A short message tonight, but you need to know about the situation at North
Tawton.

Tony and Catherine Ward at Bidbeare Farm, Bondleigh, North Tawton have a
dozen Jacob sheep that have been blood tested with negative results - but
the farm next door has been declared an Infected Premises following the
return of test results as 80% positive.  In the twisted thinking of the
MAFFia, this makes the Ward's land contiguous and they want to kill their
sheep despite the negative test results.  We all know this is crazy, but
that is the situation.  In fact two other farms also judged to be contiguous
have been slaughtered already, presumably the stock owners have given their
consent to this madness.

The Wards are resisting and have taken legal advice (Tony is a barrister so
that should help).  This afternoon a ministry vet visited their premises to
carry out a risk assessment.  There are a few protestors at the gate to give
moral support, leading these is Ro who can be contacted on 01837 810326 or
mobile 07951 864641.  She told us this evening that more bodies on the gate
tomorrow would be very welcome as she cannot be there all day, and she fears
that an early raid may take place as has happened so many times before in
other situations.  So if anyone can be there tomorrow, your prescence could
help.  Ring Ro for the latest situation and directions.

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Lisa at the Heart of Devon office asked us to circulate an appeal for any
video footage of cruelty/bungled slaughter that we are hearing so much of.
Noel Edmonds will make sure that any sent in will be used in the most
effective way.  Ring 01837 851571.

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The last few days have seen frenzied activity around us here as the silage
making season gets into top gear.  Large tractors and trailers whizz up and
down the lanes, in and out of farm gateways, filling up the silage pits
alongside the farm dairies  -  but hang on a minute, what happened to
biosecurity?  There are not even token straw mats to drive across in most
instances - and we are in a 3 km restriction zone.  It's hard to believe
that all these farmers and contractors have got licences to do this and they
are certainly not making much (any?) attempt to clean/disinfect vehicles as
they move on and off the farm.  It's true that some of these farms have no
stock, but that doesn't mean that restrictions can be ignored - does it?  A
friend rang to say that she could see from her window fencing contractors
working in amongst a field of sheep, driving on and off the public road with
no attempt at disinfection procedures.  Some of these are the same people
who are muttering that our sheep are a threat to their stock and their
livelihoods . . . .  and we are still behind locked gates with
disinfection/change of clothing/showers and all the rest of it whenever we
go outside.  Hmmmm.

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We have taken this extract from a message sent to us by Jane (of "diary"
fame):


 I thought you might be interested to know that English Heritage and
MAFF/DEFRA have now agreed that cob buildings can be sucessfully sterilised
by dry brushing down, vacuuming and limewashing.  That's a surprise isn't
it?  Funnily enough it's more or less what I sent off to the DASH Update by
way of advice.  There is a 27 page document to this effect available at
www.english-heritage.org.uk/days-out/footandmouth.asp if you want to tell
people about it.  Their information is hopelessly out of date - addresses of
suppliers from their 1996 'Directory of Building Limes' (which was very
unfavourably reviewed in comparison to my little green book which costs
about one third the price and has far more useful stuff in it!) - they are
too proud to get the latest from me which would give them the right info. in
one fell swoop.

They also have a "further reading" section, and studiously ignore my
practical guide (the ONLY one written for the layman) in favour of some
fabulously learned and obscure stuff published aeons ago for the specialist
reader.  I'm not annoyed because I think I've lost out on potential sales
(I've sold 8,000 steadily over 6 years - they don't come anywhere near that)
but because I know perfectly well that my book would actually make it
possible for people to do a really good lime job that will work for the
building and also against the disease.


Our comment:  There is no charge for this advert Jane!  But seriously, we
have our own dog-eared copy of Jane's excellent book "Lime in Building" and
have also been on a one-day course at her smallholding to learn the
practical side of things.  She really does know her subject and makes it all
very accessible to the ordinary person.  So if you have, or know anyone who
has, a cob building that requires disinfection, E-mail her on:
jane@blackdog.ukf.net

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Lots more will have to wait until tomorrow

from Alan & Rosie