"I was living in Exeter in Devon during the foot and mouth crisis. I thought you may be interested to know:
You may think that I couldn't have completed the training and that surely the government wouldn't send me out so unprepared to vaccinate a herd of cows with another 'trainee' - but I was informed that I had passed the training and was now an 'official' being paid £40 a day to be on 'standby'.
I was paid £600 to stand in a barn for 3 hours, learning how to inject a cow with the vaccination and pierce the ear with a tag.
The money I received was hourly pay of £20 or so plus £40 a day to be on 'standby' in case the government decided to innoculate.
The training involved stabbing and orange with a needle and using the 'tag piercer' on a piece of carpet. I have never worked with cows and have no idea how to control them - however this didn't seem to worry any officials.
We spent most of the time learning how to disinfect, fill in forms and follow protocol - we never met one cow.
After watching a video about foot and mouth disease, I had a few questions as to why the animals needed to be put down - seeing as the infection lasts approx 5 days - and why the government weren't sure about using innoculations - but I was given no answers.
During this time my boyfriend and I became very uncertain that we could handle the job as we would probably be sent out together as we shared a car, neither of us have worked with cows before.
After approx 2 weeks we were told that the government wasn't going to vaccinate after all and that thousands of people who spent 3 hours in a barn stabbing oranges would soon be receiving fat paychecks.
Good on the government!
Just to let you know - my boyfriend and I used the money to move out of the country to the south of Spain where we now hope to build a self sufficient straw and cob home.