbria had been "well served by ministerial visits".

She warned farmers that they would have to find their own solutions to an industry-wide slump - it was NOT the Government's role to make supermarkets pay better prices for quality Cumbrian goods. Elaine says, "Beckett (and it wasn't cardboard Marge this time) appeared on local TV yesterday, watching the cows being milked whilst having her cup of tea in the "viewing gallery" cafe of the farm shop at Sizergh, near Kendal. When she was asked about the lack of ministers visiting the county, she replied that the Prime Minister had visited "more than once". There were a handful of vocal protesters outside. One gentleman onlooker remarked that she might be hearing the complaints of the people but she "was not listening"...."

Feb 5 ~"Describing the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as a "trough in which some pigs are more equal than others", Dr. Richard North, research director in the EU, points out that the UK has a struggle to compete with most of her EU 'partners'.

France leads the field of agri-investment with a commitment of £1.2 billion per year, equating to 17.5% of the EU budget and helped 11,952 young farmers fund their businesses from 1990 -97. In comparison, Britain will draw down only 3.5% of the Rural Development fund and offered assistance to just 27 new entrants."
Essential reading today is this article by Pat Bird on " sustainable agriculture" ( in the light of the Curry report ) with its ironic and scathing comments about the trade advantages brought about by other countries' farming methods. Not for a moment would she approve of those practices being used here - but the article clearly reveals how very steeply the playing field is sloping away from us.

Feb 5 ~ On vaccination, there are two potential ways in which it might be used in a future outbreak, namely for eradication and containment. We find that the Government should set aside its perceived presumption against vaccination

and explore how modern vaccination techniques could help tackle future outbreaks without resorting to the disastrous policy of killing and of contiguous culls with its attendant disposal problems that during 2001 brought both farming and tourism to their knees.
1.13 To this end we suggest that Government give much greater priority to more scientific research into vaccination backed with appropriate funds and contracts.
1.14 While we welcome the move by Government (since our Inquiry) to set up an international conference to discuss vaccination, it should go further and initiate international co-operation (beyond the EU) on vaccination by setting up an international partnership that would explore the issues, agree best practice, co-operate in vaccine development and production, and adopt a global strategy to which all livestock producing countries could sign up. This alone will create the level playing field for all producers.
1.15 But, in the short term, the use of vaccination to contain the disease and thus reduce the pressure on the system of slaughtering and disposal must be considered.
1.16 We find that the whole question of using vaccination in the interest of temporary containment must be explored in the context of 1.12 above. DEFRA should recognise that farmers routinely inject stock as part of their livestock husbandry. The ridiculous and dangerous situation brought about by attempts at last-minute training of vaccinators at Hatherleigh should never be repeated because there are clear alternatives. From the full Devon Inquiry Report

Feb 4 ~ " My Lords, I fear that noble Lords will find the Minister's response inadequate and disappointing."

Baroness Byford was not impressed with the answer to her question last Thursday. See Parliamentary Page

Feb 4 ~ The hell that my wife, children and I had to endure can only be imagined. The misery was down solely to the arrogance, rudeness, thoughtlessness and sheer bullying of one organisation - MAFF

(More) The Devon Inquiry pages (see left frame) have a huge section of eye witness accounts. Most are almost too upsetting to read. Warmwell would like to reproduce some of these "voices" so that the government's assurance that no one really wants an inquiry may perhaps be challenged.

Feb 4 ~ Fireworks hurt 8,000 animals

A report in today's Times says thousands of animals were injured by fireworks in Scotland last year, according to a report published yesterday by Scotland's biggest animal charity. The Scottish SPCA has called for a change in laws regulating the sale of fireworks after a survey of vets throughout Scotland showed that up to 10,000 pets and farm animals were killed or injured in 2001.

Feb 4 ~ A cow story from the Telegraph today neatly explains Enron:

Capitalism: you have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies. You sell them all and retire on the income.
Enron capitalism: you have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer to get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows.
The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Jersey (of course) company secretly owned by your chief financial officer, who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on six more.
Now do you see why a company with $62 billion in assets has gone bust?

Feb 2 ~ The Cumberland News reported yesterday that all of the 1,852 Cumbrian farms affected by foot and mouth have now been given a clean bill of health.

It says, "Eleven months after the first case was confirmed in the county the last of the farms on which animals were slaughtered have been declared clean. The milestone, reached on Monday, means all farms affected have now been given their FM7 forms by Defra. Defra in Carlisle had to recruit and train 175 cleansing and disinfection (C&D) officers to supervise the process on the farms. The training developed in Cumbria was adopted nationally for cleansing and disinfection staff employed in other areas. Twenty-one days after a farm has been given an FM7, 'sentinel' stock can be moved onto the holding under licence. The stock is then monitored and, after a further 28 days, the sentinels are inspected and blood samples taken from any sheep or goats. Providing tests come back negative, all Form A restrictions on the farm are lifted and the farmer can carry out further restocking. On the other hand, farmers can choose to wait for four months after being issued with a FM7 before restocking."

Feb 2 ~ Marie Skinner, the Norfolk farmer who on Thursday is standing for the vice-presidency of the NFU has been embarrassed by a letter sent to the Prime Minister by her husband on the subject of hunting.

Mrs Skinner knew nothing about the letter.
She said the most upsetting thing was that her NFU election campaign had been damaged by views that were not her own. She has sought to rally her support and says she remains hopeful that her campaign will survive the controversy.

Feb 2 ~ A vaccination policy would have been a thousand times cheaper... Another extract that reminds us that none of this heartbreaking waste was necessary.

"Last year the Bromwells did not make enough money to pay tax. This year will be slightly better but the thing that obsesses them is the idea that none of this was necessary. "If we could have vaccinated, I would have done so in March," says Phillip. Their creamery would have taken the milk from vaccinated cows, he says. Vaccination would have cost him £250 to £300. In comparison, the entire cost of culling - ie, slaughtering, rendering, cleaning, compensation, etc - was close to £300,000. "A vaccination policy would have been a thousand times cheaper," he says. Phillip and Gillian take me to the barn to look at their new stock. They do not have names, yet, but they will. "The worst is behind us," says Phillip, his eyes looking particularly large and sad behind his spectacle lenses.

Feb 2 ~ THE BBC has been accused of scaremongering about the dangers of biological terrorism

According to today's Times, " Smallpox 2002: Silent Weapon predicts that a virus set loose by a lone terrorist could set off the worst pandemic of disease the world has seen. ..
Insufficient stocks of vaccine and forced quarantine measures lead to riots and an infrastructure breakdown, according to the script.
...John Eldridge, editor of Jane's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence, said the BBC's figures were alarmist and irresponsible. "They seem to be using simple arithmetical extrapolation."
However, an article from Jane's Security Intelligence Review - not noted for its alarmist tendencies - was published in early February before the foot and mouth outbreak in the UK was known about and months before Sept 11. It was copied onto this website last October. It said:
.....deliberate sabotage is traditionally not something health officials have actively looked for when investigating crop or animal disease outbreaks. The implication here is that more acts may have actually taken place than are known about. Animal and plant health officials in Washington concede this is a possibility, . .......Colonel Robert Kadlec, a US Air Force biowarfare expert, has somewhat ominously concluded that: "Agroterror offers an adversary the means to wage a potentially subtle yet devastating form of warfare, one which would impact on the political, social and economic sectors of society and potentially threaten national survival itself."

Feb 2 ~ An email from Michael, responding to Dr Watkins' submission reminds us of the countless episodes of Defra wanting to kill first and not ask questions afterwards.

"This is from the Farmers Guardian : "Vet Helen O'Hare, who worked for DEFRA said, 'This was not the biggest foot and mouth outbreak, it was the biggest slaughter of animals and that was because of the contiguous cull'. She said she nearly broke down after a farmer was told his animals had to be culled because they showed symptoms of the virus. According to the vet, the blisters in some of the animals mouths had been caused by lime , which the farmer had spread on the fields, but officials in London would not give vets 12 hours to prove it was not foot and mouth. The farmers neighbours were also taken out, resulting in the slaughter of 16,000 animals, but all blood tests came back negative."

Feb 1 ~ An important and lengthy article in The Times 2last Thursday, written by Ann Treneman, looks at the "winners" and losers of the crisis....' wrath is reserved for the Government. "The Government has made it clear that we are totally expendable," says one farmer's wife as she stans in her cold front room, her red, rough hands gripping each other. "They want to cull us."
(Wendy) Vere says, the farmers' trust in the Government, which was already wavering, has been shaken to the core. Vere knows of several farms that lost stock under the "contiguous cull" policy even though there was no longer any risk of the disease. The reason? Panic. MAFF was caught "with its pants down", trying to deal with an outbreak that was out of control from the beginning.
"You had people running around in little circles and one person sitting in front of a computer screen going: that farm has to go, that farm has to go, that farm has to go. And you've got someone on the ground saying, there's no point in sending another slaughter team because there has already been one here."
She kept a record of some of the people she spoke to during that period. She thinks a public inquiry is vital. "Nothing will be learnt and the next time we get a major disease outbreak - it may not be foot-and-mouth - they still won't be able to mount an effective defence. And so it will be exactly the same scenario, with civil servants running around scratching their heads, saying 'Shit, what should we do now?'" But was it really like that? "Yes. I may not have been working for the Ministry but I have friends who did and I have had it from the horse's mouth that that was exactly what it was like."
She hands me a plastic bag with something hairy in it. "That's cow hair and skin." (MORE)

Feb 1 ~" I hope that everyone with little gems like these will surface and make them known -

it does lighten our lives - if only slightly.." Pat R sends a couple of true stories about the efficiency of the Ministry we all know and wish we didn't.

Feb 1 ~ Simon Jenkins, writing in The Times today:"Observers might think that Commons committees have power,

especially as they are always described by the BBC as "influential". Yet consider the issues of the day. On the foot-and-mouth disaster the Agriculture Committee says it "does not want to duplicate the work" of government inquiries. So much for fearless scrutiny. "

Feb 1 ~ Lawrence has writtena letter to Nick Harvey MP concerning his growing disquiet about the South West Regional Development Agency....

. I object to the growing power of this unelected body, the members of which are appointed by the Secretary of State. Struck by the SWRDA's careless treatment of small farm based businesses like ours, I have looked at the composition of their board. None represent or have direct experience of farming and particularly the sort of small family farm that characterises the South West. The only contact with any sort of agriculture on the board is through a former pub retailer who now chairs a large Milk selling organisation, and a member of a Labour Party affiliated 'think tank' on 'Agricultural Reform'.....
an increasing number of the agencies which deal with our affairs in a quasi governmental capacity, like Business Link, and Energywatch, for example, are in fact private limited companies. I am very disturbed to find that Companies are no longer required to list their Directors ... (The whole letter makes for alarming reading)

Feb 1 ~ A quotation sent via the European Parliament has landed in our inbox:

"The citizens (of Europe) lack the instruments of power to force decision-makers to look after their interests. The inhabitants are merely the subjects (or subordinates - Untertanen) of power, not themselves the holders of power - they are not empowered to authorise or instruct the rulers".
Erik Erikson. Oslo University

Jan 31 ~ An impassioned email just received from Sam - "Please pass this on to all those who feel anger and frustration getting them down and tugging at their sanity....

to those who had Defra's slaughterers at their own gates, those who tried to help others, those who were surrounded and sickened by senseless killing, those who refused to turn away from the knowledge of what was happening, those who look in despair at the way the media have obediently vilified the wrong enemy....Remember that you are most definitely not alone. There are people both here and in other countries who share your outrage and continuing pain. Please keep on fighting, writing, talking and supporting. Buy a winnie teashirt, get people to read the damning report of the Devon Inquiry and go on letting your MP know that you are not taken in by spin. The behaviour of DEFRA, the SVS and the government during the last months was as illegal as it was immoral. The provisions of the new Animal Health bill seeking to give a retrospective "legality" to the holocaust are illegal under EU law. Please keep telling everyone that everything is NOT all right... "

Jan 31 ~ Parliamentary Question in the House of Lords

*The Baroness Byford - To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their decision that the Department for the Environment, Food and Regional Affairs should submit only written answers to Northumberland County Council's inquiry into the foot-and-mouth outbreak was in the public interest.

Jan 31 ~ Germany is the ONLY other EU country, apart from the UK which calling for an end to production subsidies.

writes David. This is because it is ONLY the UK and Germany that are net contributors to the EU Fund and as such are subsidising farmers in 14 other EU countries. Unless the UK can change the rules on funding, it might as well try to end subsidies because of any subsidies we claim, the EU claims back about 75% (Maastricht). At the end of the day it will be the EU that decides the way forward, not the UK - or in this case just England. It only takes one country to veto an idea and it is killed off. Richard North reckons they will bodge and bodge so Curry's "vision" is a bit like our Parish Council telling Westminster what it must do.

Jan 30 ~ Roy Miller has kindly sent us a copy of his letter to the Lessons Learned Inquiry.

Part of the contents concerns the cases in Wales, reported as "Welshpool cases" that were nothing of the kind. His efforts saved an estimated 70 farms who had been going to be culled. None subsequently ever contracted the disease.

Jan 30 ~ It will be interesting to see whay reaction the following short paragraph from Robert Ulig's article in today's Telegraph provokes:

The article lists many of the main proposals from the report - which is useful since the link from the Cabinet Office does not work.

Jan 30 ~ Tessa writes realistically about organic farming in the UK to the Forum

I don't think many people would argue with the principles behind an environmentally friendly bias; the reality however might be rather more difficult to implement.....We should also face the fact that it is cheaper to import organic food from abroad and will continue to be so. Organic crops are extremely labour intensive; labour is very much cheaper in less developed countries than it is in the UK, and far more easily available. I cannot see either rural or urban populations turning out in force to hand-weed carrots or pick potatoes at high speed for low wages...

Jan 30 ~ In investigating the South West Regional Development Agency,

the shadowy body which decided to interpret the State Aid Rules in such a way that practically no farm based business could recieve assistance from the SW Business Recovery Fund, Lawrence has found some worrying information - including an ENRON link.

Jan 30 ~ From the updated "Light Relief" page... Click here
to see the Leader of the FREE WORLD in action.....and don't forget to click on both "Bush" and "Blair" to see what it is that each follows...

(thank you David). We also hear today some more up-to-the-minute news about cheering advances in "helping the environment"; EU funded research costing £2 million will investigate the possibility of adding herbs and plant oil extracts to cattle feed. The study carried out in Aberdeen is aimed at "helping the environment" and "animal welfare" Ananova

Jan 30 ~ An additional 5,000 foreign students will be allowed into the UK over the next two years to help the agricultural sector, the Government announced today.

Over that period, the annual quota of students admitted through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme will increase from 15,200 to 20,200, with 3,500 extra work cards for 2002.
Those participating in the scheme must be in full-time education and aged between 18 and 25. In 2000, the bulk of those taking part came from Poland, the Ukraine, Lithuania and Bulgaria.

Jan 30 ~ Dot writes: Just watched Beckett on Channel 4

when pressed it appears we are to expect to see less animals and more wetlands, she says they will flood fields to relieve pressure elsewhere. I keep waiting to hear mention of improved animal welfare in this brave new world of hers, some chance.

Jan 30 ~ MORE signs the organic revolution is faltering....

Supermarkets Tesco, Somerfield and Safeway have refused to back The Organic Targets Campaign, which wants to see 30pc of UK agricultural land convert to organic by 2010.

Jan 29 ~ Chris Chapman's articles and photographs are outstanding and now form an appendix to the full Devon report of Professor Mercer.

One, in stark black and white, shows the last small calf to be slaughtered on Philip Lake's farm, being carried awkwardly by two whitecoated figures, to its death. This is one animal. There were nearly ELEVEN MILLION killed in Britain; a fraction only were infected. The work of Chris Chapman, unemotional and factual as it is, should be enough to explain to those still unaware of the scale of the disaster why some of us continue to cry out for a proper and independent inquiry, one that will name names and shame the powerful forces that did this to the country.

Jan 29 ~ The article in the New Statesman yesterday may raise blood pressure to dangerous levels in some readers.

It is well worth studying however since it will appear to many to be good sense. While the article calls the handling of the foot and mouth crisis by the government a "fiasco" it shows no understanding of the plight of the family farmers and refers contemptuously to the "Range Rover classes". Paying farmers to enhance landscape value and wildlife diversity would be a waste of money, because any public funds available for this purpose could be used far more effectively by conservation organisations than by people whose true interests lie elsewhere. .. The article advocates increasing the green field building of new housing. There is a real or assumed belief in the benefits to the Third World of globalisation. The writer almost seems to be suggesting that a landscape can be produced by wishing it into existence.Where farming became unviable and the planning regime continued to preclude development, land prices would fall. This would create the opportunity for wildlife organisations to create new native forests, flower-rich downland, heathland and wetlands. Local authorities would be able to provide more country parks. Individuals would create their own amenity woodlands and nature reserves. The article seems to look forward hungrily to the day when farming becomes "unviable" and this pastoral utopia can be achieved - but it will be the families who have farmed for generations and who created the landscape who are being forced out. What happens to them in the brave new utopia of Baroness Young and the "conservation organisations"? People are being led to believe in their right to roam - but for how long do ordinary people enjoy freedom of the land when it finally comes under State Control?

Jan 28 ~ Yet he did not then insist on public disclosure; he was too loyal to be a whistle blower. ...

William Rees Mogg has written today in The Times a frightening and sobering article about Enron and about the forces that led to the death of a good man, John Clifford Baxter, who until last May was the vice-chairman. Enron's spiralling deceptions did not involve the same private human misery as that suffered in the foot and mouth crisis, and William Rees Mogg makes no mention of it, nor of Maff /Defra or the State Veterinary Service but the similarities are striking. Many good people were and are involved in both. John Baxter's wife had said, "People are being investigated. People are being sued. This is going to follow people for the rest of their lives - people who didn't do anything wrong." William Rees Mogg considers that this was cause for Baxter's suicide: In front of the congressional inquiries he would have had to tell what he knew and that would have destroyed friends and colleagues. Calls for a public Inquiry into the foot and mouth crisis are not going to die away. The regaining of FMD free status has not silenced those who still recoil in horror at tragic episodes almost impossible to believe, who know they happened in Britain and who know they were officially sanctioned. Rees Mogg sums up his article: A final, frightening lesson is that bureaucrats find it very hard to avoid doing what they know to be wrong. Committees do not easily listen to moral arguments; they exist to facilitate practical action..." One begins to feel very sorry for the civil servants who were caught up in the FMD fiasco and tried to do their best in spite of what they could see around them.

Jan 28 ~ The Northumberland Inquiry. A collection of articles from the Morpeth Herald can be seen here.

There is an index. " The Chairman, Professor Michael Dower, told the inquiry's opening: "The panel very much regrets that neither DEFRA, nor the Army, nor the state veterinary service, will be submitting oral evidence or answering questions on their involvement. "They played a major part in the handling of the outbreak, and their absence will limit our ability to make a fair assessment of some issues. But it does not invalidate the inquiry, and we propose to do our best in their absence." The articles look at a range of evidence given. Alan Beith MP is particularly outspoken. What seems mainly to emerge from people's contributions is a heartbreaking catalogue of high-handed incompetence and bullying, based on ignorance.

Jan 28 ~ Why are animals still being killed in such numbers? An emailer writes .

"Someone in the area mentioned to me on Friday that there were still many animals being buried at Throckmorton pit under welfare disposal scheme and that one of her neighbours is doing very nicely finacially out of slaughtering the many animals that can not be moved. She said a lot of farmers were having to shoot their cows. She has been very reliable in the past,does anyone know anymore about all this?"

Jan 28 ~ Here are the comments about foot and mouth sent by DEFRA to the various inquiries...

Extracts that might raise some eyebrows: Mass burial sites were created in certain locations to cope with the needs. Such sites were established and used at Birkshaw forest, Lockerbie; Great Orton, Cumbria; Throckmorton, Worcestershire; and Tow Law, Durham. These sites are not being used at present.

Throughout the outbreak, the Government have kept vaccination actively under review. Vaccination would be used if scientific advice were clear that it was the most appropriate measure to shorten the outbreak. But vaccination on its own could never have eradicated FMD entirely. (Did anyone ever suggest that it could? It is interesting that Roy Anderson has joined the long list of those now promoting vaccination)

The use of vaccination in the Netherlands earlier this year did not save animals' lives. In fact for each case more animals were killed than would have been under the UK's contiguous cull policy (1-.000 animals per case in the Netherlands compared to 2000 per case in the UK) aLL vaccinated animals were killed and destroyed as required by the EU Decision that permitted the Dutch vaccination programme. (However..)

The Government recognised early in the outbreak that future EU and international policies for handling FMD would need to be reassessed, including the role of vaccination. The UK, with the Dutch, took the initiative to organise a conference that takes place in December 2001. Topics will include the possible future use of vaccination. (However..)

During the period of infectivity before FMD was confirmed on IP FMD 20001/04 (i.e. Bobby Waugh's farm at Heddon on the Wall) , windborne spread of virus had infected cattle and sheep on nearby farms in Northumberland (However....)


Jan 27 ~ The Independent on Sunday article continues its glowing praise...

The strength of the report is that commissioners representing all interests in the countryside, from the food industry to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, have drawn it up. "For the first time," says the National Trust, another participant, "we have a consensus for change."
Readers of this website will be less inclined to be overwhelmed with optimism.
There is certainly a consensus, certainly new forces abroad; "new men waiting to cart away the rubbish of the past" as Trollope's "reformer" Mr Obediah Slope told an aghast Septimus Harding. There are "new persons" at the National Trust, at the RSPB, at the Environment Agency - but the "change" they all agree to is not perhaps quite that brand new.
The McSharry Reforms in 1992 saw the extension of the EU Common Agricultural Policy into an overall policy for rural areas, including social, environmental and economic viability. In Part One of Agenda 2000 (1997), the EU Commission explained what should have been the basis of its proposals for reform of the CAP: " ......Several reasons militate for such an approach: the risk of new market imbalances, the prospect of a new trade round, the aspiration towards a more environment-friendly and quality-oriented agriculture, and last but not least the prospect of enlargement." As Mr Morley said on 24th October last year : "We will continue to work closely with the Commission and other member states to drive forward the reform agenda to achieve a more economically rational CAP which contributes to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the industry and rural economy."

Jan 26 ~ Final FMD pyres report published Food Standards Agency website

"The Food Standards Agency has released a final report on dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in food from farms close to pyres used to dispose of carcasses from animals affected by foot and mouth disease.
This presents the results of the entire monitoring programme, including the outstanding data received since the last interim report was published in September 2001. These do not alter the conclusions we reached in September that the pyres have posed no additional risk to health through the food supply.
For copies of the report please contact Matthew Cooper at the Chemical Contaminants and Animal Feed Division, Food Standards Agency , Room 707C, Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6NH. Tel. 020 7276 8725:" e-mail

Jan 25 ~ News reports concerning GM crops can differ wildly in the messages they give. Today, the influential journal Nature reports, "China leads GM revolution: Government funding puts Chinese plant biotechnology second only to US."

suggesting that China has no doubts about the safety of GM. "China hopes GM crops will feed its growing population," writes Tom Clarke. "While westerners vacillate about the risks and benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops, China is embracing the technology......"
Meanwhile, we see on Monsanto's own website" US Launches Drive To Free World Trade In Genetically Modified Farm Produce" and read that " The United States wants to convince the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) 143 other members to open their markets to genetically modified farm products ..... the hundreds of millions of African children who have malnutrition..."
This altruism on the part of Monsanto should perhaps be viewed in the light of a report from USA: Washington Pressures EU to Drop GMO Labeling " Confidential documents obtained by Friends of the Earth Europe underline American opposition to European Union plans for compulsory tracing and labeling rules for all food and animal feed containing genetically modified organisms" and animal feed containing genetically modified organisms"
Perhaps the Americans are not yet aware that China herself - not perhaps quite as reassured as Nature seems to think - is insisting on labelling, as we see from the site whose headline is: Compulsory Labeling of Genetically Modified Agro-products Introduced .... "GM plants, animals and microbes and their products as well as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides with GM organism, must have identification on their packaging, the regulation says. "
So, while the US is putting pressure on the EU to abandon plans for compulsory tracing and labeling rules, China is going to allow its population full information about what genetically modified material there is in both locally produced and imported products.

Jan 25 ~ Essential reading is The Guardian today, testing the water for UKOK,

"Good afternoon, British Tourist Authority." I am ringing about UKOK. "OK."
OK! "What kind of information do you require?"
I ask for "you-cock" but don't have the courage to let this hang in the air too long. ..... The phone rings two more times.
"Good afternoon, tourist information," says another, much jollier woman. "How can I help?"
I start asking for UKOK again.
UKOK, she explains patiently, is the name of the BTA campaign for 2002.
...... Hello, I am ringing from France, .... I am very worried about the NHS and have read all these horror stories about patients lying in wards in their own filth without treatment for days. In pools of blood.
The woman's voice, quite properly, becomes noticeably more brisk: "We've not heard that sort of story, sir." "It's very safe, sir. There's no problem with foot and mouth disease or anything like that."
Interesting: I haven't mentioned foot and mouth disease. .....MORE

Jan 25 ~ Smartgroups forum is still experiencing great difficulties.

Their latest information can be seen here in all its frustration.

Jan 24 ~ What is described in the Telegraph as a "four letter word" has been dreamed up to make foreign tourists feel that "it is safe to visit Britain after the foot and mouth outbreak

and September 11" Tessa Jowell, the Culture Secretary, launching the "word" UKOK at the Tower of London yesterday, is apparently confident it would remind people that Britain was a vibrant and exciting place to visit. We are reminded in the same paper that Britain is being swept by a virus that causes vomiting.

Jan 24 ~ A report which says one in five children eats no fruit in a week and three in five eat no leafy green vegetables; Why Health is the Key for the Future of Farming and Food, is published by the Centre for Food Policy at Thames Valley University.

Its authors have concluded: "The Government will be judged by health goals. It is time that the food supply chain stopped passing the cost of ill health on to society." This report comes out only days before the government's own inquiry into the future of food and farming reports its findings.
Meanwhile, yesterday's rally and parliamentary lobby for organic targets at Westminster Central Hall and Houses of Parliament was campaigning for an Organic Targets Bill calling for 30% of farmland to be organic by 2010. Green peer Lord Beaumont of Whitley, the party's spokesperson on agriculture, fisheries and foods commented: "The government is committed to an intensification of farming which is probably incompatible with widespread conversion to organic. "The government wants to get rid of up to 25% of British farms in order to be more competitive in the face of globalisation. This would force some 50,000 people out of the industry...Yet smaller, less intensive, organic farms can be more productive per acre."
"Britain grows only 25% of its organic food, although 50% of it could be produced here. Half our organic food is unnecessarily imported. The UK market is strong, and should be supplied by British farms where possible" .... "As well as aiding the recovery of our agriculture in the aftermath of foot-and-mouth disease, this would reduce food miles, transport impacts and greenhouse gas emissions." Green Party News

Jan 23 ~ "Silence at Ramscliffe" Three articles by Chris Chapman, the first of which appeared in the Western Morning News yesterday

are here reproduced by kind permission of the author. They are poignant. The capacity for suffering of the people and of the animals involved comes through in both the writing and the photographs (more of which will be added in due course ) but what also comes across from the Lake family is an unparaded love for farming and for Devon.

Jan 23 ~ Does no one care about the great Scottish land grab? asks Alan Cochrane in today's Telegraph
Yes. We do.

Like most of the legislation brought to our attention lately all is not what it appears to be on the smooth surface. Just as the Animal Health amendment bill is about eradicating healthy animals, and the Lords Reform plans were designed to fill the House of Lords with Blair cronies, this so-called "reform" - the Land Reform bill in Scotland - is actually a three-pronged attack on property-holding by the Labour and Lib Dem coalition that is carving up Scotland and its traditional ways. Mr Cochrane writes that it might more accurately be called, the Class War Bill (Remaining Stages) Owners of the land will have no choice but to sell to local "communities".They will be paid "full market rates" but what happens to market rates when such plans are afoot? The Bill also allows crofters to buy the fishing rights on rivers, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, that come into community ownership schemes - and owners will have no choice but to sell. Landowners will now be taken to court for withholding access rights across their land - whatever the season and however valid their wishes to protect their land or animals from interference.
Mr Cochrane points out what seems to us the utterly surreal fact that it will be British lottery money that sweeps away centuries of work. Money raised by the National Lottery will be used to take the land and the rivers away from their traditional owners. It is yet another example, like everything we have seen in the past unbelievable months, of an outrageous misuse of power quietly slipping under the guard of the majority of ordinary, kindly people in the country who hear only - if they hear anything at all - the Politically Correct reasons for "reform". What will it take to wake the population up to what is happening in our once free country?

Jan 22 ~ NOT a cause for levity is the news that European farm commissioner Franz Fischler was unable to witness the launch of the European Food Safety Authority today.

He has food poisoning.
According to Farmers Weekly today Mr Fischler is believed to have salmonella poisoning and his engagements have been cancelled for a week. The European Food Safety Authority, launched without Mr Fischler's help, has a staff of 250 and its initial cost was around £ 25,000,000. With much the same confidence that we feel in the FSA's ability in this country to safeguard our interests, the people of Europe will be heaving a collective sigh at their luck in having the "rapid alert" system that the authority is to operate. It is as yet not certain from which country the "rapid alert" system will be operated since none of the bureaucrats can yet agree on a site for The European Food Safety Authority's permanent headquarters.

Jan 22 ~ The "Essential Reading" page is being developed with alphabetically listed files.

Please send any requests for specific information to be included. It could be a very useful resource for the many people now trying to get a full overview of the handling of the crisis.

Jan 22 ~ On this website alone, there are now references to 135 separate calls for a proper public inquiry

into the handling of the disease - and they are coming faster and more urgently, notwithstanding the promise of an independent inquiry in Strasbourg. The Western Morning News of 29 June 2001 said, Tony Blair yesterday repeated his claim that the foot and mouth crisis was in the "home straight" and blamed lax disinfection procedures in the farming community for the continuing spread of the disease. The Prime Minister again ducked calls for a full PUBLIC INQUIRY into the disaster, pledging only that there would be a "proper" INQUIRY when the epidemic was finally over.

Jan 22 ~ A letter in the Telegraph today needs no further comment:

SIR - I have just received a letter stating "in order to contact you quickly, we have used names from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs's (Defra) Animal Health database. If . . .your flock has been slaughtered as a result of foot and mouth disease, please accept our apologies".
This from the department that is planning to tell all farmers to install a computer so as to provide a direct link to Margaret Beckett's department in Whitehall in order for every activity on the farm to come under central supervision. What value the computer in a department that cannot even programme its own database to indicate which farms had suffered foot and mouth disease?
As long as Defra continues to maintain this level of insensitivity and incompetence, what hope does it have of recovering the confidence of the farmers and the rural community? At least we may feel reassured that the threat of Big Brother taking full control is still no more than empty words.
From: Col Jacqueline Smith, Brompton Regis, Somerset

Jan 21 ~ There are now so many pages of information on the warmwell website that we have put some of the more important of those not listed already on the left side menus on a page here

for anyone who wants to check on their overview of the crisis. More files will be added to this page in due course.

Jan 20 ~ From Bookers Notebook today: " .....on Monday the House of Lords spent six hours debating the Animal Health Bill,

which gives officials unprecedented powers to kill any animal they wish, and making it a criminal offence for the owners to object. Almost all the speakers were strikingly well-informed and excoriatng in opposition to this bizarre Bill, apart from three sad Blair nominees put up in a forlorn attempt to show that the minister, Lord Whitty, was not on his own. It was noticeable how many of the speakers were hereditaries, such as the Countess of Mar, Viscount Bledisloe, Earl Ferrers, the Duke of Montrose and Lord Willoughby de Broke, all themselves farmers. Others, such as Lord Plumb, former president of the NFU, and Lord Jopling, former minister of agriculture, were Tories with expert first-hand knowledge. Mr Blair's answer is to get rid of all these tiresome people and replace them with an assembly full of party clones who, since they will have even less power, will be even more ignorant and useless than their Commons counterparts. Such will be his memorial, in the country which gave the world parliamentary democracy. (You can read what individual Lords had to say here)

Jan 20 ~ An email just received: " Interestingly, today for a change I took a copy of the Sunday Express ( we sometimes do its crossword ). Delighted to find inside a full page " How the Bunglers Crippled Farming"

and then in the editorial "Foot and Mouth fallout" "..........With another highly-critical report due from MP`s this week, Tony Blair may find that the fallout from foot and mouth is as hard to handle as the disease itself."
They also think that he will get a good kicking in Prime Ministers Question Time this week.
Are all the press waking up I wonder. Fingers Crossed. Roger"

Jan 19 ~ "The traumatic effect on families, farmers and communities has been desperate. I refer not just to the mass slaughter and its effects; in many cases the farms which were not hit by foot and mouth or were not taken out by it were in a worse situation than those that were

because of the acute animal welfare problems and acute financial problems suffered by many such small businesses. In our part of the world many farms are, indeed, small businesses. Someone referred to bureaucratic bungling and mismanagement by DEFRA and MAFF. The Minister referred to "poor organisation". That is an interesting admission by him that all has not gone well in the foot and mouth outbreak and that that was not all down to bad, careless or malicious farmers. "Poor organisation" is the biggest euphemism I have heard in this House for a long time. In many cases, it was a shambles." Lord Greaves Jan 14th. You can read extracts from all the main speakers apart from the Minister in the Second Reading Debate in this digest. Speakers are in alphabetical order.

Jan 19 ~ News of the Apsley/Cash Parliamentary Petition.

The intention is to present the petition on Friday morning inside the chamber of the House of Commons by Bill Cash MP. It is very much hoped that the petition will arrive in style - in a hay wain pulled by a beautiful shire horse (called Duke) If this is confirmed, it would be nice to have supporters there cheering it in. More as news arrives. Lady Apsley writes, "HOPEFULLY THE MET POLICE WILL LET US DRIVE & WE HOPE WE WILL BE ABLE TO ENCOURAGE SUPPORTERS TO TURN UP AND SHOW THEIR BACKING. ALL MEDIA WILL BE INFORMED & LET'S SOCK IT TO 'EM!!! WILL KEEP YOU CLOSELY INFORMED - MORE ANON"

Jan 19 ~ Richard North's phrase "sleepwalking to disaster" eight months ago applies even more now. He coined it before the grotesque handling of the fmd crisis really got under way.

We had not had any inkling of the jackbooted provisions of the Animal Health Bill, nodded through by a supine House of Commons. The large scale cloning of animals for food was not - as today - considered viable let alone ethical. There had not been news of the 20% explosion of GM crops. Nor had anyone heard of the idea of "Licensing" British farms . The unthinkable is not only being thought but seriously discussed and then carrried out - and the lack of outcry in our formerly green and pleasant land only encourages the next outrage it seems.
Lawrence, for one, is not asleep. His open letter to Farming Today - after none of the Farming Today panellists had examined what sort of licensing rules would or could be applied, for what purpose, with what effect and why - is restrained in its fury: "Whatever the excuse, one can be sure that the licence would have a price tag. It would be an additional form of taxation - and it would give the government a controlling grip on the food supply - a potent lever of power. Imports of food can be controlled relatively easily at the point of entry into the country. It isn't quite so easy to control home grown food. Perhaps this would do the trick...."

Jan 18 ~"What are those people doing, cloaked in a little brief authority, visiting fear, stress and humiliation on law-abiding citizens of this country?

Is this the country that we are told is a beacon to the world--the country that the Prime Minister so recently boasted of as a power for good in the world?" So said Lord Willoughby de Broke in Monday night's debate. It can be read in its entirety from this website - but a digest of the main speakers and their points is being prepared and should be available soon. It might be courteous to write and thank these lords, ladies and baronesses whose well informed, cogent and often witty speeches have so heartened us and whose literate delivery is in such refreshing contrast to certain apologists for the Department every farmer rages against.

Jan 18 ~ Food Scares are seldom quite what they seem.

We read today that there are panicky investigations going on in Europe to track down animal feed and meat possibly tainted with a powerful antibiotic that can, according to Reuters," stop human blood cell production" An interesting article in yesterday's Independent went some way to exploring this very modern phenomenon of a food scare being prolonged, covered up or exploited by political forces. Peter Shears, in the Independent story says, "There seems to be increasing cause for concern that within the European Union that there may be "turf wars" - for example, between the United Kingdom and its new Food Standards Agency and the nascent European Food Authority, when it opens for business in 2002. Further friction may emerge between the US Food Safety Initiative and the European Union. Politicians will inevitably seek to play to the home gallery. ....................
The sad results of existing inadequate systems may have resulted from the uncoordinated appliance of science, but the public has lost confidence not just in the safety of what they eat but in the reliability of those they trusted to see to it that what they eat is safe.
The politics should be taken out of food safety
, and science should - and should be seen to - drive the policy, rather than the much more complex political forces that have been evident in recent years. Politicians can call their food safety system "farm to fork", "gate to plate" or "stable to table", but publicity campaigns are worthless if systems fail to work."
The Times reports today... "An investigation is continuing after three elderly men died of salmonella poisoning contracted at a city hospital. South Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust said all three were being treated on medical ward seven at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow. Scottish health minister Malcolm Chisholm has demanded a report on the handling of the outbreak, which was first suspected on January 2 and confirmed by tests six days" later.

Jan 17 ~ Culling in Derbyshire. We are still baffled. We are grateful to have received the following messages:

*"I'm scanning everywhere on the net for a chance mention of it too. Dairy herds - whole dairy herds - seem odd for TB. I thought they just took those that failed the test. And is this across the whole county or all round in a cluster? DEFRA were due to re-start TB testing I know."
*"Re the rumours. I have been told today from John P that this is most likely TB testing. For the last 12 months - for obvious reasons - no testing has been done. According to John they will be culling out like mad now that the rendering plants are 'back to normal'. The cases in Derbyshire are probably TB culling. This would certainly explain of lot of theories we have all had."
*"Derbyshire statistics have not changed (except for minor 'cleaning')since late October - except for 220 sheep SOS (on suspicion) added to the data base on 13th December"
*"I spoke yesterday to a friend who farms near Ashbourne in Derbyshire. She says very serious TB problem in parts of Derbyshire and in her area it is believed that any killing would be attributable to this. However have never heard before of entire herds being culled for TB - usually it is only the reactors, but as DEFRA have the taste for blood now all this may have changed...."

Jan 17 ~ Essential and utterly compelling reading for anyone who wants to understand the dirty work afoot in its context is Richard North's "Death of British Agriculture"

This is as eye-widening as a best seller and, once you start reading, you are likely to find it difficult to stop. So much is explained within these pages. The outrageous behaviour of government departments, the political ineptitude of both main parties, the manoeuvering of the EU Commission over the past few years - all are revealed and much becomes clear about past year.

Jan 16 ~ An email just received (10.00 am) " It is staggering how inaccurate the NFU statements were on vaccination, you would be spitting feathers if you saw it."

" I used the link sent to you by Julian Thurgood to contribute to the NFU debate yesterday, and then after the debate watched the video recording of it. It is staggering how inaccurate the NFU statements were on vaccination, you would be spitting feathers if you saw it. The video clip can be seen by clicking the 56k icon on the R4 link page if you have the time. The point is they are going to provide a transcript shortly. What I would like to do is append notes to it commenting on what the truth is - would you be able to stick it up on the website? "
Yes. As soon as we receive the transcript and authoritative commentary we will put it on the Home page.

Jan 16 ~ We were grateful to receive this email and the quotation with which it ends:".. a great resource to those of us who are not natural joiners of pressure groups

and prefer to chisel away quietly. I was somewhat disappointed to see that the Country Life editorial characterised Warmwell as a " farmers' web-site". I prefer to think that (the gender specific reference apart) it exemplifies the spirit of Ella Wheeler Wilcox who said that " To sin by silence when we should protest makes cowards out of men."
More slaughter: we have been alerted to the fact that, according to the DEFRA web site, another 3,000 animals have been slaughtered since 14th January. We wonder, not for the first time, why the Defra site is so difficult to navigate and why the information, if found, is then so difficult to interpret. Were these animals perhaps pigs, slaughtered because of PMWS/PDNS ? If not - what? Is it dairy cows in Derbyshire? (see Home page) If so - why?

Jan 15 ~ Baroness Miller : "The Liberal Democrats accept that there is a need to amend and supplement the Animal Health Act 1981 but any such amendment must be based on scientific consensus and proper consultation. The Animal Health Bill that the government have proposed is based on neither.

As I outlined in my speech in the House of Lords, the government have commissioned three separate inquiries into the future of farming and food, none of which has been used as the basis of this Bill.
I also expressed concerns over the very wide ministerial powers conferred in the bill and the lack of onus on the Minister to justify decisions to slaughter.
I also raised the issues of long distance transportation of live animals and the risk of infection from imports, neither of which have been addressed in the Bill. I stated that I would like to see legislation which truly addresses the question of animal health, including imports, adequate geographical spread of abattoirs and regulations and incentives to encourage those who try to follow the highest animal welfare standards. I expressed concern at the lack of scientific evidence available to base any legislation on the eradication of scrapie."

Jan 15 ~ John Harvey on Farming Today yesterday: .... Fred Brown, the Foot and Mouth expert from Plum Islands laboratory in New York, who you will remember during the epidemic criticised the Government on their lack of a vaccination policy,

and also said he had a piece of equipment that could give an almost instantaneous result diagnosis of Foot and Mouth on the farm. Now, he was told, 'I am sorry, we haven't got time to listen, come back later' ...Doctor Berkhaut said he was very, very keen to involve people like Professor Brown in the Horizon Scanning program so rather than being left outside it all, perhaps in the future we will see people like Fred Brown welcomed inside." Thanks to Jon for another very important transcript.

Jan 15 ~ We are grateful to Julian from www, for the following links: Foot and mouth inquiry live - from Northumberland, Listen in from Mon 14 to Fri 18 Jan 10.00 - 17.00 daily and Foot-and-mouth: Ask Kevin Pearce from the NFU - live forum - Tuesday 15th Jan 1500 GMT.

Jan 14 ~ Farmers Weekly is running a poll on whether you agree with the following:

Delegates at the Oxford Conference rejected the motion that 30% of agricultural land should be organic by 2010. Do you agree with them? This is one of those questions that is, for some of us, rather tricky at first glance. Voting YES means that you agree that the delegates were right and you share their anti-organic stance. Voting NO means that you think that it would be a good thing for 30% of agricultural land to be farmed "organically" by 2008. You can add your vote here. When our vote was cast the poll stood at 69% anti organic and 30% pro... Viewing FWi pages now requires registration.

Jan 14 ~ Consultation on implementation of powers in Animal Health Bill Consultation

"This paper seeks your comments on the practical operation of new disease control powers provided in the Animal Health Bill." ......" We are committed to implementing the provisions openly and transparently....."DEFRA asks for views to be submitted no later than 15 March 2002...." The consultation paper does NOT apply to the whole bill, it appears, only to
1) Implementing new foot and mouth (FMD) slaughter powers;
2) Operating the adjusted compensation scheme for Infected Premises .
It is therefore possible for DEFRA to make remarks such as:
15. The FMD slaughter measures apply only to those animals that are susceptible to FMD. Animals like dogs, cats and horses are not included in these powers and there is no reason why they should be - as if that clause should reassure those whose fears about the bill's draconian powers are focussed mainly on companion animals - but this reassurance applies only to the FMD control provisions. The Bill does provide for the powers it contains to be extended to pets and animals of any species if the government so desires. To say that " this could only be done with the approval of both Houses of Parliament" is surely not a good enough reason for the bill to be thought acceptable in all its provisions now even by those whose only concern is for pet animals.

Jan 14 ~ The Northumberland Inquiry, to be led by Professor Michael Dower, has been told by Lord Whitty that DEFRA will not take an active part but will "reply to written questions"

...(as they did, it will be remembered, in Devon - in the end and after numerous reminders) staff should not be diverted from their "prime task" of eradicating the disease from the county said Lord Whitty. More understandable is the absence of the Army. Brigadier Andrew Farquhar says that the Army is "constrained by guidelines" when military personnel gave evidence to inquiries. The area is still considered 'at risk' . Prof Dower is a former director general of the Countryside Commission and, perhaps significantly, a lecturer in European rural development at the University of Gloucestershire.

Jan 14 ~ Reading how Mr Blair has promised "speedy improvements in rail services" declaring his complete confidence in Stephen Byers, (The Times)

we are irresistibly reminded of The Saturday Essay with Frederick Forsythe An extract from the "New Bible" ...."Oh ye of little faith...hast thou no eyes to see my greatness? Canst thou not see that I am now pivotal? That everything I say is pivotal? That everything I do is pivotal? And that that is why I fly round and round the world.......?" Listen to the Reading from the little known Book of Tone. We can now expect Mr Blair's sorting outof the Rail chaos to be up there with the government priorities of sorting out Education and Health... The reassurance intended by this may be limited in its effect. We remember similar reassurances when the Prime Minister took personal control of the foot and mouth crisis just before the Election.

Jan 13 ~.... the Commission has failed to provide, as a component part of its Agenda 2000 analysis, any assessment of the probable benefits to consumers from its reform proposals

This extract comes from a Select Committee on Agriculture Inquiry into the EU Commission's Agenda 2000 and, although written in Februrary 1998, still seems particularly relevant today. The Committee wrote: We nevertheless find it unacceptable that the Commission has failed to provide, as a component part of its Agenda 2000 analysis, any assessment of the probable benefits to consumers from its reform proposals. We also find the Commission's silence on this subject mystifying, as the likely benefits to consumers constitute one of the strongest arguments in favour of the direction of CAP reform advocated by the Commission. We urge the Government to ensure that the consumer interest is kept high on the agenda during the forthcoming negotiations over CAP reform.

Jan 12 ~ "The programme 'Farming Today this week', (Jan 12) which seems to be wheeled out for disseminating propaganda about farming these days, was easing the way for the licensing of farms."

Jan 12 ~ More Millions for Government Research

We read this morning that the government is setting up a new "horizon scanning" project which will attempt to prevent the next BSE or foot and mouth disease crises by bringing together the ideas of scientists, experts and groups outside Government. (Telegraph) If its first programme is successful, funding will be increased to up to ten million pounds a year. The idea apparently is to end the public perception that Government science was conducted within a "closed circle" of establishment experts and shrouded in secrecy. "We wish to draw in all points of view and I'm hopeful that a wide range of stakeholders and external scientists will become involved," (Lord Whitty) How interesting that the government is aware enough of this public perception to throw money at it; its usual course of trying to make things better. The ten million pounds is unlikely to be classified as "taxpayers"money however. The enormous influence wielded by cronyism is hardly going to be dented by this new initiative at the University of Sussex though. The "closed circle" that led to such disasters as the FMD policy and now the Animal Health amendment Bill is itself driven by an ever greater hunger for research funds and influence and has made itself enormously powerful.

Jan 12 ~ "...casts serious doubts on government scientists' work" ..extract from a briefing note in the House of Lords

"One can't help feeling that this part of the Bill was written in the certain expectation that BSE will be found in sheep - an odd way to carry out scientific experimentation. The subsequent debacle has undermined the argument and has cast serious doubts on government scientists' work in general. The hysteria about TSE seems incomprehensible in any case. Scrapie is not transferable to other species and even BSE has not been proved to cause human disease...."

Jan 11 ~ Readers may be interested in the House of Commons Library Research paper on the Animal Health bill by Christopher Barclay. It takes some moments to load but can be accessed here

EXTRACT: (On Legality of the Contiguous Cull) "Perhaps surprisingly, however, the Act [i.e.of 1981 that this bill seeks to amend] does not provide any general justification for the compulsory slaughter of animals that are not diseased on neighbouring farms. yet the contiguous cull was a major part of the Government strategy for handling FMD. The logic is simple. By the time you detect signs of the disease in one farm, it may have already spread to the next one. A contiguous cull can establish a firebreak to prevent the disease spreading yet further. Similar methods are used for controlling bovine TB by slaughtering badgers." This paragraph alone is astonishingly misleading. The logic may be "simple" but it is not right. Experts in FMD said from the start that a "firebreak" was nonsensical since the strain of the virus of the 2001 UK outbreak is not spread by airborne means. That the contiguous cull was illegal and that this bill seeks to impose a retrospective legality on measures that were unnecessary would also appear to be evident from a reading of this paper.

Jan 11 ~ "You ask specifically about the position of pets and Sanctuary animals,and whether they will be exempt from the new powers.

We recognise there are concerns about how these powers will be used in relation to particular groups of animals. The Government cannot give a blanket exception to any category of susceptible animal, as there may be occasions where these animals need to be culled to control the spread of disease...." A paragraph from a letter from Defra about the Animal Health bill that will be of concern to all owners of pets who have, up to now, assumed that the bill was aimed only at the control of foot-and-mouth or scrapie.


Jan 11 ~ We are grateful to Brent in Canada for many links to news items - and now we are grateful too for this quotation. It sheds some light on the state of Britain in 2002...

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government...[Eventually], the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public Treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy. . . The world's greatest civilizations have progressed through this sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from great courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependency back again to bondage."--Andrew Tyler Fraser

Jan 11~ "Tens of thousands of people kill themselves each year by smoking, over-eating and over-drinking, but that's their own choice - being killed by something you have no control over is a different matter. That is why we have the FSA,

which feels it must be seen to be doing something. Openness, transparency, meetings held in public, research into food safety, findings published immediately - it's all there. Too much so in the case of yesterday's report. Wouldn't it be better use of time and money to find out if a disease exists in a species before warning of the hypothetical consequences? " Read Fordyce Maxwell in today's Scotsman.

Jan 10 ~"That the British farmer badly needs some form of encouragement after the publicity given to problems such as BSE, foot-andmouth, pesticides and GM foods is clear.

The publicity has obscured the fact that UK safety standards, both for domestic and imported food, are among the highest in the world. Yet in spite of its problems UK farming remains one of our few "basic industries" and it would be appalling to see it go the same way as the former basic industries such as coal mining, which once employed 250,000, shipbuilding and steel making. " See the article from

Jan 9 ~ "Throughout the FMD epidemic and in so many other areas the government has demonstrated that it will not let the truth stand in the way of ignorance and prejudice. Bad news can be buried among even worse news.

Inconvenient good news can be ignored or cynically spun to present it in a less flattering light. If a flimsy defence allows diseases to cross the channel, if by some good chance it has not already done so, the political reaction will not be to improve the defences or eliminate the diseases it will be to eliminate the carriers of that disease...." So said Lord Williamson in the The Woolridge Memorial Lecture in December. Well worth reading. First the farm animals then the companion animals....

Jan 9 ~ Safeway brings in a Farmers' Charter.

Even as Tesco's seem to be locked in combat with David Handley's Farmers for Action union, Safeway - one of the big four - has decided to insist that big processors who deal with farmers must observe the principles of a new code of trading practice. Calling it the Farmers' Charter, Safeway says it will plug a "major loophole" and offer farmers greater protection. Unlike the voluntary code, introduced last year, which does not automatically apply to meat, milk and bread processing firms who deal with farmers, Safeway's Farmers' Charter will make it a requirement for all its suppliers.

Jan 9 ~ Ben Gill seems set for re-election to the NFU

From Farmers Weekly report
BEN GILL looks set to be re-elected for another two-year term as president of the National Farmers' Union at the organisations' AGM in February. The deadline for nominations for the positions of NFU president, deputy president, vice president and treasurer passed on Tuesday (8 January). Mr Gill has been nominated for the role of president, along with the current deputy president Tim Bennett and vice-president Michael Paske. But both Mr Bennet and Mr Paske have said they will not challenge for the leadership, leaving the path open for Mr Gill to be returned to office for the third time.

Jan 9 ~The "sheer blithering incompetence, arrogance and heavy handedness" of DEFRA is mirrored by the recent behaviour of our Intelligence Services

Richard suggests we read about the m.v. Nisha which these idiots thought was, or decided to portray as a terrorist ship. Richard has scanned two recent articles from Lloyds List about the MV Nisha, seized off the south coast of England on December 22nd. "....even if the authorities were convinced that the Nisha was a potential threat, there were many less extravagant counter steps that could have been taken. In this case the owner was a British subsidiary of an Indian public company, the supplier of the cargo was the Mauritius Sugar Syndicate and the receiver was the household name of Tate & Lyle. All were authorised by contract to survey the ship before any cargo was loaded.......any investigation through a few telephone calls in London should have been sufficient to reduce the doubts."
We reported at the time Archive of this page for Dec 22 " We read today that the supposed terror ship Nasha, seized in international waters by Royal Navy commandos yesterday, seems not to be a terror ship after all. A team of officers trained to search vessels, helped by military experts with specialised equipment for detecting explosives have not found anything suspicious on board. Its owners, the Great Eastern Shipping Company, have cooperated fully." We have seen no headlines in any of the papers whose reporting of the seizure of the ship were so triumphant to explain that the ship, actually carrying 26,000 tonnes of raw sugar, had been given a clean bill of health by the Royal Navy. The Great Eastern Shipping Company, the ship's owners, has severely criticised the UK's intelligence services and the heavy- handed way in which the crew of the Nisha was treated, despite claims that they were willing to co-operate....... It is perhaps proper to end with Kant. He argued that it is not what we know that matters but how we put together what we know. The Nisha incident is one of the saddest tragedies of unnecessary ignorance. We could have done much better. " We would echo this sentiment - but we would be thinking too of the handling of FMD and of the Animal Health amendment Bill - another sledgehammer with which an imaginary nut is to be broken.

Jan 8 ~ " I'm afraid it sounds to me as though Downing Street, like the BBC, has suddenly become infested with managementitis

- a natural home for theorists, consultants, cronies, creeps, meddlers and ambitious "blue skies thinkers", who are more likely to do harm than good. ..." Opinion in the Telegraph today

Jan 8 ~ The Rio Summit was ten years ago. While scientists know more and more about less and less and the government bureaucrats try to regulate every area of our lives, a third of the biological wealth of the Natural World has been lost.

"There were many fine achievements on paper at Rio but what has happened on the ground since Rio is all too little," said independent conservation scientist Dr Norman Myers. "And while the environmental outlook was pretty dire at the time of Rio, it is a good deal worse now. We have to face that." Long-term extinction trends in plants and animals have been unaffected by the Earth Summit, according to Francis Sullivan, director of conservation at the international environmental group, WWF.
"We are seeing that species numbers - in the marine environment, the freshwater environment and on land in the forests - are continuing to go down," he said. "It's been a steady decrease since 1975. We've actually lost a third of the biological wealth of the planet since that time and there's no evidence really that any of the talk since 1992 has done anything to abate that." BBC report

Jan 7 ~ the Annex 2 refers to the 'working parties'

A correspondent writes:" Re Disease Free Status, Richard Cawthorne opened by asking for a show of hands as to who felt the status quo should remain, ie 'FMDFree Status without Vac' or should we go for 'Disease Free with Vcc' - one delegate said that in the UK, the public are fed continuously with the propaganda that the efficacy of existing vaccine is very doubtful and that due to nothing being validated there are no tests available to speed up the diagnosis process - thus mass slaughter is the only alternative available for disease control and that is what they have done and continue to do....
A politician who must remain nameless sat huffing and puffing to himself like the White Rabbit- "'disease free status with vaccination' 'disease free status without vaccination' -what a load of rubbish - I don't understand - what a waste of time this all is - I knew it would be- etc etc" and then eventually "Oh I'm going - this is going nowhere..." and out he went.
If you take the results of the meeting to its logical conclusion you will finish up with disease free status WITH vaccination. Because they will validate the tests between vaccinated animals and naturally infected animals, they will inform the public that vaccination is perfectly safe and they will use vaccination to defend against the disease. The statement 'the OIE criteria for regaining FMD-free status after using vaccination as an aid to eradication may need to be reviewed' in effect says JUST THAT. Also go to the Recommendations - Vaccination and the second last paragraph says just the same thing again! Again go to Welfare para 5 and 10 and you get it again - get the OIE tochange to suit the situation, not try and fit the situation to the OIE rules. The Welfare Session was a really good meeting. Dr. Ruth Watkins introduced herself as a clinical virologist but one with an interest in animals having herself some hefted sheep. She said you cannot discuss Welfare without considering vaccination - and as a clinical virologist she was aware that many human vaccines were not as good as the vaccines available for foot and mouth and yet it would never be even considered an option not to use the available vaccines for human situations. Her statement was backed up VERY strongly by Adme Osterhaus the Dutch Virologist, who described himself as the opposite to her - being a Veterinary Surgeon turned clinical virologist. He proceeded to give a very strong argument in support of Ruth's. I notice that none of this is referred to although I considered it to be one of the key repartees of the overall discussion."

Jan 7 ~ An important article "Brave New Britain", published on Jan 1 by the Independent is now on the Democracy Watch page.

" In a wide range of laws, often opportunistic reactions to one-off events,
ordinary people are disempowered while officials and experts are given the whip hand. Increased surveillance, intrusion, arbitrary powers, detention, seizure, state secrecy and the suppression of dissent are the hallmarks of New Labour in action. .....
. Information from a wide range of sources - the Office for National Statistics, the National Health Service, the Inland Revenue, the VAT office, the Benefits Agency, our school reports - can now be collated into a file on a citizen, without a court order showing cause why. ..... Phone and e-mail records to be kept for seven years.... Jury trials are to be abolished for a wide range of offences including assault, theft and drugs... The House of Lords has twice blocked attempts to abolish this ancient right. The Government's third attempt has been bolstered by a report written by Lord Justice Auld (at the Government's request). Lord Justice Auld says abolition of trial by jury will limit the number of "perverse decisions" by juries. Interestingly, Lord Devlin was a great defender of "perverse decision", as giving "protection against laws that the ordinary man regards as harsh and oppressive". Such juries defy evidence, the law and the judge's instructions. Perhaps they believe the sentences are disproportionate to the crime. Perhaps that the law is odious or idiotic. Justice for 18,000 people a year will now be delivered by legal experts and officials rather than by a jury of peers. .... "
The draconian measures of the Animal Health amendment Bill are not mentioned in the article - but are also relevant to its conclusion that..
Traditional structures are dismantled, power is inexorably, and probably irreversibly, transferred from individuals and communities to the state.

Jan 6 ~ "I have to say that I have become increasingly critical of the Labour Government and felt obliged to vote against them no fewer than eighteen times in the last session of the last parliament

so my regret at my expulsion is tempered by the knowledge that the present Labour Party is not the one I originally joined and certainly would not join as a new member, at present. I shall not be joining another political party and shall sit in the House of Lords as an Independent Labour peer." So says the former MP for Swindon, Lord Stoddart. He is one politician in whom we still have some measure of trust. He is still able to use language such as " fairness, freedom, democracy and self-government" and to mean what he says. And a clue to his expulsion from the Party he served for 54 years may, perhaps, be found in this speech. Swindon has every reason to be proud of him.

Jan 6 ~ From: Discussion Group SOCIETY - Session II. 13th December 2001 Brussels Conference

Annex 2 Reports of the working sessions RECOMMENDATIONS
Research on vaccination and the use of a discriminatory test, together with accompanying measures, has to be promoted.
A communication strategy should be developed to make the public understand the disease control measures.
Objective analysis of psychological effects of FMD crisis on farms should be executed.
Stronger control on borders is necessary: the public will accept this if it understands the reasons behind.
A large majority wants to explore another strategy to avoid further killing on a massive scale. The introduction of ring vaccination adapted to the local situation has to be examined.

Jan 6 ~ "In our view, the failure to consider fully and implement a vaccination control strategy

demonstrates that a key recommendation from the Phillips Inquiry into BSE regarding science advice to government (16) - to consider, properly, unorthodox and contrary views - was not implemented, neither prior to nor in the handling of the outbreak." Extract from Elm Farm Research Centre's submission to the National Audit Inquiry. We were pleased to note that Lawrence Woodward has been honoured with the OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

Jan 6 ~ We're pleased to welcome another new website, this one is for alpaca owners and replaces the now defunct "Merinosheep" site:

UK ALPACA FORUM is here to give alpaca breeders in the UK a chance to voice their ideas on what is happening.

Jan 6 ~ The online petition against the Animal Health (amendment) Bill can be signed here. At the last count there were 1148 signatures.

To: All Westminster MPs
The Countryside Action Network and the animal owners who have put their names to this petition strongly oppose the Animal Health Bill, which provides additional powers to Ministers to order the slaughter of animals and to allow Ministers to add to the schedule of diseases for which compulsory slaughter of animals can be ordered.
In light of the very unpleasant experiences inflicted upon farmers and smallholders during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak, which resulted in millions of healthy animals being slaughtered, and thousands being slaughtered 'by mistake', we believe that giving additional powers to Ministers, without reference to Parliament, is not warranted.
The Undersigned

Jan 6 ~ The Cloning of animals....."so that they do something useful..." an extract from today's article about PPL and cloning.

Sunday Telegraph "....Professor Ian Wilmut, the head of the original cloning team at the Roslin Institute, PPL's partner in the programme, admitted his concern and said the cloning process had yet to be perfected. He stressed the importance of monitoring clones throughout their lives.
"This is still an inefficient procedure. We were always aware that there was a risk that we would find things like this. We were very disappointed and very concerned for the animals." James says that only a small minority of cloned sheep are born perfect but that the company is not seeing the same problem with pigs.
"Cloning seems to be more difficult with the particular breed of sheep that we use. A long time ago we decided to get a herd of sheep in from New Zealand where scrapie doesn't exist and since then we have bred from this closed flock so we know that it is disease free."
Many cloned animals die early, often shortly after birth, and many carry deformities and sometimes other abnormalities such as blood vessels with thickened walls which are not immediately apparent.
It took 276 unsuccessful attempts before Dolly was produced and some time ago it emerged that her cells were abnormally aged. She was cloned from a cell from a six-year-old ewe and so some have argued that she is 11 rather than five. All this raises the questions of whether it is ethical to create creatures that are likely to suffer and whether the organs from the clones should be transplanted into humans. One of PPL's other achievements, that of turning skin cells into beating heart cells, also makes some people a little uneasy. "We are working to save people's lives," James says. "Ultimately if a few animals are going to suffer but thousands of people are going to benefit then that is a price worth paying. We are using animals but they don't suffer in the way that people imagine." The point of cloning animals is not simply to produce more of the beasts that fill our fields. It is to genetically alter the animals so they do something useful.

Jan 5 ~ Extract from a leader in The Telegraph today:".... a landowner is arrested in Essex by the police he had summoned to evict people having a "rave" on his property:

he had unplugged the sound system, so he was taken into custody "for his own safety", a police spokesman is true that the laws of trespass are inadequate. It was patently absurd of the police to have victimised the landowner because a fight might have broken out. The police are not employed to mediate between trespassers and landowners, but to enforce the law and protect the public and the rights of property owners. ...... a society in which the police seem to be losing not just control of the streets, but also the will to enforce the law. Too often, when faced by a flurry of mobile phone thefts, police announce "initiatives" to "crack down" on the distribution of the stolen property, rather than actually to make the streets safer by increasing patrols. As police on the beat will privately admit, too many senior officers would be better suited to teaching gender awareness courses than running a demanding police operation.
As a nation, we have never been more spied on by closed-circuit television cameras, by police speed traps and by a government that wants to snoop at our e-mails - yet we feel less secure. ....

Jan 5 ~ Many will remember Bonnie Durrance and her camera during the desperate days of the crisis.

"Nobody Talks About It is a documentary film for an international audience about the emotional and spiritual cost of eradicating the animals from thousands of farms and fields, changing the landscape - in some places forever - and hastening the end of a way of life which has stood for peace and harmony since before the time of Wordswoth."
So begins the Summary in this 19 page pdf link which is essential reading about the progress of Bonnie's powerful film.
" As farmers invite us into their lives," writes Bonnie, "they will dispel some of the urban attitudes that have partly enabled this mass slaughter to proceed as it has": Well, we were going to eat them anyway, right?... They would have died anyway, wouldn't they?... Well they were just farm animals... The farmers have been living on subsidies for so many years, it's time they were scaled back. ...The film will show that the small farmers, like their animals, are the vulnerable ones in an industrial society ruled more and more by material values.

Jan 4 ~ We're grateful to Tessa for this tip, posted to the Forum today:

I would like to pass on a tip which my son thought of when he found it necessary to tether his goats. He passed the chain (or rope) through a length of polyurethene pipe, thus ensuring that the animal was not able to get tangled up and choke itself. A simple solution, but one that worked.

Jan 3 ~ We very much welcome and support the new website called Smallholders Online at

Alan Beat writes: "Please take a look, navigate around, and let us know your thoughts and suggestions. Obviously it isn't finished yet, but the pages that are there should work correctly and more will be added in the near future. We do hope that you will "subscribe" via the site to join the new address list".

Jan 3 ~ Christmas Day seems a strangely inappropriate day for the birth of the five cloned piglets born in a laboratory in the US

They are the first to have been bred with the sole purpose of providing transplants for humans. PPL, a commercial offshoot of the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, which also produced Dolly the Sheep, said "the breakthrough was a major step towards the routine production of animal organs and cells for humans - known as xenotransplantation." (The Scotsman) Shares in PPL soared by 44 per cent on news of the breakthrough, increasing the value of the company to about £94 million.
So there we are. If, like the Church of Scotland, people feel that this is a cause for "cautious welcome", they can rush out and buy shares. If, on the other hand, one feels that this is "Frankenstein scenario", that it is madness for all this money and time to be invested in animal experimentation, especially when more and more successes are being made in more viable alternatives, such as stem cell production, if one feels , like the president of Doctors and Lawyers for Responsible Medicine, Dr Andre Menache, that one must be "opposed to xenotransplantation from a public health point of view, from a moral point of view and from an animal cruelty point of view" one may feel despair at just how far down the wrong road the human race has now gone.

Jan 2 ~ The NFU is warning that farmers will lose out as a result of Europe's adoption of the single currency.

Many supermarkets and food processors "are likely to prefer the security of the Euro over Sterling" according to Farmers' Weekly today. Martin Howarth, the NFU's policy director said that UK farmers will also "lose out on the benefits of being able to compare input prices from Dublin to Dresden"
"There is a danger that the EU food chain will build up within the Euro zone and we will find ourselves outside looking in," he said. "We will not have that advantage of price transparency." The scrapping of the agrimoney system that compensated farmers for currency changes has left British farmers at the mercy of the strong Pound.

Jan 2 ~ Letter in Today's Telegraph: A question of nationhood

SIR - Given that the single currency is now up and running, the status of those countries that have joined it must be called into question.
Nations that have surrendered their currencies cannot be considered independent and, therefore, are not entitled to separate seats in the General Assembly of the United Nations.
France's place on the Security Council must also be forfeit, and it cannot be assumed that the United States of Europe will automatically inherit it. There are many older member states with a superior claim.
From: Keith Fellows, Forres, Grampian
If you don't want to join the Single Currency Euro, vote on the Teletext Poll NOW "The idea that greater familiarity with euro notes will tangibly alter public attitudes reveals a deeply patronising view of the British people. The reason that most people want to keep the pound is not that they have some kind of medieval fear of the unknown, but that they want the governance of their country to remain in their own hands."
Phone 0901 470 1031 for a NO Vote.

Dec 31 ~ Footnote from the Scotsman on line today ~ DID YOU KNOW...

Today in 1960 the farthing ceased to be legal tender in the UK. And if you're off to Europe for any reason over the next few days, don't forget those pesky euros. But before any of that nonsense, it's time to party.
There is other nonsense we might do well to forget for a few hours. Warmwell will be back on January 2nd 2002, renewed and ready for the fray.

Dec 30 ~ An extract from Human folly created mad cow disease--now it's time to heed nature's lessons The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo) by Yasuo Shinomiya

"........we have to accept that mad cow disease was created by humans. ....... To hasten the process of raising and fattening cattle to get their milk and meat on the market quickly, farmers began to feed cattle high-protein, high-calorie compound feeds containing MBM. This new feeding method, developed by humans, created a new disease. .... nature may be taking revenge on humans for continuing to flout its laws. The outbreak of mad cow disease, which affects humans as well, resulted from the feeding of meat to herbivorous animals. In this connection, we must reflect on our continuous pursuit of efficiency based on the market mechanism in the 20th century. We have confined not only cattle, but also chickens and pigs to factory farms and received the benefits of the mass production of food. Maybe we should take mad cow disease as a 21st century warning against our anthropocentric ways. " Shinomiya is right and we have got it terribly wrong. It should not be merely "animal rights activists" who deplore the conditions in which farm animals are raised and their long journeys abroad to slaughter are made. Of course we'd rather not think about it but it is time we did. Ghandi said that a nation can be judged by the way it treats its animals.....Europe's performance in this area is sickening: factory farming, the wholesale use of hormones, the despicable and ignorant foot and mouth policy, the underlying causes of BSE, legislation such as the Animal Health amendment Bill : in all these things it is the animals who bear the cost of human greed but we too will reap the whirlwind. Arguments that we need to inflict these miseries on animals for our own sake are simply wrong.

Dec 30 ~ According to figures from the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC), about 550,000 unwanted bobby calves have been born and then swiftly slaughtered every year since 1996.

One wonders how our so-called animal loving nation will react to this information in an article in today's Sunday Times It continues: Phil Saunders, a spokesman for the MLC, said: "Quite simply, they don't make good beef. They are not female, so they don't produce milk. Unless they can be raised for veal they are redundant." Dairy cows, specially bred to produce milk, are scrawnier than cows bred purely for beef. A beef cow can fetch up to £550, while a dairy cow would sell for only £400. It is expected that when live cattle exports to the Continent begin again, there will be a new battle between farmers and animal rights activists, who want to prevent live animal exports The answer is not to reintroduce veal crates - which are an abomination to anyone who understands that animals are sentient beings not so very different from humans in their capacity for physical suffering. The live export trade too, in these days of the pursuit of profit above all other considerations, is foisted on farmers who, in the main would rather not think about what happens to their animals once they leave the market.

Dec 29 ~ Willy Poole in today's Telegraph: "Cull? What cull?" I hear you cry. How can there still be murder afoot when our wonderful Government has found time to stop the virus just as efficiently as it is doing away with the Mad Mullahs?

That is really two questions and the answer to both is that it (the Government) has not. Just as it papered over "domestic terrorism", so it is attempting to paper over foot and mouth by writing up new infections as "DCs" (Dangerous Contacts) and "SOSs" (Slaughter on Suspicion). How does it get away with this? The answer in one word is "intimidation". Farmers won't talk because they won't get paid. The same goes for the contractors and the vets. The vets are in double jeopardy, because by turning a blind eye they are ipso facto guilty of "professional misconduct", which could get them drummed out of the proverbial Brownies....."
Except, of course, Mr Poole, that the only body that can bring the vets to book chooses instead, it seems, to turn a blind eye.... (see below)

Dec 28 ~ We read with consternation that the Preliminary Investigation Committee of the RCVS decided that a complaint against vets in two separate cases as far apart as Devon and Scotland "should not proceed further

and ...that this matter will be closed. " The RCVS ruling on both is identical. The RCVS evidently felt that the bullying, intimidation and high handed treatment that resulted in the heartbreak and sickness of an elderly man on the one hand, and the false signing of a certificate that resulted in one more heartbroken farmer on the other, were not important enough to warrant further investigation. While we have every sympathy for a professional body that wants to safeguard its members from trivial complaints we feel very sad about this. In contrast, we read that members of the Disciplinary Committee were less inclined to take a lenient view in the case of a vet who allowed into the food chain the carcass of a bull that was one day over the 30 month limit. He was found guilty of "disgraceful professional conduct" and struck off the register for twelve months. (Vet Record Dec 1)

Dec 28 ~ In the Press Release from the newly formed NST SG the Convenor of the Northern Short-Tailed Sheep Group (NST SG), Peter Titley, said of the Animal Health(amendment) Bill:

"The unprecedented and extreme measures in the Bill would give the Government powers to override the civil liberties of farmers beyond anything experienced during the Foot and Mouth outbreak - so much so, that some genetically vital breeds are threatened with extinction and all of this on the back of unreliable science"

Dec 28 ~ Food prices are set to soar 20 -40% in South Africa in January

according to this report from (South Africa recently eradicated foot and mouth with the help of vaccination)
...expected the price of pork and beef to increase even further when South Africa is declared a foot-and-mouth disease free country..... The rand has lost about 45% of its value against the US dollar since the start of the year, ..... imported goods and services will become more expensive.......the liberalisation of the agricultural market some years ago - with the abolition of agricultural boards - means that farmers can export their goods.... less is available for the local market and prices climb."...Sean Summers, chief executive at retailer Pick 'n Pay said last week the price of maize had jumped more than 240% since July. ...his company said it would subsidise the cost of the staple for the next three months. Pick 'n Pay said the subsidy would cost the company R3 million. ....Schussler said it was a clever marketing tool but also showed that the free market did work and could come to the aid of consumers. He said the move was more sensible than government intervention in the market.
We find this alarming. "Consumers" and farmers are less and less independent, more and more in the power of others. This is happening globally and it is happening rapidly.

Dec 27 ~ "When is the great cause of freedom and democracy, espoused so readily by the Prime Minister on a global scale, to be taken up in respect of the political affairs of the United Kingdom?

We have been too complacent for too long about our standing as the mother of democracies. The House of Commons, once the guardian of our ancient liberties, has been emasculated, and the House of Lords remains the object of political manipulation. " Extract from a letter from Dr Gerald Morgan in The Times today.

Dec 27 ~ Some recent replies from Mr Morley.....

From Hansard for December 17th : Mrs. Ann Winterton asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs " if she will calculate Her Majesty's Government's annual expenditure on foot and mouth vaccine research in each of the last 10 years. [18208]" Mr. Morley's reply: Government expenditure on research into foot and mouth disease vaccine development for each of the last 10 years is as follows.
1992-93 £255,000
1993-94 £285,000
1994-95 £427,000
1995-96 £318,000
1996-97 £312,000
1997-98 £317,000
1998-99 £253,000
1999-2000 £ 309,000
2000-01 £268,000
2001-02 £154,000

We comment: in the year of foot and mouth the policy against which was of the most terrible cost to the country imaginable, and which left the rest of the world aghast, actual research into vaccination was at its lowest.....
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of alternatives to mass slaughter of livestock in the event of further outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. [18020]
Mr. Morley: The disease control policies employed by the Government to eradicate foot and mouth disease are being guided by advice received by the Chief Veterinary Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser. The requirements to slaughter animals which are infected or suspected of being infected with FMD is also a key part of the rules established by the European Union on the control of the disease.
The use of vaccination in certain circumstances would be considered if scientific advice were clear that it was the most appropriate measure to shorten the outbreak. However, vaccination does not provide complete protection against FMD and could never be used solely to eradicate FMD entirely. The Government recognised early in this year's outbreak that future EU and international policies for handling FMD would need to be reassessed, including the role of vaccination. The UK, with the Dutch, took the initiative to organise an International Conference on Prevention and Control of Foot and Mouth Disease on 12-13 December in Brussels.
(The Dutch might not be amused that Mr Morley claims UK initiative for this conference) Mr Morley's continuing insistence that FMD vaccine does not "provide complete protection" and "could never be used solely to eradicate FMD entirely" implies that therefore vaccination should not be used. But the statement should be challenged and examined minutely. Our understanding is that vaccines could eradicate FMD if the international will were there and, used unilaterally in this country, could not only prevent such a calamity happening again but provide a lead to the rest of Europe and beyond.

Dec 27 ~ The cup half full rather than half empty...A greeting for the New Year posted to the FMD forum is worth quoting in full:

"In some very important ways, 2001 was ghastly. However, it could always have been much worse and I can say that as a producer who has lost much in an animal health emergency; 15years worth of seedstock breeding lost in three weeks due to feed contamination. You learn to actively seek that which keeps the cup half full as opposed to what has been lost, and to keep moving forward. And to focus on what you have , and what is important; and you find your blessings, and you find your strength in those blessings, and you keep on moving forward. The world requires strength these days; and it is there to be discovered. Once found, embrace it and share it. My wish for 2002; until challenged, we rarely know how rich we are.
June R"

Dec 26 ~ On this day of importance for both sides in the hunting debate, Sam has sent us this cutting from the Times in which we read that a former hunt saboteur now himself hunts enthusiastically with the Quorn.

"I notice that you don't seem to take sides in the hunting debate," Sam writes.

Dec 24 ~ "Ministers are comforting themselves that farmers affected by the disease and contractors who helped in the cull and clean-up operation are in for even more severe criticism from the NAO. " Are we alone in finding this statement from the Financial Times report astonishing?

Ministers are "comforting themselves" with the thought that although they are to be criticised someone else is to be criticised even more severely? Are DEFRA ministers so lacking in responsibility that they cannot even now accept that their Ministry caused "billions of pounds of taxpayers' money used in dealing with the foot-and-mouth epidemic" to be wasted - and make some apologies? As always, admission and acknowledgement are considered weaknesses by politicians - but not by ordinary decent people. ..."In a situation where you are trying to stop the disease spreading as quickly as possible, the cost plays second fiddle," said one government insider. "And once the army was involved there was little we could do to keep costs in check."
If only it were possible for just criticisms about the disaster to be focussed solely on money. Waste of taxpayers' money is hardly an unusual event and tends not to cause individual human tragedy. Money spent by governments only becomes "taxpayers' money" when someone wants to make political capital out of it. No, the real crimes of the past ten months were crimes of callous irresponsibility: intellectual arrogance, cruelty, ignorance, bullying and the malevolence that comes from petty officialdom when anyone of spirit tries to protect themselves - or in this case,their animals. The frantic cover-up of all this is causing continuing hardship and despair in the country. Face saving, following illegality and ignorance, is also the disgraceful motivation behind the Animal Health amendment bill.

Dec 24 ~ "IF YOU dumb down secondary education, a generation later you will find you have dumbed down everything, your teachers, your politicians, your businessmen, your television, even your scientists."

From On the front line in war against dunces an article today in The Times. William Rees-Mogg writes, " The contrast of English generations is visible everywhere, particularly in the two Houses of Parliament. The average age of the Commons is a generation below that of the Lords; the peers are so old that we were educated before the flood. Most of the unfortunate young persons in the House of Commons have had a more modern education; it shows in their relatively incoherent debates."
We agree that the standard of political debate in the House of Commons is lamentable and, with the writer, are saddened beyond measure at the decline in the English language. However we would leap to the defence of the educators in this country who, like the farmers, policemen , doctors, nurses, solicitors and everyone else trying to pursue a once-respected profession, have been so hedged about with restrictions and bureaucracy. So limited is the scope of what they may legitimately do using their own professional judgement, so bound by pettyfogging rules imposed from a government that thinks interference equals good organisation, that respect from the public has all but disappeared and resentment has largely taken its place. If these people - who do so long simply to get on with the job, were left in peace to exercise their skills without the mounds of form filling and time measuring would the sky fall in - or would we all be a lot happier?

Dec 23 ~ "Draconian" is a word being used more and more to describe the legislative antics of the government.

We now read (in the Scotsman on Sunday for example) that "CHILDREN will be banned from schools and nurseries unless they have been given the controversial measles, mumps and rubella jab under plans being considered by the government's expert group on the MMR vaccine. Vaccination would effectively become compulsory under the draconian scheme, which is designed to prevent outbreaks in the face of falling inoculation rates across the country. " So there we are: people who are highly suspicious of one kind of vaccine are forced to use it by a government whose ministers are very cagey about their own stance on vaccination for their own children. This is the same government that prefers to kill literally millions of healthy animals while their owners, desperate to inoculate their cattle or pets against a disease which we know is still a real threat, are refused permission to do so. Unbelievable.

Dec 23 ~ An interesting but worrying article about the National Trust appears in the Sunday Telegraph today.

The Trust has divested itself of many if not all of its old experienced and knowledgeable staff and is moving its headquarters from comfortable St James to Swindon - a move that seems strangely in keeping with the sweeping new ideas of its Blairite new Director General, Fiona Reynolds. The writer of article is saddened at the proposed changes and concludes:
"The Trust has always been at its best when reacting to a crisis in England's heritage, as it showed with the country houses and coastline. As it happens, another has hit us. There is a crisis in the countryside. BSE and foot and mouth disease started the rot, of course, but small farms are set to go through harder times in the next decade, leading to farmers in England's most beautiful rural uplands deserting their homesteads, leaving stone walls derelict and fields a wasteland.
Surely keeping these landsapes alive and enhancing public access to them is what the Trust's founding Act of Parliament intended when it laid down that the Trust was to 'preserve places of historic interest or natural beauty permanently for the benefit of the nation'.
I suspect this is more likely to give the Trust a new sense of purpose than the director general's witterings about creating a 'wider interpretation of heritage' " (writer Sandy Mitchell.)

Dec 22 ~ We are saddened to read that a French judge has seen fit to sentence José Bové to six months in prison following his stand against genetically modified crops.

Bové is, of course, a hugely popular rural hero in France. Judge Patrick Brossier delayed the verdict last Thursday for about two hours because 100 farmers from the Farmers' Confederation disrupted the proceedings and refused to leave the courtroom. In scenes that should cause us deep concern, french riot police moved in, pushing the protesters into the courthouse lobby and finally expelling them from the building with tear gas.
France's Human Rights League denounced the verdict and expressed its "solidarity'' with Monsieur Bové. Bové and two others destroyed more than 1,000 rice plants in a greenhouse operated by Cirad, a research firm near Montpellier. He has decided to appeal for a second time - a move that will keep him out of prison for a few more months. We can only feel again the relief at recent verdicts in this country against similar acts against the loathed biotechnology. Demonstrators were acquitted because the jury at Worcester Crown Court accepted that the defendants had a lawful excuse for their actions. Trial by jury is now under threat. In October however, in a High Court test case, Judge Mrs Justice Rafferty said the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act cannot be used against campaigners who damage or destroy GM crops, when no people who might be intimidated by their activities are present in the fields.
It will be remembered that Greenpeace UK and its former executive director Lord Melchett accepted undisclosed libel damages after issuing warnings about GM foods. They won their case for libel after The Herald newspaper in Scotland alleged, in a letter from Professor Trewavas, that they spread unfounded fears about GM foods to further their financial interests. Fears about GM Biotechnology are anything but unfounded. Mexico's ministry of the environment now estimates up to 10% of its Sierra Norte de Oaxaca species of maize is contaminated. Genes from genetically modified crops which spread unintentionally can threaten plant diversity by crowding out native crops.

Dec 21 ~ An American surgeon has implanted an identity chip under his own skin.

(See democracy watch ) The chip has been developed by Applied Digital Solutions of Palm Beach, Florida who already sell electronic chips to be inserted under the skin of cattle and other livestock. In this era of rapidly eroding civil liberties, respect for privacy and increasingly paranoid governmental interference in our lives we are surely not alone in being alarmed by this? Whenever human beings develop unnatural technologies there are always those who will make a killing financially and so extol the "benefits", ignoring what is apparent to the rest of us. Governments, more and more in the pockets of big business, less and less the protectors of sane, natural laws, seem to encourage the use of the very things that will destroy us: chemicals used indiscriminately, weapons systems, surveillance satellites, genetic engineering, transgenic crops and animals, cloning, the use of the human genome in developing vaccines...the slaughtering millions of healthy animals as disease control....who would have believed that these things could now be universally "acceptable"? Scientists no longer search for truth; they look for research grants. If it can be done it will be done seems the only justification necessary. Who will speak out - like the boy in the story of the Emperor's New Clothes - to wake everyone up to the very real danger for the planet and for ourselves in all this insanity?

Dec 20 ~ Like many others, we rubbed our eyes slightly this evening to learn from Farmers' Weekly that Assembly Rural Affairs minister Carwyn Jones had been named as "best politician of the year" by "farmers in Wales"

Two facts should be borne in mind however. The first was that the "farmers" in question were those who happened to be present at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair and happened to take part in a survey. The second was that they were given a somewhat limited choice.... "Producers were asked to choose between Tony Blair, Nick Brown, Carwyn Jones and Margaret Beckett on grounds of trustworthiness and performance." Given that choice we too would probably have plumped for Mr Jones who, in that company, seems almost warm and cuddly.

Dec 19 ~ The 56 page combined submission of the National Foot and Mouth group and Vets for Vaccination was sent to the Royal Society on Monday.

A magnum opus, it takes some time to load. It is extremely wide-ranging and is well worth studying.

Dec 19 ~ Weasel words from Mr Morley: Mr Owen Paterson (N Shropshire) asked the Secretary of State " if she plans to propose amendments to the Animal Health Act 1981 to give the Government powers to seize and destroy any animal;

what right of appeal will be proposed; and what assessment she has made of the compatibility of the Human Rights Act 1988 (13846)"
Elliot Morley rather than Margaret Beckett replied: The Animal Health Bill currently before Parliament does not give Ministers power to seize and destroy any animal, it provides for the Minister to cause any animal to be slaughtered with a view to preventing the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD) The term animal is defined in the 1981 Act and the Foot and Mouth Disease Order, the definition of the animals for these purposes is restricted to FMD susceptible animals.
Mr Morley's answer here does not accord with the words of the new bill " Paragraph 32A The Minister may by order amend Schedule 3 for the purpose of -
a) authorising or requiring the slaughter of animals to be caused with a view to preventing the spread of disease other than foot-and-mouth disease " nor does it explain why the new bill includes the extraordinary insertion: " It is immaterial whether or not animals -
a) are affected with foot-and-mouth disease or suspected of being so affected
b) are or have been in contact with animals so affected;
c) have been exposed to the infection of foot-and-mouth disease;
d) have been treated with vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease.."
if the eradication of foot-and-mouth were really what this bill is about. Mr Morley does admit that "In addition the Bill contains provisions to extend such powers to other disease by affirmative resolution order...." and concludes:" In my view these provisions and all others in the Bill are compatible with the convention rights for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1988." In this, he differs from the view of the QC Stephen Smith, whose assertion : . on this website and elsewhere" 19. I find it very difficult to see how this proposed process can properly be said to be "compatible with the Convention rights" has never been challenged.

Dec 19 ~ Alistair McConnachie writes, "Sunday, 16 December saw 15,000 people march through Edinburgh under the banner "Freedom for the Countryside".

Eight SOVEREIGNTY activists delivered 3,000 leaflets to the marchers, advertising the sovereignty website as a premier resource for countryside issues. A full report of the day appears at (6 pictures)"

Dec 16 ~" Mr Blair, flanked by at least four armed detectives when appearing in public, was more heavily guarded than ever before."

('s report on the EU summit in Laeken) We are more and more alarmed at how Britain is turning into "Animal Farm". It will be remembered how, in Animal Farm, the tyrant pig began to appear in public only when his guard dogs fully surrounded him. Demonstrations during the two days of the summit drew 90,000 protesters to the Belgian capital - but the national leaders never got anywhere near the police cordons where the demonstrators were contained. European federalism, we keep being told, is off the agenda. The notion of a super-state is pure fantasy: a false creation proceeding from the heat-oppressèd brains of Eurosceptics. dryly remarks an opinion column in the Sunday Telegraph today. (See Democracy Watch page) Government spokesmen have done everything they can to blur the picture. When, almost exactly a year ago, the British media began to scent that a written constitution was on the agenda, the Europhile establishment went into an almost Soviet mode of denial. The Sunday Telegraph article says the EU has equipped itself with its own parliament, currency, supreme court, anthem, flag and the rest of the paraphernalia of statehood. But there are still three vital elements missing. It lacks its own armed forces, its own constitution, and its own criminal justice system. ....and the article goes on to show how, in spite of all denials and weasel words, these elements too are now almost fully in place.

Dec 16 ~ It is encouraging that Mrs. Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Minister of Agriculture in Belgium, not only graciously received the petition from EntEuropa in her office, but also referred warmly to it in her speech

to the many delegates, not only European but from South America, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Bulgaria, Poland and elsewhere who were at the Brussels Conference. Mrs Neyts-Uyttebroeck spoke about the wave of revulsion in Europe at the deaths of so many animals. One cannot help comparing this sympathetic approach from the organiser of the international conference to the contemptuous lack of interest in Britain shown to similar petitions bearing thousands of names and addresses. One Australian delegate at the conference was heard to say how unbelievable it was that Britain had behaved as it has towards animals and farmers. "We'd never have put up with such treatment," he said - a view that has been expressed over and over again in Europe.
Part of the letter and petition: "..... Mrs Neyts-Uyttebroeck, a Europe, in which economic interests are worth so much suffering, is frightening. Not only as a farmer, but even more as a mother, I don't feel safe in such a Europe. And I am not the only one. In the past months we have gathered, together with the initiative-group Church and Society, 100,000 signatures of private persons and letters of support of organisations, which resulted in another 375,000 new members. The words of the petition are simple: We are against the culling of healthy animals. Therefore: vaccinate Europe against FMD."

Dec 14 ~ The Countryside Agency has a website entitled "Mapping Access land in Britain"

They say, . "We will evaluate the comments received and then issue provisional maps. At this stage people with a legal interest in an area of land (such as land owners and tenants) will be able to appeal to the Secretary of State against the inclusion of their land on the provisional map, if they feel it has been wrongly identified as open country. Once the Secretary of State has heard all the appeals for an area, we will amend the provisional map, as directed by the Secretary of State, and issue the conclusive map of open country and registered common land." Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (new window) (See Comment from email, Dec 16)

Dec 14 ~ Goats and Brain samples....(Email) "As the owner of two (pet) goats, I found the comments by Christine about having to kill her goat for scrapie monitoring most worrying and went hot foot to the DEFRA site on scrapie monitoring.

As far as I could see, this scheme is only compulsory if you are exporting breeding stock as it is an EU requirement.
Obviously I do not know Christine's circumstances but I would have thought it unlikely that someone with only 5 females would have been exporting, so why was the scheme and its horrendous consequences necessary? Are the goat breed societies insisting on it or what?
I am sure there are many owners of small goat herds out there who have been alarmed by the report and would be grateful for a few more facts as to why this poor goat had to be culled "to save the others". If it is a breed society requirement - then perhaps the members should think again and say "No"!

Dec 14 ~ Another email: Was so incensed by the suggested Scrapie regulations for Goats I've done a bit of digging

The following extracts from the BGS site. The EU reg EU Regulation No. 999/2001 Herds must now be scrapie monitored for three years before export takes place, instead of two. In a small herd, veterinary certification may be accepted until a suitable goat is culled and brain examination can take place. DEFRA have written (1/8/01) to members with goat-only holdings, with details of the brain sampling requirement, and an application form. It is stressed in the letter that you will not be expected to cull goats simply in order to sample them. In summary, the brains of female goats over two years old which have died or been culled are to be sent for lab. examination, up to 1% of the herd per year. (If you have 100 or more adult female goats, you should sample one goat per year for every 100 or part of a hundred in the herd. If you have between approx. 25 adult female goats and 100, you should sample one per year. If you have less than 25, it may be that you will not lose one every year and no one is expected to cull one just for scrapie testing. Your vet can sign to say that you will send a sample as soon as possible.)
Many thanks to Janet and Sue for this help in clarifying this very worrying issue.

Dec 13 ~ How was this conjuring trick to deprive us of our national sovereignty accomplished? The Government has welcomed the European Court of Justice's judgment that France is guilty of breaching EU law by refusing to import British beef - but remains very quiet about the basis of this judgement.

.i.e. the verdict from Luxembourg confirms once and for all that European rules take precedence over national laws While Ben Gill may be rejoicing in a "victory" and the French motive for refusing our beef be highly suspect, we look beyond both. We mourn the silent passing of national sovereignty and wonder why there are apparently so very few British voices raised in horrified protest. European Law takes precedence over British Law? Didn't many of our fathers and grandfathers and great grandfathers fight and die in two world wars to preserve our freedoms from just this sort of bullying from abroad? Is this a hopelessly naïve view? We do rather wonder what Winston Churchill would have said about it.

Dec 13 ~ 'THE greatest test of courage I can conceive," wrote William Hazlitt, "is to speak the truth in the House of Commons."..........

Too many politicians seem even more reluctant to say what they think than they were in Hazlitt's day. MPs coin cliches and pronounce party platitudes with more concern for their own careers than their constituents. They ask questions designed to create a platform for ministers to show off rather than to get an answer - yesterday one Labour MP simply urged Tony Blair to take the credit for the success of the Harry Potter film. ( See this timely article in the Telegraph on the democracy watch page) Not much truth can be expected to issue forth from those manipulated by DEFRA's stringpullers to get the Animal Health bill through its Third Reading today. It is, of course, intended retrospectively to aquit the faceless ones and give them the future power they seek. It has nothing at all to do with Animal Health.

Dec 13 ~Increasingly, scientific research is paid for by private enterprise, which in practice means big business. Big business promotes the kind of scientific research that will provide the kind of technologies that can underpin the most profitable modus operandi.

" In agriculture, there used to be something called husbandry. It was often picturesque -- cows in their meadows, the hens in the yard -- but this isn't just a matter of nostalgia. Traditional husbandry was rooted in good sense. It had to be: if the farmers didn't get the principles right, the animals died. ....
The rot truly set in in the early 1970s, when a government report chaired by Lord Rothschild proposed the "customer-contractor" principle. Science, said Rothschild, should be promoted in so far as it generates high technologies of the kind that can be seen to produce profit. Many, at the time and since, thought this approach was crass; that scholarship should as far as possible be independent of short-term gain. But Rothschild appealed to Edward Heath's government and to all governments since--especially Tony Blair's -- and so the loop was established. Increasingly, scientific research is paid for by private enterprise, which in practice means big business. Big business promotes the kind of scientific research that will provide the kind of technologies that can underpin the most profitable modus operandi. The most profitable modus operandi in agriculture is industrialisation.... A fascinating article by Colin Tudge, published in January in the New Statesman, can be read here.

Dec 12 ~ " My belief is that biosecurity on farms is a smokescreen, a distraction from the reality of what really is acheivable and important. By focussing on this issue we are being distracted from the truth:

The day that any of my neighbours don't feel able to climb our gate and come and visit us will be the day I don't want to be farming any more." Matt, a correspondent of Alan's, has much refreshing common sense and humanity to impart here. What an antidote to Rothschild and his ilk (above)

Dec 12 ~ Goats and Sheep: A comment just received on the item below. We cannot help agreeing....

"why in the name of heaven don't these people stand up and tell Defra to get lost?! They can only bring these regulations in because people follow like sheep!! (One goat organisation)... was pathetic over the epidemic, I was the one letting local goat keepers know their rights! ARRHHH!!!"

Dec 12 ~ We discovered today that DEFRA is insisting on a brain sample from goat herds in order to confer "scrapie unsuspect" status.

Joyce writes, "As far as I am concerned DEFRA can go to hell and back before they TOUCH any of my goats. I had no idea this was happening, and feel that after FMD and the lies and deceit that we have all been subjected to, this should be fought tooth and nail. " We agree. How can this sort of thing be going on when scrapie is a very rare disease that hurts no one except the one poor unfortunate sheep in a million that contracts it?

Dec 12 ~ Mr Peter Ainsworth M.P., in a letter to the Telegraph deploring the Animal Health amendment Bill, calls again for a public inquiry into the handling of the foot and mouth crisis.

"What underlies this Bill is a cynical attempt to blame farmers for the disaster of foot and mouth. In fact, the disease was allowed to get out of control by the dithering and bungling of the very people who are now to be given sweeping powers to enter property and slaughter animals as they see fit. Maybe new legislation is needed to combat foot and mouth; if so, it should be based on the findings of an independent public inquiry. The Government's stubborn refusal to grant such an inquiry further undermines the moral and scientific bases for the new laws it is seeking to rush through Parliament. "

Dec 11 ~ Who is left to complain to about the "prescription only" monopoly in the supply of animal medicines to farmers and horse owners? The government? The vets? The monopolies commission? One email among many that voice outrage, indignation or tired misery :

" Last week the vet nurse informed me that I would now have to "call out" the vet for a diagnosis before I could have anything. Oh yes, a £50 call out to get a little tube of eye ointment. It makes me even crosser as quite often whenever the vet comes all he says is "Well what do YOU think it is?" and acts on my advice! It seems that although most vets were incredibly short sighted and stupid, assisting the Gov in its successful efforts to murder all their patients, they have been quite cunning in now getting medicines for animals under their control. This creeping nationalisation of the country is appalling. Up until nowI could always go to my vet and get medicines for my sheep and horses and apply them myself. I was pleased to see the letter from Roger Green in the Daily Telegraph but it's a bit late in the day - it seems the Vet profession has only just woken up to the fact they have been outmanoevred and outflanked by the mathematicians and modellers, who have the ear of the Gov. The vets have taken far too long to realise that politically they are now effete and without influence, by their acquiescence in the contiguous slaughter policy they have actually connived in bringing this position about. Had they opposed the Gov more effectively they might have had a stronger voice in the management of future veterinary problems. It is a pity they appear only to have just realised this."( Adrianne)

Dec 11 ~ David writes, "UK DOES NOT BENEFIT from agricultural subsidies like other EU countries do - because the Government has to pay back between 71% and 85% of any money drawn down from the CAP fund.

That is why the UK Government has consistently refuse to claim almost £1bn per year of agrimonetary compensation due to the British Farmer because the £ is out of kilter with the Euro. NONE of the EU schemes are publicised/encouraged by DEFRA which is in sharp contrast to what happens in France who encourages and helps their farmers to make claims.
So just remember that your taxes will be supporting other EU farmers to produce food cheaper than we can at home, partly because we do not get the subsidies that other EU countries do.
By the way you will not be able to spend a penny after 1st January -
You will have to EUROnate instead!

Dec 11 ~ "Politicians argue about how many more billions they want to spend on education, the health service and crime. But isn't it odd how they never seem to address what, to the rest of us has so obviously become the chief reason why all three state industries are in such a tragic, wasteful mess?"

Words of refreshing sanity to be read in last Sunday's Booker's Notebook.

Dec 11 ~ (Dec 13 We now hear with great concern that this payment has not been confirmed - indeed the owner of Mossburn has heard nothing about it) ...Mossburn Animal Sanctuary (Dumfries and Galloway) has been awarded £22,110 from the recovery fund.

It will be remembered how close this sanctuary came to being wiped out - not by foot and mouth but by the foot and mouth policy. The brave owners and protesters and the generous kindness of supporters have kept it going. It is good to know that there is to be a grant after all.

Dec 11 ~ Hurrah for the Metric Martyrs, brave voice of sanity in poor old benighted Britain, drowning in bureacracy and strangled in red tape.

We read in last Sunday's Booker Notebook: "British nominees won more than their share of the awards handed out at a grand dinner in Brussels last week by the magazine European Voice. Thanks, it is said, to some deft footwork by Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair was electronically voted by its readers 'European Leader of the Year'. Chris Patten topped the poll as 'European Commissioner of the Year'. But the night's biggest upset, thanks not least to readers of the Sunday Telegraph, came in the award for 'European Campaigners of the Year'. Winners by a landslide were two Sunderland market traders, Steve Thoburn and Neil Herron, on behalf of Britain's 'Metric Martyrs'. Mr Herron announced the award was not just for them, because there are "57 million people standing behind us". An inaccurately-briefed EU-lover in the audience shouted "there are only 55 million people in your country". Mr Herron called back "sorry, I forgot those two million illegal immigrants". He was lucky not immediately to be extradited to Greece on charges of xenophobia and plane-spotting. "

Dec 10 ~ E-mail received today: "There will be a series of meetings this week regarding the £5.1bn compensation claim for rural businesses,

organised by the UK Rural Business Campaign, and handled by Class Law. See or or for details and updates. There are meetings in Cumbria, Dumfries, Wales, Yorkshire and Northumberland.

Dec 9 ~ Stephen Pollard, writing about the government's disastrous mishandling of the Health Service in the Sunday Telegraph today concludes: "The truth is that the Government hasn't got a clue.

It can come up with as many so-called reforms as it likes but it is doomed to failure - and wasting billions of pounds - .........
No one suggests that the most sensible way of supplying the population with food is for us to hand over our money to the Government as extra taxes, let it decide what food we should be given, and then decide who should supply it to us. So why should it work for healthcare?" But some of us fear that this is precisely what is about to happen. The independent producers of food are being systematically targeted by impossibly restrictive measures, unfair red tape and a callous erosion of their rights. If we allow them to be wiped out we will find that the government do indeed decide what food we should be given, how it should be produced and who should supply it to us.

Dec 8 ~ The purpose of the foundation is to let Europe hear a powerful, joined 'No' to the current non-inoculation policy. We have received today an email from Holland (Stichting Ent-Europa, Holland) :

"Our foundation is trying to get as many signatures as possible for our action which is called: "Stop killing healthy animals". You can read about this on our website:
We ask you kindly to support our action and sign our website guestbook. And please will you also pay attention for this action on your own website if you have one, or/and let other people know about this. Thank you very much.
With kind regards
(We have, of course, only very limited time to sign the "guestbook" on this Dutch site)

Dec 8 ~ The media in Britain appear strangely shy about mentioning the Animal Health bill. In other areas, journalists seem moved by something or someone to be outspoken outside the legitimate arena of opinion or leader columns.

Phillip Webster of The Times for example, seems to have decided that unbiassed reporting in a news article need not apply when dealing with the Labour "rebel" Paul Marsden. Since Mr Marsden's only act of "rebellion" seems to be his desire to follow his own conscience and to object when bullied, we cannot quite account for the depth of emotive undertone to the words and phrases used in Mr Webster's article today. We find it odd. Mr Webster writes that Mr Marsden: appeared to be trying to talk himself out of the Labour Party last night by referring to Tony Blair as a "lousy leader". ...another vituperative attack on Mr Blair and the whips......branding some of his colleagues "thugs" .....He seemed to have put himself in direct contravention of the parliamentary party's code of conduct which bans personal attacks on colleagues. .....rumoured to be flirting with the Liberal Democrats, appeared to some MPs to be inviting his ejection....... , he seemed to be determined to push the party to the brink. .....signs that Mr Marsden may be losing support in his Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency party. " Whatever its origin, this is surely blatant propaganda against Mr Marsden and we do not like to see it in The Times.

Dec 7 ~ We learn that Prof. Michael Dower has been appointed chairman of the Northumberland County Council foot and mouth inquiry.

We are not certain that the experience and affiliations he has are quite what we would have chosen ourselves for an independent chairman but hope for the best. He is currently visiting professor in European Regional Development at the University of Gloucestershire and a "key member of the Countryside and Community Research Unit." He is a former director of the Peak District National Park and member of the European Commission's advisory committee on rural development. He is also vice-president of Ecovast, the European council for villages and small towns which promotes the well-being and heritage of rural Europe.
Comments about this appointment might helpfully be sent to the Newcastle Journal and to County Hall, Morpeth

Dec 7 ~ In a move that gives us hope for the eventual fate of the loathed Animal Health amendment Bill, and in spite of the Labour minister, Lord Rooker's, declaration that the group of opposition amendments would "wreck " the Terrorism bill, the House of Lords have voted in amendments to protect the ancient principle of the right to trial.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats combined to reject measures giving police unprecedented access to personal information and forced through the right to a judicial review for any person detained without trial. The Labour party hasn't got a majority in the House of Lords. Mr Blunkett refers angrily to "unelected peers" and Mr Blair to "modernisation" and "reform" - but it doesn't take much to understand the real unconstitutional motive for Mr Blair's resolution to kick the peers out of the Upper Chamber. Reuters reports, "unabashed, the peers voted by 227 votes to 145 to tighten sharply the justification police and tax authorities must provide to pry into private affairs, demonstrating that there was a real threat of terror activity or damage to national security not just broad criminal acts. They later imposed by 191 votes to 117 a clause allowing anybody interned without trial the right to a judicial review. There may be more revolts to come, including on a sensitive clause making incitement to religious hatred a crime."
It will be interesting to see whether the government will accept the sensible compromises made by the Lords - or whether it will try to force through its bill with late night sittings and even by delaying Parliament's break for Christmas. The Lords' amendments have turned the bill into something nearer to what it was intended to look like - an anti terrorism bill. Their amendments have protected us from yet further interference and prying into our private liberties.

Dec 6 ~ The departure of Elizabeth Filkin, the ambitions of Mr Blair, the extraordinary bullying, abuse and assault meted out to Paul Marsden MP, the Terrorism bill.....

none of these stories is about agriculture directly - even though everything in politics, as we are rapidly realising, is connected to everything else. Consequently, there is a new page on warmwell: "Democracy Watch" Television and most media are churning out bright noisy SOMA as if nothing at all were amiss, but here we can be quietly aghast and grateful to the few journalists and individuals of integrity who raise a protesting pen as as our democracy crumbles.

Dec 5 ~ Here's an unpleasant and verifiable story from Devon concerning a pig unit.

The owners were told by Tesco's that all their pigs should be slaughtered so that Tesco could keep a F&M clean image for the public. The pigs were FMD free. All healthy. As a result of this ultimatum from Tesco, 20,000 (yes twenty thousand) pigs were slaughtered by MAFF/DEFRA. Some of these pigs were sent to an open rubbish tip near Newton Abbot; the local TV South West had an article a few weeks ago, about locals complaining of the smell from the tip. There were so many carcasses that MAFF then decided to burn them near Holsworthy. The fire lasted five weeks.

Dec 5 ~ "Fields of Fire", the book about the Foot and Mouth tragedy in Britain, is about to be published, complete with photos to touch the most hardened of hearts

Quita writes, " I am, therefore, sooner or later, going to have piles of books in my barn! I will need to publicise them and mail them out to people and it feels like a bit of a task - but it will be exciting as well!
I know I've asked you all before and lots of you have kindly responded, but could I ask you again? If you would like a copy, please e-mail me again and tell me and I will e-mail you back the price, once I've worked out p & p as well. Any profit made on the book will be going to help farmers."

Dec 3 ~ Alicia Eykyn writes, "All over Britain extremely talented and effective people were struggling against the relentless attitude of the authorities.

Their voices were not heard and they should have been heard. Consequently, one of the many frustrations was, that the powers that be were able to divide and rule and belittle everyone's efforts. In fact, what was lacking in the action was, to coin a phrase, 'cohesion without coercion' and a central 'name' to use for extra weight if and when required. This is the purpose of the FMD Forum, and, as you can see, we already have a powerful list of Founder Members." The Chairman's Challenge.

Dec 2 ~ Essential reading, as usual, is Christopher Booker's Notebook in the Sunday Telegraph.

Writing about the anti-terrorism Bill which, like the Animal Health Bill is also currently being rushed through Parliament , Mr Booker says, "Slipped in as Article 109 of the Bill, for instance, is a provision making it possible in future to "Europeanise" Britain's judicial system simply by means of statutory instruments, over which Parliament has no control. Only one MP, David Cameron, the Conservative member for Witney, has drawn attention to the astonishing implications of this clause. Our politicians are sleep-walking us into this new state, and almost no one notices."
Further down the column, we are told that in the case of the Metric Martyrs, 'Lord Justice Laws, ... has in the current metrication case finally called the bluff of successive governments, by describing the imposition of such a huge change on the British people without an Act of Parliament as "shameful". '
We would echo the words of Mrs Ann Winterton (Hansard) last Thursday when, telling the Standing Committee how grateful so many farmers were to him; "Mr. Booker asserts that the Government were guilty of breaking the law through wholesale breaches of the Welfare of Livestock Regulations 1994 by those carrying out the slaughter. "

Dec 1 ~ Lawrence has drawn our attention to this bizarre item from the Farmers' Weekly "In Brief" section:

"An unlikely catalogue of disasters left two Hungarian farmers dead and a third seriously injured when they attempted to slaughter a pig. The first man tried to electrocute the pig but instead managed to electrocute and kill himself, reported the website Ananova. The second man was so shocked that he had a heart attack and died, while the third electrocuted himself trying to unplug the homemade pig stunner. Reports say that the pig remains alive and well." We find the last sentence pleasing.

Dec 1 ~ The Daily Telegraph, second to none in its coverage of the foot and mouth crisis

has today published long letters from two of the speakers at the meeting on Thursday from the House of Commons. As always, we are grateful to those journalists who are able to bring current worrying legislation into the light of public gaze. A full report of what the speakers said at Thursday's meeting, and the proposition put and passed at that meeting, can be seen on warmwell here Also in the Daily Telegraph, Charles Moore, introducing the "A Free Country" campaign that started in July, said:.... . There should also be a presumption that the authorities should stop taking more power over people and should start handing power back. Why should trial by jury be curtailed, or the assets of people suspected of profiting from crime be seized, or the Customs and Excise have the power to enter your house? Why should the police be able to subject drivers to random breath tests, or to spy on the public through CCTV, or the Government keep information on you that it shares across departments, or tell you whom to employ, or intercept your electronic communications? The cant phrase always used to justify the restriction of freedom is "The innocent have nothing to fear". It is almost always untrue. The innocent suffer unfairly from every intrusion and restriction; indeed, their innocence is no longer presumed.

Nov 30 ~ Part of an email from Anne: " Re the Animal Health Bill, it is very important that there is clear guidance

from the real experts on carriers in all shapes and sizes, otherwise DEFRA will go mad with slaughtering (Sorry, it has gone mad already). Sutmoller and Barteling and Brown could surely clarify it in no uncertain terms because I can see Defra using that excuse to trace all sorts of livestock to slaughter.------- Last thing - in Independent an article which starts off very funny, then sad (about the bears), then very witty, by Simon Carr "Brown boils over at ginger snap"-. You get to the Defra bit near the end! " Anne refers to this extract: Mr Banks wants to send in animal welfare. It's a good plan, if vicious. Defra would do far more damage than the Army to the animal husbandry of Afghanistan (you can't beat experience).

Nov 28 ~ The newest version of the warmwell scrapie page concludes with the opinion: In humans CJD has been transmitted through surgery, growth hormones and transplants.

(Fore/Kuru) Living with someone with CJD under one roof poses no risk of infection. .....everything that includes industrial processes, treatments or 'unnatural' habits is a risk, not the disease itself.
Eating meat is not a problem, but producing mechanically recovered meat and stripping every bit of carcasses including tissues one would normally never touch is the danger. Cannibalism in animals and man is a danger...... And interestingly, when in 1996 the article on the vCJD was published it showed slides of brain samples of affected people. This samples showed the same patterns- 'floral plaques'- like the brains of the Fore people that had died of KURU.'

Nov 27 ~ In four days the Codex Alimentarius is meeting in Germany to remove our worldwide rights on vitamins, all natural supplements, and natural health care.

The drug companies want to take control of it all, thus either eliminating products altogether or making them very expensive and only available through a prescription, and pharmaceutically made with synthetics (this has already happened in Germany). Please go to this website and send your protest and get this to as many people as you possibly can. It only takes a minute and is very easy to do - the protest letters go directly to this committee (I believe there are over 20 million letters so far but we have to keep it up). The website is You may send the petition for each person in your household, even children. We are grateful to Joyce for bringing this to our attention and can guarantee that it really does take a few seconds only. Please spend one moment to register your protest if you agree that this is an alarming and urgent issue even if not directly allied to Foot and Mouth/ Animal health concern.

The Rothschild Report

In 1971, when Margaret Thatcher was secretary of state for education and thus in charge of science, the Rothschild report was presented to parliament. It redefined government scientific research along the lines of private enterprise. Scientists became "contractors". The departments that funded them became "customers". Since Thatcher, science has had to make itself sexy and accessible while funds have been slashed in a succession of reviews: the Rayner scrutinies, the Ibbs report, the Levene white paper, the Lebrecht report and Michael Heseltine's Prior Options. The commotion over Dolly is a good example of government science in its new role as super-tart. How starved is the research work that has less sex-appeal than cloning? Tom Wilkie, now a senior policy adviser at the Wellcome Trust, was science editor of the Independent when he contrasted two job ads, one for a PhD-calibre protein chemist, the other for a switchboard operator. The switchboard operator got paid more, and still does.

Nov 27 ~ Ley tells us that "The Times today runs a report on 'a battle to save one of the most important maritime wildlife sites in Britain'.

Tomorrow a public inquiry opens to look at plans for a new port on the South Coast. 'In one corner is Associated British Ports (ABP) with plans to build a container terminal the size of 300 football pitches at Dibden Bay on the edge of the New Forest....In support of the company are [Southampton's] two Labour MPs, both government ministers, and its Labour-controlled council....Against them are three government agencies, two conservative-run local councils, conservationists and thousands of residents. They say that the scheme will adversely affect 8 SSSI's around the estuary that are a winter home to 50,000 birds....'
What's new? you may ask. Consider the next paragraph. 'If the Government has its way, however, the hearing will be the last of its kind. Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Housing and Planning minister, will propose next month that Parliament, rather than public inquiries, should decide on big infrastructure projects such as motorways and ports. His aim is to prevent developments of national importance from getting bogged down by well-organised locals.'
Nothing directly to do with FMD, I know, but isn't it starting to sound familiar? How much more of our liberty and democracy are they going to steal from us before the population of this country notices what's happening?"

Nov 25 ~ Why is Devon STILL not yet "disease-free"?

Adrian writes, " In a conversation with a local farmer this week, he told me why Devon is STILL not allowed to be declared disease free. Last week the national news even commented on the variety of information from DEFRA when there were four different accounts as to why there was a delay. Depending on which department of DEFRA you spoke to, you would be given a range of four different numbers of blood tests still to be completed. One department said only one so that disease free status could be declared the next day while others varied from 9 to over 20 test still to be done.
This week I learn that the latest excuse is that DEFRA have LOST six test results that were taken months ago.

Their incompetence knows no limits.
Last Monday a B&B guest from near Oxford said that their nearest outbreak resulted in 6000 animals being killed and then the tests from the first farm came back negative and a few days later I learnt of another farm that had lost all its animals to a contiguous cull AFTER the results had come back negative!!
Heres to a sane future"

Nov 25 ~ A farm website that we have never seen before is a must. Written with humour and philosophic tolerance it is, nevertheless, enough to make angels weep

Extracts from diary pages:
"I spoke last evening to the neighbour who lost the sheep (see Mar 17), and was shocked to hear that, not only has she not received one penny of the compensation money yet, but that the Ministry hasn't even bothered to contact her. The MAFF website still says payment in two to three weeks. This really isn't good enough; it's adding insult to injury. During those first two awful days, the people who were making the decisions were right here on the farm, and at least accessible; now, decisions are taken in some office somewhere by goodness knows who, totally insulated, it seems, from all those nasty farmers who are looking for money or answers to questions......
June 1 ******THEY'RE HERE!****** At long last, our test animals have arrived. Sixteen calves and a dozen sheep. It was so good watching them walk off the trailers, although they were strangely silent, as if they were walking into a memorial chapel or something. It wasn't until I went to check them at midnight that I heard the first quiet "moo" to break the silence of eleven weeks and two days. ".

Nov 24 ~ A film by the RSPCA which shows how millions of British broiler chickens suffer on a huge scale has been banned by advertising advisors on the ludicrous grounds that it was directed towards "a political end", which breaches advertising codes.

It will now be shown at cinemas with a 15 certificate. The TV advert compares the six-week life of a broiler chicken with that of a standards egg-laying hen. Adverts also appear in several newspapers The Independent says the advert tells "the story that shames British farming". The RSPCA alleges that 820m broilers routinely endure a catalogue of illness, ranging from heart disease to leg pain, ammonia burns to infections. The NFU are unhappy about the film. We applaud it and are astonished that the exposure of cruelty could be termed "a political end".

Nov 24 ~ A missed gem from The Times on Friday ....Blair's the villain

Tony Blair has been named Countryside Villain of the Year for his handling of the foot-and-mouth outbreak. He beat the Chinese mitten crab, which is devouring crayfish and threatening the ecology of the River Tyne, in Country Life magazines annual awards.

Nov 24 ~ the UK Rural Business Campaign

is developing its own website. Interested parties are urged to visit it.

Nov 23 ~ A row is looming over a Newcastle DEFRA letter dated the 18th Nov 2001. Bryn has some characteristically robust words to say about this,

"Further to the pathetic incompetence of the DEFRA mob asking for farmers help to produce a log from memory of the cleaning and disinfecting procedure on their farm; is this not akin to asking the policeman to write in his little note book facts about the crime scene and witnesses present, when he is not actually there, but is in court in front of the jury ?
"Well Mah..Lod, if you will give me a few 'umble minutes, I'll see what I can dream up and enter in 'ere this notebook of mine, as if it just 'appened, and then we can call it admissible evidence.......ha ha ha. I will then refer to it, as a proper diary of what I ought to 'ave done at the crime scene all those long lost months ago.......ha ha ha.
Now then...ello...ello....ello.....wats all this then, I said at 06.13 am on the 28th April 2001 as I proceeded North up a very slippy (blood on the floor) cattle ramp on the said premises of farmer Haskins".
It is a FARCE..........DEFRA want farmers help, after screwing up their lives. I know what I would tell them to do ! I had a farmer friend send me a copy of that letter, and indeed the hand written "false" and inadmissible chain of events of the alleged "clean up" operation.
The date of the Newcastle DEFRA letter was indeed the 18th Nov 2001, and the other hand-written A4 sheet cheat sheet ( "this is what to say" ) notes made the assumption it was OK to back date this evidence, going back to 28th April 2001 and up to 12th May 2001 on this "example".
An utter disgraceful example of Government incompetence.

Nov 21 ~" It seems to me that George Orwell's vision of the future as written in "1984" has come true and is what is happening today.

Even down to the National Lottery and wars in far away places to entertain the Proles. If you haven't already, read it. Funnily enough, Orwell's real name was Eric BLAIR." We have, sadly, to agree with Adrianne.

Nov 21 ~ "The Office of Fair Trading has launched a major investigation into Prescription only medicine.

If you have any comments to make concerning your own experience of obtaining veterinary prescription medicines, then please write to: The Reference Secretary (Veterinary Medicines)Competition Commission, New Court, 48 Carey Street, London WC2A 2JT or EMAIL," Ley tells us.

Nov 21 ~ Elaine writes, " Interesting to see some of the questions to be asked in the House of Lords this week:

Whether Her Majesty's Government will publish a list of the outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, giving in each instance the dates and places and the actions taken by the then Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food or its successor, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the number of animals slaughtered Lord Peyton of Yeovil
Whether the contents of the Animal Health Bill were agreed prior to the statement by the Lord Whitty on 22nd October that tests for BSE had been made on the brains of cows and not of sheep (House of Lords Debate columns 826-30) Baroness Seccombe
Whether Her Majesty's Government's decision not to give evidence to the Devon Foot-and-Mouth Enquiry was influenced by the number of permanent staff at their Exeter Office who have been suspended since August 2001 Earl of Onslow

Nov 20 ~ We are not going to lose sight of the ethical issues that lie beneath our wish for political action. The fact that what is happening and has happened is WRONG is what drives us.

Dot writes, " I went to Greenwich today to see Hilary's wonderful Goat Sculpture in memory of the Animals killed; it is magical, and the setting is perfect, I laid a small wreath of ivy and myrtle in memory of Caroline's Sheep, Misty, and Moo. I will never ever forget the horror we all went through that awful night, and when Andy was asking for help to save his sheep, he was up late lambing, knowing that Maff would be there to kill them the next morning. I think about that every night before I go to sleep, every night." So do we, Dot.

Nov 19 ~ Quote of the Day~ Lord Whitty - "Throughout the crisis the Government's conduct has been open and honest".

Coleen brings this gem to our attention, while Joyce suggests that the new Blair Dictionary no doubt is essential reading for new definitions of words such as "open" and "honest" and we should all ask to have it for Christmas.

Nov 19 ~ It was evident in the You and Yours radio programme that Elliot Morley really thinks that most of the bill will sail through.

We have never felt so strongly about anything before.. This must be stopped for all our sakes. Never has the edge of a wedge seemed thinner. Much as most of us hate the idea of demonstrating, this is serious. Please keep November 29th free. Please contact warmwell with your support. More details later.

Nov 19 ~ Hardly reported in the British press :LONDON (Reuters) - A new deadly disease is stalking Britain's pigs,

threatening the lives of animals which just months ago escaped slaughter during a foot-and-mouth epidemic and swine fever outbreak, veterinarians said on Thursday. The disease, called PMWS, which takes two forms, has spread across 40 percent of the England's pig herd and is expected to kill thousands more animals in what vets said could be "the final blow" for dispirited farmers. "I think the whole pig population is at risk," Roger Harvey, a pig specialist from Britain's most densely populated pig area in eastern England, told Reuters.

Nov 19 ~ Warmwell would like to express concern and warmest wishes for a speedy recovery to Professor Fred Brown OBE FRS, who collapsed with a heart attack in his laboratory on Tuesday.

News of the professor's condition was sent to us by the FMD Forum Search for Truth organisation. This is a newly formed group of " like-minds, who wish to see a humane way of dealing with Foot and Mouth Disease epidemics, while working towards total eradication through the application of modern science." The list of founder members can be seen on their press release. A phone number and email address for inquiries is attached to the message received today.

Nov 18 ~ The Observer today warns of the approach of Nemesis for this secretive Government: "Transfixed by short-term advantage at the expense of their own long-term interests, our myopic governors never seem capable of perceiving that secrecy hurts not just the public interest.

Ultimately, it is one of their own worst enemies. A licence for bad government is terrible for the governors. The foot-and- mouth contagion might have been ameliorated had there been an injunction on the benighted Ministry of Agriculture to produce prompt and accurate data. Even the Prime Minister was kept in the dark - and staggered when he finally discovered the scope of his ignorance - about the true measure of that crisis..."

Nov 18 ~ At the end of his "Mean Fields" column in the Sunday Times, Jonathan Miller writes
"Elliot Morley, the rural death minister,

has failed to respond to my public challenge to prove his claim that cull resistors spread foot and mouth.
Draw your own conclusions."

Nov 18 ~ Concern about civil liberties, free speech and the freedom of the press is relevant to FMD and the loathed Animal Health amendment Bill. All seem more and more under attack. Greg Dyke will allow no criticism of the Corporation. Alistair Campbell is highly irritated, it seems, at the reporting of events in Afghanistan.

Writing with his usual sanity in the Sunday Times, John Humphrys remarks of Alistair Campbell."To use one of his favourite adjectives, he thinks we write mostly 'crap' " Mr Humphrys concludes, "Euphoria is all very well, but it must be accompanied by a hard and radical look at what has happened and what its consequences may be. An especially hard look must be taken when a government commits our soldiers to battle and drops bombs in our names on the citizens of another country. As it happens, the BBC is conducting a seminar next week on how we should report politics. Many of my masters will take two days out of their busy lives to scratch their heads and worry about whether we are providing the service that the public deserves and wants. I hope they will note the views of the government's director of communications and pass on. And when they produce their report, I hope it will include something along these lines: "Journalism is about being sceptical and asking questions, even if those in authority do not like the questions. Especially if they do not like them. It is about being sceptical, though not cynical. It should not be negative and should try to be constructive. We are here, in our modest way, to serve democracy and not to diminish it. Our journalism does not have to be gloomy and should not be pompous. It can even be funny. But it must be sceptical. If we abandon scepticism and the independence that makes it possible, then we might as well pack it in. But we're not going to do that. And we will not kowtow to anyone who tries to make us."
This too is the view of the Western Morning News and other papers who have had the temerity to criticise DEFRA's bureaucratic bungling and heartless arrogance. Elliot Morley, please note.

Nov 17 ~ " In a world where politics has had plastic surgery to take away the worry lines, it is a relief to come across Forsyth delivering his broadsides.

"Raawwr!" he growls, excoriating the Government for its "sheer, blithering, incompetence" over foot-and-mouth disease. "Grrr!" he snarls, ripping the heads off the "posturing ninnies of the EU" and the "politically correct little anoraks that are elected to councils . Britain is riddled with lies and cock-ups; the "job-for-life weasels" in Europe threaten the very core of our being. Frederick Forsythe ( an article in the Times by Kate Muir) speaks for many when he says, "Integrity and independence have gone, and policy decisions are made by one man and his coterie. We're just not sure if that one man is Alastair Campbell or Tony Blair."

Nov 17 ~ On this day in 1558 Mary I of England died - probably to sighs of relief all round. It was a particularly barbaric era for anyone who dissented from the political correctness of the time.

'Bloody Mary' attempted to reimpose Roman Catholicism on England, in the process burning at least 300 people at the stake for heresy, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. In the interests of her crusade, normal freedoms were, of course, denied anyone who disagreed. That was then. To change the subject, the Times reports today: " BBC presenters who publicly criticise the Corporation face the sack, Greg Dyke said yesterday. A series of damaging remarks about the BBC's internal operations by broadcasters, including Kate Adie and Nicky Campbell, have infuriated the Director-General. Presenters, along with the rest of the BBC staff, yesterday received a memo warning that such behaviour would no longer be tolerated. "

Nov 17 ~ Blair "acts like a president" - Mowlam

Tony Blair has been publicly accused by ex-minister Mo Mowlam of being at odds with Chancellor Gordon Brown and acting like a US presidential figure. In a TV programme to be shown at the weekend, Ms Mowlam - Northern Ireland Secretary and Cabinet Office minister in the Labour government - says effective Cabinet government is "dead" and claims a small number of unelected advisers wield too much power and influence. The BBC2 programme, Cabinet Confidential, also features footage of the Prime Minister's War Cabinet - with his Director of Communications and Strategy Alastair Campbell and his newly-appointed head of government relations Sally Morgan sitting alongside defence and security chiefs and ministers.
(Press Association"Breaking News" report)

Nov 15 ~" As far as the Public Inquiry is concerned - well we've heard that the government had been reluctant to say the least ....... but there can be nothing more public than Mr Nick Brown being questioned by Queen's Counsel in the High Court for several days followed by a procession of government ministers and a procession of vets.....

.....the beauty of a court case is that the government can't choose who is called to give evidence; we can. So if they don't want to have a public inquiry, fine, there are other ways of achieving your aims." Stephen Alexander of "Class Law" has been addressing meetings across the country. If the government persists in refusing to have a genuine public inquiry, growing support for the UK Rural Business Campaign means that public expossure of the widescale mismanagement of the FMD 2001 epidemic is looking more hopeful. The Class Law press release states: The UK Rural Business Campaign was officially established today with two principal aims.
First to seek compensation from the government for losses suffered by all businesses involved in the rural economy, wherever located in the UK, as a result of mal- administration and human rights breaches. The English and Welsh Tourist Boards have estimated that £5.1 billion in turnover has been lost by rural businesses since the foot and mouth outbreak began in February this year. Secondly, to challenge, through the courts, proposed legislation to allow the culling of any animal without right of appeal. This could affect every animal and pet owner in the country. Mr Alexander went on, " It's been recognised that the best way to pay for this is through a collective national campaign to raise funds. You'll be pleased to know that the day that the UK Business Campaign was announced we received a donation of £10,000." Interested parties can find out more by visiting the website and filling in the formWe support this national campaign and urge everyone to help it to gain very widespread support.

Nov 13 ~ We were cheered yesterday by further evidence that the judiciary is not yet quite dead.

Farmers, who have been waiting over a year and a half to have their claims against a pharmaceutical company whose organophosphates almost certainly led to their disablement, are at last likely to be get their pleas heard in the High Court: "At a hearing in the High Court on Friday (9 November) a judge refused to "strike out" claims despite an application by agrochemical companies. Mr Justice Morland issued his judgement in a preliminary hearing in the multi-party action brought by farmers and farm workers poisoned by OPs. Most claims brought against the agrochemical firms survived a review after a significant challenge to the validity of the cases by the defendants." Farmers Weekly See also the scandalous covering up of research into OPs as a possible contributary factor in BSE and other diseases of the central nervous system The power of the agrochemical industry in covering up for disastrous mistakes and suppressing evidence is so sinister, it may also be relevant when we consider the government's scrapie measures. We have not forgotten the attempt by Amvac Chemical UK Ltd, a company which makes Dichlorvos, to prevent Margaret Beckett and Stephen Byers, by means of a legal challenge, from suspending the use of this organophosphate. Again, we are very fortunate in still having uncorruptible judges in Britain.

Nov 12 ~ 'The loss of a particular culture of discussion'.... "President" Blair and his proposals for constitutional "reform" are of grave concern to the very people who might have been expected to support genuine reform.

William Rees-Mogg, writing in today's Times, comments; 'I'm worried about their unforeseen consequences, about the loss of traditional respect, about the loss - which we have already suffered in the House of Lords - of a particular culture of discussion..........Even the bishops, who seldom complain, regard the new proposals as a backward step. No Charter 88, no popular support, no Conservatives, no Liberal Democrats, no Labour backbenchers, no Robin Cook, no bishops; these proposals seem only to be supported in Downing Street and on the Woolsack. No doubt Lord Falconer of Thoroton also supports them. In short, we can detect all the makings of another Dome, what in tennis is called an "unforced error". '

Nov 12 ~ This is a sobering email from Michael. "Today I have travelled up the M6 , to Penrith and on to Alston. From Shap onwards you are met with mile after mile of green fields with not a single animal to be seen for as far as the eye can see.

I live on the Lancashire / Cumbria border and am ashamed not to have been aware of the utter devastation that has taken place in Cumbria. I lost my own sheep on a slaughter on suspicion back in April and have been heavily involved in trying to save animals. But today's journey was a journey into the reality of what these people have done in the name of science. The killing of 10 million plus animals, and the lies and deciet keep coming."

Nov 11 ~ "Clampdown fails as EU loses £2.5bn to fraud and mismanagement " reports Nicholas Rufford in today's Sunday Times

THE European Union lost £2.5 billion - equivalent to £15 for every family in Europe - through mismanagement and fraud last year, according to an auditors' report. The losses, 5% of the EU budget, were found by the court of auditors, its financial watchdog. This is as high as two years ago, when a similar report sparked a row that led to all the European commissioners being forced out amid allegations of corruption and arrogance. Since then tighter regulations have been introduced by Neil Kinnock, the commission's vice-president, but last week John Wiggins, Britain's representative on the 15-member court of auditors, said: "The situation is unchanged." At the bottom of the article you will see the next headline: "Europe plans to put man on Mars"
How many pounds per family in Europe will that mindless piece of keeping up with the Jones' uncle Sam cost, we wonder?

Nov 11 ~ Democracy in its old-fashioned, decent sense of the word, is coming under attack everywhere it seems. Even the National Trust

can't be trusted any more by the section of the nation that traditionally held it in affectionate esteem. This week's Booker Notebook reports that its director-general Miss Fiona Reynolds, formerly head of the women's unit in Mr Blair's Cabinet Office and its chairman Charles Nunneley are to come under scrutiny in the Lords. "Because the Trust was set up under Acts of Parliament, Lord Patten (the former Tory minister John, rather than his Brussels-loving namesake, Chris) will draw peers' attention to the fashion in which Mr Nunneley, who has been chairman since 1996, repeatedly uses a pile of proxy votes to swing motions at the Trust's annual general meetings against what appear to be the wishes of the majority of members present, " writes Mr Booker.

Nov 11 ~ We are not the only ones to be aware of a well orchestrated propaganda machine at work these days. The Labour MP Paul Marsden has talked about "shadowy Labour figures"

- people in his own party - who, he says, have spread "sex smears and vicious lies" since he condemned the bombing of Afghanistan. As this unusually straight, sane and honest MP explains in the Mirror on Sunday today, he is hitting back at some of the ludicrous and disgraceful rumours that have been circulated about him. Meanwhile, in an article in the Mail on Sunday, by Peter Hitchens about Tony Blair 'Inch by inch killing off our liberty' (about the House of Lords), there is a small square announcing: "New research shows that sheep are brighter than we thought- their memories are too long and their brains too sharp for them to become New Labour MPs...the government seem to want to slaughter them all."

Nov 10 ~ Vaccination ..mandatory for people, not allowed for FMD?? We live in strange times. The Times reported yesterday "Bush may order smallpox jabs for all "

Roland Watson writes, "All Americans could be forced to have smallpox jabs under plans being considered by President Bush, despite fears that such a programme would kill hundreds. Underlining White House fears about America's vulnerability to a new wave of bioterrorism, Mr Bush said that he was discussing with Tommy Thompson, the Health Secretary, whether to order mandatory vaccinations. "One of my concerns is if we were to have universal vaccination, some might lose their life,"he said. "But I'm looking at all options, all possibilities." Authorities in the US have already announced that they intend to stockpile 300 million doses of smallpox vaccine, enough for the country's 260 million citizens. But last night was the first time that anyone had suggested they would be compulsory rather than used to cover an emergency.....The last case of smallpox was in 1977. The vaccine is fatal for one in a million cases.

An American general this week apparently reassured journalists at the Pentagon that the war in Afghanistan was going according to plan'. What plan? It sounds rather like the FMD plan, similarly announced by Mrs Beckett to be a "howling success".

Nov 10 ~ People whose businesses have been affected by foot-and-mouth are to hold a meeting called After Maff: Charting the Future in Hawes next Wednesday (Nov 14). (Westmorland Gazette)

Richard Wells, northern correspondent for the BBC, will open the programme with a look at self-help not self-pity, Maurice Hall from Hawes Farmers Auction Mart will consider the future for local agriculture and there will be a joint presentation by the Cumbria and North Yorkshire foot-and-mouth task forces. The event starts at 10 am and closes at 3.30 pm. Details and booking forms are available fromtourist information centres, community offices and post offices in Settle, Sedbergh, Hawes, Dent, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby and Langwathby or by phone on 01969 667478 or email

Nov 9 ~ email received: " UK RURAL BUSINESS CAMPAIGN: intends to
1) Claim compensation from the Government for the financial losses suffered by ALL industries during the f&m crisis. This will include farmers.
2) To challenge the Government's proposal Animal Health Bill through the High Court.

THE UK RURAL BUSINESS CAMPAIGN needs people from all sectors to contact us in order for us to process the claims. This work will be done by CLASSLAW in London and handled by Mr Stephen Alexander. For info Stephen's firm won the Heathrow High Court night flying ban last week. They also won the Prudential Pensions case, they are currently dealing with the Equity and Law case and - wait for it - taking the Governemt to court over the Railtrack fiasco. This afternoon (8th Nov) a committee was elected / a PR company appointed/and withing the next few days a firm of accountants will be appointed. Also this afternoon a press conference was held - BBC TV - ITN - National papers etc and it was announced that we are going to take the government to the High Court - the base line figure at present is for £5.1 billion pounds. Could you please put a note on the website that this action is commencing and we are looking for 10 good test cases to go forward, but we also need hundreds of others as well for this to work. We fully understand that the majority of people coming forward will have no money to take action of this nature. That is no a problem. No money is required." See Also Class Law press release

Nov 9 ~ Some MPs have now read the small print of the Animal Health Amendment bill...2 emails received :

" Peter Ainsworth going for it. Had a reply from him by e-mail today in response to a letter I sent him last weekend on the Animal Health Bill.... Sounds encouraging. In a nutshell: he assures me that he shares many of these doubts and deplores the implication in this legislation that it was the famers, rather than the incompetent Ministers and Officials,who let the disease get out of controll in the first place. He is well aware that the Bill confers sweeping new powers on officials to enter property and slaughter virtually at will.Farmers will be allowed a right of appeal,but only after their animals have been destroyed! He goes on about the arrogance etc. and then says that powers like these could only be justified on the basis of the findings of a full,independent Public Inquiry into what went is to be assumed that they are frightened of what such an enquiry might reveal. Finishes:- WE INTEND TO VOTE AGAINST THIS BILL."
Also an email about the reply from Tony Baldry MP; "The Conservative party is opposing the Animal Health Bill. It gives the government far too many powers. I think it is also rather an insidious suggestion that somehow the Foot and Mouth disease was made worse because farmers simply challenged the wholesale slaughter of healthy animals"
The DAILY MIRROR is prepared to run a feature on the Animal Health Amendment bill - if enough people show an interest. See Priority Page.

Nov 9 ~ On the 9th November 1769 the first Co-operative Society in Britain was founded by the weavers of Fenwick, in Ayrshire.

It was originally founded to promote high standards but it wasn't long before it became involved in buying foods for sale to its members. Today, cooperatives might be seen to be a longed-for but probably Utopian antidote to the ever increasing power of the huge supermarkets, multinational companies and centralising governments. If small producers want to maintain some sort of control they need to fight for local "bottom-up" rather than centralised "top down" organisations, particularly in their union. Meanwhile, at the nightmarish other end of the scale, security for the WTO talks in Qatar is so tight that the whole of Doha is being shut to traffic, police with machine guns roam the streets in landrovers, and a US navy helicopter ship with 2,100 marines has been moved into the Gulf off Qatar.

Nov 8 ~ Shropshire County Council, like Devon, have gone ahead with their own independent inquiry.

Their recommendations include the statement "That all relevant issues relating to the control mechanisms to prevent the introduction of the disease into this country, and the policies and procedures adopted by DEFRA to combat the disease, be fully debated as a part of the Government's review. The Government should take into particular consideration the views expressed by Ken Tyrrell, an independent veterinary officer, including the use of vaccination as a control mechanism, which are attached to this report. "

Nov 7 ~ Of the Contiguous/3km culls, David King told the EFRA Select Committee today that only 18.5% proved positive with 83.5% negative on average - but that this was an acceptable loss

to control the disease.....Elliot Morley, however, was reported in Hansard for yesterday as saying in reply to a question from Mr Yeo: "As at 22 October a total of 7,294 Dangerous Contacts (DC) and 255 Slaughter on Suspicion (SOS) cases, which had not been recognised as Infected Premises, had laboratory tests conducted. Of these, five yielded positive results and subsequently became IPs and were recorded as such."
That is 7549 premises. And 5 of them showed evidence of the presence of active virus. Is that not rather less than 18.5% Is it still considered "acceptable"?
Mark Woolhouse (Edinburgh University) that if movement restrictions had been put in place 3 days earlier, one third to one half of animals would not have needed to be slaughtered. We would say in addition that if the readily offered help from experts in the field had been accepted instead of childishly spurned, a very small proportion of animals indeed would have needed to be slaughtered.

Nov 7 ~ From the House of Lords: Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government: Which projects they are funding that are looking into BSE and transmissable spongiform encephalopathy (TSE).[HL968]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty):" A list of all current, publicly funded research on TSEs in the UK is available on the MRC website at " (he gave the wrong address but this link is the correct one) The pages referred to may open some eyes to the extraordinary sums expended on such activities as this one: "Genetically selected sheep that are resistant to natural scrapie but susceptible to BSE will be challenged by the oral route. Groups of sheep will be sacrificed after 6, 12, 18 and 24 months and when showing clinical signs of BSE. A range of tissues will be collected and levels of infectivity will be estimated by mouse bioassay." We are a little surprised to hear of the existence of such sheep. "resistant to scrapie but susceptible to BSE"? Is not the apparent point of breeding for resistance against scrapie to ensure also resistance to the theoretical threat of BSE? This research, conducted by a Dr Moira Bruce at IAH Edinburgh, has cost ( this year ) £722,000. The total cost of current projects on UK Publicly-funded Research into Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies is apparently, this year, £30,289,000 Isn't that rather a lot?

Nov 7 ~ Using "animal health" measures as an excuse, auction markets will be closed, a farmer's right to determine the price of his stock will be limited still further

The livestock in Britain has already been reduced by one eighth, the final demise of so many family farms is underway, leaving behind only the giants. Now, our strident politicians are condemning "protectionism" and are all set to suppress subsidies in the name of the "environment", thereby hypnotising the pressure groups ....really one might be excused the paranoia of seeing behind the Orwellian Persuaders of today the dead hand of those who, for their own aggrandisement, seek to abandon agricultural products to the dictates of the global market. Once our own producers are finally silenced, cheap imports from poor countries will overrun the supermarket shelves. How long will they remain cheap for the consumer once the exporters realise that they can send processed food rather than raw materials? What we will not be hearing among all the rhetoric about "helping the Third World", is the acknowledgment that when we throw away our power to feed ourselves we throw away our freedom to govern ourselves. Rumour has it that Lord Haskins has bought up vast swathes of agricultural land in Poland for his Northern Foods Empire. He is a clever man.

Nov 7 ~ The plans further to "reform" the House of Lords

are reported by the BBC here and very much more interestingly, by The Times, here. 'Today Mr Blair is to crown - or perhaps "coronet" - his authority by declaring that two thirds of the House of Lords will, after all, be chosen by political patronage. No dissenters need apply. The Queen's "my lords" will in future be "his lords".... '

Nov 6 ~ Alan writes, "Stephen (Smith)'s letter confirms our own thoughts on the Bill, though he doesn't consider the much wider implications to other diseases and animals, including pets.

Ultimately the threat to, say, dogs from rabies is probably the most powerful weapon with which to fight this Bill, not FMD. We have to believe that some form of democracy still prevails. The only alternative is anarchy, and surely none of us want that?"
Alan's thought are echoed by this posting about cats and dogs.

Nov 6 ~ Alan Beat has been contacted by Dr Colin Fink, the expert virologist.

He has confirmed that the data available to the modellers from DEFRA was completely inadequate to justify the claims that the two groups are making for the efficacy of contiguous culling. See the full newsletter last night from Alan and Rosie Beat.

Nov 6 ~ emails received today: "Radio 4 Foot and Mouth enquiry........which WILL be public.They said this morning that it will be recorded in the Birmingham studios on Saturday the 17th. of November."

another email: "sounds like a sort of 'Commission/Any Questions'. The panel to include Hugh Pennington [microbiologist], Prof Ian Mercer (chair of Devon Inquiry), Brig. Alan Birtwhistle. I didn't hear where - but they are inviting applications to be in the audience and to put questions " and a third: . Radio programme on the bill Ring 0800 044044 to send in questions or be in the audience." This is an important opportunity and we must, I think, try very hard to take part even though, for so many of us, it is the last thing we want to do after the miserable months endured. You can send questions by e-mail to but must include your daytime telephone number.

Nov 5 ~ An email just received informs us that at tonight's "Bude Rugby Club's firework display - the "Guy Fawkes" is a Defra official,

who was paraded through the town yesterday, to great cheers from all the shopowners and shoppers."

Nov 5 ~ " The Animal Health Bill is an outrage," writes Magnus Linklater in Scotland on Sunday.

It gives the government the right to slaughter any animal, including not only cows and sheep, but family pets, horses, ponies, and even creatures housed in zoos, if, in its view, they "pose a risk of spreading disease". This means that if there is another foot and mouth scare, farmers or householders will be deprived of the legal right to challenge the killing of their animals. It is a savage and draconian piece of legislation, far worse in its implications than the absurd Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, which was rushed through after the scare over pit-bull terriers, and was found to be unworkable....The various inquiries which are examining FMD may well conclude that the contiguous culls were invalid - that they failed to stop the spread of the disease, and that they simply led to the slaughter of millions of healthy animals. So far, Scottish ministers have not decided whether they need more powers, and are holding off. I urge them to stay as far away from this bill as they can get. (see full article)

Nov 4 ~ Pat draws our attention to a strange discrepancy over figures: "Defra's website is showing number of infected premises as 2030, which is the oft quoted 'number of outbreaks'. Elsewhere on the site is 'number of premises slaughtered out' 9585.

On Oct 29th., in an answer to parliamentary question (Paddy Tipping) - Elliot Morley gave a figure of 13,058 payments made to farmers as a consequence of FMD. Defra. qualify the discrepancy by explaining that in some cases they have made 'separate payments for animals slaughtered and for seized or destroyed items'; but they don't include C&D work in the explanation. 9585 / 13058 is an awfully big discrepancy! I believe multi holding farmers only received one cheque rather than one for each holding slaughtered, and most farmers are single occupancy anyway."

Nov 4 ~ , "We cannot, by total reliance on law, escape the duty to judge right and wrong ..... There are good laws and there are occasionally bad laws, and it conforms to the highest traditions of a free society to offer resistance to bad laws, and to disobey them"

(Alexander Bickel). We are grateful to Quita for this quotation; it seems to sum up everything we have been banging on about for months. Farmers have been heartbreakingly obedient in the past, spending hours they could ill afford, complying with the bureaucratic demands of the men from the ministry. Now that Ministry has betrayed them and their major union has colluded with it. Many have watched their animals die in the belief that if they did not, their neighbours would be at risk. Now that it is becoming clear, even in the remotest places, that thousands of farms were devastated for no good reason - and that if this horror of a new bill is made law it can happen over and over again - the civil unrest is likely to be great indeed.

Nov 3 ~ "You know you are in hell when you have to make a distinction between what is moral and what is legal"

Hell is fast approaching it seems. We read in a story from Surrey & Berkshire Newspapers Limited that Burghfield Royal British Legion had cancelled its Remembrance Sunday procession after it was told European law meant it had to provide road closure signs and pay for insurance cover which it could not afford. But Dr Royce Longton, ward councillor for Burghfield, has offered to cover the costs of around £50. Forty-five British Legion veterans will be joined by representatives from the Cadets, Scouts, Girl Guides and other children's organisations when they march on Sunday , November 11. Ray Harmsworth, 75, chairman of the Royal British Legion Burghfield branch, said: "It's put a lot of stress on everyone involved in organising the march just because some jobsworth has decided the European law had to be applied in West Berkshire. .." Mr Harmsworth said that marchers would have flouted the regulations in order to remember the war dead if Cllr Longton had not footed the bill. He said: "We would have gone ahead with the procession anyway... There's no use tangling with the old ones - we've still got fighting spirit left."
Thank all the gods for this fighting spirit and for the "old ones" who can still make the distinction referred to above. And let us"old ones" (since that is what most of us are) fight the insanity of this control freak government, DEFRA, its "jobsworths" and its thugs for all we are worth.

Nov 3 ~ Where there are well publicised animal diseases the huge pharmaceutical companies move smoothly in. Bayer A.G. is also doing very nicely out of the anthrax scare in America and has negotiated with the US governments to sell it 100 million Cipro tablets.

However, while one division of Bayer A.G. has been negotiating with the American government over the price of Cipro, another branch of the company has been locked in a conflict with the government over Cipro's sister drug for animals. This is called Baytril; its use in chickens is thought to make both them and us resistant to antibiotics - such as Cipro. Meanwhile, here, the controversy about organophosphates (OP) and its possible role in the development of BSE does not appear to have moved anyone at DEFRA. In a pamphlet sent to farmers this week we read,""Golden Rules for a Healthy Flock" pages 6 and 7, Requirements to eliminate sheep scab and lice.... This golden rule instructs us to plunge the sheep in an Organophosphate (OP) dip as a precaution for both conditions. We are told that we must assume any bought-in sheep have got both.
As Adrienne says, " if we were to rush about dipping everything in OPs it wouldn't be long before some sort of brain disease manifested itself. Is this what they are hoping for? It might give them the excuse they need to start murdering the innocents again." (see page on BSE/CJD) The symbiotic relationship between the agrochemical/pharmaceutical companies and the 'independent' scientists who do "research" heavily funded by them (e.g.Glaxo-Wellcome) into health disasters is one that cries out for study.

Nov 2 ~ Our foreboding about the government inquiries grows.

Tonight we received the following comment from Astrid: "I went to the Royal Society Inquiry at Rosehill, Carlisle last night. Lots of our people making good points and getting evasive (non) answers. The whole thing seemed to be just a commercial for research funding! No further comment necessary, I feel."

Nov 2 ~ Yesterday's Yorkshire Post Comment pulls no punches.

".....why, having initiated its own inquiry, is the Government pre-empting its findings by rushing ahead with a new Bill aimed at preventing the spread of farm infections? After all, with no cases of foot-and-mouth for a month, it might have been thought that the opportunity had now arrived for a period of calm reflection rather than an unseemly rush into ill-thought-out legislation. Farmers, however, will have their own suspicions as to why Ministers are so keen to get the Animal Health (Amendment) Bill on to the Statute Book. With its provision for Government vets to destroy a farmer's animals regardless of his objections, the Bill will be seen as one more indication of the intention of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to marginalise farmers' concerns and treat them as if they themselves were part of the problem. Indeed, with Animal Health Minister Elliott Morley speaking yesterday of farmers being principally responsible for the spread of foot-and-mouth, without offering the slightest evidence, farmers could be forgiven for thinking that the Government is seeking any excuse for a crackdown on an industry which it believes has given it nothing but trouble. "
The situation is desperate. We agree with many correspondents who now feel a new independent family farm union can be formed quickly and urgently. The NFU has done nothing to support the many thousands of family farmers who have loyally swelled its coffers with the high subscriptions demanded. The new Family Farmers' union however will have teeth to bite back at the strangling hands of this government.

Nov 1 ~ Jim Scudamore has defended cuts in the state veterinary service by saying "almost no cases of foot and mouth had occurred since the last outbreak in 1967".....

Leaving aside the extraordinary spectacle of a vet defending cuts in the veterinary service, Jim's "almost no cases" appears to want us to forget the epidemic on the Isle of Wight in 1981, so ably coped with by Prof Fred Brown FRS and others. The Government's Chief Veterinary officer has admitted that at one point during the foot and mouth crisis he "ran out of vets". Jim Scudamore told David Curry's Commons select committee that his department had been swamped by the sheer number of cases and had a "major problem with manpower". A major problem with brainpower was not acknowledged.

Oct 31 ~ It is interesting to consider the wildly inflated payouts by DEFRA in the foot and mouth outbreak when wondering at the lack of widespread protest.

How could vets fail to clamber onto such a gravy train, suppressing their doubts? How could hard-up farmers refuse such a golden consolation prize for culled stock even when they knew it was healthy? What about the fat pay packets for the army of unskilled slaughterers? Alan writes, "We know personally one local vet who volunteered to work for the ministry at the height of the epidemic, and he told us that the rate was £250 a day plus all other expenses paid. And a young New Zealand vet who visited us spoke of paying off all her student fees with the earnings from her six-month stint here in the UK, indicating that the sum involved was around £15,000

Oct 31 ~" I hear the jets screeching overhead, practicising here in a low flying zone on the Welsh Marches, over empty fields and derelict farmhouses

up for sale, Just glad they aren't dropping bombs on us like Afghanistan. The military moved in here 6 months ago and killed the village's livelihood, the farms, shot all their livestock, moved on elsewhere now. They practised on sheep, now on women and children. They may get stronger and move on to teenage boys next. One wonders how they are going to disguise the "collateral damage", funeral pyres as in West Gloucestershire? It seems probematical to bury them in the hostile terrain of the drought ridden Hindu Kush, where are the going to get the railway sleepers." Flis here echoes the thoughts of so many of us.
Jean Dixon will be handing in the last part of her heroically collected 35,000 signature petition in favour of vaccination to 10 Downing Street today. She would welcome support. 2.15 at Downing Street.

Oct 31 ~ From Today's Times:

Not enough war explanation, say Tories

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith says the Government is failing to do enough to explain the rationale behind the military action against Afghanistan. While emphasising his support for the Government's basic strategy, Mr Duncan Smith claimed the Government appeared to be losing "the battle for the hearts and minds of the British people."In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Duncan Smith said: "Even those who have supported military action from the outset are beginning to ask what our real objectives are and whether we are going about securing them in the right way."

Oct 30 ~ That remarkable and unsung hero of the foot and mouth crisis, Prince Charles, said yesterday that farmers would need "all the moral support possible" as winter drew in and that people should pray that the worst of the epidemic was over.

On a visit to Dartmoor National Park Authority for its 50th anniversary, he spoke of the intense frustration he felt as he had watched the epidemic unfold; "the frustration was not being able to do enough to help but having to witness so many people having to go though what must be complete hell". The Prince gave £500,000 to help farmers at the height of the outbreak and has been working quietly behind the scenes to alleviate suffering and boost morale ever since. Those who would seek to replace the royal family with yet more politicians might perhaps think again about who has really done more for the cause of social justice.

Oct 30 ~ Parliamentary Petition - Public Inquiry - FMD

An urgent message from Lady Apsley:
"We have reached a staggering 80,000 signatures, as of today, and they are starting to flood in! I thought you all might like to know the progress and I would deeply appreciate it if you were able to put the information on your networks. It is vital that we try and encourage people to put a last drive into place for getting more signatures." If anyone has not yet exhausted the possibilities of family, friends and colleagues PLEASE could they print out and circulate the petition? Every single name matters.

Oct 29 ~ "Vaccination prevented by Public Opinion" ... was the headline on BBC 24 Northeast. Well well, and we thought it was intense lobbying by the NFU (in which Nick Brown was not uninvolved) and the directors of Nestlé

"The MP for Newcastle East, Nick Brown has revealed for the first time that he was in favour of a mass foot and mouth vaccination programme. While he was Minister of Agriculture he toed the government line that vaccination was not on the agenda. But he now says he was keen to consider the move in a bid to protect British livestock from the disease. Speaking on BBC television today he said that it was the attitude of the public that stopped him from going ahead.".............And do we now feel reassured that public opinion is enough to prevent mass vaccination and bring about a full, open, public inquiry? The Guardian reported Mr Brown's remarks rather differently: 'Mr Brown, a former government chief whip and ally of the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, told the BBC: "I think there was a good case for vaccination and I explored it very fully indeed. The key difficulty was that there was no guarantee that the public would buy the milk from vaccinated animals or eat the meat from cattle which had been vaccinated. The retailers said there is consumer resistance, we will not stock the product." His admission follows a Guardian investigation earlier this year which revealed minutes of a high-level Whitehall meeting when, according to participants, limited vaccination was agreed and then vetoed by the food industry. ...'

Oct 29 ~ From an email today, "....a DEFRA vet.....I have argued with him over the last 6 months about policy, operations etc, and he still can't see my point of view, and I cant see his.

He still maintains that his experience is making things better for farmers by eradicating the disease. I know the amount of money he is making while he is on secondment. ......I spent 2 weeks hand feeding a kitten, while he was ordering the culls of "seropositive" herds of sheep. No, he says FMD has gone away, no outbreaks for over a fortnight, What about the "seropositives" in the Brecons, Devon and Cumbria classified as IP's? ' That's different.'
On another note, a physicist graduate of the Imperial College, who I asked to find out more about the "model", went and asked some of his colleagues in the IT department, and all references to it have mysteriously disappeared. "

Oct 28 ~ We have been sent this little gem : Defra's memo to all field staff...don't you just love them? "To all field staff....

It has come to light that when purchasing fuel for your ministry vehicle, some of you are receiving points on your personal club cards, points cards or whatever you want to call them.
I have to say that this practice is not acceptable and must stop immediately.
Under the Corruption act of 1906 and 1916 it is an offence for a civil servant to accept directly or indirectly a gift, reward or benefit, or other item of hospitality from a member of the public or organisation.
By presenting the garage with your points card you are accepting a reward and benefitting financially from a ministry transaction, thus committing an offence under the above act.
This will be treated as misconduct if anyone is found to be continuing this practice and held to task for their action. Can you all please contact the office and confirm that you have received and understood the contents of this memo."
( We feel that the Recording Angel will have rather more saddening things to jot in his notebook against the names of Defra field staff than the collecting of fuel points on a plastic card. In fact we are rather sorry for them for this mind-numbing piece of humourless irritation and pettiness.)

Oct 28 ~ Thanks to an email from Astrid this morning, we have realised what warmwell's motto should be.

Astrid wrote, Here's a quote for you all, from Sir Winston Churchill -
"Success is going from failure to failure with great enthusiasm"
and that seems to us wholly apposite. The government is so intent on watching its back and fighting off any criticism of any kind that we have certainly met failure. But our enthusiasm for proclaiming the truth about this truly shaming episode in British mismanagement and malevolence keeps bouncing back. At present we are working on an analysis of Margaret Beckett's slithery replies, in particular to questions from the Select Committee on October 17th. A fourth form debater could tear them to shreds. How we wish that questioners would sometimes say, "That does not answer the question, Margaret. We are not stupid. Stop dodging and weaving and tell the truth."

Oct 27 ~ DEATH (with scythe), Death's daughter and three other stalwart souls collected signatures for the Apsley/Cash petition in the Centre of Gloucester after the speeches in the park.

What is so interesting is that one can see at a glance which people are bright and interested enough to be worth asking. The majority of glazed shoppers in Gloucester were very anxious not to make eye contact and most had little interest in or understanding of the situation. But several did. There is, if you look for it, anger at government actions, secrecy and incompetence, and several people wanted to sign without being asked. (Their concern was not shared by the callow youth who was "assistant manager" at B&Q and who was considerably less than gracious when he was courteously asked for permission for the petition to be publicised outside the store. The government, in its wish to keep the populace docile and frightened of dissent, has many willing helpers it knows nothing about.) What on earth has happened to Britain?

Oct 27 ~ Black joke of the day:

You have two sheep: The Government shoots one because it is susceptible to scrapie and might catch BSE. - the EU shoots the other because it is scrapie resistant and therefore might not show up BSE if it caught it. (Which it wouldn't anyway)
Thank you Janet.

Oct 26 ~ Mossburn Animal Centre (Dumfries and Galloway) has been refused money from the Council's emergency FMD Recovery Fund

and desperately needs help to feed the animals (including 5 horses, 3 sheep, 15 pigs, 4 cattle and 13 goats). While an ailing Choral Society has been granted funds, the Animal Sanctuary, which works with with mentally and physically disabled people, has not. Juanita Wilson and her supporters had to fight heroically to save these animals from slaughter at the height of the FMD outbreak and Juanita used her savings to do so. No visitors have been allowed at the Centre since, and its usual therapeutic work had to stop. If you can help at all, please send a cheque (payable to "Mossburn Animal Centre") to: Juanita Wilson, Mossburn Animal Centre, Hitae, Lockerbie, PG11 1LE Tel. 01387 811288 You can become a Friend of the Sanctuary for £10 per year. See

Oct 25 ~ why are the numbers changing? What are they doing at DEFRA -

Val writes, " are they checking every slaughter bill they ever had and retyping it into the data base? And why do the number of animals decrease? Are those the bills they couldn't read or can't agree? What happens to these negative animals? They certainly aren't alive again - were they never dead? Or just not counted. Whatever is going on - it seems as much of a mess as ever - I can't put my finger on it - but the numbers don't add up! And the story is, as ever, inconsistent, incomplete and probably inaccurate. See statistics

Oct 24 ~ Farmers have only got until friday to make an application to the government's light lamb disposal scheme.

The government-funded scheme is aimed to soak up some of the surplus of light lambs on the market caused by the foot-and-mouth export ban. The scheme paid farmers a flat rate of £10 per head. Julia writes:" ...we've had to send some of the smaller lambs this last week. Before my husband had washed out and disinfected his trailer before leaving the collection point, the perfectly healthy lambs had been dispatched and were being lifted high in a bucket to be tipped all jumbled together into the back of a cull wagon to go off for landfill. He came back sickened. Appalled by the massive waste of good stock to land fill and incineration .."

Oct 23 ~ The march for a public inquiry in Gloucester on SATURDAY 27th October is, of course, only one way to express feelings of outrage at the dodging and weaving of the government over FMD and over its dubious experiments and pronouncements about animal health.

The petitions need our continuing support. Lady Apsley's Petition opens in new window and can be printed out from there. There are now 65,000 signatories but we need more and more. One stalwart 86 year old collector of signatures said how much her neighbours wanted to sign and wanted to express their feelings. It was also, she said, a perfect way to learn her neighbours' surnames!

Oct 23 ~ Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has hit out at the Newcastle Journal and its readers who are backing a campaign for a public inquiry into foot-and-mouth

So far 22,330 Journal readers have signed its petition calling for a full and open investigation into the outbreak. On a recent visit to Newcastle Mr Michael defended the Government's three internal inquiries and said "..they would provide a short, sharp look at what needs to be done about the whole future of farming."
We find the language of government ministers and DEFRA officials a source of never-ending interest. Mr Michael added waspishly, "If you had a straightforward full public inquiry you would have a comprehensive but perhaps quite confused look at the range of issues that arise from foot-and-mouth. .."
Mr Michael seems to have been taking lessons from Mr Ray Anderson (Defra Cumbria) on how to try to convince the public that black is white, good is bad, common sense most ill advised. Such people simply cannot grasp our reluctance to leave it all to the government who after all, "Know Best" and who are such experts in defending the indefensible.

Oct 22 ~"Isn't amazing? "writes Elaine, "The Spur boundary taken back to where it was before -

see Amazing how FMD can disappear so quic kly out of an area to get the restrictions lifted within a few weeks, isn't it? Nothing, ofcourse, to do with the fact that FMD was never damn well there in the first place or the fact that it is half-term. I'm refering to the Barbon case which took the boundary down way into N Lancs."

Oct 22 ~ This email says what must be in the minds of many at the moment: "We are wondering, now that the beans have been spilled re the test on brains blunder, if this is the reason that Ashmoor pit in Devon was constructed

and the reason why there has been " activities"on other disused airfields around the country. Were these to be the burial grounds for all the Nation's sheep? However now that all is revealed it is more than likely that these poor creatures will have to go down with the second wave of FMD. Perhaps that is why Defra are ignoring the reported lesions and blisters; they are living in hope that these sheep will pass it on. We think the ideal candidates for the brains test are the majority of this Govt, ...."

Oct 21 ~" To anybody with an ounce of common sense it is all so obvious,"

writes a correspondent today. Many years ago my sister poured this ghastly stuff ( phosmet) on one of our heifers, it went absolutely bananas and jumped out of the crush , galloping round the field for the next half hour. We decided it was obviously so awful we wouldn't use it anymore - and didn't. However, it was compulsory to dip the sheep in organophosphate dip, which is why all those poor farmers are now so ill." See BSE fiasco - Bovine Spongythinking Myopathy

Oct 20 ~ Can this be right? According to a correspondent yesterday, the RCVS complaints procedure allows one to complain only on the grounds that a vet signed a Form A knowing that disease was not likely to be present.

"The fact that this man killed my five cows who were 15 years old, 38 lambs aged 4 days to one hour old, 120 ewes including my favourite ewe who had just lain down in the sheep house and was starting to push out her lamb when the slaughterers walked in the building, - is not allowed to be mentioned." she writes. "After he murdered all my animals, David Fields said to my partner that he had checked each animal and none showed any signs of disease, so he hadn't wasted time doing any blood tests." How many thousands of other similar cases are echoed in these distraught words?

Oct 19 ~" Early in April we lost our small farm four miles from the main holding.

A few of the flock of 300 sheep had slightly raised temperatures and minor lesions on their feet. The vet wanted a second opinion, but decisions were now being taken in London. Maff ordered immediate slaughter. A week later blood tests showed that every sheep had been healthy....." Read Emma Tennant in the Spectator

Oct 19 ~ As for the sheep/cow brain soup fiasco and the temporary shyness about speaking it appears to have produced in Mrs Beckett

David Curry said, "It shows a lack of understanding of the rawness of the nerve endings in the countryside, given the reaction to BSE. "You would have thought every nerve ending, every hair on the back of their necks would have risen, whatever the result. "Instead Defra are totally silent the next day and you begin to wonder who is running the show....." We have wondered that for some time.

Oct 19 ~ The Foot and Mouth - Full Public Enquiry March.

Saturday 27th October March in Gloucester . Please meet at 12:30 pm. at the ASDA or B&Q car park. Turn off at junction 11 to Gloucester, turn right on A417 Over Causeway, left ring road St Oswalds Rd leads to Priory road, then Gouda Way into Black Dog Way into Brutom all part of ring road. Just past the station there is a sign to 'the superstore' and 'Metzs Way'. There is a pedestrian access via B&Q to The Park. Directions can be printed out here. The March will be demonstrating against the criminal waste of the so-called "Welfare-Cull" brought about by movement restrictions.

Oct 19 ~" demands for excessive information and statistics can result in lengthy delays, and struggling enterprises being deprived of the emergency relief they so urgently need."

The national president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), Anthony Bosanquet, is another voice raised aginst the excessive and time-wasting bureaucracy delaying emergency relief drom reaching those in need. Lord Haskins, warning that rural businesses and farms could collapse this winter unless the Government eases restrictions and offers further grants and tax relief, yesterday recommended that an extra £40 million be paid into the Business Recovery Fund. But Margaret Beckett, whose ministry ranks farming fifth in its list of priorities, told the Commons that only £24 million would be made available immediately.Tory MP David Curry, chairman of the Commons rural affairs committee, accused her of a "pretty minimalist response" and said it was "urgent" the Government did more, not least extending the current deferrals on tax payments as recommended by both Lord Haskins and the Rural Task Force.

Oct 18 ~ "Will no one rid us of this turbulent ......"

While Margaret Beckett continues to brazen it out, the Lords today urged the government to change its mind about a public inquiry. Lord Inglewood said: "I regret that there is not going to be a full public inquiry. Many Cumbrians believe the Government has something to cover up and, understandably after what they have gone through, that is causing real resentment. " There was "a new case" in the Kirkbride area of Carlisle, in Cumbria. The farm in question has been passed daily by stock lorries taking light lambs & other welfare stock going for slaughter from other "infected areas" - which raises questions about Defra's own biosecurity. Nick comments: "a very close source to me working inside MAFF Carlisle has told us that London confirmed FMD in cattle but want to "Play it down." I bet they do!" Elaine says, "Cattle only culled - obviously no sheep up there to worry about. Waiting for test results. All sorts of rumours flying about. DEFRA keeping it very quiet - of course! Wigton collection centre now closed."

Oct 18 ~ More details about the March in Gloucester

can be (new window) viewed here.

Oct 17 ~ Advance notice. On Saturday 27th October there will be a march in Gloucester to demand a full public enquiry in to the government's handling of Foot and Mouth.

Please see priority page for details

Oct 17 ~ Lord Haskins said ministers should resist bringing in new regulations just to be seen to be "doing something", because knee-jerk responses might create as many problems as they solved. (Financial Times)

He was not, unfortunately, talking about so-called "Autumn movement controls". He was, instead, telling ministers not to over-react to the September 11 terrorist atrocities in the US by introducing costly and heavy-handed new laws. "It is particularly important, in such circumstances, that political leaders apply the tests and principles of good regulation before acting." and "...shortcomings are unlikely to be rectified by new regulatory initiatives, but have to be tackled by improved management training and communication, and better organisational structures," he said. Lord Haskins said ministers should ensure businesses were not ruined by the cost of new regulations. We just wonder, in increasing despair, whether this government ever listens to itself.

Oct 16 ~ We read with disquiet but no surprise at all after eight months of similar tactics (although not directed against Bin Laden) "Blair tells BBC to censor ....."

..summoned the BBC and other broadcasters to talks at Downing Street"...." told to censor" " ... put pressure on television and radio news programmes to be 'more sceptical' ....." ".. Government fears that it is losing the propaganda war" "Downing Street's demands are expected to be made by Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's media adviser...." ".....discussions with the broadcasters about issues..."
Nevertheless, the Telegraph boldly concludes this article with "....The Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Rev David Stancliffe, has become the first Church leader to demand a cessation of American and British bombing in Afghanistan. In comments that provoked outrage among MPs and churchgoers in his diocese, the bishop said that the West "shouldn't fight evil with evil". Many Britons agree with the bishop. Up to 20,000 demonstrators joined an anti-war march yesterday in London, while a similar protest was held in Glasgow."
The war against sheep and lambs, farms and farmers has not attracted demonstrations by ordinary good-hearted people. The explanation for their lack of outrage can, we feel, be at least partially explained by glancing at the phrases above.
Footnote: No BBC camera could be seen at the Lobby of Parliament with Lord Stoddart on Wednesday (17th) At one point the crowd stretched all the way from the St Stephen's entrance to the Westminster tube station

Oct 16 ~ A Plague on all our houses...Dot has been watching the television...

I have just been watching a programme about the Plague of London. Terrifying. The people just sat there locked in their houses and waited for it to get them, without protesting. "It wouldn't happen now," said the narrator," there would be riots in the streets."
Hhmm, really ?
The gentry of course left London, The government did have an inquiry some time later, one of the two conclusions of which was not to site plague burial pits near the homes of the gentry. Oh and they also ordered the killing of all the dogs and cats in London, therefore allowing the rats complete freedom to spread the disease at will. Good move.. Dot

Oct 15 ~ The Yorkshire Post is under no illusions about where blame lies for the outrages of the past months:

" ... by calling for an end to subsidies when the new report makes it clear that they are the farmers' last remaining lifeline, by failing to put forward any constructive proposals for reforming the Common Agricultural Policy which keeps farmers dependent on these handouts, and by refusing to hold a public inquiry into foot-and-mouth, it (New Labour) has proved how out of touch it is with the mood of countryfolk and how bereft it is of ideas for a rural recovery. "

Oct 15 ~ Coleen writes worriedly," was reported on Border News last week that the Isle of Man (which has had no cases)

up to this present, is to spend 1.5 million on digging and preparing burial pit/site for FMD! Can anyone shed any light on to why on earth they would want to do this. Do they know something we do not?"

Oct 14 ~ A news story with the headline " CJD row as expert denies illness is linked to cattle" from the Western Daily Press can no longer be accessed.

We find this rather strange. Indeed Dr Venters' demand for a Public Inquiry into the link between CJD and BSE seems to have been quietly suppressed everywhere.

Oct 13 ~ In a letter to The Times yesterday, Robert Forster, Chief Executive of the National Beef Association wrote," We calculate that it will cost at least £740 to destroy a typical beef animal through the LWDS but not more than £200 to get it through winter."

"Livestock farmers are doing their best to prevent as many animals as possible being destroyed in the Government's dreadful Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme (LWDS) this winter. This dustbin for starving animals has already swallowed up 1.72 million animals, including 160,000 cattle, and winter has not yet started, " he writes.

Oct 12 ~Dr George Venters,a consultant in Public Health Medicine in Lanarkshire, wants a public debate on the evidence supporting a link between BSE and CJD.

Malcolm Ferguson Smith, speaking last month at the Glasgow Festival of Science criticised the refusal of the government to have a public inquiry into the FMD crisis. He said, "lack of openness destroys public trust in government. They say they don't want to raise undue concerns in the public, but they don't want to raise undue criticisms of ministers".

Oct 12 ~ Professor Peter Smith, chairman of SEAC, the scientific body that advises the government on CJD, made the of-course-not-to-be-taken-seriously assertion that the only way to prove the link between BSE and CJD would be "to inject BSE-infected material directly into a human"

This is, however, precisely what these men in white have done to sheep. Does that therefore prove that sheep have vCJD? Or does it prove rather that if you inject brain-diseased tissue directly into a healthy animal you get a very unhealthy one as a result? Perhaps it tells us a great deal more about the state of the brains of the scientists than about the animals so ludicrously mistreated. SEAC has, on its panel of twelve members, Professor Roy Anderson (Fellow of the Royal Society). The body it advises, the Food Standards Committee, is chaired by Anderson's friend Sir John Krebs (Fellow of the Royal Society). The spectre of CJD being spread by infected sheep is the result of "reassuring" pronouncements by the FSA and SEAC. Professor King (Fellow of the Royal Society) has been the chief scientific adviser to the government which, in 2001, has presided over the killing of millions of healthy animals already. The threat of a cull of all 44 million British sheep, "should even one be found to be infected with BSE" has been given by our Chief Vet, Jim Scudamore. We pinch ourselves but find to our dismay that we are awake.

Oct 12 ~ The horrors at Knowstone were relived yesterday

at the Devon Public Inquiry. At one stage there were five van loads of riot police in Knowstone, MAFF arrived at farms early in the morning and said they would employ the police to make the farmers let them cull their stock. But when the police arrived they confirmed they did not have any power to do that.William Norman, from the parish council, said the animals had been on the farm all their lives and knew the farmer's voice. When they were confronted with men in white suits flapping their arms around, they became frightened. Five cattle were shot but another 19 bolted and "spread themselves" around the parish. He saw one animal in a field at 4pm and the animal was not finally shot until 8.15pm. "It had stood in the field on its own all day, it was so traumatised," said Mr Norman. "I have never seen an animal like it." Another animal was shot at on the Sunday and probably on the Monday as well but was not actually killed until the Tuesday. "Some took four or five shots to kill. It was chaos and a shambles," he said.
We understand that, since June, there have been in excess of 3,500 complaints of cruelty with regard to the foot and mouth crisis.

Oct 11 ~ We are in urgent need of Common Sense: 'Communication' not more and ever faster methods of communications.

The YFC spokesman quoted on Farming Today [from Devon enquiry] was saying,"We need better communications" The trouble seems to be that the wonderful facilities for communicating available now - mobile 'phones, satelite 'phones, laptop computers linked to the Internet, e-mails that allow letters to arrive in seconds - and so on, are actually used to enable decisions to be taken by unqualified persons, insulated from the reality of what their decision means: and then for this decision to be enforced by personel similarly buffered from the real consequences. There was not a spare thermometer in the office, yet dozens of computers were being unloaded from a lorry.writes Alan Richardson. Nelson put his telescope to his blind eye. Perhaps we need more people on the ground with the guts to become blind and deaf at the critical moment.

Oct 11~ The officious and relentless centralisation of power, so beloved of the Blair government, the EU and globalisation, continues insidiously....

We read in the Beats' newsletter how the Environment Agency (whose chairman, Baroness Young has publicly said she wants to see the number of sheep in Britain halved) has made it illegal to compost organic kitchen waste. The justification is that all kitchen scraps could have been in contact with meat in the kitchen. Infection could then be passed to birds and livestock either during the composting process or while the compost is used outside. The damage this will do to both community and farm site composters, projects that have taken a lot of hard work, and now disregarded in the name of No Vaccination seems not to matter to those who like to control us. The waste will now go to landfill sites where it can still be scavenged by wildlife. Madness. In Mr Richardson's report we read that "Nothing better illustrates the confusion and paralysis resulting from the centralisation of management than an incident on March 13th when the author sought clarification over a licence request for the movement of boar semen. The responsible clerk advised him that MAFF managers had told her to watch the television at 3 pm, when the Prime Minister would deal with the matter from the steps of 10, Downing Street." This may make us hoot with incredulous laughter, but Mr Richardson's quiet comment "We are no longer a free people" does not. It tells a truth that is yet to dawn on most people in Britain.

Oct 10 ~ The Smart Cycler - equipment that could have saved the farmers, tourism, the rural economy, billions of pounds and millions of animals - and rejected by Pirbright and the government ever since March 9 - seems to be the device referred to in last week's Veterinary Record

a letter appeared Oct 6th from Dr Donaldson and others, casting doubt on the effectiveness of what it terms " a portable 'real-time' PCR instrument ". They are careful not to name the device. Are they referring, by any chance, to the exquisitely sensitive SmartCycler, so prized by the US military as a breakthrough and extensively tested at Plum Island, the device whose mechanism is used to check millions of human blood samples for the Blood Transfusion Service? Not likely to be that insensitive then. Is Pirbright not involved in a commercial deal to develop a piece of equipment that is similar? Is this piece of "scientific" rubbishing merely another attempt to excuse the tragical mismanagement of the UK foot and mouth outbreak?

Oct 10 ~ The RSPCA , an organisation we used to respect, continues to publish expensive adverts in major newspapers, calling for money.

Their silence and the futility of their "involvement" over the last eight months raises serious questions about their funds. We echo the vigorous sentiments expressed in this letter to the Cumberland News towards, among many others,........and those who could have helped, yet turned their backs.

Oct 9 ~ We note with deepening disquiet that the Gilwern slaughterman - whose trigger happy cruelty left witnesses "shell-shocked" - will not be prosecuted

Even though his actions were caught on film, even though his actions were wholly in breach of all humane or common sense guidelines, even though people who saw him shooting at wounded sheep were left in tears, even though there were ample witnesses - the man is not to be prosecuted because "he was operating in difficult circumstances". The case has been dropped. The RSPCA falls silent yet again.

Oct 8 ~ Difficult to find words to describe the gratuitous killing of the Aberdeen Angus heifer in Northumberland described in today's Journal.

It should have been a cheering story of escape and defiance. The cow had simply run away into woods five weeks previously from a botched cull where her fellows were being shot down with rifles. Far from being infected she lived in the wood quite happily until Defra was told she had joined another herd. "Once an animal has been listed for slaughter for dangerous contact then it remains listed," said the implacable spokesman. But any dangerous contact would have led to symptoms weeks before had it been real. Nevertheless, the cow was taken and killed before being tested. Now, the owner of the herd has been told all his animals will be killed too if tests on the dead escapee came back positive. Is no one, apart from us, angry, appalled and ashamed about this?

Oct 8 ~ The misery caused by DEFRA goes on and on

an email yesterday shows both the level of frustration and unwillingness to cooperate in farmers and the inept, bullying ways and lack of handling skills in the Defra teams, " They have been on a farm to check sheep and because the farmer wouldnt help them to round his flock up they came as an army of Defra with bikes and dog. They had a few heated words with a couple of guys who were leaving the farm,saying that they would have to stay or be stripped and disinfected, but the guys were in boiler suits and wellingtons; they took boiler suits off and left them at the farm and scrubbed their wellies.(Defra wasnt going to tackle them as they would have fought back.) Anyway Defra men on bikes and the dog ran this poor farmers animals stupid in the field as he wouldn't help, knocking down walls and eventually running his tup into a wall head first and the poor thing ended up with brain damage. This isnt the first time they have done this only three weeks ago they tried rounding six wild cows of his up and four escaped and Defra havent got them back yet off another farmer's land."

Oct 7 ~ Ken Livingstone supports London's City Farms

Deen City Farm in Wimbledon, for example, has received a slice of a £30,000 windfall from London's mayor Ken Livingstone, to help all those farms in the capital which have suffered because of foot and mouth restrictions. The registered charity farm, in Windsor Avenue, is to get £1,800 from the Greater London Authority, with the mayor declaring that all of Londons 14 city farms are now open for business. We applaud the action of the mayor. Long may these city farms exist to show the city dwellers that good food, produced properly and tasting of itself rather than of chemicals, originates from Nature's way rather than coming, pre-packed and additive-packed, from Safeway.

Oct 6 ~ Tomorrow's service in Derby Cathedral will be dedicated to farming instead of being the usual annual Harvest Festival

"..Thanksgiving is quite difficult," says the city's dean, the Very Rev Michael Perham who has written the service. "Any harvest service needs to take account of feelings of anger, disappointment and sadness." During the service, which starts at 2.30pm, eight candles will be lit by members of the farming community. Prayers will also be offered in memory of the animals slaughtered and the farms affected. The cathedral bell, which tolled daily at the height of the crisis as a sign of support for the farmers, will ring out across the city in their honour once again as the service begins. A shepherd's crook will be officially handed over to the cathedral.

Oct 6 ~ More delicious food on offer from the Support Farmers page

If you'd like to add to this page, please get in touch.

Oct 6 ~ NOTHING can prepare one for the sight of thousands of acres completely bereft of any form of animal life.

Lynda found that once her coach passengers had seen the desolation for themselves, there was 100% support for the petition that then went round.

Oct 6 ~ 'The Ministry vet said it wasn't foot and mouth - "but it can be if you want." '

Read Lawrence's excellent letter about the desperate current situation in Devon and how things have developed since the early days. The Western Morning News yesterday reported Antony Gibson's change of attitude towards vaccination, and mentions the BBC's 'Close Up' programme, quoting or reporting Prof Fred Brown, Ken Tyrrell and Patrick Holden variously calling for vaccination and deploring the cull - and Lawrence comments on this too.

Oct 4 ~ Our special correspondent in Brighton this week has been to a meeting of the Fabian Society...

"They don't even bother to hide the fact that they want to get rid of small farmers. They just dress it up in the jargon of market forces. "Read the report and try not to feel depressed.

Oct 4 ~ Genetically Engineered Crops May Pose Hazard warns a headline in the Daily Californian

The author writes that potato farmers in Idaho spray their fields with pesticides an average of 14 times per year in order to produce a competitive crop. Some of these chemicals are so toxic that they are applied by machines controlled by computers, and for five days afterward farmers will not step foot on the fields they are cultivating.
" should join the 21st century and realise that UK agriculture has been in the dark ages for far too long. Grow up and face facts" said the first aggressive email this website has received yesterday. Hmmm. If being able to walk freely in one's fields was the Dark Ages where are we heading now?

Oct 3 ~ At a meeting of the Labour Animal Welfare Group at Brighton last night

(See Elaine's posting in the inbox and the links to LAWS ), Elliot Morley was the jolly good fellow. Much back scratching between him, Tony Banks (who said some good things) and 2 female peers. They obviously think, alas, that they are God's Gift to the animals. Foot and Mouth was not mentioned before Elliot Morley left "for another meeting" and "our own correspondent" left in a rage. In spite (or they might say because) of a huge police presence, Brighton carries on its career as a seedy resort, ignoring all politicians.

Oct 3 ~ European Union scientists have secretly given their blessing to controversial experiments in which live monkeys will be infected with mad cow disease.

The European Commission, which relies on the panel for advice, chose not to publicise the news despite new rules over public access to information. It chose instead to bury the contentious opinion on an obscure page on the internet and did not issue a press release despite the fact that it is routine practice to do so for significant opinions from the Scientific Steering Committee. This information comes from last Sunday's Observer

Oct 3 ~ In The USA, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture announced an " important new program to accelerate the eradication of the fatal brain disease, scrapie, from the nation's sheep flocks and goat herds.

The following animals will need ear tags or tattoos All sheep 18 months and older All breeding sheep All scrapie exposed, suspect, test-positive and high-risk animals Breeding goats, except low-risk commercial goats All sheep and goats for exhibition "

Oct 2 ~ London City Farms and Community Gardens held their third annual festival on Saturday in spite of foot and mouth restrictions.

City farms, who have now reopened all their London farms after several months of closure due to foot and mouth, received great support from the public on the day, attractions including sheep dog trials with geese, Clydesdale Horses, crafts and horticultural displays. These city farms are invaluable in giving people in big towns a feeling for farming at its best. They are a reminder that food doesn't grow in supermarkets and that meat comes from a living animal with feelings, capable of being cared for instead of exploited....knowledge which might just begin to bring home to them some inkling at last of the national catastrophe that is being callously and cynically played out before their unseeing eyes.

Oct 1 ~ In Booker's Notebook yesterday we read of the Monmouthshire farmer's wife

who, on applying for a licence to move their bull so it could inseminate cows on another farm, was asked by a Defra official, "Is your bull male or female?" DEFRA's grasp of agricultural issues as on the ball as ever.

Sep 30 ~ "Screw it up and throw it away"

- a partial summary of the FMD crisis can be printed out and handed out. Also a list of questions to which people should be demanding answers

Sept 29 ~ As has been pointed out by Alan Beat in his newsletter, the hypocrisy of the government is mind-boggling: "Plan now for the Spring - stock welfare.

Defra warnes "Movement restrictions may be in place for some time to come. Last spring the sight of animals suffering in appalling conditions shocked many. Please plan now where to keep stock over the winter and early spring, in order to minimise potential welfare problems. Prosecutions may result if preventable welfare cases occur over following months."
"Preventable welfare cases" encompasses EVERY SINGLE case that has occurred throughout this epidemic, for which the government itself is wholly accountable. Yet now they threaten to prosecute farmers prevented from taking proper care of their stock by government-imposed restrictions!

Sept 29 ~ Pig Ignorance...We read on the PDIC website this extraordinary - but probably widespread - example of mind-boggling ignorance about FMD

"....the Prime Minister promised help for rural businesses - a 3-month period of grace from annual employer's return forms, and relief from local business rate taxes on premises. Struggling under cash-flow problems, we trustingly submitted our annual return 6 weeks late with an explanatory note - only to receive (and we are not the only rural business to sufffer this) a £100 fine for a late return.
What about the promised business premises tax relief?
Well, our application for the promised period of grace meant struggling through a substantial application form and compiling detailed accountancy reports - reports which showed a clear and dramatic effect of the FMD crisis. After some weeks of waiting, we received a call today from our local county council (which covers a rural area of East Anglia) saying that they could not understand why we were claiming premises tax relief since "..pigs do not get foot and mouth". After explaining that actually over a hundred thousand pigs have been destroyed in FMD areas, and well over a quarter million more destroyed under the "Welfare (disposal) scheme" because they could not be moved, we were told that the council review panel would consider the application again and report back in two weeks time. So much for "quick help to reduce cash-flow problems in rural businesses"!

Sept 28 ~ Jean Dixon sends this impassioned plea to all readers of this website...

Please read her message which concludes:"MAKE him listen to the people of this country who are horrified at his complete disregard for animal life or human livelihood."

Sept 27 ~ " If you approach with that system (slaughter) and you see that in two weeks the disease is continuing growing, forget it! Stop killing animals! Do vaccination!" Dr Bernardo Cané, Chief Vet of Argentina.

Warmwell has transcribed the item about the Argentinian vaccination programme from the BBC programme "Countryfile" (Sept 9) We dread to think what Mr Cané thinks of a country that goes on killing and killing after - not two weeks - but SEVEN MONTHS

Sept 27~ FARMING AND FOOD - THE FUTURE "The independent Policy Commission was established by the Government in August 2001. Its terms of reference are:

"To advise the Government on how we can create a sustainable, competitive and diverse farming and food sector which contributes to a thriving and sustainable rural economy, advances environmental, economic, health and animal welfare goals, and is consistent with the Government's aims for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform, enlargement of the EU and increased trade liberalisation". (our highlighting) So "independent" provided that its recommendations fit in with the last three. Unfortunately, our attempts to follow the link to the actual consultation document have all failed so far. The advice and views of "Stakeholders" (that is anyone who feels they have a stake in the future of farming and food presumably) are keenly sought by the Commission by 26th October

Sept 26 ~ an email reminds us..." Comments to the commission on future of farming & food should be sent in by 26 Oct 2001.

Stakeholder meetings will be held around the country see web site Also see Compassion in World Farming web site for their 7-point plan for future of farming re welfare issues.

Sept 26 ~ At today's Liberal Demoncrats Conference, Baroness Miller, Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokeswoman in the House of Lords, spoke warmly in favour of local markets and excellent British home-produced food:

"Today's session is an opportunity for delegates to reflect on the current crisis in rural Britain, and to look to the future. "The creation of local markets, and the reduction in the cost and duration of transportation which they would bring, is one of the best ways for British farmers to continue producing some of the best food in the world."

(Link to Lib Dem Autumn Conference and the consultation paper in pdf format
example paragraph 2.6.2 "Local markets are arguably beneficial to both the consumer and the producer. Consumer confidence is usually higher if the produce is local, not least because if food has less far to travel it will be fresher when bought. In addition the removal of transportation costs means that a higher percentage of the sale price will go back to the producer and the local community.")

Sept 25~ Lawrence writes..."Hearing the rhubarb about biological warfare and bioterrorism on the BBC R4 'Today Programme' this morning ... I felt again like the pantomome audience shouting "Look behind you!"

No one even mentioned foot and mouth disease - the biological scourge, so simple and safe to deliver [and so devastating with some help from the scientific establishment] which has ravaged the UK. No one even breathed the suggestion that we might have been victim of a highly successful 'bioterrorist attack'. Perhaps the wrong people were responsible.." (See Lawrence's full letter)

Sept 25 ~ "Farming has a major contribution to make to the future of the countryside, (sic)

.....but this will increasingly be about delivering a high quality and publicly accessible rural environment, on which so many other businesses depend,"
said the CPRE's acting head of rural policy , Greogor Hutcheon to our amazement.
We at warmwell are weary of hearing about the country as if it were a commodity called "countryside" that farmers have somehow been helping to package. We shudder at a sentence such as.."(The government) failed to appreciate how much businesses other than agriculture rely on a high quality countryside." (sic) This is the language of advertisers and of politicians, and has no place in the pronouncements of an organisation such as the CPRE if it expects to be taken seriously by its supporters who are neither.

Sept 24 ~ We are very much cheered this morning by the words of the Right Reverend Richard Llewellin, Bishop of Lambeth and chief of staff to the Archbishop of Canterbury

In a sermon, he said "... the role of the Christian was not one of onlooker, waiting to see what happened as those who sought to move to a more humane and environmentally friendly form of agriculture opposed the views of those who saw animals as industrial products to be treated as such. ..The creatures man uses and so often abuses are voiceless and helpless. We are not. We have pens with which to write to politicians and retailers; voices with which to speak out; shopping choices which can have a major impact on the outcome of the debate; organisations to join; even, on appropriate occasions, banners to carry"

Sept 23 ~ Prince William and his father have now done more for farmers than any anti-monarchist in the country who professes to care about Britain

Neither makes my secret of their concern and deep sympathy. The Sunday Telegraph this morning reports Prince William as saying he enjoyed his stint on a dairy farm more than any other part of his gap year..."which is partly why I've got so much sympathy for the farmers who have suffered so much from it. It was the best part of my year. I enjoyed the fact that I was put in as a hand and was paid and was just another guy on the farm. I got my hands dirty, did all the chores and had to get up at 4am. I got to see a completely different lifestyle."

Sept 22 ~ On Any Questions today the team of Tony Benn, Brigidier Birtwhistle, Charles Moore and Professor Haleh Afshar showed themselves completely at sea on the subject of vaccination

The brigadier remains "undecided" but thinks the Food Processing Industry is worried about a European fear of "tainted milk", Tony Benn makes a weak joke about "vacillation policy", Charles Moore regrets the lack of leadership and Haleh Afshar deplores the lack of clarity and scientific agreement. But why, oh why did they not all shout in unison "Yes,yes, for God's sake lets vaccinate! Let us put an end to this barbaric horror." Not one of them said so - and we are close to despair.

Sept 22 ~ Excellent supplement to this edition of 'Country Living'

...writes Sue from Scotland "... a complete guide to farmers markets in Britain plus profiles on some of the top producers. Also in the main magazine a feature on p.40 Highland Survivors - Highland Cattle roaming the British wilds once more, and on p.54"Investing in the Land" - a unique scheme in Lancashire benefits both farmers and the environment. What with that and loads of shabby chic ideas for all you interior design enthusiasts and farmers finding wives and goodness knows what else, it's all too good to miss really!"

Sept 20 ~ The sheep killed in Dursley were free of FMD

test results are negative. These were healthy ewes. Just the latest of so many heartbreaking similar cases. Vaccination would have avoided any question of foot and mouth disease. Without it, woe betide any flock among whose numbers one looks off colour, hurts its foot or has the temerity to eat a blackberry....

Sept 20 ~ Defra have published "arguments" against the use of vaccination on its website.

Here they are - and here are Alan Beat's comments about each of them. As he says, anyone who had been at the Bristol Forum last Saturday would be able to refute them all. Certainly, it leaves us wondering about "ignorance" on such a scale.

Sept 19 ~ Anderson, Gill, King and Brown. How these men have destroyed so much in their attempt to save their own power and influence is told here by Dr Richard North. Their motives hardly matter.

Most of us, knowing that the slaughter policy is horribly, horribly wrong, have somehow remained silent. The callous and the calculating have gone about their work and the media have reported their weasle words without question. As it gradually sinks in that we as a nation have let this happen - when the civilised alternative was there all along - are we going to feel shame at last? Why are the people not up in arms at this bureaucracy gone ape? Why are our vets not trying to protect the animals? How is it that even the police and the courts have collaborated in forcing obedience to the slaughters and blank-faced officials?

Sept 18 ~ e-mail just received "..... The govt are not going to listen to our arguments, however good and well backed-up. They know we are right as well as we do.

But being right, morally and scientifically, won't make a blind bit of difference if the policy is already decided. To me, this is the first of the germ wars, and it is won easily. I feel we have to go behind specific arguments to the whole wrongness of our attitude to animals. This is not going to be high on the list of public priorities during World War 3."
We hope the writer is wrong. We fear she may be right.

Sept 18 ~ Things are going from bad to worse for farmers and the government is rejoicing

with words such as Lord Whitty's " I am glad our campaign against foot-and-mouth is continuing to bring relief to Britain's farming industry". Professor Fred Brown FRS OBE however talks straight. He is instantly recognisable as brilliant in his field as well as completely straight-forward, honest and as down-to-earth as his quiet Lancashire voice. He has been talking to Professor King (about whom one cannot say quite the same) with whom he was invited to talk yesterday. He has also been invited onto the Royal Society's inquiry panel of 15 (independent?). Why can we not help being reminded of the phrase "welcomed in with gently smiling jaws"?

Sept 18 ~ Ann Winterton, the independent-minded MP for Congleton, has been appointed as an agriculture spokeswoman

by the new Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith. Bill Cash, the Stafford MP described by Kenneth Clarke, as the most Europhobic politician in the House of Commons - will become the shadow Attorney General and sit on the Opposition Front Bench. ( Please remember to sign the petition sponsored by Mr Cash, available on this website)

Sept 17 ~ A reminder received from Jane at farmtalking

Don't forget! - Heart of Cumbria Meeting tonight at Uldale - Northern Lakes at 7pm.

Sept 17 ~ Please read this review of Richard North's new book: The Death of British Agriculture

from this page which links to

Sept 17 ~ All is lack of knowledge, lack of understanding, misinformation and arrogant refusal to admit ignorance

The lack of clarity about vaccination has, tragically, been to blame for seven months of deteriorating conditions for farmers and their animals. Illustration of one aspect of this comes from "Muckspreader" in Private Eye this week. " No doubt if the Great Caravanner could have been told all about this in some French trailer park, she might have cackled her head off at how ingeniously her officials were still managing to give those farmers the runaround, even while she remained on the longest holiday in history. "

Sept 16 ~ The newspapers have gone quiet again.

As so many times before "they think it's all over". If only it were. We fear that the movement restrictions that come into force on Monday are going to prove to be as notoriously harmful as the culling policies themselves. It is still the right time to vaccinate - as was made very clear at Bristol yesterday.

Sept 15 ~ The conference for vets and veterinary scientists takes place at Bristol university this afternoon.

It will be fascinating to meet face to face the many people who have been in the forefront of the fight against this horror of a policy....this 'ethnic cleansing' of the countryside, as RWF Poole puts it. Professor Brown, Dr Barteling and Dr Sutmoller will be addressing senior vets from all over the country. will report back as soon as possible.

Sept 15 ~ Thanks to Joanna Lumley, the outrage that many people feel over the issue of vaccination

has been brought to the attention of the serious press today. We have wondered for months why there has been such silence from the vast majority of public figures. Joanna Lumley, whose sense of humour and intelligence make her a real force to be reckoned with, has given both her time and concern for many years to issues that she understands well, including our society's treatment of animals. Noel Edmunds too has dared to put his head above the parapet. Frederick Forsyth has spoken out. Are most other well-known figures in Britain happy with what is going on?

Sept 14 ~ The classification of areas by email just read: "My bank manager was saying that one of his (pig) clients had been affected by Defra's reclassification of areas.

He said it was on the basis of administration area rather than disease area. The upshot being that his client could not market his pigs and he was expecting to have to lend this farmer £50,000 a month for three months."

Sept 13 ~ Dr Susan Haywood Ph D, BVSc, MRCVS, Senior Fellow in Veterinary Pathology, University of Liverpool, one of the signatories of the Harrogate Declaration, has written to

to ask " Please stress to everyone that they must write to the PM mentioning their support for the Harrogate Declaration"
It is difficult sometimes to believe that our letters, so carefully written and so time-consuming to write -(and so lightly dismissed it seems!) - can actually make any impact at all. However, several letters that say the same thing DO have an effect and every single one of us that gets a letter to Mr Blair into the post today or tomorrow will be making an important gesture. It WILL be noted.

Sept 12 ~ Today's Newcastle Journal: " The outlook for the future is bleak: many of the local farms have reared closed flocks over many generations, and their genetic blueprint will be irreplaceable."

" Hefted sheep that once stuck to its own bit of Hexhamshire Common have also been slaughtered, probably never to be replaced, leaving thousands of acres of the North-East countryside to grow wild." The paper goes on to quote Margaret Dodwell, a farmer from Harwood Shield in Hexhamshire, whose 150 sheep and eight cattle were culled last week ..'We're just devastated. We've been here so long and you just think "What for?" But as devastated as we are, there must be people who feel even worse, people who won't have the heart to start again, and you wonder what they are ever going to do.'
Do those responsible for this callous policy ever read accounts such as this - and do they feel nothing?

Sept 12 ~ An email received since the 7th Sept makes a laconically chilling statement :

" a well informed source told me that he reckons the total (killed) is now about 14 million, and killing will continue until it reaches 20 million (EU request)."

Sept 12 ~ More dreadful times for Devon?

Lisa at HeartofDevon writes that slaughtermen seem to have been given year contracts at £25.00 per hour in Devon and that the rumours about the fate of Exmoor are alarming.

Sept 12 ~ After the horrors of yesterday we send our heartfelt condolences to our American friends and families.

The people of New York are behaving with such solidarity and courage - their behaviour towards one another shines fearlessly over the darkness. Nick echoes many others when he writes: "Yesterday was a complete tragedy. I have worked a lot in the USA & Canada as well as other countries around the world & have many friends across the water & elsewhere. I know that area reasonably well. My thoughts go out to the States & the people caught up in the mess. Terrible!"
He quietly adds, "However, we are dealing with our own terrorists here. "

Sept 6 ~ The actual map (thanks Elaine) of Defra's chillingly-named "red box"

brings into sharp relief the reality of how a huge area of our country is being held hostage. We read from an emailer who does not want to be named, " this is a violent and ignorant policy. It is in place - not to save animals from a dread disease, not to make life easier for farmers and country people, not even now to protect the meat industry - but to slaughter thousands of animals that are an embarrassment to the government, to hamstring farmers who are a threat to the government and to justify imports of cheap foods by a government that wants to see an end to our ability to feed ourselves. Vaccination would spoil all this - so it is derided as unworkable. When the truth is told finally, these months are going to seem unbelievable for the desperate ignorance of the victims on one side and the callous cynicism of the government on the other."

Sept 6 ~ We are sad to hear that the leader of Southwark Council, having promised support and a press crew, failed at the last minute

to attend the handing over of the petition yesterday at Downing Street with Jean and Hilary (and Dot) yesterday. No doubt there was a good reason....

Sept 5 ~ "....there is something morally and ethically absolutely wrong"...This quietly damning letter from a Dutch vet, sent by Jane at should give our own veterinary profession pause for some much needed thought.

"...... we find the consequences unacceptable for animals, farmers, veterinary surgeons and many others concerned, especially in the light of an alternative with proven efficacy, - that, if the non-vaccination policy is continued, we will no longer cooperate in an eradication program as carried out in spring 2001" See the letter in full here.

Sept 4 ~ Stop the cull petition - the next instalment- will the handed in at Downing Street tomorrow (Wednesday 5th)

with Jean Dixon, Stephanie Elsy (Southwark Council chair), Hilary and her two splendid dogs, some photographers...and any of us who can possible make it. See Jean's note

Sept 4 ~ We hear from Roy Miller, Welsh Warrior and direct descendent of Owen GLENDOWER, that in Brecon they are forming the Brecon Beacons Crisis Alliance.

This will include the chair of Epynt Action Group, the Powys Business Campaign chairman, the Beacons Trust and Chamber of Trade representatives. 'Divide and conquer' has been government strategy - and this kind of local alliance - the joining together of rural, tourist and farm interests - will form an influential voice of dissent at last.

Sept 4 ~ Further to yesterday's comment, Val writes, "Statistics confirm the worrying trend - number of cases down (slightly) BUT number of NEW outbreaks dramatically up - for the past few weeks it is 5 or 6 per week - as opposed to the 2 or 3 previously.

Part of this could be that I am now much more accurate about the post codes (now I look at the map as well!) BUT repeats are now coming back months later. Clearly, with the maps of the Northumberland 'cases' showing very large distances - and miles and miles of moorland - there seems to be no logic in it whatsoever. ....."
The trouble is, that they are blaming sheep and farmers for these new cases (not the poor bio-security shown by deer or rats or crows or slaughter teams or other vermin) - and since these two categories constitute their "targets" in more ways than one, the continuing policy seems all too logical to us, Val.

"Without some other strategy (ie vaccination) they will never stop it this year, next year......"

Sept 3 ~ Comment from Val: The number of 'NEW' areas is now accelerating every week

For the past 15 weeks I have been highlighting how many 'NEW' outbreaks there are each week Every week there have been 2 or 3 areas where confirmed cases of FMD have occured where it is either absolutely new OR more than a month since the last case (often more than 2 months) For the last 3 weeks these have been growing to 5 or 6 NEW outbreaks per week Surely this must be obvious to DEFRA too- not a tail - just an unstoppable juggernaut! If they vaccinated, even the IPs, they would slow it down to a halt! and then they could stop it

Sept 3 ~ Please read Lawrence Alderson's paper Foot-and-Mouth Disease in the United Kingdom 2001; its cause, course, control and consequences

Paper presented at RBI/EAAP/FAO meeting in Budapest on 23 August 2001 . It confirms everything that we have been saying for seven months.

Sept 2 ~ Roy Miller of the NFMG has a most apt turn of phrase in describing Government behaviour

He is reported in the Observer as saying, 'The Government is like a compulsive gambler: They think they will win if they keep on betting the same way. But they should vaccinate, not procrastinate.' ...and ''Defra is a black propaganda machine'
The doughty Welsh Warrior is more than a match for any of them.

Sept 1 ~ We find the fact that DEFRA is getting increasingly hostile to the press significant.

This article from Thursday's Telegraph, although it tries to be even-handed and sympathetic to DEFRA, shows the extent of their antagonistic and defensive stance. It is getting worse. Without a free press, our civil liberties are in ever greater peril.

Sept 1 ~ Warmwell's " light relief " page has been updated can now play with virtual sheep, throw the frisbee for your virtual dog, mess about with pigs and have a curious look at the PIG brother charity site as a bit of necessary respite from the dreary job of charting a national catastrophe."Light Relief"

Sept1 ~ Jean Dixon invites all who can make it to join her and Hilary at Downing Street

The details can be seen here. Singers particularly welcome! The Lib/Dem leader of Southwark Council, Stephanie Elsy, will arrive at 2.25pm complete with press, for presentation at 2.30pm.

Sept 1 ~ The reality of the policy is terrified animals trying desperately to get away from the killers.

From yesterday's Journal ' distraught villager, who did not wish to be named, said: "They had been trying to herd up the animals all afternoon and then they started stalking them around the field with rifles. "It is an absolutely horrendous scene. I couldn't bear to see it. There were dead cows strewn all over the field."...'

Sept 1 ~ Janine posted this to the FMD forum last night: " This was taken from a Dutch LTO press release about a letter to the Dutch Ministry about vaccination.

The following paragraph is interesting "The letter was written as a result of the still worrying situation in the UK. It looks as if by extensive vaccination only will the British be able to bring the virus under control. Also in Turkey where FMD is endemic, does vaccination take place. In the UK the support for change in the present EU-non vaccination policy is growing, as LTO noticed yesterday during talks with the NFU. LTO has close communications with the NFU of England and Wales. LTO is trying, together with the NFU, to put a new proposal for a different European FMD policy to COPA, the European farmers' Union. COPA can then talk to the European Commission."

'How many more animals have to be slaughtered while the NFU is chatting about "next time"?' concludes Janine.

Aug 31 ~ Jon writes: " 3 new cases in Hexham, Northumberland today - nationally, 8 cases away from 2000.

Defra continue to chase animals around with quad bikes taking pot shots, still 'vaccination on the agenda', still talk of 'sparks on the tail end of the crisis', autumn welfare issues now urgent and finally a change in the law at the beginning of July to now ban the use of pithing in slaughterhouses. This now means that up to 10% of animals witness the full slaughter process fully conscious (SVC research), just because there might be the slightest risk of BSE material getting into the bloodstream.

You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals."
( Warmwell asks any journalist or anyone else who can ....PLEASE help to alert the public to what is going on. Surely we are not the only ones too sick at heart to enjoy daily life with the way things are? )

Aug 31 ~ Those interested in the rationale for using emergency vaccination for foot and mouth disease

may like to see this extract from the Report of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare. Our attention was drawn to this report today by the Soil Association - for which many thanks - and we reproduce the particularly relevant section.

Aug 31 ~Michael Meredith at writes to suggest we move on from the "documentation and protest" phase into a "reconstruction" phase. His email can be read in the dialogue with Jan, here

' The real questions now I believe, are not "What went wrong?", or the even more hopeless "Admit you were wrong!", but...

How can hearts and minds be transformed in the political and civil service arenas?
How can farming organisations like the NFU learn to stop shooting themselves in the foot with short-sighted agendas?
How can veterinary schools be made more responsive to the needs of society in the 21st century?
I would like to suggest that the only quick way forward is to get into constructive dialogue with these groups and with the power-bases that shape them.
I believe that a public enquiry will delay action and only fuel even more defensiveness - more "getting stuck" for our nation. it will also generate so much information that people will be overwhelmed and turn off to it - as they have after past public enquiries.

Aug 30 ~ Jean Dixon and Hilary Peters remind us that, " We are handing in more copies of our petition saying STOP THE CULL next Wednesday. Sept.5. 2.30. Downing St.

We would like this to be an opportunity for anyone who opposes the contiguous cull to make their views known personally. Write to the PM. Hand it in. Get it in the press. ALL WELCOME.

"Next time public opinion won't stand for it"?
WE are public opinion and we won't stand for it NOW.

Aug 30 ~ Coleen in Cumbria writes, "A local vet with a practice in Alston Cumbria has said that now is the time to try out ring vaccination.

The NFU has said there is NO need to vaccinate just for the sake of it! What bl**dy planet are these people on?"

Aug 30 ~ Following Channel 4 news on Wednesday, Dot was aghast

" I have NEVER been so angry; some vet called Tyson is definitely living on borrowed time." and went on to explain,"What made it so awful was that it started off as such a great news piece, with the call for vaccination from two farmers and the Countryside agency. One local vet offering to vaccinate the whole of the Allendale area himself to avoid using dirty vets, saying that within a year the vaccine would have worked itself out of their systems and our F&M free status would be restored. I was feeling that at last we were getting somewhere, standing in front of the Tele shouting YES !! Then, they interviewed Tyson , and he trotted out how we are winning the battle , everything is going well, all under control no point in vaccinating as we would HAVE TO KILL all the animals afterwards. I can't bear it, he got the last word, and none queried this stupid statement....." Val comments," Tyson also explained that the nasty scenes of killing - in front of tourists etc - had stopped and that the area was 'normal' except he said for the lorries, police and bio-security units. Would suggest that we contact the BVA - who after all are only the 'trade union' for the RCVS ."

Aug 29 ~ Professor Fenton Robb was horrified to see on television cattle pursued by slaughtermen with rifles

and sent a deeply concerned letter to DEFRA However, in spite of the incident having been televised and therefore easy to trace, received the usual casual reply that
" they could do little about this without specific information about the exact time and place of the incident"

Aug 29 ~ Fellow devotees of the site will have noticed that it is out of order.

Bob Rawlins sends apologies and reassurances. The problem is with the server and also with his email. He will get the site back up and running as soon as possible.

Aug 29 ~ Is it true that all farmers hoping for compensation for culled stock are required to sign a form promising not to press for a public inquiry?

Please do contact the website if you know this is NOT true. We find it increasingly difficult now to dismiss rumours as nonsense when so many nonsensical policies are truly and tragically happening.

Aug 29 ~ Graziers on the Brecon Beacons are considering taking legal action because their sheep were slaughtered on Monday without their consent.

To Carwyn Jones' extreme annoyance, graziers had refused to cooperate with the cull because their sheep had already been grazing beside other animals for weeks. Their animals were to be killed while the sheep from Buckland were merely penned for blood testing. The cull went ahead without their consent however. Not surprisingly, the graziers say the measure was illogical and that it looks more and more as though the Brecons are being systematically cleared of sheep for reasons that have nothing to do with Foot and Mouth.

Aug 29 ~ From farmtalking.comThe 'BIG' Demo - Marching from Speakers Corner, Hyde Park to Downing Street, is scheduled for Saturday 20th October at 1pm.

'Anyone' and 'Everyone' including members of Every Group, Association, Alliance, Society, Union or Organisation is invited to take part and demonstrate our solidarity! Please do your best to organise or join a coach party from your area. For further info please contact Farmtalking 01361-850282

Aug 27 ~ Although there are still apparently rational people who continue to say "the only way to beat this disease is to go on killing more and more animals" there are also more and more people on the street who are deeply disturbed by the animal massacres

Hilary Peters and Jean Dixon (" she is wonderful - very Yorkshire and committed. She'd knock on the door of Buckingham Palace and ask to speak to the Queen...") now have twenty-something thousand signatures on their petition to"Stop culling and vaccinate". Don't forget that there is also a copy of the newspaper petition for a genuine public inquiry that can be printed on this site.

Aug 26~ To the Man Who Said, in the Sunday Times, to a million readers today "DEFRA CAN GET STUFFED"

and thus made us very, very happy - we wish the best of birthdays and send our warmest congratulations for his half century. May his mean fields never grow thistles and his pen never run dry.

Aug 25 ~ The Telegraph reports that Janet Hughes' eleven year old son insisted that his mother use the £14,000 he had inherited in order to continue her fight to save the Beacons hefted flocks.

(It will be remembered that the government wants these hill flocks slaughtered in spite of the fact that only antibodies against the disease - not active virus- have been found in a few sheep.) Janet's son Matthew, apparently said that he'd rather see sheep in his country than own a car.

Aug 24 ~ We read in the latest press release from the National Foot and Mouth group that neither DEFRA nor Customs and Excise actually knows how much vaccinated meat and meat products are entering Britain from countries where FMD is endemic or where vaccination takes place.

(see press release) It must be remembered that the National FMD group is made up entirely of volunteers who are devoting their time, unpaid, in researching and airing the issues on behalf of those hurt by the calamitous mishandling of the outbreak. This ignorance on the part of the Government is deeply chilling. So is the confusion in the recent pronouncements of Mr Ben Gill of the most powerful farmers' union - who is still, so strangely, violently opposed to vaccination. In spite of educated and concerned regret from many academics and scientists as well as from anguished members of the public, he and his fellow unelected leaders continue to thunder and bluster against both vaccination and any public inquiry. He is quite wrong about the National Consumer Council demanding labelling for vaccinated meat. They have written to say they do not require this. He is quite wrong too, according to the real experts, that vaccinated animals can pass on the disease. Most worrying of all perhaps is his constant assertion that "under the rules" vaccinated animals would have to be slaughtered. This is a mischievous over-simplification - but his apparent certainties have led to farmers being frightened of vaccination because they feel there would then be no market for their animals - this in spite of Holland's successful export of vaccinated meat since the end of June. The ignorance of Defra and the NFU, and their continual attempts to hide their lack of genuine knowledge and understanding, has led to almost unimaginable misery among the rural communities, most especially in Cumbria and North Yorkshire, to pain and terror to millions of animals, and to financial losses of considerably more than the two billion pounds now reported by most newspapers. The media may not report this misery very much - but it is continuing relentlessly. Nearly six months of despairing dissent from those hurt by the policy of widespread slaughter and inconsistent restrictions has always fallen on arrogantly deaf ears. However, the London public's sympathy rang out loud and clear in the applause heard from the pavements and in the evident kindness of many policemen as the marchers passed by last Monday. The government will ignore that signal at their peril.

Aug 24 ~ A comment from Gary in the US just received..

"Lloyd's of London has insurance agents trying to write FMD policies here in the U.S. now, while refusing to underwrite your own farming industry. What hypocrisy and greed! In one of your papers this week, there was a story about a pregnant woman who could not obtain the necessary services she needed, at any hospital in Britain. She was forced to seek help for her own situation in France. It seems to me, your country is so off-the-wall and inhumanitarian .....more Byzantine or Medieval ....every day" How sad to know that foreigners think this of us. And how wistfully some of us remember the optimism we felt on hearing Tony Blair's first speech as Prime Minister - when he promised "open, transparent and accountable" government.

Aug 23 ~ Jean Dixon and Hilary Peters presented another petition at Downing Street yesterday.

The door had to be shut specially so that they could be photographed knocking on it. The police were very friendly and posed with the dogs. The killing continues unrelentingly however. Hilary says, "though everyone knows it's just a charade, we're going to do this once a fortnight from now on. 2.30 at Downing St. Next time (SEPT 5 ) everyone is welcome and we will invite the press. More people are starting petitions too -. AND two inhabitants of Westminster are looking after the memorial, which has someone photographing it every time I pass. Did anyone send you the picture of Fen (her diplomatic and charming Jack Russell) in the Yorkshire Post? They did him proud, even saying he'd come from Yorkshire, which I did not tell them, although it happened to be true The goat sculpture for the permanent memorial is coming on a treat."

Aug 22 ~ Kirstin's case has been adjourned until 12th September

(See Kirstin's page on the left menu)

Aug 22 ~ Kirstin McBride's court case was due to begin today.

Kirstin is the 21 year old owner of one of the many much-loved pet animals to have been killed during this crisis. In her case, she arrived home in April to find that her pet, dead and with its head in a plastic bag, was lying on the pavement outside her house, about to be dumped in a truck. She flew at its killers in a rage of grief - and now faces charges of breach of the peace.... Warmwell will be monitoring the progress of the case here.

Aug 21 ~ An email from Val about yesterday's March

"..... Was surprised at the 'buzz' everyone got - including spectators. My kids amazed me - along with many many other youngsters who kept that chanting up for neasrly two hours - they told me that it was "empowering" (where did they learn that?) Certainly had the chance to bring it to the notice of far more people than usual - even if a lot of them were tourists... brilliant crowd - great to meet more of the faces behoind the familiar names. No DEFRA figures yesterday as they were all on strike - I said there wouldn't be any cases! now back to reality.."

Aug 20 ~ On this day of peaceful marching to Downing Street, John and Jackie remind us of one of the many human casualties of the debacle:

" Readers of the Shropshire Star will already be aware that Tony (York) has been forced to put Pig Paradise on the market.It was a sensitive and supportive article by the report that painted the Ministry in true colour for their obstructive practices and their criminally negligent policies. We both fell most saddened. Our best wishes for a successful out come go to Tony and Mary Rose." And so say all of us.

Aug 19 ~ Lynda writes," Went into our local Coop today for some onions and I could not believe it - "place of origin New Zealand"

..Five miles up the road are the huge Bedfordshire onion fields! I have no real objection to buying NZ produce when ours is out of season (I still regard NZ as "part of us") but I just don't understand how it can be more viable to transport onions 11,000 miles as opposed to 5. Also noticed Co-op frozen chips made with EU potatoes, and apples from Argentina.

Aug 18 ~ Received this morning: "To anyone in the Salop/ border region with an interest

Mr Ben Gill will be at the Minsterley Show today. The show is at Lea Cross on the A488 Shrewsbury to Bishops castle road." He might, perhaps, be asked whether he has yet found the time to read Dr Ruth Watkins' papers on vaccination .

Aug 17 ~ Latest from FFA site about Monday's peaceful march to Downing Street.

- Congregate at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park between 12 noon and 1 pm. At 1 pm prompt March will commence to 10 Downing Street to hand in a number of petitions. For details of coaches, etc., going from your area please contact 01291 690224 fax 01291 690984 Mobile 07773920306. Please Note:- no placards to be held high in the Park. Thre will be no additional toilet facilities or refreshments. Please take all your litter home with you, we will be held responsible for any litter left lying about. This is purely a March for Action to let Mr Blair know that British farmers and the general public will accept nothing less than a full and open public inquiry in to the foot and mouth crisis. We are all tax payers and have the right to know where our money has been spent.

Aug 17 ~ Sainsburys are selling Swedish pork (at least, they are in Swindon) and Defra seems very happy for Brazilian beef to be widely on sale in Britain.

Lets hope consumers begin to look at labels and flatly refuse to buy meat from abroad.

Aug 16 ~ The wreathes and flowers left opposite the House of Lords on Sunday during the vigil for the animals are still there and looking surprisingly good.

Hilary Peters added some flowers today, assisted by a policeman.Perhaps people would like to add to this memorial on Monday? It has been suggested by Dot that it would be " a good idea to write a card or note to go with them so people know what they represent. It would be nice to make a bigger show."

Aug 16 ~ Ilkeley Gazette, Keighley News and Craven Herald vote on vaccination:Quite complicated wording - but it boils down to : vote yes if you want culling to continue and Vote No if you do not

To vote no (No to culling!) phone 0906 6165462...To vote yes, phone 0906 6165461

Aug 16 ~ In Carlisle last night, a lot of Cumbrian farmers were asking questions...

Mr Ben Gill waffled and waffled - indeed, the hot air breathed out reminded one of a mushroom cloud - but he gave no answers. The roving microphone kept breaking down, so the questions could not be heard. Even the most stalwart apparently, were silenced by this trick. Everyone agrees they WILL NOT VACCINATE until this epidemic is over. Then they will. 7 cases in Cumbria yesterday.Mr Gill admitted to having received from Ruth Watkins her papers on vaccination, but he said he hadn't read them.

Aug 16 ~ Hyde Park March Monday 20th - the details

Details & Venue

a note from Marilyn Handley and "Farmers for Action": "Congregate at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park between 12 noon and 1 pm, and at 1 pm promptly move off towards N0 10 Downing Street. Please note - this is purely a march and not a rally, there will be no toilet facilies laid on and no refreshments. Please be sure to take litter home as we are responsible to the authorities of Hyde Park for this.

Coaches have been booked throughout the country, please contact for details.

This has been arranged at short notice as it gives the authorities very little time to stop it, give them too much notice and in the present climate they would spin and spin until they were dizzy! They will probably call us irresponsible, but we are no more irresponsible than government, who have opened all the footpaths, even in counties which are infected- at least we take precautions which is probably more than can be said of walkers using footpaths through our farmyards and fields.

We have estimated a couple of thousand people, but have a feeling that it will be more., especially if we can the staff of DEFRA who are going on strike on Monday over pay, to join us, we have asked them and are awaiting their response. Hope you can make it."

Aug 15 ~ HYDE PARK 1300, 20th August 2001. It is vital that everyone concerned about the rural future of Britain attend this meeting on Monday.

As Nick Green says, "The future of rural Britain is in your hands.Numbers make the difference..just do it" HISTORY IN THE MAKING!

Aug 14 ~an extract from a letter from Bert Bruins quoted by Alan Beat tonight: "It strikes to me that the debate overfoot and mouth in this country has been very English:

that is, that peopleare trying to decide on, and sway the debate with scientific argument. Thisis a very rational country, but the result has been stalemate in the FMDdebate. What is missing as a result is a validation of feelings andemotions: isn't it incredible that we haven't been able to say, and hardlyhave heard people say out loud: we feel this is wrong, morally wrong andtherefore its got to stop?! " Incredible, yes.

Aug 13 ~ Val has discovered some decidedly odd numbers on the Defra website

see statistics page. Is there a simple explanation we are missing?

Aug 12 ~ An FMD memorial procession and vigil for the animals took place this afternoon in Westminster.

A temporary memorial was set up in the gardens by the House of Lords. This was not to be a "demo" but just an expression of respect for the countless innocent victims of a savage and incomprehensible policy and opportunity to express quiet grief. One person who took part writes," it was a genuine expression of grief which even the Defra camera must have picked up.Wreathes, tears, Fen (her Jack Russell terrier) wearing his 'I Love Sheep' heart and a slow procession down Whitehall.
This is our first word not our last."

We also hear..." the service at DEFRA was veryemotional; the policeman who was keeping an eye on us was quite unmanned. Wedecorated DEFRA's door for them, and Hilary's dogs posed beautifully amongthe wreaths and flowers on the steps"

Aug 12 ~ After a brief visit to London, Jacquita writes sadly, "...all the talk of rich farmers has not made people sympathetic to them.

I have had to argue the point until I am sick of arguing it and I don't feel that I've made much headway in most cases. To people who don't understand or care much about farming,and won't bother to even try and discover the reality behind the story, this has just confirmed the sort of myths that abound in the city (i.e that all farmers are rich, greedy so-and-so's, with loads of money in the bank, who drive around in brand new Range Rovers, send their kids to private school and live off the fat of the land)....whatever the reasons for running that story, the timing was absolutely wrong and it has struck yet another blow against the farming community. We urgently, urgently need some good, BIG publicity for farmers - about ones who have refused slaughter and hung on, about those on movement restrictions and exactly what their lives have been like (financially and otherwise) - and ...about how many thousands more animals are going to be suffering again through starvation, etc, this winter. Also, some massive publicity re DEFRA's lack of biosecurity, with many concrete examples, to help stop the myths re farmers spreading FMD themselves everywhere (and with photos to illustrate it, such as Val's)."

Aug 11 ~ A communication said to contain the overheard private asides of Mrs Beckett

during the course of her own speech to the RSPB in July may not be quite genuine we suspect...

Aug 11 ~ However, the real Frederick Forsyth really did read this impassioned essay on Radio Four this morning

Extract...."you cannot believe that highly paid bureaucrats could be so unbelieveably stupid. With the sole exception of the brief intervention of the army, it has been an unbroken litany of mal-administration that, in the legal world, would have offered indictments for criminal negligence. "

Aug 10 ~ received from Elaine."Well, today we may have a new carcass removal service.

My son was on his way north through Cumbria going towards the A66 and had was nearing Brough Sowerby and the disinfection point. There were 2 cull lorries at the side of the road and a telehandler in a field. He was astonished to see a skip lorry there also. A 8 tonne skip was on the road and they were putting a cover over it. Now, as my son used to work for a skip hire company, he knows there are 4 holes in the bottom of these skips for drainage. This one was quite clean but what had they put in it - sheep? What is going on?

He also reported going from the M6 Tebay junction through to County Durham with no evidence of this new Penrith Spur disinfectant regime, just mats."

Aug 10 ~ "As subjects of Her Majesty's Government, we were forced to comply. If weresisted, the presence of the army in full combat gear made sure wecomplied.

The government certainly did not need to continue the needless andmindless killing, but by deliberate policy, it chose to do so. To nowcomplain about the cost of its deliberate actions is hypocrisy in theextreme.

In addition to the senseless killing, we had to endure the isolation causedby army roadblocks preventing us from leaving our homes, and the sight ofarmy helicopters flying low to scour the countryside for anything leftalive. We truly were peaceful citizens caught up in the middle of a warzone. The trauma will live with us forever." Part of a letter today in the Craven Herald. Read more.

Aug 10 ~ Extract from George Monbiot's article in the Guardian last Tuesday as Lord Haskins appointment as Rural Reconstruction Coordinator was announced:

"So what are we to make of a corporate capitalist with Stalinist tendencies, who is both a New Labour peer and a champion of the rural oligarchy? Simply that he is a friend of power in all its forms, and an enemy of the powerless. As such he is the last person in Britain who should be asked to oversee the recovery of the countryside. The rural destruction coordinator will stifle every opportunity for progressive change...... the peculiar beauty of the British countryside gives way to industrial monoculture. Consumers will lose, the environment will lose, but Northern Foods will never have to worry about its margins again."

Aug 10 ~ received today : "I do hope everyone agrees that the memorial procession and vigil for all the dead animals in Westminster on Sunday (12th August) is to be a silent expression of sadness

and not a noisy "demo". There will be other opportunities for noisy demonstrations of frustration no doubt - but this particular event is Jean's occasion; a memorial to show our respect for the millions of farm animals and pets killed in this horrible time. There will be a temporary memorial in the gardens by the House of Lords. The St James Park police are happy for this - but would turn away a noisy crowd - which anyway would be inappropriate on this one occasion when we can show silently and without embarrassment some of the grief we have felt for months. Please, could people who don't agree be gently asked if they could go somewhere else?"

Aug 10 ~ World at One Radio 4. The haste of yesterday's announcement

about the inquiries was discussed. It was noted that many of the press were not invited and that there were not enough handouts.
Dr Pennington, in charge of the inquiry into ecoli in Scotland, said he would have insisted that any enquiry he held was open.

Aug 10 ~ reported on Radio York in the afternoon of August 9

Journalist Paul Langan, chief reporter of Ilkley Gazette,was photographingthe killing of animals near Bolton Abbey. He was stripped naked by DEFRA officials and he and his belongings were sprayed. The journalist said he had permission from the land owner and has lodged a formal complaint.

Aug 8 ~received today - an advisory note to wildlife:

Dear Foxes and Birds,

If you fail to dip your feet and claws in the disinfectant pads provided, FMD will continue to spread, and HMG will have no alternative but to Bear Down Hard on whatever remaining farmers that they can find. After all you can't be prosecuted, but the poor bloody farmers are sitting targets.
Now, you wouldn't want that, would you?

Signed David in Wimborne
Per Pro Corporal E Morley.

Aug 8 ~ A RURAL charity has welcomed a £400,000 government grant

to help tacklestress among farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis. Heartwarming indeed...

Aug 8 ~ Which will be sent away first.. Blair is the favourite to win...

( this is a charity stunt to raise money for farmers). she faces stiff opposition from fellow stymates Brown, Beckett,Widdecombe and the only boar - Portillo who is ranked a 5-1 outsider. The five pigs, each very different in appearance, will be under 24 hour surveillance in a special palatial Pig Brother sty. Pig watchers on the internet will vote for which pig should be sent back home until there is only one left...

Aug 5 ~ comment from Alan and Rosie's Sunday newsletter, from Diane

" It's badenough killing an animal which is suffering from an easily cured and shortlived illness. It's much worse killing a healthy animal on the grounds thatit may catch the illness in the future. But, it's downright criminal to killa healthy animal when we have the means to prevent it catching the diseasein the first place. All the political arguments are insignificant when theonly alternative to vaccination is death. Try asking the sheep what theirchoice would be!"

Aug 5 ~ From the same newsletter we hear how Anne survived the cull

asked how she had resisted the contiguous cull (in fact it was a 3 kmcull in Cumbria). She had armed herself with plenty of scientific and legalbackgound knowledge, and firmly rebuffed every approach with the responsethat the cull was illegal unless it could be shown that her animals had beenexposed to the virus, quoting from Donaldson on airborne spread that herrams could not have caught the disease from the small numbers of infectedcattle exhaling virus in the next field etc. etc. In her opinion,surviving the cull was all about attitude, being informed and determined,taking control of situations and conversations.

Aug 4 ~ Important public notice from Jane.

It is printable. It could be left on noticeboards, in waiting rooms and surgeries. Use the contact page here to write to your MP and locate your local paper. (A comment from Hilary: "Absolutely agree with all you say EXCEPT only a handful give a damn.This is true of media and politicians.People in the streets of Yorkshire towns care in thousands and feelcompletely hopeless and helpless. They are in tears and grateful for thechance just to give a signature.")

Aug 4 ~ "Daily Mail, turn to page 12and read the article by Roger Scruton

"Genocide of the mute". His articlesums up in one page what the Foot and Mouth Group have been saying,collectively, from the start of this horror. His article should becompulsory reading for every Citizen of this God forsaken Country. I meanthat literally, God and Humanity seem to have left this Country." says Ron in his latest email

Aug 4 ~ An important letter from Jon Dobson

" I was in Brecon on the 27th July and filmed using a video camera the blood testing procedures that were taking place..."

Aug 3 ~ Nick sends us this frantic note from Cumbria

"...This will remain, as will all the other incidents I have witnessed over the last 5 months, engraved on my memory ..." He adds, " a defra TVI, admitted to me today that they have made many mistakes. They have sacked slaughter teams for "improper practice". They are short of slaughter teams now. They have admitted that Maff engaged in the slaughter of lambs by slitting their throats. All statements today witnessed by an RSPCA inspector. (Nick has the name and number)

Aug 3 ~ Never one to mince his words, Bryn sends this copy of New Labour's manifesto

Certainly in the light of the past five months it makes for sickening reading.

Aug 2 ~ email just in from Nick Green " Milked and Culled...

DEFRA were so late arriving at a farm in Kirkby Stephen yesterday that the farmer had no alternative but to milk his cows before they were culled.....

Can you imagine just what it was like to be milking your cattle, animals you knew well and loved, knowing they were to be killed immediately afterwards?"

Aug 2 ~ and on the subject of Defra's heartless incompetence, an email from Coleen:

" We found out that our blood tests which were taken on the 5th July came backto DEFRA on the 18th. It was not until yesterday (Aug 1) after faxing Defra andtelephoning them that they gave us the ALL clear results. There is no endto the amount of misery and prolonged suffering they have caused."

Aug 2 ~ when people read this site and those like it, and say..what can we do?

we reply, please, please print out information on vaccination and leave them where they will be read. Print out the help packs for farmers. Send them to farmers. Leave them in waiting rooms and stations and surgeries where people may read them. This insanity has got to stop. We - who rightly refuse to be aggressive - have nevertheless been too polite!

Aug 1 ~ quick email from Hilary Peters in Whitby:". People queueing up to sign petition

and very distressed.I have spoken to local paper and 2 local radio stations.We take this lot of signatures to London Aug.12.
It's not just about signatures, but hearing what people feel and see. "

Aug 1~ John Major has written to the Telegraph calling for a public inquiry

July 31 ~ The last remnants of farms with livestock in Shap are being culled out this afternoon.

The email describing this "...beyond heartbreak and one can only shake one's head in disbelief - not only at the continuing refusal to vaccinate by the most secretive government ever known in Britain, but also at the compliance of an entire nation of farmers. Why are they not seeing through Gill and co, banding together, demanding vaccination and flatly refusing to obey these people?"

July 31 ~ Central tv has asked permission to film the blood testing at Barton Hill Animal Centre (see below)

July 31 ~ Attention will be very much concentrated on the Welsh National Assembly meeting in Cardiff today

where Dr Ruth Watkins is to present her paper on vaccination.

July 31 ~ N.B. It is still unclear to readers of newspapers etc whether the tests done on these Brecon flocks

(and Yorkshire and Cumbrian flocks, ) are or antibodies or for active virus. It is understood that the tests are not the same. There seems to be over-simplification in reports in the media and from the statements of decision-makers.(an email written on this subject)

July 30 ~ 9000 healthy pigs were slaughtered yesterday. This has not been reported in the media

(except for the reliable Yorkshire Post). The vets could see that the animals were all healthy.Their owner, Robin Bosomworth and his son, Trevor, had 211 cattle slaughtered at premises eight miles away. There had been no contact between them for a month. However, the pigs were still killed by Defra as "Dangerous Contacts". This does rather look like the quietly conducted start of the firebreak cull from Thirsk to Whitby, York and Bridlington. Will there be any animals left to vaccinate when sanity prevails?July 30

July 30th ~ Barton Hill Animal Centre in Hereford where pigs, sheep and goats live together

were faced with the frightening sight of police cars, 4 DEFRA cars and a trailor load of pens at the gate following an injunction being taken out against the owners today. The owners' solicitor said that they could take out a counter injunction - but that they might be labelled as paranoid for not trusting DEFRA. They now anxiously await results of the tests and remember Christine.TOP

Mr Ben Gill waffled and waffled - indeed, the hot air breathed out reminded one of a mushroom cloud - but he gave no answers. The roving microphone kept breaking down, so the questions could not be heard. Even the most stalwart apparently, were silenced by this trick. Everyone agrees they WILL NOT VACCINATE until this epidemic is over. Then they will. 7 cases in Cumbria yesterday.Mr Gill admitted to having received from Ruth Warkins her papers on vaccination, but he said he hadn't read them.

Aug 16 ~ Hyde Park March Monday 20th - the details

Details & Venue

a note from Marilyn Handley and "Farmers for Action": "Congregate at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park between 12 noon and 1 pm, and at 1 pm promptly move off towards N0 10 Downing Street. Please note - this is purely a march and not a rally, there will be no toilet facilies laid on and no refreshments. Please be sure to take litter home as we are responsible to the authorities of Hyde Park for this.

Coaches have been booked throughout the country, please contact for details.

This has been arranged at short notice as it gives the authorities very little time to stop it, give them too much notice and in the present climate they would spin and spin until they were dizzy! They will probably call us irresponsible, but we are no more irresponsible than government, who have opened all the footpaths, even in counties which are infected- at least we take precautions which is probably more than can be said of walkers using footpaths through our farmyards and fields.

We have estimated a couple of thousand people, but have a feeling that it will be more., especially if we can the staff of DEFRA who are going on strike on Monday over pay, to join us, we have asked them and are awaiting their response. Hope you can make it."

Aug 15 ~ HYDE PARK 1300, 20th August 2001. It is vital that everyone concerned about the rural future of Britain attend this meeting on Monday.

As Nick Green says, "The future of rural Britain is in your hands.Numbers make the difference..just do it" HISTORY IN THE MAKING!

Aug 14 ~an extract from a letter from Bert Bruins quoted by Alan Beat tonight: "It strikes to me that the debate overfoot and mouth in this country has been very English:

that is, that peopleare trying to decide on, and sway the debate with scientific argument. Thisis a very rational country, but the result has been stalemate in the FMDdebate. What is missing as a result is a validation of feelings andemotions: isn't it incredible that we haven't been able to say, and hardlyhave heard people say out loud: we feel this is wrong, morally wrong andtherefore its got to stop?! " Incredible, yes.

Aug 13 ~ Val has discovered some decidedly odd numbers on the Defra website

see statistics page. Is there a simple explanation we are missing?

Aug 12 ~ An FMD memorial procession and vigil for the animals took place this afternoon in Westminster.

A temporary memorial was set up in the gardens by the House of Lords. This was not to be a "demo" but just an expression of respect for the countless innocent victims of a savage and incomprehensible policy and opportunity to express quiet grief. One person who took part writes," it was a genuine expression of grief which even the Defra camera must have picked up.Wreathes, tears, Fen (her Jack Russell terrier) wearing his 'I Love Sheep' heart and a slow procession down Whitehall.
This is our first word not our last."

We also hear..." the service at DEFRA was veryemotional; the policeman who was keeping an eye on us was quite unmanned. Wedecorated DEFRA's door for them, and Hilary's dogs posed beautifully amongthe wreaths and flowers on the steps"

Aug 12 ~ After a brief visit to London, Jacquita writes sadly, "...all the talk of rich farmers has not made people sympathetic to them.

I have had to argue the point until I am sick of arguing it and I don't feel that I've made much headway in most cases. To people who don't understand or care much about farming,and won't bother to even try and discover the reality behind the story, this has just confirmed the sort of myths that abound in the city (i.e that all farmers are rich, greedy so-and-so's, with loads of money in the bank, who drive around in brand new Range Rovers, send their kids to private school and live off the fat of the land)....whatever the reasons for running that story, the timing was absolutely wrong and it has struck yet another blow against the farming community. We urgently, urgently need some good, BIG publicity for farmers - about ones who have refused slaughter and hung on, about those on movement restrictions and exactly what their lives have been like (financially and otherwise) - and ...about how many thousands more animals are going to be suffering again through starvation, etc, this winter. Also, some massive publicity re DEFRA's lack of biosecurity, with many concrete examples, to help stop the myths re farmers spreading FMD themselves everywhere (and with photos to illustrate it, such as Val's)."

Aug 11 ~ A communication said to contain the overheard private asides of Mrs Beckett

during the course of her own speech to the RSPB in July may not be quite genuine we suspect...

Aug 11 ~ However, the real Frederick Forsyth really did read this impassioned essay on Radio Four this morning

Extract...."you cannot believe that highly paid bureaucrats could be so unbelieveably stupid. With the sole exception of the brief intervention of the army, it has been an unbroken litany of mal-administration that, in the legal world, would have offered indictments for criminal negligence. "

Aug 10 ~ received from Elaine."Well, today we may have a new carcass removal service.

My son was on his way north through Cumbria going towards the A66 and had was nearing Brough Sowerby and the disinfection point. There were 2 cull lorries at the side of the road and a telehandler in a field. He was astonished to see a skip lorry there also. A 8 tonne skip was on the road and they were putting a cover over it. Now, as my son used to work for a skip hire company, he knows there are 4 holes in the bottom of these skips for drainage. This one was quite clean but what had they put in it - sheep? What is going on?

He also reported going from the M6 Tebay junction through to County Durham with no evidence of this new Penrith Spur disinfectant regime, just mats."

Aug 10 ~ "As subjects of Her Majesty's Government, we were forced to comply. If weresisted, the presence of the army in full combat gear made sure wecomplied.

The government certainly did not need to continue the needless andmindless killing, but by deliberate policy, it chose to do so. To nowcomplain about the cost of its deliberate actions is hypocrisy in theextreme.

In addition to the senseless killing, we had to endure the isolation causedby army roadblocks preventing us from leaving our homes, and the sight ofarmy helicopters flying low to scour the countryside for anything leftalive. We truly were peaceful citizens caught up in the middle of a warzone. The trauma will live with us forever." Part of a letter today in the Craven Herald. Read more.

Aug 10 ~ Extract from George Monbiot's article in the Guardian last Tuesday as Lord Haskins appointment as Rural Reconstruction Coordinator was announced:

"So what are we to make of a corporate capitalist with Stalinist tendencies, who is both a New Labour peer and a champion of the rural oligarchy? Simply that he is a friend of power in all its forms, and an enemy of the powerless. As such he is the last person in Britain who should be asked to oversee the recovery of the countryside. The rural destruction coordinator will stifle every opportunity for progressive change...... the peculiar beauty of the British countryside gives way to industrial monoculture. Consumers will lose, the environment will lose, but Northern Foods will never have to worry about its margins again."

Aug 10 ~ received today : "I do hope everyone agrees that the memorial procession and vigil for all the dead animals in Westminster on Sunday (12th August) is to be a silent expression of sadness

and not a noisy "demo". There will be other opportunities for noisy demonstrations of frustration no doubt - but this particular event is Jean's occasion; a memorial to show our respect for the millions of farm animals and pets killed in this horrible time. There will be a temporary memorial in the gardens by the House of Lords. The St James Park police are happy for this - but would turn away a noisy crowd - which anyway would be inappropriate on this one occasion when we can show silently and without embarrassment some of the grief we have felt for months. Please, could people who don't agree be gently asked if they could go somewhere else?"

Aug 10 ~ World at One Radio 4. The haste of yesterday's announcement

about the inquiries was discussed. It was noted that many of the press were not invited and that there were not enough handouts.
Dr Pennington, in charge of the inquiry into ecoli in Scotland, said he would have insisted that any enquiry he held was open.

Aug 10 ~ reported on Radio York in the afternoon of August 9

Journalist Paul Langan, chief reporter of Ilkley Gazette,was photographingthe killing of animals near Bolton Abbey. He was stripped naked by DEFRA officials and he and his belongings were sprayed. The journalist said he had permission from the land owner and has lodged a formal complaint.

Aug 8 ~received today - an advisory note to wildlife:

Dear Foxes and Birds,

If you fail to dip your feet and claws in the disinfectant pads provided, FMD will continue to spread, and HMG will have no alternative but to Bear Down Hard on whatever remaining farmers that they can find. After all you can't be prosecuted, but the poor bloody farmers are sitting targets.
Now, you wouldn't want that, would you?

Signed David in Wimborne
Per Pro Corporal E Morley.

Aug 8 ~ A RURAL charity has welcomed a £400,000 government grant

to help tacklestress among farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis. Heartwarming indeed...

Aug 8 ~ Which will be sent away first.. Blair is the favourite to win...

( this is a charity stunt to raise moneyn for famers). she faces stiff opposition from fellow stymates Brown, Beckett,Widdecombe and the only boar - Portillo who is ranked a 5-1 outsider. The five pigs, each very different in appearance, will be under 24 hour surveillance in a special palatial Pig Brother sty. Pig watchers on the internet will vote for which pig should be sent back home until there is only one left...

Aug 5 ~ comment from Alan and Rosie's Sunday newsletter, from Diane

" It's badenough killing an animal which is suffering from an easily cured and shortlived illness. It's much worse killing a healthy animal on the grounds thatit may catch the illness in the future. But, it's downright criminal to killa healthy animal when we have the means to prevent it catching the diseasein the first place. All the political arguments are insignificant when theonly alternative to vaccination is death. Try asking the sheep what theirchoice would be!"

Aug 5 ~ From the same newsletter we hear how Anne survived the cull

asked how she had resisted the contiguous cull (in fact it was a 3 kmcull in Cumbria). She had armed herself with plenty of scientific and legalbackgound knowledge, and firmly rebuffed every approach with the responsethat the cull was illegal unless it could be shown that her animals had beenexposed to the virus, quoting from Donaldson on airborne spread that herrams could not have caught the disease from the small numbers of infectedcattle exhaling virus in the next field etc. etc. In her opinion,surviving the cull was all about attitude, being informed and determined,taking control of situations and conversations.

Aug 4 ~ Important public notice from Jane.

It is printable. It could be left on noticeboards, in waiting rooms and surgeries. Use the contact page here to write to your MP and locate your local paper. (A comment from Hilary: "Absolutely agree with all you say EXCEPT only a handful give a damn.This is true of media and politicians.People in the streets of Yorkshire towns care in thousands and feelcompletely hopeless and helpless. They are in tears and grateful for thechance just to give a signature.")

Aug 4 ~ "Daily Mail, turn to page 12and read the article by Roger Scruton

"Genocide of the mute". His articlesums up in one page what the Foot and Mouth Group have been saying,collectively, from the start of this horror. His article should becompulsory reading for every Citizen of this God forsaken Country. I meanthat literally, God and Humanity seem to have left this Country." says Ron in his latest email

Aug 4 ~ An important letter from Jon Dobson

" I was in Brecon on the 27th July and filmed using a video camera the blood testing procedures that were taking place..."

Aug 3 ~ Nick sends us this frantic note from Cumbria

"...This will remain, as will all the other incidents I have witnessed over the last 5 months, engraved on my memory ..." He adds, " a defra TVI, admitted to me today that they have made many mistakes. They have sacked slaughter teams for "improper practice". They are short of slaughter teams now. They have admitted that Maff engaged in the slaughter of lambs by slitting their throats. All statements today witnessed by an RSPCA inspector. (Nick has the name and number)

Aug 3 ~ Never one to mince his words, Bryn sends this copy of New Labour's manifesto

Certainly in the light of the past five months it makes for sickening reading.

Aug 2 ~ email just in from Nick Green " Milked and Culled...

DEFRA were so late arriving at a farm in Kirkby Stephen yesterday that the farmer had no alternative but to milk his cows before they were culled.....

Can you imagine just what it was like to be milking your cattle, animals you knew well and loved, knowing they were to be killed immediately afterwards?"

Aug 2 ~ and on the subject of Defra's heartless incompetence, an email from Coleen:

" We found out that our blood tests which were taken on the 5th July came backto DEFRA on the 18th. It was not until yesterday (Aug 1) after faxing Defra andtelephoning them that they gave us the ALL clear results. There is no endto the amount of misery and prolonged suffering they have caused."

Aug 2 ~ when people read this site and those like it, and say..what can we do?

we reply, please, please print out information on vaccination and leave them where they will be read. Print out the help packs for farmers. Send them to farmers. Leave them in waiting rooms and stations and surgeries where people may read them. This insanity has got to stop. We - who rightly refuse to be aggressive - have nevertheless been too polite!

Aug 1 ~ quick email from Hilary Peters in Whitby:". People queueing up to sign petition

and very distressed.I have spoken to local paper and 2 local radio stations.We take this lot of signatures to London Aug.12.
It's not just about signatures, but hearing what people feel and see. "

Aug 1~ John Major has written to the Telegraph calling for a public inquiry

July 31 ~ The last remnants of farms with livestock in Shap are being culled out this afternoon.

The email describing this "...beyond heartbreak and one can only shake one's head in disbelief - not only at the continuing refusal to vaccinate by the most secretive government ever known in Britain, but also at the compliance of an entire nation of farmers. Why are they not seeing through Gill and co, banding together, demanding vaccination and flatly refusing to obey these people?"

July 31 ~ Central tv has asked permission to film the blood testing at Barton Hill Animal Centre (see below)

July 31 ~ Attention will be very much concentrated on the Welsh National Assembly meeting in Cardiff today

where Dr Ruth Watkins is to present her paper on vaccination.

July 31 ~ N.B. It is still unclear to readers of newspapers etc whether the tests done on these Brecon flocks

(and Yorkshire and Cumbrian flocks, ) are or antibodies or for active virus. It is understood that the tests are not the same. There seems to be over-simplification in reports in the media and from the statements of decision-makers.(an email written on this subject)

July 30 ~ 9000 healthy pigs were slaughtered yesterday. This has not been reported in the media

(except for the reliable Yorkshire Post). The vets could see that the animals were all healthy.Their owner, Robin Bosomworth and his son, Trevor, had 211 cattle slaughtered at premises eight miles away. There had been no contact between them for a month. However, the pigs were still killed by Defra as "Dangerous Contacts". This does rather look like the quietly conducted start of the firebreak cull from Thirsk to Whitby, York and Bridlington. Will there be any animals left to vaccinate when sanity prevails?July 30

July 30th ~ Barton Hill Animal Centre in Hereford where pigs, sheep and goats live together

were faced with the frightening sight of police cars, 4 DEFRA cars and a trailor load of pens at the gate following an injunction being taken out against the owners today. The owners' solicitor said that they could take out a counter injunction - but that they might be labelled as paranoid for not trusting DEFRA. They now anxiously await results of the tests and remember Christine.TOP

July 30th ~ Dr North's latest update throws some light on what may be going on.

Why the NFU executive have turned their faces away from vaccination against all apparent reason, why Defra is being so draconian, why it is thought behind closed doors that the sheep on the hills must make way for forests ...and the strange case of the RSPB connection.. Read it here!

July 30th ~ The Guardian today: at a time when the realisation of the cost of FMD seems finally to have registered in high government places,

we find Peter Hetherington, Guardian regional affairs editor, repeating in two separate nearly identical articles, government claims of deliberate infection by farmers (on the same evidence as the Independent's yesterday), government claims of over-valuation of animals by farmers, fears expressed by government that foot and mouth "could cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds more than it should" because of cullusion of farmers and valuers, and government claims of lack of bio-security by farmers.

July 30th ~ e-mail from Nick in Cumbria: " As a result of Friday`s meeting in Penrith

....we have had hundreds of calls of congratulations as a catalogue of misery emanates from our farmers! many are now no longer NFU members and are appalled at how they have been "turned over". One piece of information received tonight from local farmer: "Senior Cumbrian NFU Hill farmer moved flock outside the 3km zone to avoid their contiguous slaughter"...Nick Green

July 29 ~An emailer writes this morning of an article in The Independent on Sunday by journalists called Robert Mendick, Geoffrey Lean, and Cole Moreton

"....write excitedly of "scams" revealed (by that paper). It's an article implying that farmers have been making a lot of money by colluding with valuers and buying infected animals in order to claim compensation. I think the outraged tone of this nasty little article itself colludes with the government's sinister attempts to divert "the taxpayer's" anger at the farmers away from itself. The slaughter policy has already cost the country billions, and farmers up and down the country have lost their livelihoods - and in some cases their lives. The paper's "evidence" is that one farmer has said she was "offered" an infected animal "last month". They mention a secret "tariff" used by Defra to pay farmers for the use of their own equipment. They quote Elliot Morley as saying: "We are not a soft touch. We will pay for what is reasonable, but we will make sure that it is tightly controlled." Well I suppose the only accurate thing there is that "soft" is certainly not a word you'd use of DEFRA...The taxpayers' money has been squandered all right -. I notice they don't mention that little family who lost everything last week - and who were charged £20,000 court costs - when they tried to save their pets... Why on earth isn't the Media shouting about this ..?"

July 28 ~ Well over 300 people attended last night's meeting at Penrith

to hear such speakers as Tom Lowther, Ruth Watkins and Dr Richard North. Feelings were running high. The representatives from Defra who had agreed to come, sent apologies.

July 28 ~ It is now expected that DEFRA will demand their £20.000 costs

from the Hodgson family who tried to save their family pets. Mr Hodgson is not employed at the moment and their son, who is bewildered at the loss of his animals, has learning difficulties.

July 27 ~ Christine and her family have lost their fight to save their pets.

They were told that there were antibodies in tests carried out on the goats. This convinced them to withdraw the legal challenge. The pig was negative - in spite of having lived happily with the other animals. All are now to be killed and Christine's disabled son is devastated - as I think we all are. It remains to be seen whether Defra will be claiming legal costs of £20,000 from the family.

July 27 ~ The open letter to Rhodri Morgan (cc Carwyn Jones)

from the Brecon Beacons National Parks Authority.

July 27 ~ The story in this morning's Farmers' Guardian - that the EU has a special "Stock Reduction Fund" -

confims what we have heard before This has been used to pay some farmers' compensation cheques. Its existence gives substance to the feelings of many informed people that there is a hidden agenda behind the enormity of the culling programme.

July 27 - The World is watching the fiasco in Britain "as it sleepwalks to disaster."

Emails received from the U.S are incredulous at what we are"doing to our national heritage."Example

July 26 ~ the MOD have offered the farmers (90) in total with grazing rights on MOD land at Warcop a package worth £6.7 million

to get them off the land. Warcop is near Appleby in Westmorland Cumbria. It is the MOD training grounds for weapons. It is surrounded by existing cases of FMD. There was a strong rumour that some of the carcases were going there to be either burnt or buried . The MOD want to increase their training facilities and take have wider access to land for longer periods for the testing of weapons and soldiers. All 90graziers were solidly opposed to this before the money offer - they have now all to a man accepted the offer. The case is still being heard and a decision is imminent. Money appears to be no problem for the government on this issue....If vaccination had been used to protect the animals on the Brecon Beacons it would have cost £2000 , approx 50p a shot. Compensation alone will cost £480,000 - the massive premium being offered for the hefted ewes being £120 per ewe. (See FMD group's latest press release)

July 26 Compassion in World Farming has added its voice to the outcry

this morning. Defra has replied with the assertion that their policies had succeeded in " bringing down the number of outbreaks from more than 40 a day to single figures." - which is extraordinary in the face of the work from so many experts now showing that the crisis point was reached without the policy of the then Maff making any difference whatsoever.(See here to read again the statements of Drs. Kitching, Donaldson and Professor Brown, Also Bob Michell of the RCVS Council) The Defra spokesperson also added that the disease was being spread by people and vehicles. Footpaths have opened all across the country at he government's insistence.

July 26 ~ The announcement that "positive results" found in some Brecon sheep are to put in motion the beginning of the massive cull of hill sheep in Wales

(and it is still not clear whether the tests were for antibodies or current infection) has been received with utter dejection amid growing disquiet about possible political motives behind the policy.
There is to be a demonstration at the National Assembly of Wales on Tuesday 31st July in favour of vaccination.

July 25 ~ Angry disbelief and despair among farmers is mounting as all cleaning and disinfecting work has been brought to a halt.

Now Defra spokesmen are saying that 'CandD' is something they were never required to pay for in the first place. Much is being made in government statements of the need to ensure "value for the taxpayers' money" and farmers are again coming in for criticism about "abuses" over compensation payments. Agriculture and Treasury ministers are now said to be examining the possibility of appointing their own valuers" to prevent abuse". (relevant emails)

July 24 ~ NFU Cymru's Bob Parry has spoken up in favour of traditional farming.

Margaret Beckett talks about foot-and-mouth disease presenting " the perfect opportunity to restructure the industry" and Lord Haskins about wanting larger farms - or,as Mr Parry puts it, sacrificing " the traditional family farm of Wales on the altar of the global marketplace". But Mr Parry fears the death of the traditional family farm, and land being abandoned or merged to create large "ranch-style" farms. "We believe that traditional farm units offer environmental, animal welfare, social and economic benefits to the countryside. "

July 24 ~ Richard North's article in the Mail "There are just too many serious questions that demand answers..."

July 23 ~ The leaking of a memo from the Government's joint co-ordination centre (Cobra)

has been followed by confirmation that Tony Blair, alarmed by the cost of disinfecting farms (anything up to £100,000 per farm) compared to similar work done in Europe, has called a halt to all work. "The Prime Minister has indicated that six-figure sums per farm are unacceptable."

July 23 ~ The Prince of Wales issues a stark warning about the imminent loss of the countryside.

One of the Prince's aides last night insisted he had never been "so emotionally driven" about a project. He makes particular mention of the hefted sheep in the Times article accompanying his warning and plea for rural regeneration

July 23 ~ A new so-called "biosecurity zone" is being created around Thirsk,

North Yorkshire,in an attempt to prevent the disease spreading southwards. Under the new rules, vehicles which visit the 2,700 farms within the zone will have to be licensed.
Defra licenses also - and the extraordinary delay in their issue - are giving rise to even greater suffering in the sheep population. Sheep are being "eaten alive" by maggots after shearing was delayed by yet another new licensing scheme, introduced on June 1 in an attempt to prevent the spread of FMD. "Defra won't let shearers from Scotland come to England and other shearers won't shear because they don't want to spread the infection...there is a great shortage of shearers, and by the time everyone has applied for licences, it will be another month." (see Papers July 23)

July 23 ~ There is now a memorial to killed animals on one of Skipton's byepass roundabouts.

July 22 ~ A note from Alan Beat on antibodies, a reassurance heard on July 8th from the CVO for Wales and hill sheep in the Brecon Beacons

- as thousands of sheep are penned up awaiting tests today.

The broadsheet Sunday Papers ignore the continuing slaughter

(as do the Defra statistics) The Observer runs a story which, in spite of the headline "Foot and mouth is 'not over' ", persists in referring to the crisis in the past tense.

July 22 ~ Booker's Notebook in today's Sunday Telegraph

by Christopher Booker

July 21 ~ Skipton slow-drive "30 cars, of assorted type ( and Hilary's Ambulance!) are now, as I speak, (11.15 a.m.) "slowly" heading towards Grassington

"Gateway to the Dales" passed signs "Beware of the animals", ("What b****y Animals!!").
With Jenny, (the lady with the parrot, and the first case of Beak and Claw disease in the country!! and still on a D notice!) at the fore with her loud hailer. Verdi's Requium, full blast, they have already driven twice around Skipton, sporting 120 black balloons and plastered with posters.

They received a wonderful reception from the shoppers and tourists.

UPDATE - Having "stopped" in Grassington, the convoy proceeded back to Skipton to find the road barricaded. Police in force.

So far one arrest. Press and TV cameras in attendance. Unable to get back to Skipton, they are now off to be a "presence" outside the Defra office in Gisburn. Comment on Burnside via email just received

July 21~ Christine's pets:

After much tense waiting, 2 DEFRA vets were persuaded to come on Friday and they carried out a retest under very strict supervision to ensure that everything was carried out correctly. Christine was hoping at last for a decent night's sleep. Everyone is convinced the animals are healthy. Now we wait.

July 20 ~ update on Christine's goats. In a bizarre twist today,

Defra had decided to kill the three goats it alleged were "sero-positive" after gaining an injunction for the slaughter.
An experienced vet commented," There is no logic to/in this at all - they should retest 'em all. How can they identify the supposedly seropositive animals .... the samples were not labelled with individual animals IDs.."
We now hear that the case will be back in court on Friday. DEFRA have finally decided to retest all 9 of Christine's goats this evening, both bloods and probang. No animals have yet been killed. Meanwhile the owner of the pets waits in suspense.

July 20 ~ From Today's Yorkshire Post: MPs set to launch farm virus inquiry

Tony Blair's bid to avoid a full public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis is set to fail as MPs prepare to order their own full-scale investigation.

July 20 ~ Diana Organ MP, who has been remarkable for her lack of enthusiasm

in supporting the desire of her own constituents to have their voices heard and to make contributions over the recent FMD horrors in the Forest of Dean, has been speaking on the Today Programme. She said rural affairs minister Alan Michael had indicated that an inquiry may be able to take public evidence.
Ms Organ believed " this would take account of a widespread desire among the public to have voices heard and make contributions. "
However, such a government inquiry, which "may be able" to take public evidence and which is also being loudly supported by the NFU, is not at all same thing as a proper public tribunal inquiry.

July 20 ~ Anger at the Defra video's insistence on "bio-security"released at exactly the same time as opening footpaths

expressed on BBC - But "the walking public are not spreading this disease" asserts Alan Michael, sounding a bit rattled on the Today programme this morning. "Yes of course it's been tragic..." he says.

July 20 ~ Today at DEFRA in London - an urgent circular

requesting offers of deployment to Leeds and posssibly York in case of disease spreading south from Thirsk

July 19 ~ email today..." ( In Crickhowell pub) ...

Group of well heeled vets discussing the Imperial College model in the posh hotel/pub, bewildered locals pointing out the disinfectant trucks, slaughterer vans etc to me in the little town pub. Earth moving machinery holding up traffic for miles on the narrow A40. The locals said the army rounded up the sheep on the Sugarloaf Mountain 2 days ago, didnt know what had happened to them. There didnt seem to be any pyres. Poor Powys. The life blood is being drained by organised brutality..."

July 19 ~ Christine's case is to be heard at the High Court today

See the background Christine has pet goats and 1 pig. She was bullied by a female TVI to have her pets destroyed after some tested positive. The blood tests done by a DEFRA Vet were not numbered, sealed - or any of the other guidelines adhered to. These animals have been in doors since last Sept, monitored daily, 4 kids all raised and perfectly healthy - these were not blood tested neither was the pig.

July 19 ~The first outbreak of foot-and-mouth in Greater Manchester

at Chadwick's farm in Wigan - was confirmed yesterday. Vets are "assessing" what to do about the adjoining farms This was hitherto a clean area. Meanwhile Councils across the country who were unhappy about re-opening footpaths are being forced by DEFRA to do so - except in areas already affected .

July 19 ~ The NFU executive has added its voice

to calls for "an inquiry now and that it is full, transparent carried out in the public glare and holds to account all those in positions of responsibility". However it appears to be a "Government inquiry" that the NFU are asking for rather than an independent one: the "public tribunal inquiry" that the government is so adamant that it wants to avoid. An open letter to Ben Gill has been sent to the website today by Professor Wheelock.

July 18th ~"Modulation" is newspeak for reducing direct income aids and transfering money into the rural development package.

Farmers are being told they should be "rewarded" for delivering "environmental and welfare benefits." At the somewhat baffling venue of an RSPB conference in London on Tuesday (17 July), Margaret Beckett and Renate K|nast (her German counterpart) said the time for fundamental change had come. Germany together with France would be pushing hard for compulsory modulation in next year's mid-term review, said Ms Künast.

Re-orienting the CAP towards rural development would also ease the process of EU enlargement, said Ms Künast.

July 18th ~ Tony Blair has ruled out a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis.

In his final Commons question time as Tory leader, William Hague pressed Mr Blair to hold a public inquiry into the outbreak. But Mr Blair said he did not accept it had to be a "public tribunal inquiry" and insisted eradicating the disease remained the "number one priority"...However, on this site alone we have to date 51 separate references to calls for an inquiry.
David Handley, of Farmers for Action, said the move was "total arrogance" from Mr Blair. "...We will take this to Europe if that's what's necessary"

July 18th ~.." they (the vets) ALL AGREED that they were 'unsure', did not know what the animals were suffering from

(in fact it seemed some of the cattle were starting to recover), but they had reported the case to Page Street (DEFRA headquarters) who had ordered a 'Slaughter on Suspicion'." a deeply worrying email from

July 18th ~ A new case of foot-and-mouth confirmed in Crickhowell as a cull of thousands of animals continues.

(See Alan Beat's comment on this news item and other matters )

July 18th ~ Christine's pets from Coleen:

"No change today in Christine's situation. DEFRA have not made any moves. Christine and her family are finding it all very stressful and the support she is receiving is helping her through."

July 17~ INGLETON'S animal champion Jean Dixon is in London today with at least 6500 signatures..

from shops and stalls in and around Craven or collected from visitors to Skipton Town Hall. London is to be treated to a go- slow when Mrs Dixon and as many friends as she can muster will drive their cars through the city's busy streets. They are meeting at the back of Horse Guards Parade,this is near St James Square at 10.00am. then meeting at Smith Square at3.00pm so that they can walk across to DEFRA and hand in the petition.

July 17~ Concern intensifies for Chrisine's pets (see July 15)

following the receipt of this email from her Tonight 16th July 9.20 pm Defra arrived to serve the papers saying they will be here in the morning to kill my goats and pig....Update this evening July 17...Jane at farmtalking has been in touch with Christine's solicitor and we can only hope that things proceed well.

July 17 ~ BBC Wales' showing of the "It shouldn't happen to a vet- FMD" programme

last night implied to the public that all is well. The excellent vet shown evidently knows what he is doing and doomed animals under his supervision die relatively painlessly. The kennel huntsmen (MAFF refused to use them at the beginning as they thought it might compromise the anti hunting bill ) are men who can be trusted to kill compassionately.

Not shown were the killers on quad bikes such as those seen at Skipton or Knowstone. Neither the legality nor the effectiveness of the contiguous cull were discussed. And sadly, the alternative - vaccination - was not mentioned at all.

July 17 ~ The Guardian publishes a story with the sub-heading "The culls continue as forgotten farmers complain about their cruel treatment"

July 16 ~ On the subject of Defra's obsession with farmers' bio-security,

this file has just been sent to the website by Christopher Booker - Muck Spreader Video ( Private Eye July 4th) His email concludes: "... what a weird catastrophe it all is, and far far from over"

July 16th ~ received from Nick Green in Cumbria

Got right in to Rosgill later where I sat on Tom Lowther's roof and surveyed a dying valley..

July 16 ~ From the front page of the Yorkshire Times

:Yorkshire vets in the frontline of the battle against foot and mouth last night launched a blistering attack on DEFRA over the way it has handled the crisis.

July 16th ~ Lord Haskins, chairman of Northern Foods and head of the Government's Better Regulation Task Force says that he wants to see bigger farms, half the number of farmers

and that the Prince of Wales and others"want farmers to stand around being subsidised and making thatched roofs. Well, that's for the birds" (We'd comment that it is for the birds, yes, that have so disastrously disappeared from our countryside. It's also for the lambs, cattle, pigs and goats that are in the middle of an unpublicised holocaust. It's for the traditional farming that has shaped our much-loved landscape. It's for food that tastes wholesome rather than mass produced pap for the masses. And it is for Britain rather than for Europe's expansionist ambitions.)

July 15th ~ received today..another distressing email about bullying and people having no idea that they have any rights at all

..Christine has pet goats and 1 pig. Yesterday she was bullied by a female TVI to have her animals destroyed after some tested positive. The blood tests done by a DEFRA Vet were not numbered, sealed - or any of the other guidelines adhered to. These animals have been in doors since last Sept, monitored daily, 4 kids all raised and perfectly healthy - these were not blood tested neither was the pig.

July 15 ~Christopher Booker's Diary Sunday Telegraph :Blood money

THE fact that foot and mouth is no longer regarded as news does not mean it has gone away.

From a well-placed source I learn that the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs now has 1,600 vets under contract (700 more than MPs were recently told by the Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett) and most contracts run to next May. The vets receive £260 a day, plus £22 meals allowance (even though they have free board and lodging, including breakfast and dinner) and a further £20 a day "stress allowance". This equates to £78,000 a year, which until five years ago was the salary of the prime minister. Meanwhile there is of course no "stress allowance" for the thousands of farming families who remain trapped on their farms by movement restrictions, without income, and whose plight is no longer considered "news".

July 15 ~The former head of foot and mouth policy research at Bradford University, Professor Verner Wheelock, is calling on the NFU to take a fresh look at the whole issue of vaccination

Prof Wheelock is angry over the slaughter of millions of animals and enormous damage to the farming and tourism industries. "It's probable that a vaccination policy would have been adopted months ago had it not been opposed by the NFU" (NFU)

July 15th ~ Defra are "denying" the rumour that plans have already been drawn up to shoot 3.5 million light lambs that are "surplus" because of the export ban

....there were three possible courses of action to deal with the lambs: a huge national cold storage operation; a commitment for the military to take the meat; or a mass slaughter and disposal programme. Meanwhile, half a leg of lamb can cost £11 in England. Alan Beat comments:The solution is very simple - stop importing lamb from New Zealand and presto! - we are just about self-sufficient in lamb, no surplus, no shortage, everyone happy, and NZ can send their exports direct to the EU countries that need them - can't they? Also we have noticed from selling all our lamb privately that many customers actually prefer lightweight lambs i.e. smaller joints BUT they cannot buy them in the shops because "there is no demand"!
In The Scotsman on Sunday, Clarissa Dickson Wright comments :" At a time when no-one in the market is buying lamb and with his Dumfriesshire estates decimated by foot and mouth, the Duke of Buccleuch is (as he did in the beef crisis) rallying his tenants and once again it is a happy story. London sales rose from 360 the first week to 1,600 carcasses by week three. Proof that faith and excellence and the right man in the right place can succeed in adversity. See Papers

July 14 ~ Mr Gerald Turton - CORRECTION and sincere apologies. It is with great relief that it can be reported that the Shorthorn herd belonging to Mr Gerald Turton are still alive

FMD was suspected in Gerald Turton's herd yesterday but has NOT been confirmed, so his herd of ancient bloodline cattle are at present under observation and the farm on a D notice.
One is still left wondering why vaccination is still being stubbornly resisted, however.

July 14 ~ FoodFen News UK's EU Pigmeat Imports up by 25%

.. a dramatic increase in pigmeat imports into the UK from other EU countries. Imports from Denmark were up 32%, and the imports from Germany were up 66%.
For further details visit the latest Strak Report at
British farmers are extemely worried about the huge surplus of unwanted cull sows. These used to be exported from Britain to Germany.

July 14 ~ Grocer Peter Collins, 51, has lost his case at Sutton Magistrates Court aimed at lifting a condition in line with European directives

on his licence compelling him to sell his goods in metric measurements. Costs of £13,000 were awarded to the council, which vowed to enforce payment. (

July 13 ~ The Newcastle Journal moves FMD concern to its front page.

It says that 300 people a day are signing its petition. The paper's petition demanding a hearing is printable here.

July 13 ~ received today: "DEFRA want to serve Article 38 on Forest of Dean to stop anyone restocking before April 2002,

as we can't disinfect forest. Graziers not happy! DEFRA not going to lift rest of FormD's - despite all clear and all results and report complete, until this is sorted. Very, very annoying to delay all our hard work at getting things clear as quick as possible by politics that should have been sorted before this situation arose -"

July 13 ~ The Cumberland News reports today that 1,400 prize sheep were culled recently in the Carlisle area when the results of a blood test were reported.

Antibodies were discovered in 2 x groups of the flock; one of 8 and one of 2. These antibody positive sheep were re-tested. Meanwhile the slaughter squad arrived and insisted that the farmer release the entire flock! All the sheep were killed. Blood results have now been returned ......... All are negative. The results had been "false positives" None of the sheep even had FMD antibodies let alone any current infection.   Farmer is quoted as saying "I was totally bewildered, and put up a fight, but they wore me down by saying it could spread to neighbouring farms and I gave in. Four days later I was told the results were negative. I just cried and cried and now I feel so guilty."
This incident is totally at variance with the guidelines for serological testing.Full Story in today's Cumberland News

July 13 ~ Quotation from the "front line" in Yorkshire:

"The entire rural economy and its future has been damaged and in some areas destroyed by this Government's mishandling of F&M - turning a challenge into a hideous crisis of massive proportions. Never in the modern history of the Western World has ANY Government so comprehensively attacked its own peoples, in peace time." See poster from the Charity "Mind"

July 13 Nick Green adds: I heard today from person responsible for repairing the many unserviceable Captive Bolt Guns.

Many are failing due to constant use. They are now using a technique not used for 40 years. It has a special name which I have forgotten, but was used on the very thick skulls of pigs. Basically a heavy mallett and sharp steel rod. .
This method of killing animals used to be known as "poleaxing".

July 12 The Guardian reports that DEFRA is blaming the Thirsk outbreak on farmers' lack of "bio-security" with the headline: "Careless farmers spreading disease"

The Guardian story is almost entirely about local accounts that allege Defra incompetence, extraordinary lack of "bio-security" and suggest the real likelihood that Defra officials themselves, albeit unwittingly, are helping to spread the disease.

July 12 Jim Walker (NFU Scotland) has spoken about the loss of markets for Scottish sheep

For months he has been saying that there are too many sheep in in the country, suggesting there would be "sheep driven down to Downing Street and to Holyrood" in order to push home the plight of an industry without a market. He says there are (in Scotland) a quarter of a million light-weight lambs with nowhere to go. These are normally exported to Spain but the export ban has killed that trade. Meanwhile in Yorkshire thousands of sheep are being disposed of as a result of the Government's contiguous cull policy.

July 11 ~ Situation around Thirsk and around Whitby "dire" and there is growing panic

DEFRA is warning farmers who resist the discredited contiguous cull that court costs will ruin them. There is, however, a growing contingency fund to help farmers at - and experience elsewhere suggests it is very unlikely that cases would get as far as the courts (See also the letter from the QC)

Government decides to cut welfare payments (LWDS) scheme and demand that farmers insure themselves against FMD in future

(see Papers)

Extraordinary Stance of NFU - apparent ignorance of vaccination information circulated by Maff to every farmer in April

Alan Beat questions newspaper article the journalist was"somewhat taken aback and could only agree"

July 10th Yesterday's Veterinary Record: " Substantial numbers of animals appear to have been killed which never were at risk. "

Professor Bob Michell, BVetMed BSc PhD DSc MRCVS Former President of the RCVS, Professor of Comparative Medicine at the University of London and member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Council
"There has to be a powerful independent inquiry into all aspects of FMD 2001; there is no reasonable alternative. Too many people, too many animals, have suffered both directly and indirectly; and the lessons have to be drawn with total objectivity:"... " even and especially at slaughter - the farmer and his family, in their ultimate despair, rely on the veterinary surgeon to safeguard the welfare of their animals in their last moments, however difficult that maybe"More extracts from Professor Michell's article

July 10th Important Vaccination Meeting tomorrow (July 11th)


It is very important that as many farmers as possible attend this debate.

July 9 ~Widespread killing continues in Yorkshire, particularly Whitby (see note for June 29)

- in spite of all the evidence that contiguous culling is a terrible mistake. Local "funeral processions" in Yorkshire/Lancashire. (in vehicles) have been taking the anti-cull message to Skipton, Clitheroe, Keighley. A national procession is now planned. National papers continue silent with a few noble exceptions such as the (Newcastle) Journal

July 9 ~The Government has today produced guidance for owners of rare breed pigs and camelids who wish (sic) to be exempt from foot and mouth disease contiguous or 3km culls.

Owing to an oversight, this news did not actually appear on the website until the afternoon.

July 9 ~ The bishop of Bath and Wells, Jim Thompson (listen here), has made a plea for the truth.

"I have rarely come across such distrust between a whole section of community and government....a major, major disaster for our whole society.." See Papers Unfortunately, the bishop confuses the NFU voice against vaccination with the "farming community"'s voices - many of which have been arguing for vaccination since the beginning...but have not been heard.

July 9 Alan Beat says today that he can confirm that the Thomas-Everards farm near Dulverton on Exmoor has remained free of disease,

.." in fact this farm was represented by solicitor Alayne Addy and as we mentioned last week, only one out of 150 clients resisting the contiguous cull has actually gone on to develop the disease - a powerful reminder, if any were needed, that the contiguous cull policy was totally wrong."

July 8 A glimmer of hope from the Brecon Beacons?

It does not appear that culling is planned if only antibodies are found.

July 8th The Independent on Sunday reports "Governments from across Europe are set to reject mass slaughter and instead endorse vaccinating livestock against foot and mouth"

European Union ....almost certain to reject the culling and burning policies pursued by the British Government." See vaccination story

July 8 ~ Two pet goats from Diss High school are threatened with death because of Defra "rules" in Norfolk, an area unaffected by FMD pet goats

July 7~ The Journal (Newcastle) has added its voice to the growing demand

across the country for a genuine inquiry into the handling of the FMD crisis.
The Journal (Newcastle)
Sheep whose bodies have developed antibodies - as was shown by Magnus Linklater in his Times article of June 15th - do not spread the disease; "the risk is negligible" say the real experts in FMD. The slaughtering of a prize-winning flock six weeks after the last case of the disease in the county took place in Northumberland yesterday and was as a result of a small number of sheep with antibodies being found. Anger and concern is growing. The Journal has printed six articles about this today.

July 6 ~ Following the "Upton v. Defra" case at the High Court (June 20) some important points have been noted

by the QC, Stephen Smith in a letter published here. The Upton reasoning may have application to cases involving: Infected premises, Dangerous Contact, Contiguous Premises, 3 km culls and Powers of entry
"...there is a very real doubt about the lawfulness of the Ministry's apparent wish to enter Mrs. Upton's premises against her wish to cull her animals, without a court order. "

July 5 ~ Horse and Hound publish the diary of a sickened slaughterman...

"It should be Blair and Brown doing this and getting splashed with brains and blood from little lambs".
It is to be hoped that many people will buy the magazine. The article may well make an enormous impact on those who can bear to read it.

July 5 ~ Bishopdale.

Angela and Peter Stephenson took on the might of MAFF/DEFRA and fought with courage and dignity but the cattle and sheep were slaughtered when symptoms of FMD seemed to be visible in the cows and the vet was called. The situation around Kettlewell is now critical with as many as 20 farms facing contiguous culling within the next 24 hours.

July 5 ~David King blames continuing outbreak on poor "bio-security" among farmers.

Meanwhile, during a debate at Westminster Hall, the Commons parallel chamber, Anne McIntosh (C, Vale of York) said there had been no cases of foot and mouth while the blanket footpath ban operated in Yorkshire - yet there had been 92 cases since some paths had been re-opened at the insistence of government.

Wednesday July 4th ~ NFU leaders still want to kill sheep with antibodies, and reject vaccination on the grounds that there are too many negatives....

PRELIMINARY results of blood tests for foot-and-mouth in 800 sheep grazing common land in the Brecon Beacons are negative. Carwyn Jones held a meeting with NFU farming leaders on Wednesday (4 July). It seems that the disease could have been present - but undetected - in the area for several weeks. The meeting agreed that if foot-and-mouth was found on common land, stock should be culled, rather than vaccinated as graziers proposed. (COMMENT on NFU stance over vaccination)

Tuesday July 3 ~ Message received from Bishopdale

(see below) " GOOD NEWS. Defra have backed off. No cull - instead a vet will come & monitor our stock. At last they have shown some common sense.
Thanks to you all for your support through these awful days."
Angela Stephenson.

July 3 ~ Channel 4 programme Dispatches tonight

will report on preliminary calculations carried out at Imperial College by a member of a team modelling the effects of the disease under Prof Roy Anderson. The study led by Dr Neil Ferguson underlines how the crisis was mishandled and the disease was allowed to get out of control by delays in implementing movement restrictions and in slaughtering affected herds.The programme presents an insider's view of a crucial meeting held on Mar 21, when it became clear that the ministry and Jim Scudamore, its Chief Veterinary Officer, had lost control. (summarised from review in the Telegraph)

Meeting in Builth Wells tonight, Tuesday July 3rd at 7.00 p.m

The Lion Hotel The vet Julian Heath will be attending. The meeting is aimed at Farmers to help them say NO to the contiguous cull. Contact Janet on 01588 620591

July 3 ~ £.75 million spent by Whitehall on a video to be sent to farmers

The campaign cost £750,000 and is to provide farmers with information and advice on how to prevent the virus infecting livestock.

July 3 ~ A single sheep has been culled by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

at a farm near Holsworthy after it tested positive for foot and mouth antibodies. The rest of the flock escaped slaughter after testing negative. The infected sheep showed the antibodies in two tests by DEFRA officials last week. (Western Morning News) This sheep had evidently not infected the others in spite of their close proximity. The case appears to support the view that sheep with antibodies are not a danger.

July 3 ~ Worried villagers living near the animal disposal site at Throckmorton

were told that the carcasses come only from "healthy" animals.... Story

July 3 ~ Result of the poll taken in the Western Morning News

Should there be a full public inquiry into the foot & mouth disaster?

YES 2242
NO 61

July 2 ~ At the Foot and Mouth Action Group's meeting in Wolverhampton yesteday (July 1)

a farmer from Skipton made a particularly moving speech. Explaining how his farm had been designated a contiguous case, he described how the ministry had bullied him into allowing his herd to be killed. The farmer thinks it's doubtful whether the original "Infected Premises" was infected with FMD at all. He had not known he had a right to oppose the cull - and broke down as he said so. He is now very anxious to help other farmers. He wants them to know that they have a right to stand up to MAFF/ DEFRA.

July 2 ~ Rumours continue to abound in Lincolnshire

about what may be about to happen which we report without comment...
1) Lorry loads of sleepers and timber brought into the country from abroad are being stockpiled near MARKET RASON
2) A trench has been dug at BOTTESFORD near SCUNTHORPE
3) A hotel in SKEGNESS made available for supposed Maff/Defra and Army use .

Sunday July 1st ~ farmers in the North York Moors

are anxiously awaiting the results of tests on a suspected case of foot and mouth at Lealholm, near Whitby. DEFRA confirmed that animals at Mill Lane Farm had been slaughtered under suspicion of having the disease.

July 1st - The Stephensons in Bishopdale (threatened cull, Wensleydale)

are safe so far. They heard nothing from Defra on Saturday.

July 1st - Wolverhampton Meeting at 2.30 p.m. at the Britannia Hotel.

Tony York's report

The speakers to include: Dr. Ruth Watkins (Virologist) on vaccination. Judith Bell (Burges Salmon Solicitors) on legal matters Linda Paine (Solicitor) and John Paine (Solicitor) on the 'Blackfordy Hall saga and 'How to win'
Media coverage expected.

July 1 - It appears that Margaret Beckett is refusing to meet Dr Ruth Watkins and other members of the national foot and mouth action group.

Saturday June 30 - farmers in Bishopdale, a small valley just off Wensleydale

resist the "contiguous cull" now wanted by Defra officials." We can't sleep and both of us feel physically ill. Thank you so much to everyone for your support... "

Friday June 29 ~ On a farm near Barbary Castle, a pretty area of the Wiltshire Downs near the Ridgeway, sheep with their lambs were "slaughtered on suspicion"

of having Foot and Mouth, ( a disease which all parties agree to be mild and certainly not fatal in sheep ) during the night of 28th June. The reaction of the farmer is not yet known. The Ridgeway is very popular with ramblers and walkers. See News Report

Friday June 29 - Vets from the Gisburn area are being re-located to Whitby.

No reported outbreaks there. However, the government did say their aim was to 'get ahead' of the disease.

June 29 - Mr Ben Gill will attend an NFU meeting in Penrith today.

We read that "This is a closed (private)meeting as Mr Gill doesn't want the bio-security breached by members of the public"

June 29 - No information yet on yesterday's meeting of the Cobra group

at which Mr Gareth Davies was invited to resubmit his paper on vaccination.

Thursday June 28 - received after (Wednesday 27th June) public meeting in Skipton -.." a lot of angry and frustrated people.

The 2 DEFRA officials unable to offer an adequate explanation for the contiguous cull. Most breathtaking, their claim that the huge number of negative blood tests on contiguously culled animals "shows we are ahead of the disease." So a measure of the success of the cull is how many of the dead animals were healthy, then?"

June 28 France calls for review of EU vaccine legislation Financial Times

A special committee set up by the French Senate called for a change in European legislation for livestock vaccines in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis that affected Britain and other countries in Europe.... The committee published on Tuesday a non-binding report refuting the arguments against vaccination...."If public authorities forbid vaccines, they will have to bear the consequences of this," Mr Arnaud said.

June 28 Brecon : 5500 animals dead already and many more to follow.

Abergavenny is full of Defra personnel and many lorries are outside Libanus. There has been a another "outbreak" with eleven farms affected. All this has been on the evidence of "clinical diagn osis" only.

June 28 Mr Scudamore is on holiday

June 27 Vaccination possibly back on the agenda.

Gareth Davies, the former veterinary epidemiologist at the European Commission has been invited back to the Cobra Meeting (no longer chaired by Mr Blair) to resubmit his paper on vaccination. See what happened last time...

June 27 ~ Farmers Weekly reports, "ANIMAL medicine companies are to meet in London to discuss whether vaccination should be used to fight future foot-and-mouth outbreaks. The Daily Telegraph reports that this follows pressure from the European Parliament to find an alternative to mass culling. "

June 27 A decision to re-open Northern Dartmoor has been postponed because of the discovery of antibodies in some sheep. If only the media could make a sensible distinction between FMD infection (bad news for the sheep and its friends) and FMD antibodies (good news for the sheep unless there is a culling team on hand.)
Article on BBC websiteDismay over Dartmoor delay

June 26 Tony Blair hands back the handling of the FMD crisis to the Ministry (DEFRA) The Prime Minister's official spokesman said Mr Blair was no longer chairing meetings of the COBRA group - the Cabinet's crisis response team, which was brought into action at the height of the foot and mouth crisis to coordinate the logistical response.

June 25 Margaret Beckett's meeting at Gisburn (Yorkshire Dales) on Monday June 25th.
"When are you going to stop this needless, hugely expensive Death Machine..."

Margaret Beckett "appeared to be listening" at least - to protestors outside the Auction Mart at Gisburn (Yorkshire Dales) today before her meeting with chosen farmers.

June 25 The Killing in Libanus today - mass cull apparently underway in spite of assurances given as late as June 18th at Builth Wells. Extraordinary lack of consistency in policy.

Revealed: the needless slaughter of 2m animals Top Government adviser speaks out on cull: 'Common sense totally suspended' : Ministers alerted to wrong policy in March By Robert Mendick and Geoffrey Lean 24 June 2001
Independent on Sunday

June 23 YORKSHIRE DALES 10.30 a.m. "I am moved to tears by the support. Here's a farmer with his collie waving at us from his empty field.."

The Gisburn - Skipton- Cracoe slow drive is under way (10.30 a.m.) with tremendous support. People at the side of the road are waving, many in tears. Sadly, I haven't passed a single sheep yet and only two fields of nearly 20 miles...there seem to be no sheep left in the Dales...The farmers are hooting their support..The police stopped us at the Skipton bye-pass but are friendly and waved us on... Mary, I just can't tell you how moved I am by all this. We are going on to Cracoe to the cull...God knows whether we'll be in time to stop it..."

(telephone message just received from Hilary P, taking part in the traffic "go slow" - a long line of slow-moving vehicles - between Gisburn, Skipton and Cracoe, a most beautiful place, threatened by the Defra killing teams this morning.) Further eye-witness account from Val S..."Customers came out of shops - people stood on the pavement clapping and cheering. "

June 22nd Protest Meeting at Skipton was so well attended

that it had to take place in the car park instead of in the Town Hall because that building can hold only 300 . There were many angry farmers who were trying to find hope for those not yet affected - even though they themselves have lost their animals. They had dreadful stories to tell - they want vaccination now not later - their arguments are very sound -they want an enquiry that is a genuine one. David Currie MP for Skipton attended - but Maff/Defra did not. David Randall and David Whipp were clear and very concerned. The press: Yorkshire TV, Sunday Times and local papers were there. Full report follows. See also new report on meeting at Builth Wells

June 22nd From the Yorkshire Post~ Disease slaughtermen getting up to £1,200 a week

...."SLAUGHTERMEN accused of inhumane culling of animals in the foot-and-mouth outbreak are earning up to £1,200 a week working in Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.
As rural businesses hover on the verge of bankruptcy, ..(these men) are paid £12.50 an hour and many have worked 95 to 105 hours in a week. The revelation shocked owners of small rural businesses, some of whom have seen income fall to virtually nothing.
Shop owner Norma Moore, of Grassington Chamber of Trade, said: "I had no idea how much these men were paid, it's dreadful. I don't know how they can sleep at night. In any disaster there is always somebody making a vast profit somewhere."

June 21st In spite of "Grunty" precedent set today, Jacob sheep - tested negative - are threatened with contiguous cull

...Tony and Catherine Ward at Bidbeare Farm, Bondleigh, North Tawton have a dozen Jacob sheep that have been blood tested with negative results - but the farm next door has been declared an Infected Premises following the return of test results as 80% positive..(presumably, this refers to antibodies, the body's means of resisting the disease)

June 21st Upton v Defra.."Grunty" and the sheep are to live

After a three day case, the Ministry's application for the injunction was refused today, and they were also refused permission to appeal. If DEFRA wants to pursue an appeal they must apply to the Court of Appeal. Rosemary Upton has been awarded costs against DEFRA. Alex Donaldson's article on airborne transmission in the Veterinary Record, 12 May, was taken into consideration. The judge decided that blood testing and monitoring was the proportionate course of action based on the facts of this case.

June 20th A large red "Snowie" (carcasse disposal) lorry was stopped by angry farmers

between Carleton to Elslack (North Yorkshire). Aware of recent reports of dirty lorries in the area allegedly spreading Foot and Mouth disease, they didn't want it spreading FMD in an area still currently free of infection. They barricaded the road with tractors and forced the driver to get out of his cab to explain why he was there. He told those gathered that he had been given this route by the Army as they didn't think he could turn round on the A59 without blocking the road. He went over a cattle grid and on roads with a weight restriction. The driver was " unpleasant and commented that he would make sure their area was next."

June 20th R.S.P.C.A. Head Office at Horsham are now investigating the botched massacre of cows and calves near Skipton (reported by Nick Green HERE)

We understand that there are four witnesses willing to appear in Court with photographic evidence.

June 19th BBC North West TV news reported a cull near Clitheroe, Forest of Bowland.

The farmer David Coupland said that he could not understand how his 229 cattle had caught F&M because he had kept them isolated throughout the outbreak. The only people to visit them had been ministry vets a fortnight ago...
Also featured a nursery that had been given a D notice because MAFF thought they had livestock on the premises. They hadn't - and still have the D notice.

Heart of Galloway holds its first meeting

June 19th It appears that Grunty, the rare New Zealand Kune Kune pig which starred in the film Pig at the Ritz

may not in fact have been destroyed - as had been reported in the Western Daily Press yesterday.

There is some confusion but latest reports suggest that DEFRA is seeking injunction to come onto Hill Farm at Stawley, near Wellington, Somerset, to slaughter the pig ("Grunty") and eleven Portland sheep. The owner, Mrs Upton is resisting the application and is represented by Burges Salmon instructing Stephen Smith QC. The case is to be heard on June 20th it seems. . The Articles in the Veterinary Record have been placed before the Court and will be discussed tomorrow. The public may attend the hearing, which will begin not before 2 pm. Information can be obtained from the main switchboard of the Royal Courts of Justice (020 7947 6000), refering to DEFRA against UPTON.

Family and friends pleaded for Grunty to be spared but a ministry spokesman said: "It is a dangerous contact owned by someone who has premises which are infected."

June 17th Slaughtermen (who are paid according to the numbers each kills) have been shooting animals from the back of quad bikes in open fields.

This has happened before and has been roundly condemned. The slaughter took place in Embsay, Linton and Threshfield (Yorkshire Dales near Skipton) - and was so horrific that the local parson was in tears.

June 16th A foot and mouth disease conference called "In Search of Truth" has been held in London.

The objectives were to agree and issue a call for an appropriate public inquiry into the outbreak, its handling by the Government and responses by different interest groups, an action plan to prepare material for such an enquiry, and the issuing of an interim statement drawn from the presentations and discussions held during the day.

June 15th On Any Questions (BBC) Mr Ben Gill of the NFU once again asserted that vaccination does not work.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post's article (June 13) on FMD in Venuzuela reported: ..."All animals at the ranch and at neighboring ranches will be vaccinated, Cipriano said. He also said a small outbreak in the southwestern state of Apure had been contained. Venezuela has been vaccinating animals nationwide since outbreaks occurred in Europe and elsewhere in South America... Farmers often slaughter animals to keep it from spreading, but Cipriano said no slaughter was being considered in the Tachira cases."

June 15th ~ The tiny village of Clayhanger near Tiverton, (Devon) has effectively been sealed off from the outside world.

White-suited officials were swarming over farms after animals were found "with lesions". FARM agent Tom Griffith-Jones was arrested at Helewood Farm, Clayhanger when - trying to save Commander Benson's 5 healthy alpacas - he led a policeman to talk to the farmer's solicitor on the phone. He was released on bail at 2.30 in the morning."I am mystified and outraged. All that I was trying to do was to ensure fair play."

Mr Griffith-Jones returned home to discover that his own suckler herd of pedigree Angus and Devon cattle were also due to be culled. MAFF HQ had agreed to quarantine the alpacas but Exeter District office wore down the elderly owner's resistance and slaughtered the animals. The latest alleged outbreaks are only five miles away from Exmoor.

June 14th~ Mr Roy Grindley and his family continue to hold out against the contiguous cull at Rainow in Macclesfield

caused by the killing on suspicion of Mr G Beard's animals at Billinge Head Farm. The tests on Mr Beard's stock have been returned as negative. It is now 14 days since the beginning of the stand made by the Grindley family - The stress the situation has caused the family is extreme.

This was not a selfish act of defiance. Mr Grindley has said all along that he would allow his animals to be killed if the test results on the Beard farm came back positive. There have been NO POSITIVE results from Rainow. And yet the Maff website has reported the Beard farm as CONFIRMED. How can a farm be a "confirmed case" if test results from Pirbright come back as negative? (Information that results from Rainow were negative obtained from Wednesday's Macclefield Express.)

Farming Today - 5:45am- 6am. - on the issue of whether this will be the last time we see slaughter used to control FMD.

June 14~ Government abandons use of Official Secrets Act to silence farmers

see story

Delegation of farmers and environmentalists to Downing Street June 13th

click here ~~News story BBC

June 12th Great concern for the Osmans of Chittlehampton Farm

Holocombe, Nr. Wembworthy. Their sheep were slaughtered on Sunday and they are fighting to save their dairy herd and their son's Aberdeen Angus cattle. Supporters there on Monday dissuaded MAFF from taking out these healthy cattle - Maff officials said they were going to get an injunction, but there were fears that they would stike early in the morning, as they've done so often before, to leave no time for an appeal.

UPDATE 20.45pm.

from Lisa Connolly.." I arrived at the Osmans to offer support at around 2.30 today. At 3.25pm Mr Osman came out to tell us that there was to be no cull. Nick Harvey MP had given him the good news. He said that there are still some loose ends to tie up, he'd asked that he have his own vet monitoring his animals and he wants it in writing that they are not going to cull. Happy day for Mr Osman."

June 9th Cumbrian sheep on high fells will be tested for foot-and-mouth and killed if the results are positive.

The Ministry reassured farmers it did not intend a mass cull earlier this week. A spokesman has now confirmed a new screen-testing programme is being developed to check fell sheep in Furness, Cumbria and Lancashire....Furness General Hospital virus specialist Dr Wendy Blundell fears it could lead to many thousands of animals being slaughtered.

June 8th A FARMER whose cattle and sheep were slaughtered after foot and mouth disease was confirmed suffered a second tragedy

yesterday when his son-in-law collapsed and died as he rounded up their moorland flock to be killed.The Yorkshire Post yesterday reports:

Last night former Mayor of Richmond and Methodist lay preacher John Richmond, whose family comes from the Dallowgill area, criticised MAFF for putting unnecessary strain on the farmers. "I can't understand how MAFF can justify sending out the farmer and his family on to a moor that covers thousands of acres to gather a few hundred sheep to be killed that haven't been in contact with infected animals.
"Even if they'd caught the disease they would probably have recovered in a few weeks' time. Putting farmers through this unnecessary stress is disgusting and now it has proved tragic.
"I know these families. They're the salt of the earth and they dont deserve this."

June 7th Black farce at Knowstone continues:

(from SW NFU bulletin) ..MAFF say they are taking legal advice as to their next steps in seeking to cull livestock on two holdings contiguous to the Willmetts' farm at Knowstone in North Devon where disease was belatedly confirmed over the week-end....The farmers concerned are asking that the cull be delayed until the results of blood tests on their stock are known, but MAFF have said that - in line with the contiguous culling policy - their sheep must be killed even regardless of the results of the blood tests. At the heart of the matter is the question of why a positive blood test for antibodies in just one of the sheep on the Willmetts' farm should have persuaded MAFF to declare a confirmed outbreak almost three weeks after the date of the blood test, and at least four weeks (according to MAFF) after the sheep would have been actively infected.

Bill Norman, chairman of Knowstone Parish Council said it was hard to express how angry people felt: "We've just had enough of the bullying and the awful things that have happened in the parish - animals shot and not dispatched properly."

June 6 Outrage in village of Knowstone

- legal action to be taken against Ministry.The protest underlines the anger felt by the people of Knowstone at the Ministry of Agriculture's attempts to cull apparently healthy animals. Now they are heading for the courts ....Yesterday (June 5th) Maff suffered further humiliation when a sheep which escaped from a farm at Knowstone before it could be slaughtered was hunted down and shot. It is believed the animal was loose in the area for more than 12 hours.

Ministry officials said the latest escape presented no threat to other animals because the cull was just a precautionary measure.

June 5th Maff denies that mass culls

are planned for after the election as William Hague warns. The Guardian asks, "What are we to make of these reports? At every stage of the foot and mouth crisis the people of the countryside have shown themselves to be right while the reassurances of politicians and bureaucrats have been wrong"


June 4th ~Town Close Farm raided at 5.45 a.m. by Maff and police

Inspector Woodley of the Bideford Constabulary, persuaded MAFF to withdraw yesterday evening. Mr. Wilmett won in the High Court during last week. MAFF and police turned up in such strength this morning at 5.45am, Mr Wilmett was overwhelmed and within four hours his healthy stock were slaughtered.

Important Update from Richard North ~ Research Director (European Parliament) EDD 4 June 2001 Six million more to die?

Mark Holdstock - BBC Farming Today programme  would very much like to talk to anyone involved with the present and proposed future activities of MAFF and other Government departments including the army - any field officer or vet etc seconded to MAFF who will talk to him off the record - he will keep any source fully confidential. Mark can be contacted direct on his e-mail as follows:-

From Sunday Mail June 3rd :

Read   By Zac Goldsmith Why I believe Labour plans to wipe out farmers like me

June 3rd   NFU plans to sue MAFF

Senior officials in the NFU have revealed they are preparing to sue the Ministry of Agriculture for damages in dozens of cases where unaffected livestock was unnecessarily slaughtered or killed by mistake. Martin Haworth, the union's director of policy, said it was "very likely" that the NFU would take action. "I think there will be a series of test cases and then possibly a series of class actions, depending on the results of the test cases," he said.
Independent on Sunday

Farmer:"I'm Proof of F&M Cover-Up"

a farmer from the Welshpool area, who has asked not to be named, said he had foot-and-mouth disease confirmed on his farm three weeks ago and yet he has still not appeared on the Maff list of confirmed cases. He claims to know of other farmers in the same situation. 'It is absolutely insane,' he said. 'As far as I'm concerned we had foot-and-mouth disease and yet we've not been included in the national statistics
icWales Western Mail

June 2nd

On 2nd June, Campaigners opposed to MAFFs slaughter policy met for a fundraising event in Tapeley Park, North Devon. Speech here

June 1

A special monitoring programme has been launched to protect human health against any risks posed by the mass slaughter of animals caught up in Britain's foot-and-mouth epidemic to involve all relevant government departments and agencies and would focus on the key issues of human health, air quality, water supplies and the food chain. .

May 31

Geoff Bateman, a senior official from the Environment Agency, said he was surprised that MAFF had allowed burials to continue for five weeks when its own guidelines called for incineration. He said that his staff were trying to identify the sites to make sure that they could not contaminate water supplies

May 30th A protest by 500 farmers is planned for today outside the MAFF local headquarters in Exeter

Farmers in Devon are considering legal action against the Government because MAFF is refusing to ease restrictions of movements for slaughter after a fire closed a meat plant at Torrington that was handling 1,000 animals a week.

News from may 28

May 27 James Whitaker urges revolt - Mirror

..."Should I go on? Just one more example. These same soldiers are apparently having to "finish off" cows allegedly shot and dispatched by slaughtermen. We are told: "Some are still crawling around, others clearly still alive but unable to move.
"We have to beat them to death with lorry spanners. If people really knew what was going on I'd think there'd be a revolution."
Rise up and revolt I say. Excuse me for a moment - I'm feeling ever so slightly sick. "

May 26 An anti contiguous cull presence in the centre of Bristol in which this leaflet is available

May 26

Maff officials are quoted (in The Telegraph) as saying that at least one in four of 5,850 farms culled as dangerous contacts was infected. This is a "significant" number, the ministry says. It appears to justify the scale of the cull in which three million animals have been slaughtered. "....(even if this is the case, three quarters of these were healthy animals - also quite a significant number) "Senior officials, who have spent two weeks checking the results, hope that they will correct a widespread impression among farmers and vets that the official total of infected cases is too low and that civil servants have been "leant on" to massage the figures during the election campaign." ( they hope in vain; this is an odd article to say the least; WHICH farms were infected? Powys still waiting for any of their 50 "confirmed" cases to be verified as positive. Cumbria in similar situation. )

May 25 - "Maff plans to slash National Herd"

Farmer's Weekly Interactive publishes story:...."Civil servants are considering plans to ensure that Britain's livestock industry, devastated by foot-and-mouth, is unable to return to pre-crisis levels." read more

New fears raised today

that carcass disposal has contaminated water supplies with CJD while milk from cows near disposal pyres may now contain harmful chemicals.

May 24 The Times publishes 8 page pull-out on the FMD crisis (See National News)

May 24 the situation at Beech Grove Farm, Knowstone.

This has been featured in the regional news and we even heard Anthony Gibson of the NFU voicing his qualified support for the Winslade's case to keep their cattle. However, Maff were eventually successful in gaining entry to the farm and have slaughtered the cattle.

May 23 Maff has decided not to pursue legal action

against the farmer in Powys (Mr Winston Lloyd) who has held out against the culling of his healthy stock.

Simon Jenkins writes today in The Times..

The obscenity of the policy is said to be irrelevant because of its success. Yet what other industry would be allowed to protect its profits by paying soldiers to kill piglets with spades and drown lambs in streams? What other industry could get civil servants to bury cattle alive or take potshots at cows from a 60ft range? What other industry can summon teams from Whitehall to roam the lanes of the Forest of Dean, as one frantic farmer telephoned me, like Nazi stormtroopers seeking healthy sheep to kill on the authority of a map reference? I told her pathetically to raise a barricade and call a lawyer. The 3km-cull has now been accepted by Imperial College, with desperate understatement, as over-draconian. ....

the Data Protection Act???

..from today's Telegraph report..."the ministry was not providing details of animals culled on individual farms. Local ministry officials have been ordered not to divulge these details because they would infringe the Data Protection Act. He said: "I cannot see in withholding this information on the total number of animals being slaughtered what personal information is being protected."...

May 22 Labour retract their accusation that broadcasters incited protestors on their campaign trail - think John Prescott -

May 22 Oaklands Farm bloodtest results come back negative

Sixteen new cases of foot-and-mouth in North Yorkshire:suggests a second wave. Channel Four reported May 22 from the area and examined claims that Maff have been massaging the figures.

New Information from (see links for address)


Grain Lorries for carcasses


May 16th

Dr Donaldson from Pirbright broke ranks to denounce contiguous cull on the Today programme. Anthony Gibson SW NFU agreed. Prof David King suave but unconvincing.

May 15th

MOSSBURN ~ Scottish Executive Statement

The case has been adjourned and the Mossburn animals will be blood tested.

Received May 15th

Sorry to put a dampener on the jubilation earlier with Tony's wonderful news (re pigs at Blackfordby Hall) but I think we may have a major crisis looming in N Yorks with these Settle cases.

I put a poster on the noticeboard in Settle tonight and one through the library letterbox. We saw one cull lorry wending its way through the town, heading towards Bradford. We then decided to visit the hotel where the army landrovers are neatly parked in the car park and my husband went inside on some pretext of asking for directions. Whilst he was speaking to the receptionist, a smartly suited gentleman (presumably the Manager) was speaking to his mother on the telephone. "It's going to be very bouyant for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Yes, mother, they are all staying here. I'm hearing some horrendous stories even that bleach has been poured down animals throats to make it look like they have FMD". My husband shot out of the hotel in disbelief as to what he had heard.

We then drove down the road to a pub where we knew the owner. The carpark was full of 4X4s and I immediately knew that there must be TVIs here. Well, my dear husband went in on another intelligence mission and found the bar full of "burly" male vets. The owner was quite apologetic for having them staying there - he was full. Nobody else in the bar but them too, no locals. Not all the TVIs are there - apparently there are more elsewhere. The vehicle registrations were from Leeds,W Yorks, Hexham, Northampton, Birmingham and Peterborough.

They had killed 3,500 sheep at Close Farm( ? ) today, which is behind his pub.The farmer stayed to oversee it and was in tears as the last one was destroyed. There was nothing wrong with them.Apparently 400 cattle will be slaughtered tomorrow but we are not sure where. The carcasses are being taken to a rendering plant in Bradford, some are going for rendering in Widnes and the others are going to Catterick (the incineration plant).

We will keep an eye on things locally but there seems to be something very serious brewing here.

Received May 13th by Jonathan Miller (the journalist - see newspaper section)

"I must thank you for keeping our plight in the public domain. The killing is continuing with the borders and

it would appear that they intend to kill all the sheep and goats from the border to a line from Berwick on Tweed to the Soloway. This will be a firebreak so Scotland can start exporting meat again.

It appears that unknown to us the govt applied to the EU for some type of law change for the Borders, Cumbria and Devon that allows them to kill whatever they want. This was agreed and none of us had any idea this was happening. In the Borders the whole operation is being run by Maff's Charles Milne, who has already had many complaints lodged against his arrogant and high handed manner. He also has some of the the most horrific stories of this whole episode attributed to him and his killer vets.Three of these are, Katrina Richie the vet from hell ( read J gouriet the killing fields ), Victoria Cleghorn, assaulted Mrs Hoffe's 70 year old mother when trying to break into there house to kill 5 sheep, Erica Murray the vet trying to cull the Mossburn animal sanctuary at 6am in the morning, and lets not forget Misty the goat, the list is endless. When you speak to the vets on the ground at Dumfries their excuses for this killing of healthy animals is totally unscientific and carries no credability at all.

Our main concern has to be Anne Young in Cumbria. She has been in isolation with her 200 rare breed Merino sheep and 100 alpacas . She has been fighting under the 1981 animal health act , and so far , because of her bio security (second only to the Duke of Westminsters) she has avoided the cull. But now we have found out that they have every right to kill these animals she may have a big problem. Because the way Maff are they just could be planning a dawn raid to take her animals out. These animals have been housed since November and have had no contact with anyone at all, apart from Anne. It is imperative that all these animals are kept alive. You can contact Anne on 01768 870191, 07939 228750."

From May 13

Maff in the Forest of Dean are now blood testing all on A notices instead of culling first and testing afterwards

the news is not permeating to other Maff groups - or anywhere much at all.

Becks Farm - Earlier this week Becks Farm was culled of 1100 healthy breeding ewes

in spite of the fact that the nearby farm Murthorn had its suspected FMD livestock culled almost 10 WEEKS before. See Magnus Linklater's article in The Times, May 10 ( and also letter from Earl of Dalkeith Please read

Will this Early Day Motion ever see the light of early day?


Mr Tony Banks Tom Cox Mr Mike Hancock John Robertson Mr Gerry Steinberg Norman Godman John Cummings Jeremy Corbyn Bill Etherington AnnCryer 10 signatures so far

That this House acknowledges the appallingly difficult problems posed by the continuing outbreak of foot and mouth disease; looks forward to a full Government inquiry into the causes of the disease with consequential prosecutions of those responsible; congratulates the Minister of Agriculture on his dignified stance throughout these distressing times; and

asks him to call an end to the semi-demented policy pursued by his Department's officials of slaughtering healthy farm and pet animals, the extermination of which creates extreme distress to their owners and owes little or nothing to an appreciation of nature or science.

extract from Sunday Times (Maff 'masks' true foot and mouth tally by Jon Ungoed-Thomas ) today.."

P> Too late for many in England and not applying to Scotland.... came this announcement

Slow-drive June 23 Joined the slow drive just outside Cracoe - at the cull - sheep already dead when we got there (Tony - the troubleshooter, Julia and I had been to the meeting on Friday night) The 'convoy' appeared and it was a lovely sight to see. Everyone stopped at the cull to watch the Maffia and then we left for Cracoe - now with a police escort. Stopped at the pub - unfortunately closed - and then left to slow drive to Grassington. Police wanted us to stop at the car park in the middle of the village. The first two cars followed the Police in and the rest of us - helped by Tony on his motorbike - took off down the back lane and came out at the top of the Village. We slowly drove down the main street - hooting our horns and waving at everyone. Customers came out of shops - people stood on the pavement clapping and cheering. Stopped for ice cream from a street vendor -but by now the Police has found us.

Off again to meet up with the rest - leaving Grassington in a state of shock. Tony and Julia had to get back home and I had left my car in Skipton. So a fast run to Skipton.. said goodbye to them and then a fast drive back to join the convoy. Unfortunately, the MAFFia were still at the farm and were killing the calves on our return. I cannot put into words here how I felt........

Our slow drive back into Skipton was uneventful......although the traffic was trailing miles and miles behind us.......once in Skipton we drove up the main street - very busy it was market day......round the war memorial and back again to the roundabout. People lined the street shouting and waving.....a huge crowd outside of the Town Hall - mainly tourist I think, watching with their mouths open.....,brilliant. Then we blocked the road, switched off our engines - lifted the bonnet (overheating...of course) and sat there. Some of the boys 'popped' into the Red Lion - thanks for the drink Bob (Mail on Sunday reporter)....and Simon 'our leader' did an interview for the TV. Police by now getting a bit nervous so off we went again - up and down the main street - hooting...waving and smiling at so many fantastic people who were waving back.

It was then decided to finish our day with a drink in the Hanover International Hotel - the MAFFia's temporary home from home - very nice - leisure club, gym etc.,think you all should know it is very plush and you are paying for it in your taxes. Car park full of army jeeps so we knew they were home. We all marched to the bar for a drink but no MAFFia in sight....must have been resting after a hard morning killing little lambs and calves.

What a WONDERFUL group of people you all culled out wives still dreadfully upset at losing their animals....towns folk supporting the farmers every inch of the are all fantastic.

By the lady there is very worried...she has received a D notice and has decided to resist....she has hidden her pet in the bathroom.....IT'S A PARROT CALLED SAMMY. Could he be the only PARROT in Britain with a D notice.

Love and best wishes to everyone on the 'convoy'......well done.... what a great day for Yorkshire and I am so proud to know you all.


Hilary's phone call

"She spoke to us before going into the meeting and made a good show of listening. Jennifer read a short speech about the total devastation around Barnoldswick and this area, and about vaccination, explaining how the entire farming community of Bolton by Bowland, for example, had been wiped out by the culling of uninfected animals. Individual farmers spoke up too and told her how angry or upset they felt about the policy.
Although there was a huge police and army presence they were doing their best to appear friendly - a good "show of democracy"... I was able to put Ruth Watkins' summary about why we should now vaccinate into her hand. At the press conference there will be another question about vaccination and how blood testing in the Forest of Dean was amicably agreed - saving at least twenty threatened farms...." (Hilary on the phone June 25th)


..slaughtered on clinical diagnosis

"Cattle were slaughtered on clinical diagnosis on Friday/Saturday at LIBANUS. (Brecon, Powys) Six contiguous farms are being slaughtered today (Sunday 24th). All roads closed in the area and the army out in force. So much for no mass cull in Powys! " Animals are being killed on "contiguous premises" without bloodtesting having been carried out on the so-called infected premises...."We are contiguous to a farm which was slaughtered on clinical diagnosis only at the end of April in Powys. The local policy then was to wait for results of the blood testing before deciding whether to slaughter the contiguous premises. What's going on at Libanus!
The same policy should apply." (received today) N.B. There are NO records available of a single positive result of bloodtesting in Powys from the 58 "confirmed" cases on the Maff/Defra website. TOP

Gareth Davies proposals rejected - From Magnus Linklater's article on June 15th

"The Government's emergency committee, known as Cobra, this week heard, and rejected, a proposal from Gareth Davies, the former veterinary epidemiologist at the European Commission, that vaccination should be used.

The usual arguments prevailed - that the farmers did not want it, there were no staff to administer the vaccines and, more shockingly, that there were no vaccines available because the batch had expired. These excuses are not only threadbare, they are scandalous.

As Mr Davies told The Times: "I asked what would happen if we didn't vaccinate and what were the chances of this cluster blowing up really big. There was a deathly silence."

Silence also surrounds the issue of sheep found to be carrying antibodies.

So intent is the department on demonstrating to Europe that the British flock will eventually be FMD-free that those animals found to have had the disease and recovered will also be slaughtered.

The latest research from virologists, however, suggests that the risk of infection from these animals is negligible.


Alan Beat reports.. (July 8)" The outbreak there was noticed when a cow died(!) and was found to have been infected - for some time. In the resulting inspections another cow was found with symptoms. When the contiguous flocks were tested, evidence of high level post viral antibodies were found (in one flock, 67samples were taken from a flock of about 100 and 65 returned positive). Two of the contiguous flocks of 1000 sheep each, had already been sent up to the Beacons.

On Thursday,(July 4th) Tony Edwards, the Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales reported to a meeting at Brecon that tests on the hefted sheep had revealed antibodies but no virus - so the situation was all right.

They are testing all flocks, identifying sheep with antibodies and the level of antibodies. If they find more than a certain level, they plan to carry out live virus tests. They plan to round up the hefts for shearing, blood test them, individually identify them and hold them pending results.

It does not appear that culling is planned if only antibodies are found."

(This was from an email received from Lawrence Wright.)


Cumberland NewsFrom Cumberland News July 13


FARMER Ron Wilson saw his sheep slaughtered because of foot and mouth - only to find out later that the animals were disease-free. He was devastated after hearing the news that eight of his prized Swaledale sheep had tested positive.

But four days after his flock of 1,400 sheep had been culled on his two farms near Greenhead, Mr Wilson was told extensive blood tests had come back negative.

The discovery was made when Government vets carried out blood testing on animals on Mr Wilson's two farms as part of the first step towards "rolling back" the edges of the infected area, which currently covers Cumbria, the Borders and the edge of Lancashire and Northumberland.

It had been six weeks since the last outbreak in the area and farmers feared their stock could be at risk.

There have been incidents in Cumbria, Wales and North Yorkshire where the disease has been dormant for weeks before breaking out again.

Only eight sheep had tested positive at Mr Wilson's High and Low Tipalt Farms, but it meant that further blood, gut and saliva tests had to be carried out on these animals.

He said: "They were separated from the rest and the vets spent the best part of a day doing tests. They came back the next day and said the whole flock would be slaughtered.

"I was totally bewildered, and put up a fight, but they wore me down by saying it could spread to neighbouring farms and I gave in. Four days later I was told the results were negative. I just cried and cried and now I feel so guilty."

Mr Wilson had no reason to suspect that his stock could have foot and mouth, although he had feared for his farm when Cawfields Farm, only two miles away, was confirmed with the disease in March.

None of his land was contiguous to Cawfields, his sheep were housed as soon as he heard about the case and they had been housed throughout the lambing season.

The animals had been tested in separate groups, with one out of a set of 14 and seven out of a group of 194 showing positive. Most of the rest of his stock had previously tested negative and only 15 per cent had not been tested at all.

Mr Wilson said: "This was a huge blow to us. We believed this year we had the strongest, healthiest set of lambs ever. We also had no problems of ill-health in our sheep during the lambing season and vets who have checked our animals previously said they appeared to be in perfect condition."

A Defra spokesman said their policy is to re-test when blood tests taken during the "roll-back" come back positive.

"If you have one sheep in a group that has tested positive we re-test and, if it still remains positive, we take out that one sheep only. If you have two sheep in a group that test positive we would slaughter all that particular group. We would not take out all the animals, but would continue to monitor them over a period of time."

Mr Wilson said: "So why did they take all my animals? Only the eight showed up with antibodies. They didn't have the virus. All my Blue-faced Leicester sheep were negative. My wife, Frances, and I are gutted."

The Wilsons' two farms have been served with an 'A' notice and will be disinfected, but have been told they are a Contiguous Dangerous Contact.

"This is a new one to me. None of my fields was near an infected case. It's made me very angry indeed," said Mr Wilson.

Tests carried out on animals on farms in the Longtown area have so far proved negative.

Defra say they have tested between 500 and 700 samples from farms that have not had animals culled and those farms who gave up animals in the voluntary cull scheme


July 15th - email from Coleen

Sad, that almost six months into FMD and millions of healthy animals destroyed that there are still people out there who do NOT know their rights.

Christine has pet goats and 1 pig. Yesterday she was bullied by a female TVI to have her animals destroyed after some tested positive. The blood tests done by a DEFRA Vet were not numbered, sealed - or any of the other guidelines adhered to. These animals have been in doors since last Sept, monitored daily, 4 kids all raised and perfectly healthy - these were not blood tested neither was the pig.

Their own Vet who is also our Vet and the one who did our blood tests told Chrisitine to ring us - (there are some good guys - and thank God for them)! After speaking to her we rang Jane and the ball was set rolling. At 12.30 last night the final message to Christine the owner was are your exits barricaded, NO was the answer - then go and do it. She did not understand how these people can operate.

Duncan has gone round to sit outside the property as when Christine spoke to the TVI this morning and told them what Burgess and Salmon had said the TVI refused to comment as to what she was going to do. She had intially said that Christines 4 hours appeal time was well and truly up!!

These people have a son with learning difficulties who has had to be sent away to spare him this - he understands that something is happening and is not happy!

We have managed to raise a few other people to go and give them support. We will keep you posted - but hopefully they will get a retest and their own Vet has said he will do it.

Update Sunday afternoon (15th July) Update on Christine's goats. Our vet has faxed an appeal to DEFRA (with guidance from Burges Salmon) and DEFRA have been in touch with him to say that as the testing procedures were not strictly followed they would be followed correctly next time. We presume this means that the first tests will be repeated. DEFRA have not confirmed this to Christine - still waiting for a call. We intend to ask that our vet will conduct the tests. Christine and her husband seem much more confident now they know their rights and have some support. So things are OK so far.
Next update received Sunday evening:
Defra refused a second blood test and have said 'see you in court'. Christine is well represented thanks to Jane, and Burges and Salmon. Emotionally she is up and down like a see-saw (as you can understand). We are hoping that Border TV are going round first thing tomorrow morning - they have said they will.

DEFRA are trying to make her believe that her some of her goats have tested positive for antibodies - although the pig which is housed with one of the goats is healthy and merrily chomping away as are all the goats. As the family go backwards and forwards feeding pig and goats the whole thing is ludicrous.


Christine's email July 16 late

Tonight 16th July 9.20 pm Defra arrived to serve the papers saying they will be here in the morning to kill my goats and pig. I have contacted Simon from Burgess and Salmon He spoke to Defra on the phone and said that we weren't going to act tonight but we have until tomorrow 11 am. This he told the Defra on the phone,so all my Army will start to arrive at 6am. As you do I have thought of all kinds to strengthen my case and have wrote them down and will be speaking to Simon at 6 am. Please just pray we get through this and at the end still have the goats and pig. Many Thanks to all Christine


July 16th" Got right in to Rosgill later where I sat on Tom Lowthers roof and surveyed a dying valley!

All to go apparently according to a Snowie labourer! Here all week! Thousands of animals all for sod all! Also Irish vet not de-toxing properly! Told him to go back and re-think! He did! Twice! First time he had mud on his wheel arches! Tried to ridicule me until I asked him if he had seen the Vets Comic, May 2001 in particular Alex Donaldsons report! What did he think? Obviously the policy he was instigating was obviously flawed! Wasn`t it? He became agitated and then balled " Well you lot voted Blair in! He`s the wanker who instigates this crap policy!" Well not me actually! But I know what you mean!

So there, an Irish TVI even thinks Blairs policy is crap! However, he will be back tomorrow to earn his #78,000 per annum!"



New measures by DEFRA

Each county will be given its own foot and mouth health status under a shake-up planned by DEFRA. Existing terms such as "At Risk Areas" and "Provisionally Free Areas" will disappear and counties will be labelled "Free" or "At Risk" or "Infected".

To be considered free of foot and mouth, a county must have had no outbreaks for 30 days and any protection and surveillance zones must have been given a clean bill of health following serology testing.

Others changes planned by government include a clampdown on biosecurity in a bid to prevent the kind of lateral spread currently in evidence in the Thirsk area. DEFRA have made it clear that biosecurity is top of their agenda.

Surveillance of livestock lorries is being increased and a warning has gone up on the DEFRA web site warning that anyone who is caught deliberately infecting animals with foot and mouth faces prosecution and possible imprisonment.

In addition to pressing the Crown Prosecution Service to bring criminal charges DEFRA would likely bring civil cases to recover any compensation already paid.

"Substantive allegations of illegal activity of this sort will be fully investigated and individuals may be prosecuted in cases where there is evidence of deliberate infection. Anyone with evidence of such activity should contact their local animal health office," say DEFRA in a statement.

Under new biosecurity arrangements failure to maintain proper biosecurity during licensed movements may result in future licence applications being refused.

This sanction has already been introduced for slaughter licences and will now be extended to cover movement licences.

Movement of stock in protection zones surrounding a new outbreak. As reported on this page last week, within a 3km protection zone, no movement licences will be granted for 15 days following the initial cleaning and disinfecting of the infected premises. For the next 15 days, stock will be allowed to move to slaughter, but only within the same infected area. Subsequently, normal arrangements will apply.

Movement of stock in surveillance zones surrounding a new outbreak. As reported on this page last week, within a surveillance zone (between 3km and 10km of an outbreak) animals will be allowed to move to slaughter only within the same infected area for a period of 30 days after the initial cleaning and disinfecting has been completed. Subsequently, normal arrangements will apply.

DEFRA vets say these movement conditions will also apply to granting of licences for welfare scheme movements. This implies (as reported on this page last week) that slaughter will have to take place on farm where an animal cannot be moved to an abattoir.

Serology. DEFRA now have capacity to carry out 100,000 blood tests a week and more capacity is due on stream soon. They are on schedule to finish clearing existing protection zones by the middle of next month, and existing surveillance zones by mid-October.

Costs of veterinary inspection and vehicle cleaning and disinfecting. NFU won a significant victory in persuading DEFRA to pay for the veterinary inspection of animals moving to slaughter outside an Infected Area. The government are determined this will not create a precedent. However, they have agreed to examine ways of lightening the inspection regime - perhaps by making a veterinary inspection for the long distance movement scheme cover a period of time, instead of requiring a new inspection for each movement.

Following representations from the NFU and others, DEFRA and the MLC are also examining the potential to have more cleaning and disinfecting work undertaken at abattoirs, eliminating the need for additional journeys to separate centres.

Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme. Expected changes the scheme have still not been released. NFU have argued strenuously that no changes should be announced until government are able to provide a balanced package of proposals dealing with the acute marketing and farm management problems that will arise this autumn.

Currently there is a belief among farming industry negotiators that government may be in the process of drawing up a raft of new measures, to be announced this autumn.

The proximity of Lincolnshire to the current Thirsk hotspot was driven home today as DEFRA started checking hotel and guesthouse accommodation in the county.


The Burnside Housing Estate Killing

On receipt of verbal information an injunction to stop the cull was on its way - Maff/Defra immediately redoubled its efforts to get to these healthy animals and kill them as fast as possible (they had to build a bridge to access them as the main access was blocked by demonstrators}.

As these animals were all healthy animals (another calf being born overnight) why was there such urgency to kill them?

What are we fighting? Spread of disease or mass killing on a holocaust scale? Who or what is behind this death orgy? Why is vaccination always blocked?Why is expert opinion in favour of vaccination brushed aside and ignored?

Why is the heart and backbone of Britain being systematically ripped out piece by piece?


email from Pat July 26

There can be only two reasons why we are not vaccinating

1. This is not a naturally occuring foot and mouth virus and therefore possibly is indestructable and vaccination is unavailable or useless. Possibly the virus has been engineered to remain dormant for months - years and then manifest itself again.

2. The Government has a hidden agenda to wipe out farmers and their livestock - theories of which already abound.

DEFRA are putting pressure on farmers to restock - why? unless it is to see whether or not they have been successful in clearing the virus out with the burning, destruction and removing of topsoil etc.

Ben Gill knows what is out there, his underlings do not - at least the Regional Director from whom I have had a visit appeared to doubt all the theories on the table - he believes that the NFU have made things better than they otherwise would have been! - heaven help us all. We have cancelled all insurances with NFU Mutual as a small protest. Apparently profits from the Insurance are what fund the grass roots members . By the time the combined efforts of the Government and the NFU have finished there will be no grass roots members left!

We have supported all cries for vaccination - but we think that No.1. is the most likely scenario - are we alone? Pat Rickett