Back to warmwell.com website


Dear Mary,
 
Nick has just returned from the DEFRA AH Office in Truro,  Cornwall,   where he was asked by the BBC to comment on "Operation Hornbeam."  
 
(From warmwell - Tuesday June 29 2004)  It would be reassuring to think that members of the press who accept DEFRA's invitation to attend the Exercise are to be briefed clearly and correctly on all the issues surrounding vaccination - and that they ask pertinent questions about why it was not used in 2001: why it is not to be used as a matter of course but rather "considered" and for exactly what economic or political reasons it may be rejected yet again in the future when the technology- both rapid diagnosis and vaccination fit for any of the seven strains of the virus - exists to stop an outbreak in its tracks without any need for extended slaughter.
 
 
And pigs might fly !
 
In the real world,  the BBC film crew was thrown out of the DEFRA building in Truro by the DVM Jan Kelly. 
 
Then the "Operations Manager"  Ray Anderson,  the senior vet who oversaw the killing fields of Cumbria,  came out to do a short interview for the local BBC TV news,  in which he was directly asked about vaccination in a future outbreak. 
His reply was that it was not a decision which would be made locally,  but one which would be made by the Chief Veterinary Officer.  At the present time,  according to Mr Anderson,,  there is not enough vaccine in the UK,  and there are not enough qualified people to vaccinate the animals.
He said that it would have to be accessed on a National basis as to where and when vaccination would be used.
 
 
According to the BBC journalist before he was told to leave,  in the 'control room' inside the Truro AH buildings,   all that was being done by the 50 to 60 civil servants and vets was identifying farms on computer maps and using the computers to ascertain the stock numbers on those farms.   The maps had the words " 3 kilometre zone "  printed on them.
 
..............a horrifying glimpse into another mass culling by post-code.
 
 
Nick did manage to get past Mr Anderson's minder ( no kidding ! ),  to talk to him,  although DEFRA would not allow the conversation to be filmed. 
Nick asked him why MAFF's FMD policy to control an animal health disease had resulted in the deaths of sixty farmers.  Mr Anderson was totally taken aback by the question,   but he apologised and said he was deeply sorry for the way in which we were treated during the FMD outbreak.
 
 
If anyone else would like to write or email him,  maybe they too can elicit an apology from a senior vet  who is personally responsible for the slaughter of millions of healthy animals.
 
But it does strike me as a tad bit of a hollow apology,  when he returned to the Defra buildings to plan how to repeat all the mistakes of the past,  but this time more efficiently !
 
 
Best wishes,
 
Didi