First to catch up with a few items missed yesterday due to haymaking (and
yes, we have now stacked it safely in the barn!).
This report comes from the Farmers Weekly website. Over four thousand
animals have been slaughtered around the new outbreak:
26 June 2001
Welsh fear mass virus cull
By Robert Davies, Wales Correspondent
FARMERS in the northern part of the Brecon Beacons fear a mass cull of up to
10,000 of their sheep.
Veterinary surgeons started blood testing a sample of the animals that roam
common grazings in the area on Tuesday (26 June).
This follows a confirmed outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at Modrydd Farm,
Libanus, which also has grazing rights on the common.
Stock on six contiguous units have been slaughtered, as they have on five
other units deemed to have dangerous contacts with the infected farm.
Their number includes at least one in a clean area of Wales.
A full investigation is underway into why the disease has reappeared four
weeks after the last confirmed case in Powys.
Brecon Beacons National Park, the National Trust and Powys County Council
are meeting to discuss what to do about recently re-opened footpaths.
Alan Morris of the Farmers Union of Wales says members have been stung by
news of the new outbreak, which raises serious question about the speed with
which rights of way have reopened.
"We all have our fingers crossed that the swift slaughter of infected and
risk stock has stopped further spread.
"Unfortunately this new case will mean that the big autumn livestock sales
that are so important to the stockmen of south Powys will not go ahead.
"The repercussions for the already depressed farming economy will be very
NFU Cymru-Wales, which organised a mass rally of 650 farmers in the county
last week, described the outbreak as devastating and cruel.
The union urged farmers throughout Wales not to let their bio-security guard
This comment from Michaela was prompted by Jane Barribal's recent comments
about the effects of FMD on cattle not being known in the longer term
because they are all slaughtered:
|In response to Jane's letter, perhaps this time round we do not know how
long the disease persists in cattle. However it really is not necessary
relive the virus in each outbreak in every country that it occurs. Both
historically and on evidence in other countries, in cattle the course of the
disease is 7 - 10 days. In lactating animals, normal production levels
not be obtained until the following year (following calving?). Most
will make a full recovery, some will not make the condition gains required
by modern farming in the prerequisite time scales. This is not a fault of
the animal, rather the ridiculously short period in which an animal is
produced for slaughter.
It was stated by MAFF/ DEFRA at the beginning of the outbreak that farming
would be restructured post the epidemic. This will certainly be the case.
It would be appropriate though if animal welfare, lifestyle, production
methods and times were all scrutinised.
Recently I was asked to write a short article on the lifestyle of a dairy
cow. I attach the document. Never mind foot and mouth disease as you will
see, a considerable percentage of dairy cows do not make it to their second
birthday for failing to become pregnant! This for an animal that if left
nature would likely attain a second decade.
I was pleased when it was announced through the week that farmers would be
able to move stock from infected areas and under D Notices directly to
slaughter. Speaking to a farmer friend, I realised that it is a double
edged sword. First the licence to move stock still has to be obtained.
Next an abattoir has to be found that will agree to take animals from
infected areas; not all will do so. And thirdly, the price obtained
lower than animals from non affected/infected areas. Do not suppose that the
price differential will be reflected in the supermarket.
Note: Michaela's document describing the life cycle of the dairy cow is
attached to this message. (HERE)
This message comes from Holland:
Dear Alan & Rosie,
Simon Barteling was expert witness at the 'Grunty the pig' case. I spoke to
him this morning. There was also a 'case' in Belgium, 2 goat breeders
imported some goats from England 3 weeks before the outbreak. The breeder
reported to the autorities and blood was taken. Although there were no
antibodies, all his animals were killed. I never saw Simon so angry. We
working very hard to end this madness.
This report appeared in the Western Morning News today:
Controversy rages over vaccination
Calls for strategy to cope with disease amid claims culling hasn't worked
Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett yesterday played down suggestions
that the Government was set to sanction the use of vaccination to combat
foot and mouth disease.
Mrs Beckett said that vaccination had always remained under review, but that
scientific evidence still suggested that it was not advisable.
But a leading representative of the organic farming industry insisted that
the mass culling strategy had not worked and the time had come for
vaccination to be used.
Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, told BBC Radio 4's Today
programme: "There is a real possibility that the Government will
"We have had 1,700 cases, lost three and a half million animals and
thousands more farms have been caught up in the contiguous cull, and it
"If we were to deploy vaccination, we strongly believe that if we used it
a protective measure and to suppress the spread of the disease - both on a
voluntary basis - this could help bring the disease under control."
But Mrs Beckett said: "It is a simple fact that there are problems with
vaccination, that it is not an easy answer. There isn't any easy answer.
"Before, during and after the election, we have continued to look at the
issue of vaccination and if we feel the balance of argument has shifted we
will take that into account.
"The balance of the argument, I'm afraid, has not shifted."
Mrs Beckett acknowledged that many farmers were still suffering as the foot
and mouth epidemic tailed off.
"It is very sad that we continue to have the tail, but the number of cases
is dramatically down."
National Farmers' Union leader Ben Gill restated his members' long-standing
opposition to vaccination.
He told Today: "Unless there is new science that has developed in the last
few days that I have not been made aware of, I would expect the Government
would come to the same conclusion as they did before.
"I wish there were a solution as simplistic as some people claim
Mrs Beckett also came under fire in the House of Commons yesterday from
shadow agriculture minister Tim Yeo.
Addressing the Secretary of State, Mr Yeo said he had never known the
farming community so demoralised and called for a "full recovery
get it back on track.
Many rural businesses and farms needed cash help now and stressed the need
for additional compensation.
Calling for ministers to clarify their stance on vaccination to tackle foot
and mouth, he asked: "Why should this be reconsidered two months after the
Prime Minister said the country was on the 'home straight'.
"What purpose would it now serve?" he said.
Mr Yeo also called for a full, independent inquiry into the foot and mouth
"The damage to the livestock industry, to the countryside and the rural
economy clearly justifies a full, independent public inquiry," he said.
To hear the "Today" radio feature in full, click on this link.
it just to hear Margaret Beckett with a sore throat croaking
like a Dalek - and of course our old pal Ben Kill writing off vaccination
with his same old prejudices:
This next item was posted on the warmwell website, the writing is a bit
disjointed but he has some valid points to make:
by James Bonzo Robertson
"When I use a word, " Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone,
means just what I choose it to mean. "
I feel more passionate about this article than any thing I have written over
the years in magazines. It will be hard not to be vitriolic about the
insidious way in which every single one of the readers of this has been
treated. Almost every possible angle on FMD has been explored from theories
to the chronically weak leadership in MAFF and the NFU.
Our industry has been driven kicking and screaming to a crossroads and with
it the entire rural community of this country. Retribution and
score-settling is not what I have in mind. However in 110 days of apocalypse
a sinister thread has run through every single one of those days.
For one month I worked almost solely on information gathering, as
catastrophes piled up relentlessly on our farmers, during FMD. I established
contacts new and old with vets, slaughtermen, disinfectors, the Army and
farmers who provided irrefutable evidence exposing the massive-policy
failure of Downing Street. The common thread has been played to enormous
advantage by the Government.
Every slaughter gang and their counterparts have operated professionally,
albeit as unwitting pawns of a hopeless leadership. Each group has
effectively been independent, bar a single linkage to Page Street,
Westminster, there is no cohesive information-gathering recording some of
the most fatuous and criminal actions carried out at the behest of Downing
Street. The sum total, if drawn to one pool of information, is horrific but
at present thousands of farmers, not just the public, are totally ignorant
of policy, just as the Serb on the street was.
In the event of a major disaster two principles are followed, rescue and
recovery. This achieves recovery and prevention of a repeat disaster and any
mistakes in rescue. We can have no confidence in this process at all. Gill
and Brown "span" the fact that no one had undertaken an outbreak of
scale - an outbreak that was so pathetically managed by these two men that
it then became an 'otbreak of this scale'.
Meanwhile Blair, in for another five, has got off scot-free. "We tried to
persuade those farmers to agree to vaccination of their cattle, but they
simply wouldn't accept it, if only the NFU had listened this awful disaster
could have been avoided, now they only have themselves to blame" - as
Richard North so ably put it - will be Blair's quote for the investigation.
Just why is it that amongst the 26 countries who have endemic foot and
mouth - like us -that we have to deal with it totally differently to anyone
else and on top of that, fly in the face of the Northumberland report?
In the first 30 days our exports were killed off for possibly years yet Gill
and Walker (Scottish NFU) misled their members, knowing that disease-free
status could only be achieved by years of political negotiation like John
Major did finally for BSE, in Florence, The consequence of this was that
vaccination would never have affected export or sale price.
I recently met some Argentinians, Colombians and Uruguayans who just laughed
at our mismanagement - "inject and prosper". Uruguay used 900,000
Holland overcame FMD recently, vaccinated and, although totally
unnecessarily, killed the stock. They were pro-active, decisive and
successful, just like the French and Irish.
The blood testing scheme could never have been risked on a big scale pre
June 7. It has a capability of 60,000 tests/week and the true endemic nature
will surface; it is likely that the 30,000 a day slaughter will continue for
some time. Three to six million more to die is a confident projection. The
loss of perhaps 20% of our livestock is both a damning indictment of
incompetence and a watertight case for a swift in-depth inquiry, Michael
Meacher was slapped down by Blair for sharing this opinion.
The American, Fred Brown, who spoke to The Lords Select Committee will
provide the most damning evidence of the availability of rapid testing for
all stock vaccinated, diseased, recently infected, etc. It was rejected as
it wasn't validated - oh my god - we could have put a bloody great rocket to
the moon for what we have spent on the killing.
How is it that an organization such as the MDC, who levies every producer in
the country and undeniably has a mandate to inform farmers, paid by us, is
the one conduit capable of supplying vital crisis information to dispel
urban myths of the disease, of vaccination, of strategic forecasting? As
Chairman of the Midlands MDC, I begged in the first weeks for a fact sheet
and poll on vaccination - "its politically incorrect" was the answer
pathetic, I resign.
Early on, the Professor Keith Sumption paper and many other ones clearly
stated this apocalypse was avoidable; it was used in the High Court, which
sadly had to be bankrolled as a private action by Peter Kindersley and
presented by the excellent William Neville of Burges Salmon, against Nick
Brown. Kindersley would be excused for now saying, "I told you so".
I polled a lot of the top large herds in the country early on and had an
overwhelmingly negative response to vaccination to protect their herds; even
lan McCrone, chairman of The Farmers Club, had anti-injection letters. How
can so many opinion formers have been left so bereft of the facts? It is
Blair.com at its very worst, supported by Gill.
We have been taught a lesson, though tragically many pupils can no longer
attend class. We are politically irrelevant and we must never believe
"Whitehall knows best". Ours is an industry manufacturing the entire
landscape of our beautiful country and providing for a once prosperous
So we must lead ourselves; I remember ten years ago appealing for a John
Harvey-Jones to fight for British Farming Inc. not all these namby-pamby
politically-correct farmers' "leaders" and politicians who all walk
corridors hand in hand.
What is written in Westminster is impossible to read when the words are
spinning so fast. "When I use a word", Humpty Dumpty said in a rather
scornful tone, "It means just what I choose it to mean". Blair's
If you have factual information involving your own business that will
contribute to the investigative procedure to piece together this terrible
mess to protect us from a replay, please email me on:
This report comes from the Telegraph:
Drug firms plan foot and mouth vaccine strategy By David Brown,
EUROPE'S main animal medicines manufacturers will meet near London next
month to discuss whether Britain and other EU countries should abandon mass
culling in favour of vaccination to fight future foot and mouth epidemics.
The move follows European Parliament pressure for the EU Commission to
an alternative to mass culling which would be acceptable to international
livestock and meat trading partners. Multi-national companies will re-assess
prospects for a new generation of vaccines capable of overcoming objections
to the relatively primitive products now available.
These are not able to protect livestock against the many forms of the virus.
The meeting, organised by the National Office of Animal Health, (Noah) the
trade association for animal drug makers and distributors, is expected to
call for a change of EU policy before companies make the investment needed
for new vaccines.
Roger Cook, Noah director, said: "The cost would be enormous for vaccines
that might be used once in a while in an emergency. But this might be
justified if the vaccines were used on a routine basis to prevent disease.
We would like to eradicate foot and mouth, just as smallpox has been
eradicated, but the problem is more complex."
Noah has supported farmers' leaders who oppose vaccination on the grounds
that existing vaccines are not 100 per cent effective and can mask carriers
of the disease. The United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the EU
all prefer mass culls.
This next report is fairly long but important, so we reproduce it here in
full, from the warmwell website:
Re: National Foot and Mouth Group
Following the meeting held at Burgess Salmon solicitors on 7th June the
committee have been working hard getting all the various strands in place in
order that we may make significant steps towards a Judicial Review and/or a
Public enquiry. We have also been working with Dr. Ruth Watkins on
vaccination issues that can be used to put further pressure on both the
Government and the Welsh Assembly. Earlier this week we had a meeting with
the graziers from the Brecon Beacons and got their full agreement to proceed
with our call for vaccination which adds further strength to our case.
We have today sent out a press release announcing the work we have been
doing on vaccination. The committee overall decided on the national name of
' National Foot and Mouth Group' so that it could encompass the many other
groups who would give us added strength such as hotel groups, tourist
groups, Heart of ---------- groups, farmers groups et al.
Unfortunately due to holidays, illness and other commitments the committee
have been very depleted which has meant that the bulk of work has been
carried out by two people making time for that all important communication
with yourselves very limited. We have also wanted to do more for those of
you 'on the ground' who do so much to support our aims but sadly this also
has not materialised for the same reasons. But we are now addressing both
these problems with a significant move forward.
We have asked Tony York (Tony the Trouble-shooter) assisted by Val Sinclair
and Julie Currie to set up a national sub group responsible for organising,
supporting, helping and advising all those of you who, throughout the
country, can assist as part of a stronger National team. Tony is organising
a meeting centrally for this Sunday (In the Midlands area) so as many of you
as possible can attend. We hope that the meeting will be well attended but
realise that it is not possible for everyone to attend so bearing this in
mind Tony will be posting full details on the major websites (Farmtalking,
Warmwell, Cullmaff, Sheepdrove etc.) later today. If you cannot attend then
you will be able to contact Tony direct with an e-mail indicating your
ability to assist and support in your area.
In future this sub group will be your link to the committee and there will
be a two way flow of information that will hopefully ensure that
communication lines are informative and open to everyone.
On Behalf of the National Foot and Mouth Group Committee
National Foot and Mouth Group
FMD Meeting - Sunday 1st July 2001
A meeting is being arranged in order that we may get together as many people
as possible who are involved, or want to become involved, in the national
campaign to stop the slaughter of healthy animals and bring the horrors of
Foot and mouth to an end.
We plan to hold this meeting on Sunday 1st July in the Midlands area so it
is centrally located and close to motorways. The meeting will start at 1.00
p.m. and we shall be posting details of the venue with full directions as
soon as possible but at the latest within the next 48 hours. We are giving
early notification of this meeting in order that you can mark your diaries
Who should attend? ...................... Well if you are reading this then
we hope YOU will be able to come!
It does not matter if you have no previous experience.................
whether you have one hour to spare a week or a hundred........... whether
you can help deliver help packs or are better at home on your
computer....................whether you have a car, a cycle or just two
feet.....................whether you can help by raising public awareness or
whether you can help by raising funds..................whether you are an
'up front' individual or are better as a 'backroom
supporter'.............whether you are 18 or 80 ........ whether you live in
a town or in the country ....................... whether you have animals or
not ............. whether you can help by just occasionally answering a
phone or whether you would just like to use your eyes and ears to give us
information - PLEASE COME
There is only one requirement ........................ You care about
stopping this unnecessary slaughter of healthy animals.
If you intend to come then please let us know using either an e-mail
confirmation or one of the numbers below. If you cannot attend then PLEASE
let us know by telephone or e-mail if you can help in any way locally. Just
by knowing you are there and giving your support to those who are able to be
more active means a great deal. Let us know you cannot come but that you are
supporting us for the greater the numbers we have nationally then the
greater our strength and power.
We appreciate that there may be a lot of people who cannot come because of
distance, other commitments or finance ....... but if you want to have an
input then please e-mail us accordingly.
We will let you know the venue, time and give you full directions as soon as
possible together with an appropriate agenda ........ so please keep
watching .............please come and ...................please help us do
all we can to put an early end to this horror.
Tony York (Tony the Troubleshooter) Pig Paradise Farm
www.pigparadise.com 07967 581805
also Val Sinclair 01691 662388 or 07721416739
Julia Currie 01453 764376 or 07977215715
THE NATIONAL FOOT & MOUTH GROUP
PRESS RELEASE - 27 JUNE 2001
GROUP SUPPORTS VACCINATION OF HILL FLOCKS
The National Foot & Mouth Group have today backed a call by Dr Ruth Watkins
that graziers with sheep flocks on the Welsh hills should be allowed to
vaccinate their animals.
Dr Watkins, who is a recently retired virologist, has asked DEFRA that she,
and other graziers, be given permission to vaccinate their flocks of Welsh
mountain sheep. The graziers run hefted flocks on the Brecon Beacons and
Welsh Mountains. The 'cynefin' as they are locally known, literally
translates as 'sheep with their own habitat'.
Dr Watkins said "The sheep are an integral part of the landscape in Wales
and derive from ancient flocks going back almost 2000 years. They simply
cannot be replaced. There are a number of unique genetic strains. Any sheep
new to the hills wanders off not knowing where to go, nor can its owner find
it again. With the 'cynefin' the lambs go up to the hills with their
'cynefin' mothers and learn from them their place on the mountain, where to
go for shelter or water, and are familiarised with their flock and their
"If we vaccinated all the sheep on the hills and common land the
of virus would cease on the commons. The welfare problem of providing winter
feedstuff and winter pastures would be solved. Unless this action is taken
we will be facing huge welfare issues throughout the summer, autumn and
winter. When the 'cynefin' sheep return to their farms in the autumn none
will return with an acute infection so a resurgence of the disease will be
avoided. Only 5% of sheep carry virus for as long as 9 months so if we
vaccinate now and halt the spread in the 'cynefin' flocks none will remain
carriers by next summer."
The move has been welcomed by local businesses whose trade has been severely
affected by the closure of the countryside and the devastating losses
suffered by the tourism industry throughout spring and early summer.
Angela Whitlock of Celtic Canoes and Lodge said "As soon as we can get the
countryside opened up and the footpaths and bridleways can be used again
then we may be able to retrieve something of the summer season. If we carry
on with no bookings and no income throughout the rest of the season then we
will see many more businesses go to the wall."
Roy Miller, a farmer from near Welshpool, said "As soon as we vaccinate
clock starts ticking. But if we carry on never knowing when the last
outbreak is going to happen it could be months before we can start planning
and making arrangements to get stock moving and markets reopened. We've got
to be realistic about when we're going to get the export markets back and
we've got to get this disease stopped in its tracks. We need certainty. If
the 'cynefyn' sheep go up on to the hills without vaccinating them we're
looking at months before we're ever going to be clear of the disease. Many
organisations are now saying openly that the subject of vaccination has
never had a proper airing. It certainly deserves it now."
The Group believe that preventative inoculation of susceptible animals
requires proper consideration. Without vaccination the disease will carry on
breaking out throughout the summer and beyond with massive and
disproportionate losses to tourism and the wider rural economy. Rural
communities and their infrastructure have suffered enough and decisive
action is needed now.
Janet Bayley: 01285 644319 Ruth Watkins: 01550 740660 or 07980 827273
Angela Whitlock 01497 847422
The scientific papers supporting Dr Watkins submission are available on
That's quite enough for one night so signing off now.
from Alan & Rosie