The piece by Alan Beat mentioning the report from Canada struck a loud chord with me (click here)

Our farm did not get FMD despite being on a Form D for many, many months during 2001. We allowed a Defra vet on twice and each time we took her around in our landrover (which had not been off the farm since the outbreak). We allowed her to look at the sheep and cows through the window only. All the other myriad of inspections/blood tests we suffered were conducted by our own vet. He had not been exposed to anything like the level of infection of the Defra vets if at all.

The interesting point to my story is that on the 4th March 2002 we were contacted by an official who told us he was undertaking a survey of farmers on behalf of the Royal Society for use in their enquiry. The survey sought to ascertain why some farms contracted FMD and others didn't. I told him on the 'phone it was because we did not allow Defra vets onto our premises who in our view were carrying the disease around with them. He was taken aback and denied this could be the case. He said that he had been a TVI working for Defra. I immediately became alarmed - how could this "independent" survey still carry credence if it was to be carried out by the very people at the centre of the scandal?

He tried to support his point of view by citing an example from his experience. A farmer in the Longtown area had been strongly persuaded to get rid of his sheep under the 'voluntary' cull. 3 weeks later he put his cows onto the field where the sheep had been and the cows contracted FMD. He sought to persuade me that the virus had been latent in the sheep. I said that my interpretation was that his farm had been clean until Defra's people came onto it to take the sheep away in livestock wagons for slaughter.

Who knows where the Defra personnel and their wagons had come from?

The official was outraged and said "You have a very blinkered attitude"!!!!!!!!!! He then promptly, without any other warning, hung up. We did not hear from the Royal Society again and our views went unrecorded.

I reported this to the Cumbria Enquiry along with other evidence but sadly I believe little note was taken of it.

Elyned Ashcroft