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"... the stakeholders? contribution to decision making.." Marshall and Roger paper from the Crete conference
FMD Homepage   - News, press articles, emails - Feb 05 NAO report (pdf file here)
Foot and Mouth News - from Reuters, Yahoo and PigHealth.com

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October 21 2005 ~ DEFRA spent nearly 9 million pounds on 3 outside law firms in 2002-2004

October 7 - 14 2005 ~ "... public concern that new technological advances in vaccine production, diagnostic testing and epidemiology have not been significantly employed."

October 7 - 14 2005 ~ "loss of trust in authority and systems of control"

October 7 - 14 2005 ~ "...her most harrowing piece of research"

October 7 - 14 2005 ~ "The study shows that life after the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic has been accompanied by distress, feelings of bereavement, fear of a new disaster, loss of trust in authority and system of control and by the undermining of the value of local knowledge"

October 1 - 7 2005 ~ Defra still has to settle bills worth £20 million in Devon.

October 1 - 7 2005 ~Vaccinated steak and chips, please

October 1 - 7 2005 ~ "Six million"? - "We will never know exactly how many were culled but it was many more than the official figure"

September 23 2005 ~ If decision makers are influenced too much by Defra's Cost Benefit Analysis, then the rational use of FMD vaccines will be even more jeopardized says Raúl A. Casas

September 22 2005 ~ " The diagnostic approach has to focus on the presence of virus and no longer on the presence of antibodies"

September 19/20 2005~ Lord Whitty hinted at criminal fraud and called Defra's prevarication "safeguarding the public purse"; DEFRA now faces a £40 million late payment bill over foot and mouth

September 18 2005 ~ DEFRA "officials had repeatedly lied about what happened in 2001; that their own systems and paperwork were chaotic or non-existent.....": Mr Justice Thornton

September 12 2005 ~ "The policy was not, as stated at the time, "the only option for controlling the current British epidemic"...."

September 11 2005 ~ "the 1st vaccine arrived in the region after the disease had already broken out."

September 9 2005 ~ £154,678 spent on Cost Benefit Analysis - but we are no nearer a disease control policy that inspires confidence.

September 8 2005 ~ dysfunctional government agencies

September 4 2005 ~ "..other objectives should never override the welfare of livestock, which are sentient beings, not just cheap lawnmowers. "

September 2 2005 ~ "... disease control should be a cooperative effort between government and the livestock sector... major efforts are needed to enhance communication and increase trust. ."

September 2 2005 ~ " we need confidence that the best tools will be used to identify and confirm the disease,....and the best strategy will be implemented, based on the advice of the permanently operational, balanced, Expert Group...."

September 1 2005 ~ EU gives 4.5 million euros to FAO to fight FMD

Aug/September 2005 "...battling against over-whelming odds. .."


August 26 2005 ~ NFU Wales warns against vaccination in its response to the FMD consultation.

August 25 2005 ~ A reminder of the way effective technologies to fight FMD have been blocked

August 25 2005 ~Homeland Security wants to turn Plum Island into "a new, massive center for biological and agricultural defense" with the highest laboratory security level, BSL 4 .

August 25 2005 ~ ProMed reports on FMD in Russia "2 FMD serotypes are, reportedly, evolving now in eastern Asia/the far east:

August 23 2005 ~ Western Morning News on the change of wording from discretion to duty

August 23 2005 ~ UK law has always allowed for the slaughter of actually infected animals and no one really argues against this.

August 20 2005 ~ Defra proposes changes to the FMD Directive

August 20 2005 ~ "more than sombre stories of horrendous killing and heartbreak..."

August 18 2005 ~" a warning, nationally and even globally, of how man?s chilling disassociation from the species that feed him is, frighteningly, almost complete "

August 18 2005 ~ BSE vertical transmission in sheep? "....extremely unscientific conclusion"

August 17 2005 ~ lambs at a government experimental station appear to have caught BSE from their mothers.

August 15 - 22 2005 ~ "..significant benefits by fostering information exchange and shared use of resources...by both animal and human health scientists"

August 15 - 22 2005 ~"....Vaccination ..... its implications are now seen as practical ones..."

August 15 - 22 2005 ~" a warning, nationally and even globally, of how man?s chilling disassociation from the species that feed him is, frighteningly, almost complete "

August 15 - 22 2005 ~ ".... changing requirements for detection and identification, and input of cutting-edge science .."

August 15 - 22 2005 ~ Consultation on what should constitute national discretion in the Foot and Mouth Directive ends in only a fortnight

August 8 - 14 2005 ~ Rapid PCR "... same old leopard, same old spots.."

August 8 - 14 2005 ~ A sea change? The CVO thanked all Stakeholders present for having taken the time and trouble "..to attend and participate in this process - defined for the future as a partnership..."

August 8 - 14 2005 ~ "With all Performance Benchmarks met, by government and industry, the goal is to snuff out an outbreak in two weeks after diagnosis by active commitment of all sections of the industry and related industries. .."

August 8 - 14 2005 ~ China: "... a simple and cost-effective technique to test live and dead animals for the disease,"

August 7 2005 ~ Farmers will be even more anxious about importing FMD after an Australian documentary

August 5 2005 ~ "Cost sharing offers industry a chance to sit at the table as a partner to make sure that when it pays what is asked, it gets what is promised...."

August 5 2005 ~ What good is an Expert Group if Defra doesn't act on their recommendations?

August 3 2005 ~scientists in Beijing have developed a test for streptococcus suis which takes just 4 hours to provide results.

August 2 2005 ~ "....the government belatedly realized that the critical monetary yardstick was not the animal product export sector..."

August 1 2005 ~ Rapid on-site RT-PCR Diagnosis - a curious reluctance on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean

July 30 2005 ~ US still envisaging the slaughter of millions of cattle - Who will Provide the Leadership still not clear

July 30 2005 ~ Read again US Agricultural and Food Security: Who Will Provide the Leadership? by Roger Breeze and Floyd Horn.

July 28 2005 ~ "costs will influence the acceptability of a vaccination-to-live policy to certain sectors or individuals".

July 27 2005 ~ Defra's systems of management, information and communication were demonstrated on Monday morning at Page Street.

July 27 2005 ~ "Systems of management, systems of information, systems of communication"

July 25 ~ Thousands of Cambodian cattle and oxen have been hit by foot-and-mouth disease

July 20 ~"..removing the source of infection rather than genetic selection is the route of choice for disease control"

July 20 2005 ~ The Hill Report on BARBs

July 19/20 2005 ~ EU outlines plans to relax BSE restrictions

July 19 2005 ~Animal Health at the Crossroads

July 18 2005 ~ Dr Abigail Woods is to lead a university review of the history of infectious diseases

July 16 2005 ~ Four years on. The misery continues at Llancloudy

July 15   2005 ~ Breaking News
"...a reliable source of information at several integrated levels to decision makers, scientists and the broad stakeholder community"

July 11 - 16 2005 ~ Bovine TB cases are found in pigs in Cornwall - " it might be only a matter of time before humans are infected"

ProMed has reported the BBC article: "2 pigs and some piglets from a farm near Bodmin ... sent for slaughter... tests showed they had the disease..
.. The State Veterinary Service said it had no record of when it was last informed of a case of bovine TB, as it is not a notifiable disease in pigs
The ProMed Moderator's comments on the article (read in full) : See also report on TB in wild boar in Spain
Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the first case of Bovine tuberculosis (in cattle) "has been discovered in a cattle herd on the border with Canada - the first finding in Minnesota since 1971- and will lead to the destruction of about 900 animals" according to this report in the Washington Post.

July 11 - 16 2005 ~ "The human health risk from BSE is probably far lower than the risk of choking on a toothbrush.?

July 11 - 16 2005 ~ GeneXpert launch expected soon

July 11 - 16 2005 ~ Mr Bradshaw's accusation of "lies and scare-mongering"

July 9 - 12 2005 ~ Unfit bushmeat and illegally slaughtered meat still coming into the country and ending up in food outlets

July 8 - 10 2005 ~ No double tagging derogation temporarily approved

1 - 7 July 2005 ~ FMD suspected in Vietnam

1 - 7 July 2005 ~ UN Health experts call for mass vaccination of poultry in Asia. The FAO says it is "too early" for a mass culling of pigs

1 - 7 July 2005 ~ "they worked from the infection to the boundary and never caught up with it..."

1 - 7 July 2005 ~ Foot and mouth outbreak: lessons for mental health services

1 - 7 July 2005 ~ "Without on-site diagnosis to help monitor neighboring herds, animals would likely be slaughtered based on proximity rather than confirmed infection, unnecessarily magnifying the impact of an attack.

June 27 - 30 2005 ~ Real Time PCR is "the most sensitive test is RT-PCR for the detection of viral RNA"

June 18 - 25 2005 ~ Bovine TB. 420 vets - "including some of the most respected veterinary scientists in the country" - have now signed the letter to Margaret Beckett.

June 18 - 25 2005 ~ " the group had been presented with a "template" for the report at the start of its work"

June 18 - 25 2005 ~" the greatest risk is from their neighbours failing to report unusual illness or death among their stock."

June 18 - 25 2005 ~ At the same time, Defra plans to ?de-regulate? the most common of bee disease , called European Foul Brood, (EFB) by making it non-notifiable.

June 18 - 25 ~ The FMD stakeholders meeting will take place 15 days after the closing date for consultation on the Contingency Plan

June 18 - 25 ~ " the Directive obliges Member States to ensure slaughter of all susceptible animals on premises where FMD is confirmed"

June 18 - 25 ~ The EU Directive's definitions of "suspected" animals are clear

June 18 - 25 ~ Illogical and unjust. The TB test for cattle is known to be deeply flawed - but DEFRA will not test badgers because "no reliable test for live badgers is yet available"

June 18 - 25 ~ "These simple measures could reap major savings for both animal life and the tax payer.."

June 18 - 25 ~ "You need to slaughter the goat that has the disease and incinerate it if necessary - but not the whole herd..."

June 12 - June 17 ~ Consultation letter is highly misleading on the subject of required meat treatments

June 12 - June 17 ~ a "minor technical amendment" to the Animal Health Act 1981 is to change the Secretary of State?s current discretion to slaughter to a duty to slaughter

June 12 - June 17 ~ The June 9th consultation summary letter

June 12 - June 17 ~ "...a real-time PCR test, which is many times faster than the existing culture process currently used"

June 12 - June 17 ~ "My producer... called this a dead story when I first ran it past him last year, but he's come to realise what an extraordinary depth of feeling there is out there over the issue. "

June 12 - June 17 ~ A national surveillance agency is needed. Britain monitors wildlife disease on an ad hoc basis, with different bodies sharing responsibility.

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ Contingency Plan. Last chance to comment

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ The last day for comment on the latest FMD Contingency Plan is 15 June 2005

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ Thomas Butler, Physician - Scientist, prisoner

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ Dirty Meat - a very significant health risk

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ BSE - The problem with the bacterium theory

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ BSE - "... even if samples appear to infect animals, it is impossible to prove that prions are causative....Today the greatest hindrance to finding a cure for TSE's lies in the very theory they have become embedded in"

May 28 - June 4 2005 ~ Most people believe that farmers are to be paid to keep trees and hedges and so on. The single farm payment scheme does the opposite.

28 May - June 4 2005 ~ "The study does not identify a single scenario in which a contiguous cull would produce the best results."

28 May - June 4 2005 ~ Exposure to pesticides can cause Parkinson's

22 - 28 May 2005 ~ FMD Cost Benefit Analysis finally appears

22 - 28 May 2005 ~ NAO slates DEFRA again

22 - 28 May 2005 ~ China's vaccine against avian influenza

22 - 28 May 2005 ~ Desert Island delusions

22 - 28 May 2005 ~ "... unease that Professor David King, during the foot and mouth outbreak, had " had enormous influence on policy without having formal responsibility for the consequences of its advice"

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ "One can hope that the ICA authorities will disclose what they know so that their lessons can be shared in these dangerous times..."

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ multi-talented, multi-skilled - and close to despair.

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ The flouting of legality, unnecessary pre-emptive strikes, cruelty, secrecy, bluster and a refusal to face up to mistakes made....

15 - 22 May 2005 ~'Nature' didn't create the English landscape -Farming did.

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ The Chief Veterinary Officer's report for 2004

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ "...we heard nothing about this on-going epidemic from the mainstream media...."

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ " I don't think that kind of 'scorched earth' approach would work here, and I don't think it is as acceptable there, now."

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ hundreds of carcases of illegally slaughtered animals arrive in London this weekend

15 - 22 May 2005 ~ "the overall cut off date for passport applications needs to be clearly highlighted in the BCMS booklet."

8 - 15 May 2005 ~ Police in New Zealand are growing increasingly confident that the threat was a hoax.

8 - 15 May 2005 ~ New Zealand's Waiheke Island FMD threat " It's like a bomb alert at an airport, you can't afford not to take it seriously."

8 - 15 May 2005 ~ Dickinson is scathing about the British government's disregard of science

1 - 8 May 2005 ~TB " Drastic action is required or we will see the destruction of our cattle industry, the spread of tuberculosis in our wildlife and the possibility of implications for human health."

1 - 8 May 2005 ~ Feral pigs in Australia are being anaesthetised to test whether a mock vaccine against Foot and Mouth Disease placed in a bait will be successfully absorbed.

1 - 8 May 2005 ~ Telegraph Letter deplores the forgotten carnage, misery, waste and loss

1 - 8 May 2005 ~ "..USDA would not be able to deploy animal vaccines within 24 hours... these vaccines need to be sent to the United Kingdom (U.K.) to be activated for use. ".

1 - 8 May 2005 ~ "The GF-TADs mechanism was recognized as being a very useful coordination tool avoiding duplication and gaps ...".

1 - 8 May 2005 ~ The need for global, coordinated action against both animal and human disease has never been greater.

1 - 8 May 2005 ~ Foot and Mouth 2001 - an opportunity missed and few lessons learned.

23 - 30 April 2005 ~"If we have progressed so far down the road to suburban safety that we can't appreciate the wild, we deserve to die out."

23 - 30 April 2005 ~ Avian Influenza: Why is the EU now more keen on vaccination than before?

23 - 30 April 2005 ~ "The supplier shall keep secret and not disclose any information of a confidential nature obtained by him by reason of the contract"

23 - 30 April 2005 ~ "Defra denied to me that it had ignored scientific opinion, and said that its methods were ?robust?..."

23 - 30 April 2005 ~ Healthy, living, happy, why do we need to kill ? A deep worry about DEFRA and the lunacies of 2001, of BSE and of regulations from Bedlam

23 - 30 April 2005 ~ "Knock-on Effects" indeed.

23 - 30 April 2005 ~ Neither a proportionate nor rational response - but the Contingency Plan still includes pre-emptive killing

17 - 23 April 2005 ~ The 'burn-piles', lighting up the night time sky should never be allowed to happen again, nor the indiscriminate removal of contiguous animals.

17 - 23 April 2005 ~ ".... seize and destroy infected animals without a warrant...any vehicle or person can be stopped and searched

17 - 23 April 2005 ~ Parliamentary Question 220084 reveals some staggering answers

17 - 23 April 2005 ~ Environmental Enrichment, which used to be regarded as a basic "stockmanship"skill.

17 - 23 April 2005 ~ "a constructive, non-confrontational and honest national public debate about the causes and impact and costs (social, economic and environmental) of the 2001 FMD outbreak in Britain."

April 8 -15 2005 ~"Since 1997 ... farming ministers...have displayed a contempt for Britain?s farming community without political precedent.."

April 8 -15 2005 ~"...comprehensive information on the index case"

April 8 -15 2005 ~ The cost of the unpaid invoices

April 8 -15 2005 ~ Rapid Diagnosis

April 8 -15 2005 ~ it is vital that farming here continues in an environmentally sensitive fashion

April 7/8 2005 ~ High Yewdale Farm


April 3 - 10 April 2005 ~ Farmers Weekly makes the EFRA report on pesticides their top story (Wednesday)

April 3 - 10 April 2005 ~ "Health issues are hardly considered at all within the existing scope of the VI"

April 3 - 10 April 2005 ~ Private Eye reveals a ?600 million theft from dairy farmers by Margaret Beckett and DEFRA

April 3 - 10 April 2005 ~ Food Standards Agency is found to be prejudiced against organic food, too pro GM, and of questionnable independence

March 28 ~ April 3 2005 ~ Current research programs into the bird 'flu problem are working on improved vaccine development.

March 28 ~ April 3 2005 ~ Illegal Meat Trade - Lucrative, Easy, Highly Dangerous - and going on all the time in the UK

March 28 ~ April 3 2005 ~ "the obscene absurdity of a law which in every respect defies reason."

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ "It does seem to me that if we are going to learn lessons then actually identifying where and why it broke out is a vital step."

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ " No member of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides should have current commercial considerations"

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ The "Expert group" in the new Contingency Plan

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ "Defra has commenced an annual review of its Foot and Mouth Disease Contingency Plan

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ BBC1 tonight: Panorama Special - Nothing to declare

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ "Customs should build with Defra on its existing campaigns

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ "Foot and mouth still a threat"

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ FMDV 3C protease would block the replication of the virus

21 March - 28 March 2005 ~ The ?25 million recently awarded by the Government for control of illegal meat imports ....

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ "We take these issues seriously..."

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ The "Equinox" foot and mouth cross-border simulation.

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ Another foot and mouth scare.

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ Foot and Mouth - Terrorists be advised

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ Tories pledge to hold Foot and Mouth Inquiry

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ Mrs Browning is still waiting

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ Co operation and trust now urgently needed

14 March - 21 March 2005 ~ "evidence for direct transmission of the H5N1virus from person-to-person is still equivocal.."

6 March - 13 March 2005 ~ " imperative to find approaches whereby emergency vaccination can be employed in situations where pre-emptive action is required"

6 March - 13 March 2005 ~ Singapore's Agri Veterinary Authority considers testing and disease control the business of a responsible government - not of industry.

6 March - 13 March 2005 ~ Proper vaccination of domestic ducks and geese will have a positive impact on control of H5N1 HPAI in Asia.

6 March - 13 March 2005 ~ Trans-border animal health crises have recently been happening every year.

6 March - 13 March 2005 ~ Britain is still "at serious risk of new foot and mouth outbreaks..."

February 28 - March 6 2005 ~ If Heddon-on-the-Wall really was the index case then the government cannot deny its own responsibility for Foot and Mouth 2001

February 28 - March 6 2005 ~ Public Accounts Committee Questions on vaccinated meat. Sir Brian gives a helpful answer....

February 28 - March 6 2005 ~ FMD Index case : Did these witness statements go to the Anderson Lessons Learned Inquiry?

February 28 - March 6 2005 ~"What I am really asking you is if Defra had managed to uphold its own regulations could they have prevented the foot and mouth outbreak occurring?"

February 28 - March 6 2005 ~ " Are you prepared to share anything from that report about the impact and effectiveness of a contiguous cull?..."

February 28 - March 6 2005 ~ ",, more work is needed to engage with local authorities and others to facilitate a co-ordinated and co-operative approach should another outbreak arise."

February 21- 28 2005 ~ Edward Leigh said that there had been a number of inadequacies in the way the Department had dealt with the crisis and warned DEFRA officials not to expect a positive report from the committee.

February 21- 28 2005 ~ In future, says Sir Brian Bender, the cost of slaughtered livestock would not fall on taxpayers but on farmers " who had a responsibility to look after their animals"

February 21- 28 2005 ~ the conference will lead the way in bringing world-renown speakers to address issues of emerging infectious diseases and advances in diagnostic techniques

February 21- 28 2005 ~ a global strategic approach that will require sustained donor support to countries in SE Asia.

February 21- 28 2005 ~Avian Influenza. The destruction of wild birds and their habitats "inappropriate from a wildlife conservation viewpoint..."Samuel Jutzi

February 21- 28 2005 ~ What happened to the FMD Cost Benefit Analysis?

February 21- 28 2005 ~ Recommendation: "To continue to develop tools for risk analysis... and a research programme to develop the underlying science that is the basis of risk analysis."

February 21- 28 2005 ~ "Thousands of animals were unnecessarily culled in Dumfries and Galloway"

February 21- 28 2005 ~ "The potential advantages of the PCR cycler over the gamma interferon test is that it ... can be used on farm and give a result within 30 minutes."

February 21- 28 2005 ~ " I even had a big metal sign given to me that says FMD Precautions Start Here, on the reverse FMD Precautions Finish Here."

February 21- 28 2005 ~... "ways of including farmers in the disease control system with a view to involving them more closely.."

February 21- 28 2005 ~"We are saying that four years is a totally unacceptable delay in paying hard working contractors who have submitted accurate invoices."

Feb 13 - 20 2005 ~ "DEFRA?s over zealous policing of State Aid Rules is failing to exploit the opportunities taken by many other EU countries "

13 - 20 February 2005 ~ "Farmers have reacted angrily to claims that the unregulated movement of infected cattle has led to the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Feb 13 - 20 2005 ~ "How is it that the most efficient dairy industry in Europe could have been brought to near-terminal collapse

Feb 13 - 20 2005 ~ The new heresy - scientific dissent

Feb 13 - 20 2005 ~ As we approach the four year anniversary of the misery of the Foot and Mouth policies...

Feb 7 - 13 2005 ~ photographs 2001.

Feb 7 - 13 2005 ~ we read constantly in the press - vCJD is the "human form of mad cow disease"

Feb 7 - 13 2005 ~ No result on Scots goat for two years

Feb 7 - 13 2005 ~ Possible finding of BSE in a 1990 UK goat ..

Feb 7 - 13 2005 ~ ".. its use in the field might be a true and much needed achievement..."

Feb 7 - 13 2005 ~Chinese scientists claim to have developed a vaccine to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

2 - 7 February 2005 ~ "Unless and until this crucial aspect of the 2001 epidemic is fully scrutinised and evaluated, neither the NAO or the Public Accounts Select Committee will be able to determine how the costs of 2001 arose"

2 - 7 February 2005 ~ vaccination "..a less effective strategy because of the ability of the disease to leap outside the vaccinated area" (sic)

2 - 7 February 2005 ~ Comment on the NAO report

2 - 7 February 2005 ~ Wednesday's National Audit Office report erroneously suggests that contiguous premises will be slaughtered if a new outbreak got "out of control". How can they have got it so wrong?

31 January - 6 February 2005 ~ Dutch research shows "severe post-traumatic distress" in half the farmers whose animals were culled.

31 January - 6 February 2005 ~ "All chicken farms are routinely vaccinated with inactivated H5N2 vaccine, and 60 unvaccinated sentinels are kept in each batch of chickens..." Hong Kong

29 January 2005 ~ Following the confirmation of BSE rather than scrapie in the French goat that died in 2002 (entire herd slaughtered), the EC now wants to test 200,000 healthy goats

25 - 31 January 2005 ~".... decided that the farm isn't viable because we haven't changed our Land Rover and don't buy big tractors. "

25 - 31 January 2005 ~ "the long and sorry saga" of OPs

25 - 31 January 2005 ~ "positive ELISA test for FMD virus can be obtained in about 3 hours..."

24 January 2005 ~ Government's plans for tackling a future outbreak of foot and mouth disease have been thrown into disarray after the government's Chief Scientist suggested that vaccination was still not a practical option

23 January 2005 10:03 ~ Carlow samples show no sign of foot & mouth

22/23 January 2005 ~ Pirbright is testing samples from pigs in Carlow, Ireland, for foot and mouth disease

22-29 January 2005 ~ "All exercises identify issues that need clarifying and addressing and Exercise Hornbeam was no exception.

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ The UK's Chief Scientific Advisor appears unaware of the current official stance on vaccination against FMD

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Sir David King is still trying to justify " the scientific rationale for the ruthless culling of livestock" and saying that " Britain had no choice but to kill and burn or bury thousands (sic) of animals"

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Food Standards Agency says it would be a breach of EU law to create a new offence to fight the ?1bn a year criminal meat trade. It offers instead an "action-plan"

January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "To redress the reputation of organic farming, to put animal welfare first on permanent pasture farms, I propose the creation of a new category of organic farmer that I will call Organic "B". ..."

January 9 - 16 2005 ~ an economic conflict of interest.

January 9 - 16 2005 ~" the Inquiry procedure has not fulfilled its brief and many of the lessons of the 2001 FMD experience have not been learned."

January 9 - 16 2005 ~ "The U.S. can implement this new policy tomorrow and work with the OIE and WTO to modernize international regulations on animal health so that all countries that wish can follow the same path...."

January 1 - 7 2005 ~ " vigorous informed control measures backed by positive diagnosis can be implemented nationally within 6 hours.."

January 1 -7 2005 ~ ".... I intend to...expose the briefing notes we were never meant to see, nail the rumours that will make or break the reputations of the highest in the land."

January 1 -7 2005 ~ "I can?t understand the continuing obsession... with the foot-and-mouth epidemic of almost four years ago. .." says Fordyce Maxwell in the Scotsman.

January 1 - 7 2005 ~ Will 2005 be the year for a proper reappraisal of TSE related legislation?

January 1 - 7 2005 ~ Sheep with the ARR genotype normally associated with the highest degree of resistance to scrapie - get scrapie

January 1 - 7 2005 ~ the "theoretical possibility" of BSE being present in sheep -

January 1 - 7 2005 ~ Beth Williams and Tom Thorne

January 1 - 7 2005 ~ ".. transmission experiments prove nothing in terms of demonstrating whether TSEs are caused by a microbiological infectious agent or not.."

December 26 - 31 2004 ~ "These RT-PCR devices offer not only more rapid results, but also are sufficiently sensitive to detect virus before clinical signs are apparent. .... it is not clear that full regard is being taken of advances in the medical field...." Royal Society IDL Review

December 26 - 31 2004 ~ "Failure to clarify both the exit strategies and meat treatment protocols will undermine Defra?s sterling work in securing these derogations when the Directive was being drafted."

December 26 - 31 2004 ~ IDL Report follow-up is now available on the internet.

December 26 - 31 2004 ~ " If there are problems associated with a nonslaughter approach then these need to be resolved."

December 26 - 31 2004 ~ "Expert group", "Data collection", "Identification of DCs", "portable tests to aid rapid diagnosis in the field"

December 18 - 25 2004 ~ "....the access to this wealth of scientific research and expert opinion will serve as reference material for years to come."

December 18 - 25 2004 ~ " there are also ethical issues related to the mass slaughter of animals when controlling an outbreak.."

December 18 - 25 2004 ~ EU must lose fears over vaccinated meat -Dutch Agriculture Minister

December 18 - 25 2004 ~ "products from vaccinated animals are not discriminated by distinctive labelling or marking..."

December 18 - 25 2004 ~ "...you will see why Lord Whitty and his colleagues are so keen on this brilliant new system..."

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ In Hereford and Worcestershire 66 farms were named "Infected Premises" but only 15 tested positive. Nearly THIRTY MILLION pounds was paid in compensation

    The cost of compensation PQ 7563 (Paddy Tipping's PQ) was a staggering ?29,467,357.48 pence.

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ ?355,000 was the cost of cleaning two farms in Worcestershire in 2004 because of " inappropriate burial of material associated with the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic"

    ( Worcestershire had hardly any foot and mouth) As the BBC reported in December 2002, DEFRA "breached its own regulations on the disposal of carcasses during the foot and mouth epidemic. Robin Feakins' property, Sparum Farm in Kidderminster, Worcestershire, was chosen as a site to incinerate 5,000 cattle and 6,000 sheep which had been culled. ... the ashes from the carcasses were only buried six inches deep instead of the regulation three feet." Of these, an unknown number were OTMS cattle and therefore, according to the current dogma, were likely to cause BSE or vCJD if not properly disposed of. DEFRA, it seems, were not too bothered at the time. Although Mr Bradshaw's bland answer gives no clue, it would seem likely that this breaching of regulations by DEFRA itself was the cause of the wasting of ?355,000 of taxpayers' money. (Mr Feakins' home farm was designated as IP25 but no Pirbright test results appear to exist and it would seem that no samples were taken.)
    Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farms in Worcestershire have been subject to decontamination activity by her Department this year as a result of inappropriate burial of material associated with the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic; what the cost of such activity has been; and how many more farms she expects will be subject to similar activity. [201803]
    Mr. Bradshaw: Two farms in Worcestershire have been subject to the removal of agricultural waste or pyre ash this year. The Department has removed buried agricultural waste from one farm, and buried and unburied pyre ash plus a small quantity of scrap metal from another. Agricultural waste, which could not be adequately disinfected, was burned and/or buried on the affected premises during the 2001 FMD outbreak to prevent the risk of disease spread. The total estimated costs of these operations in Worcester are ?355,000. Based on current knowledge, no other farms are expected to be the subject of similar activity in Worcestershire."

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ What "technical and financial inadequacies"?

    "... the EC cited certain "technical and financial inadequacies" as the reason for reducing the UK's claim." Ben Bradshaw Hansard Foot and Mouth
    Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason there is a difference between the amount required from the European Commission to assist in defraying the costs of implementing emergency plans to manage the 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the actual amount agreed by the Commission. [200962]
    Mr. Bradshaw: The Commission undertook a full and detailed audit of the UK's claim for re-imbursement following the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak. Following the auditors' work, the Commission reported that the valuers engaged by Defra had overvalued the animals prior to slaughter. In addition the EC cited certain "technical and financial inadequacies" as the reason for reducing the UK's claim. "

December 10 - 17 2004 ~?It is the lack of answers to these questions which provoke concerns that DEFRA has something to hide.

    Simple assurances are insufficient - farmers and taxpayers are entitled to know what really happened.? James Paice MP
    The Shadow Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rural Affairs, has written to Ben Bradshaw, demanding answers to some key questions about Foot and Mouth. Mr Paice's letter to Mr Bradshaw concludes, ".. After the 1968 outbreak and the Classical Swine Fever epidemic a few months before this outbreak there were clear efforts to discover how the diseases entered Britain. Will you now explain what steps DEFRA has taken to answer this question?"

December 10 - 17 2004 ~" JULIAN JONES smelt strongly of rotten meat. His clothing was dirty and stained, as well as his hands which were bloodstained. .."

    The largest "smokies" criminal meat case came to a conclusion on Monday at Wood Green Crown Court. Two years of painstaking and heroic work by Dr Yunes Teinaz, showing cast iron evidence of guilt, cruelty and disregard for public safety - work that was carried out in the face of actual death threats and intimidation and on behalf of the public health of the entire country, formed the prosecution. The result? Fines and community service for Julian Jones and James Elliott.
      From the evidence: "...Some livers showed signs of parasitic cysts. The lungs had lesions consisted with parasitic pronchopneumonia. The udders of lactating female animals had not been removed from the carcasses. The kidneys also remained attached to the carcasses without having been removed from their covering membranes. ..the carcasses were in a warm condition. There was a noticeable foul smell when the door was first opened. There were no health marks or evidence of inspection on the carcasses. ..."
    There is a stench of corruption here. Meat criminals are rich, dangerous and influential.
    The most absurd regulations and red tape in the name of food safety are putting good farmers out of business - but when it comes to the real criminals, the government loses its nerve...indeed, DEFRA just days before the latest of his convictions for meat crimes last June, chose to use Carmelo Gale as a "consultant". Meat Crime page for more detail.

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ "a gross and disgraceful affront to the knowledge, skills and judgement of farmers.."

    New EU regulations would ban farmers from using tractors in the rain ( Monday's WMN: "... a scathing open letter to (Lord Whitty) from...Jim Hosking, who runs Fentongollan Farm, near Truro, and manages some 1,800 acres....
      ".... your support for such utter nonsense clearly shows that you have little regard for the basic principles of farming, even though you are prepared to meddle with the everyday decisions that farmers have to make to feed their animals or to sow and harvest their crops. .....
      ...the greatest threat to the environment is that there will be dangerously few farmers left to look after it. In fact, they are the endangered species that should be giving you the greatest cause for concern."
    Read in full Read also another email about the Single Farm PAyment (SFP) that arrived on Tuesday:
      "...He (Hosking) is right of course re expertise etc. but EU / Defra have totally got this SFP sussed. Defra draw down the moneys from the EU fund in total. Then send out hundreds of cross compliance checks - including puddles - which will be inspected. Any that a farmer cannot, does not, has not 'complied' with result in a fine, or reduction in the money available to him. But, any moneys so 'fined' by Defra's army of inspectors does not have to be returned in total. They get to keep 25 percent of it..."

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ A sheep that refused to move from a busy roundabout was shot dead by armed police yesterday

    Sunday Telegraph "... Wiltshire Police claimed that officers had been left with little choice but to shoot the animal. "It was standing on the roundabout and at times wandering into the carriageway," said Joanne Summers, a spokesman for the force. ..... A spokesman for the National Farmers' Union expressed surprise at the police tactics and said that a full explanation would be sought. "It certainly is an unusual situation. We would hope that every effort was made to repatriate the sheep with its owner and that the authorities did everything possible to ensure the welfare of the animal," he said. Sheep often wander on to roads in rural parts of Britain, such as the North Yorks Moors, and are usually easily avoided by motorists. There is no previous occasion on which armed police are known to have been called to deal with stray animals on the roads."

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ A footnote to Friday's false alarm

    An abattoir in Carlisle was closed on Dec 10 because of a "case of foot and mouth" It was in fact ORF. An emailer writes, "Mind you, during the FMD disaster of 2001, Defra would not have allowed a proper investigation and hundreds of healthy animals would have been butchered. Of such cases, the worst was the identification of FMD by a Spanish vet (already famous for her lack of English and the question about Herdwick sheep "what sort of goats are these?). Whilst driving past a farm she "saw a positive case of FMD".( from the car window??)
    All the sheep were subsequently butchered.
    The farmer mentioned that his cattle were "away" being farmed for more than a year by a friend working 12 miles away. He had not been near them. The ever-cautious Defra butchered all of these cattle and all of the host farmer`s stock as well.
    And the post-mortem result on the sheep...... yes, you`ve guessed it...........orf. ( Oh sorry, final analysis was the after effects of eating nettles.)
    Why is it that Defra find they are mistrusted?"

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ An abattoir in Carlisle was closed today because of a suspected case of FMD.

    Had it been FMD in fact, rather than orf, a condition with which it was so often tragically confused in 2001, we should have found ourselves in deep trouble. Where is the Expert Group that, according to Article 78 of the new EU Directive, should be permanently operational? Except for a degree of improved animal movement restrictions, the Contingency Plan is still medieval. Three and a half years ago, Dr Michael Tas, then Maff director of disposal operations, used that adjective when describing the outdated technology and woefully inadequate "Contingency Plan". He also said, "a method of confirming a case of foot and mouth within two or three hours, which had been pioneered in the US, had not been looked at because Maff did not have the time or the scientists to look at it properly." (Guardian)
    With the ever-present threat of FMD we need a Contingency Plan which takes into account individual electronic animal ID and the use of the rapid portable virus diagnostic tests to which Dr. Tas referred. When linked to an updated GIS database the rapid on-site diagnosis methods, now peer reviewed and widely used elsewhere, provide a modern response to disease outbreak of a very high order.
    They are not even mentioned in the current Contingency Plan.
    As Floyd Horn and Roger Breeze wrote in U.S. Agricultural and Food Security: Who Will Provide the Leadership?
      "...Other than use of the telephone, control measures still closely follow those introduced by Cardinal Lancisi almost 300 years ago."
    One is left wondering why.

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ "overwhelming public support for a diverse range of farm sizes"

    An open letter to Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive of Tesco, inviting him to respond to FARM's Just Milk Campaign can be read here. The letter demands that Tesco
  • recognise how grave is the current situation facing dairy farmers and the overwhelming public support for a diverse range of farm sizes
  • commit to a process of developing a transparent system of pricing
    FARM will be staging an action with banners and placards outside Tesco's flagship store in Earls Court from 10.30am - 12.30pm on Friday 10th December

December 10 - 17 2004 ~ "...viruses were detected much earlier after infection and more frequently by ReTi-PCR tests than by conventional virus isolation methods .."

    Central Institute for Animal Disease Control - Link to "Detection of economically important viruses in boar semen by quantitative RealTime PCR technology." (abstract)
      ".... All five developed ReTi-PCR tests are very rapid compared to virus isolation, highly specific, and even more sensitive (lower detection limits) than conventional virus isolation methods for the detection of mentioned viruses in semen. .... The high throughput of these rapid ReTi-PCR tests makes it possible to screen large numbers...These ReTi-PCR tests will improve the control of viral diseases transmitted via semen. "
    There are still those who think FMD may well have been introduced into the UK via boar semen.

December 8 - 14 2004 ~ Gutted

    Magnus Linklater in the Times writes, "This report is just another chapter in the tragic story of the destruction of our fishing fleet....Gutted is the title of a powerful documentary directed by David Peat that charts the decline and possible death of an industry which supports some 40,000 jobs in Scotland alone, but which is being asked this week to commit collective suicide." Read in full
    "Another independent report this year ? from the Royal Society of Edinburgh ? concluded that decision-making had been far too centralised, had ignored local expertise and had lost the respect of the very people who were needed to make it work. ?The present gulf between scientists and the industry must be bridged,? it said."
    To readers of this website, this will be a conclusion that sounds horribly familiar.

December 8 - 14 2004 ~ Another reasoned, serious call for an independent peer-reviewed inquiry is ignored.

    The letter to Mr Blair from General Sir Hugh Beach, formerly deputy commander in Chief of the Land forces, and more than 40 others, asking for a proper examination into Iraqi civilian casualties has been dismissed. Similarly, the calls for a proper inquiry into FMD 2001 were ignored. 3 million people on the London streets on February 15th 2003 who foresaw exactly what is now happening in Iraq, were neither counted nor taken account of. The government juggernaut rumbles arrogantly on; the old nonsenses continue to be trotted out. "...a full-scale public inquiry would take too long and be too costly.." is also the decision on the Deepcut scandal.
    "If neither Parliament nor the inquiry system can lay a finger on the executive, who can?" asks Sir Simon Jenkins in the Times today, with his article "When Blair calls in the poodles, we have only the press wolves to save us." He says that "..there remains the proxy democracy of the media, the accountability of hue and cry and the lynch mob..." And in the case of the private life of the Home Secretary, he is probably right. As for the real issues, however - the refusal of the government to learn from past tragic mistakes, blatant lying, falsely making claims to stifle objections against an illegal and horrifying war, using fear tactics that would have done credit to fascist regimes of the past - we see little sign, with only a handful of honourable exceptions (Simon Jenkins, Matthew Parris, Magnus Linklater, Christopher Booker and the last few independent papers such as the Western Morning News), of the press taking on the role advocated by H L Menckhen:
      "the function of a newspaper in a democracy is to act as a sort of chronic opposition to the reigning quacks"

December 8 - 14 2004 ~ "... independent expert epidemiologists.."

    We hope that history is not going to be allowed to repeat itself with "independent expert advice" turning out to be nothing of the kind. In 2001 a Maff News Release of the 23rd March ran:
      "The Ministry of Agriculture and the Food Standards Agency held a joint meeting on 21 March to receive urgent advice from independent expert epidemiologists..."
    The modellers of the subsequent "Science Group" ( convened when the disease was already in the decline phase) had no knowledge of FMD. They ignored the advice of those who did. They were advised that it was necessary only to slaughter proven infected animals and those in direct contact with them, and then to carry out the testing and monitoring recommended by the Northumberland report. They assumed that any case after the movement ban was a "new" case rather than one that had a link with a pre-movement ban outbreak - and, most importantly - they failed to realise the significance of the delays in slaughter times. The contiguous cull was very bad science in action.
    The resultant vast, costly slaughter of 2001, the inflated "compensation" payments and bullying tactics made to ensure compliance, the subsequent withholding of data that showed the true extent of infection, in short, the worst errors of the crisis that have never properly been investigated, can be traced back to the lack of knowledge of that unelected group. By mid March, 90% of cases were being confirmed by "clinical diagnosis" alone - something which the group were told is virtually impossible in sheep. Analysis of data will reveal that many of these so-called IPs had no FMD at all.

December 8 - 14 2004 ~ Defra Science Advisory Council "To provide independent scientific advice to Defra?s Chief Scientific Adviser and through him to Ministers"

    runs the declaration at the top of the Defra science webpage. This leaves us puzzled about who advises whom. It would seem that, unless a powerful and official body can demand otherwise, the political agenda of Downing Street is still likely to be the real instigator of veterinary policy, as it was in 2001. We read that SAC followed SAG (SIC) set up, according to DEFRA,
      "in response to recommendations including: the Anderson "Lessons Learned" report about foot-and-mouth disease (partic. recommendation 34, p.31); the Phillips report about BSE (which called for robust and external challenge, plus greater openness and engagement with the scientific community about the quality and direction of Defra science); the Office of Science & Technology?s (OST) Guidelines 2000 ; and the Cross Cutting Review of Science (SR 2002)."

December 8 - 14 2004 ~ Independence, openness, engagement with the scientific community, quality and direction....?

    How far these laudable aims (see above) were met by the Science Advisory Council review of the FMD Contingency Plan and Exercise Hornbeam is questionable. Professor Roy Anderson and Professor Mark Woolhouse, had every reason to eschew engagement with the independent scientific community since they themselves were the architects of the modelling whose flaws led to the illegal killing of eight million healthy animals and the truly horrible consequences for ordinary people caught up in the tragedy.
    No mention is made of the EU Directive, with its emphasis on a properly balanced Expert Group "composed of epidemiologists, veterinary scientists and virologists in a balanced way", its acceptance of disease control where necessary "by means of emergency vaccination without subsequent killing" and its acceptance that "too much importance was attached to the trade-policy aspects, with the result that protective vaccination was not carried out even when it had been authorised."
    In its "Criteria and Requirements for Contingency Plans" the EU Directive clearly states:
      "real-time alert exercises...Member State shall ensure that farmers, the rural populace and the population in general are kept informed. Direct and accessible contact shall be provided for the inhabitants of affected areas (inter alia via helplines), as well as information through the national and regional media."
    Yet Exercise Hornbeam was carried out with the same secrecy as in 2001. Not even officially recognised "stakeholders" were involved in it. The SAC review of both Hornbeam and the Contingency Plan, with its dismissive comments about vaccination, appears to have been quietly placed on the DEFRA website - under Science rather than Foot and Mouth. It has not been properly discussed with stakeholders nor shown to them.

December 3 - 7 2004 ~ "Let?s cut the jargon and the ?governance?

    and get back to the direct representation of individuals and their families and communities at grass-roots level..." begins this letter published in the Newcastle Journal. Its new definitions will please those readers who share our despair at the miserable, advertisers' language that the government uses in place of English.

December 3 - 7 2004 ~ What really caused costs to spiral out of control is being quietly buried

    600 million of taxpayers' money has been withheld by the EU. The blame now seems to be being spun onto compensation claims from farmers. There has been no official examination of how it was the enormous and unnecessary scale of the killing - not the "compensation payments" used to buy acceptance from uneasy farmers caught up in it - that made the UK outbreak unprecedented in its costs. (It should be added that farmers were also bullied into believing they had no choice. Of those brave few who did mount a legal attempt to save their animals, many were vindicated and their animals all remained healthy. The law has since been changed.)
    No one has been held to account.
    Firebreak culling looks set to remain a central part of the contingency plan for the UK - and the Science Advisory Council's review of Exercise Hornbeam has even called the FMD Contingency plan the "gold standard" for other disease control plans.

December 3 - 7 2004 ~ The EU was misled about how widespread actual disease was.

    IPs which were shown to be free of FMD were not removed from the IP category. A completely false picture of the pattern and scale of the epidemic was presented to the EU. Mr Scudamore wrote that "each of the 2,026 FMD cases was subjected to a detailed clinical and epidemiological investigation." The idea conveyed is that each was properly tested. This simply did not happen.
    Unless such misinformation is brought into the open, lessons about accurate diagnosis and testing, data recording, local expertise, proper veterinary advice and an independent and powerful Expert Group will also be buried forever in the government's desire to absolve itself from blame. The distress and slaughter we saw in 2001 could happen all over again.

December 3 - 7 2004 ~ Another fiction: "Each of the 2,026 FMD cases was subjected to a detailed clinical and epidemiological investigation. ..."

    The real cause of the spiralling costs - the huge number of "contiguous" premises slaughtered next to premises that were not infected at all - is being quietly buried.
    We re-publish this paragraph from March 2004
      "Each of the 2,026 FMD cases was subjected to a detailed clinical and epidemiological investigation. ..." is the claim in DEFRA's Origin of the UK Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001 (new window)
      What did Mr Scudamore mean by "each of the 2026 FMD cases"? In their Jan 2002 submission to the EU for the resumption of Disease Free Status, DEFRA appears to make the same claim - i.e. that it had tested all Infected Premises. This is very odd. We know that many slaughtered premises were never tested. Farmers' requests for lab tests were very often curtly denied.
      "Each of the 2026 FMD cases"? In addition to the 2,026 so-called IPs there were also 7,494 "dangerous contacts" premises (of which 3,329 were contiguous premises) and 257 "slaughter on suspicion" premises. In total, about 10,000 farms were slaughtered. (See PQs) Pirbright received samples from only a small fraction of slaughtered farms - information contained in PQ 2164 would indicate that on average it was about 10%, but in some regions it was much lower than that. DEFRA's claim to the EU was surely wrong. And the EU, because they are apparently unhappy about the way the crisis was handled, capped the UK's right to claim repayment..."

December 3 - 7 2004 ~ Chief vet Jim Scudamore's signed witness statement a "fiction"?

    Janet Hughes sank her life savings into fighting the illegal mass cull in Wales. In the Private Eye Muckspreader column about the taxpayers' missing ?600 million, we read that when DEFRA intervened in Janet's court case against the Welsh Assembly, the then CVO James Scudamore's signed statement, produced at the last minute, asserted that " in one case no fewer than ?140 rams? had all been found clinically diseased....a "heavy weight of infection?..."
    Muckspreader comments:
      "... She tracked down the site where they (the rams) had allegedly been slaughtered and the farm from which they were supposed to have come. It became obvious there was no way so many rams could have been included in the sheep slaughtered in that area: that there could have been as many as 140 was physically impossible. It seemed those infected animals which had swung the case were a complete fiction."
    Muckspreader shows us the contempt for the law and for the truth shown by those in high places, and their attempts to silence and humiliate anyone who tried to inject sanity into the official madness . Janet herself writes
      " My book ... is the only means left to me to place this evidence in the public domain. The Government hid behind a wall of excuses, and escaped any accountability with the weak promise that lessons would be learned..."
    Order the Killing Pens from Amazon. Read its Foreword here.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ Hornbeam: "Currently there is insufficient scientific evidence to be confident that vaccination will be an effective tool in controlling an outbreak."

    This extraordinary sentence comes from the "Review of the Foot and Mouth Disease contingency plan, including Exercise Hornbeam: recommendations of the Science Advisory Council" (html page here)
    The review and its recommendations, dated September 2 2004, has appeared on the DEFRA website. How long it has been there is not yet known. Two of the four SAC members concerned were Professor Roy Anderson and Professor Mark Woolhouse - and as perpetrators of the contiguous cull policy themselves, they were hardly likely to remind anyone that vaccination proved its worth in Uruguay at the very same time that healthy animals were being slaughtered in their millions in the UK. Even now (and after three laborious years of selfless work from so many in trying to reveal the truth of the disastrous errors made), their empty words about vaccination will carry weight.
    The review says, "Many lessons have been learnt as a result of the 2001 FMD outbreak and it is clear that many have been incorporated into the plan." Read in full See also news today of Professor Anderson, Halliburton, and the ?4 billion warships contract.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ OTM rule costs the taxpayer ?360 million a year to avoid the theoretical chance of one death every 120 years from eating OTM beef

    Margaret Beckett announced on Wednesday "the start of a managed transition towards the lifting of the OTM rule owing to the much reduced risk from BSE" That the risk now suddenly appears to the government to be "much reduced" suggests that the political risk on the opposite scale is now perceived to be "greater".
    Government delay in ending the OTM rule prompted a warning from the European Commission that the UK could end up in the European Court for breaking Single Market rules.
    In a Tory party press release, Jim Paice comments " ....the Over Thirty Months Rule should have been lifted long before now.". and notes that the announcement comes one day before the Smithfield Show.
    WMN ".. Michael Hart, of the Small and Family Farms Association, questioned why the ending of OTMS should take so long. "I can't understand what the problem is. I find it incredible that the Government are taking so long," he said. "But anything that can be done to help beef farmers can do nothing but good, although I think the delay is pathetic." Mr Hart also questioned who would bear the cost of the testing regime. "Will it be another cost for farmers to bear?" he said. "It is a public health issue and I think it should be paid for out of the public purse."

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ Contractors are still owed "around ?50 million"

    WMN "....The Forum of Private Business warned that the Government must not be allowed to use the EC decision as an excuse for further delays in paying contractors who are still owed around ?50 million for work carried out during the 2001 crisis.
    Chief executive Nick Goulding said: "....It is thoroughly unacceptable to treat small businesses operating on tight budgets in such a deplorable way; these bills have now been outstanding for more than three years. The Government has no credible reason not to pay these contractors with immediate effect." See also FPB page

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ Alun Michael declined to apologise

    WMN Reporting on Tim Yeo's demand for an apology from the government over foot and mouth ( and while we welcome a call for lessons really to be learned, we do not remember Mr Yeo's contributions during the actual crisis with any great enthusiasm) "... Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael declined to apologise for the Government's conduct, suggesting that ministers had done well to persuade the EC to pay as much as ?349 million as it had initially wanted to pay far less. He also suggested that the Government's record on farming and rural issues was a good one......"

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ SVS changes: "broad backing from the public" actually meant "20 out of 500"

    Consultation responses ".....500 organisations, bodies and individuals were invited to comment and we received a total of 20 responses from England and Wales....A parallel exercise was conducted in Scotland and 6 responses were received."
      "Several commented on their perception that political and policy drivers appeared to have more prominence in the decision making process than animal welfare. A common theme was a plea for an outward facing organisation focused on the animals and their welfare and the prevention and control of disease. All urged greater involvement of and partnership with the community out on the ground in the evolution of best practice and effective delivery"
    So it will be interesting on April 1 2005 (and several emailers have made the obvious comment) to see how far the new Executive Agency aka the SVS is able to reassure those who are concerned at how much politics is obscuring animal welfare.
    Mr Ben Bradshaw said "The consultation exercise has been extremely valuable .." but a return of 20 from 500 may perhaps cause DEFRA and the government to ask themselves whether inundating organisations with consultation documents - who then fail to return them - does not raise questions both about the value and the concept of "consultation" carried out this way.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ " a consensus amongst stakeholders that: We will not carry out the mass slaughter of healthy animals. We will not incur the financial and social costs to the livestock industry, tourism and the rural economy, or cause unnecessary loss of genetic diversity..."

    Dr Iain Anderson's words below about engaging "people from different areas outside of the centre..." and "well balanced and well trusted scientific advice" are exemplified in the invited paper presented at the European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EUFMD) Research Group Open Session in Crete, October 2004, entitled "Policy and science of FMD control: the stakeholders? contribution to decision making. A call for Integrated Animal Disease Management" be published by the EUFMD Commission in early December. It has been sent to warmwell by the authors.
      From the paper's abstract: "... integrated animal disease management as a cooperative effort between stakeholders, scientists and decision makers
      .. levels: local, national, regional and international
      ..the science and technology that is available now and to develop new technologies that will lead to significant improvements
      ..not to allow .....politics to drive disease control policies at the expense of the ethical relationship between man and animals. "
    The paper appears also on Land Care org's website and on warmwell's updated science and technology pages. An EU funded collaborative research project aiming to achieve some of the goals described in the paper will begin early in 2005.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ Where is the DEFRA report on Operation Hornbeam?

    Defra website "Relevant recommendations will be taken into account in preparation of the Report on Exercise Hornbeam which the department plans to publish in October. ... "
    Could any reader of this website direct us to the report? Our own page about Operation Hornbeam quotes Dr Iain Anderson's very relevant remarks to the EFRA Committee
      "The one area which I believe needs to be emphasised again and again is that in order to get this right for the future .....it needs to be captured in processes which engages people from different agencies outside of the centre. These processes need to become part of routine ... ... it is regrettable that a formalised system of engaging well balanced and well trusted previously communicated scientific advice was not deployed from the very early days........"
    Read more.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ SVS to get a new name

    The State Veterinary Service is, it seems, to be repackaged as an "Executive Agency". Ben Bradshaw, after referring to a consultation (" broad backing from the public received") that had escaped our notice, says, with the usual New Labour ministerial preference for the first person pronoun, " ..I have therefore decided to continue with the programme to launch the new agency on 1 April 2005." His words include
    • "..further the aims of the Animal Health and Welfare Strategy
    • .. a new partnership
    • ..a lasting and continuous improvement in the health and welfare of kept animals
    • ..protecting society, the economy and the environment from the effect of animal diseases.
    • .. pledged to working with all customers and stakeholders
    • ..listening to their concerns and their counsel
    • ..taking their views into account as the agency takes shape."
    The press release's "Notes for editors" repeats all this in similar language - but even then we should appreciate an ordinary person's guide as to what will actually change next April.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ BSE "We want to eradicate this disease and it is important for us to be sure that we are not overlooking any important factors..."

    CVO Debby Reynolds in a DEFRA news item "....... there are also other possible explanations for at least some of these cases. We want to eradicate this disease and it is important for us to be sure that we are not overlooking any important factors and that the work we are doing is comprehensive and scientifically sound. We have therefore invited Professor Hill (i.e.Professor William Hill FRS, Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences of the University of Edinburgh ) to take a look at what we are doing. We have deliberately chosen someone who is eminent in his own field but who has not been involved in TSE work before. He can be expected to probe and challenge the evidence. ..."
    See also warmwell pages on TSEs which consider other "important factors" that have, it seems, been "overlooked". An independent examination to look at the entire system of controls and to challenge conventional wisdom is much needed and long overdue.

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ ".. this cull was in breach of criminal law, since the Government had no legal power under the Animal Health Act 1981 to kill healthy livestock."

    Booker's Notebook, Sunday Telegraph
      " ....Also making the news last week was the ruling by Brussels that it will withhold ?600 million from payments claimed by the British Government for its costs in the 2001 foot and mouth disaster.
      This represented part of the sum that, according to the Commission, was overpaid to farmers, to buy their acquiescence in the pre-emptive cull of about eight million healthy animals. As was reported here at the time, this cull was in breach of criminal law, since the Government had no legal power under the Animal Health Act 1981 to kill healthy livestock that had not been directly exposed to infection. ....."
    Booker's Notebook. Read in full

November 27 - Dec 3 2004 ~ Taxpayers' ?600million foot-and-mouth bill

    James Chapman in The Daily Mail, Friday November 26th 2004. Page 15
      "..... The European Commission is to disqualify almost two-thirds of the compensation claim for dealing with the outbreak of the disease. It will pay only ?350 million of the Government's ?950million claim, leaving a ?600million shortfall - equivalent to ?10 for every man, woman and child in the country.
      Last night the EC confirmed it had effectively 'fined' Labour because of serious concerns over the way the outbreak was handled. A spokesman said it was clear that millions of healthy animals had been destroyed needlessly, some farmers had been paid way over the odds in compensation and ministers had been too slow to respond when the epidemic started.
      Around ten million animals died during the outbreak, which cost the public sector more than ?3billion, including compensation to farmers, and the private sector an estimated ?5billion as tourists shunned the UK. The Conservatives are demanding an apology from Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett for the Government's mistakes.
      Euro MP Neil Parish, the party's agriculture spokesman in the European Parliament, said "The very least we should expect is a formal apology from Mrs Beckett, not only to farmers but to taxpayers who are going to have to pay for this to the tune of ?600million".
From .... FMD 2001(new window)
"... measures used to prevent and control FMD were primarily based on agro-economic considerations
....authorities in charge were justifying their policies with doubtful scientific arguments....
The public in general, including veterinary and agricultural communities, were misinformed by scientists and veterinary authorities..."

For FMD home page

IRAQ Situation
Forum of Private Businesses Campaign
The EU FMD Directive (See here in html version or pdf version)
Contact the site here      ~     Exercise Hornbeam
Warmwell commentary on The UK foot and mouth disease outbreak- The Aftermath by Kitching et al
Dr Abigail Woods' book: A Manufactured Plague

Warmwell's chronology of Foot and Mouth

Archive - Warmwell front page Autumn 2004

Archive - Warmwell front page Summer - October 2004

Archive - Warmwell front page Spring 2004

Warmwell front page Oct 03 - Jan 04

Archive Sept 2002

Warmwell front page August 2002

June / July 2002

Warmwell front page - May / June 2002

Warmwell archive - Spring 2002

Warmwell front page - April / May 2002

Warmwell front page - March / April 2002

Warmwell front page - the earliest pages in 2001