Latest News June 7th

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June 7th Black farce at Knowstone continues:

(from SW NFU bulletin) ..MAFF say they are taking legal advice as to their next steps in seeking to cull livestock on two holdings contiguous to the Willmetts farm at Knowstone in North Devon where disease was belatedly confirmed over the week-end....The farmers concerned are asking that the cull be delayed until the results of blood tests on their stock are known, but MAFF have said that - in line with the contiguous culling policy  their sheep must be killed even regardless of the results of the blood tests. At the heart of the matter is the question of why a positive blood test for antibodies in just one of the sheep on the Willmetts farm should have persuaded MAFF to declare a confirmed outbreak almost three weeks after the date of the blood test, and at least four weeks (according to MAFF) after the sheep would have been actively infected.

Bill Norman, chairman of Knowstone Parish Council said it was hard to express how angry people felt: "We've just had enough of the bullying and the awful things that have happened in the parish - animals shot and not dispatched properly."

June 6 Outrage in village of Knowstone

- legal action to be taken against Ministry.The protest underlines the anger felt by the people of Knowstone at the Ministry of Agriculture's attempts to cull apparently healthy animals. Now they are heading for the courts ....Yesterday (June 5th) Maff suffered further humiliation when a sheep which escaped from a farm at Knowstone before it could be slaughtered was hunted down and shot. It is believed the animal was loose in the area for more than 12 hours.

Ministry officials said the latest escape presented no threat to other animals because the cull was just a precautionary measure.

June 5th Maff denies that mass culls

are planned for after the election as William Hague warns. The Guardian asks, "What are we to make of these reports? At every stage of the foot and mouth crisis the people of the countryside have shown themselves to be right while the reassurances of politicians and bureaucrats have been wrong"


June 4th ~Town Close Farm raided at 5.45 a.m. by Maff and police

Inspector Woodley of the Bideford Constabulary, persuaded MAFF to withdraw yesterday evening. Mr. Wilmett won in the High Court during last week. MAFF and police turned up in such strength this morning at 5.45am, Mr Wilmett was overwhelmed and within four hours his healthy stock were slaughtered.

Important Update from Richard North ~ Research Director (European Parliament) EDD 4 June 2001 Six million more to die?

Mark Holdstock - BBC Farming Today programme  would very much like to talk to anyone involved with the present and proposed future activities of MAFF and other Government departments including the army - any field officer or vet etc seconded to MAFF who will talk to him off the record - he will keep any source fully confidential. Mark can be contacted direct on his e-mail as follows:- mark.holdstock@btinternet.com

From Sunday Mail June 3rd :

Read   By Zac Goldsmith Why I believe Labour plans to wipe out farmers like me

June 3rd   NFU plans to sue MAFF

Senior officials in the NFU have revealed they are preparing to sue the Ministry of Agriculture for damages in dozens of cases where unaffected livestock was unnecessarily slaughtered or killed by mistake. Martin Haworth, the union's director of policy, said it was "very likely" that the NFU would take action. "I think there will be a series of test cases and then possibly a series of class actions, depending on the results of the test cases," he said.
Independent on Sunday

Farmer:"I'm Proof of F&M Cover-Up"

a farmer from the Welshpool area, who has asked not to be named, said he had foot-and-mouth disease confirmed on his farm three weeks ago and yet he has still not appeared on the Maff list of confirmed cases. He claims to know of other farmers in the same situation. 'It is absolutely insane,' he said. 'As far as I'm concerned we had foot-and-mouth disease and yet we've not been included in the national statistics
icWales Western Mail

June 2nd

On 2nd June, Campaigners opposed to MAFFs slaughter policy met for a fundraising event in Tapeley Park, North Devon. Speech here

June 1

A special monitoring programme has been launched to protect human health against any risks posed by the mass slaughter of animals caught up in Britain's foot-and-mouth epidemic to involve all relevant government departments and agencies and would focus on the key issues of human health, air quality, water supplies and the food chain. .

May 31

Geoff Bateman, a senior official from the Environment Agency, said he was surprised that MAFF had allowed burials to continue for five weeks when its own guidelines called for incineration. He said that his staff were trying to identify the sites to make sure that they could not contaminate water supplies

May 30th A protest by 500 farmers is planned for today outside the MAFF local headquarters in Exeter

Farmers in Devon are considering legal action against the Government because MAFF is refusing to ease restrictions of movements for slaughter after a fire closed a meat plant at Torrington that was handling 1,000 animals a week.

News from Farmtalking.com may 28

May 27 James Whitaker urges revolt - Mirror

..."Should I go on? Just one more example. These same soldiers are apparently having to "finish off" cows allegedly shot and dispatched by slaughtermen. We are told: "Some are still crawling around, others clearly still alive but unable to move.
"We have to beat them to death with lorry spanners. If people really knew what was going on I'd think there'd be a revolution."
Rise up and revolt I say. Excuse me for a moment - I'm feeling ever so slightly sick. "

May 26 An anti contiguous cull presence in the centre of Bristol in which this leaflet is available

May 26

Maff officials are quoted (in The Telegraph) as saying that at least one in four of 5,850 farms culled as dangerous contacts was infected. This is a "significant" number, the ministry says. It appears to justify the scale of the cull in which three million animals have been slaughtered. "....(even if this is the case, three quarters of these were healthy animals - also quite a significant number) "Senior officials, who have spent two weeks checking the results, hope that they will correct a widespread impression among farmers and vets that the official total of infected cases is too low and that civil servants have been "leant on" to massage the figures during the election campaign." ( they hope in vain; this is an odd article to say the least; WHICH farms were infected? Powys still waiting for any of their 50 "confirmed" cases to be verified as positive. Cumbria in similar situation. )

May 25 - "Maff plans to slash National Herd"

Farmer's Weekly Interactive publishes story:...."Civil servants are considering plans to ensure that Britain's livestock industry, devastated by foot-and-mouth, is unable to return to pre-crisis levels." read more

New fears raised today

that carcass disposal has contaminated water supplies with CJD while milk from cows near disposal pyres may now contain harmful chemicals.

May 24 The Times publishes 8 page pull-out on the FMD crisis (See National News)

May 24 the situation at Beech Grove Farm, Knowstone.

This has been featured in the regional news and we even heard Anthony Gibson of the NFU voicing his qualified support for the Winslade's case to keep their cattle. However, Maff were eventually successful in gaining entry to the farm and have slaughtered the cattle.

May 23 Maff has decided not to pursue legal action

against the farmer in Powys (Mr Winston Lloyd) who has held out against the culling of his healthy stock.

Simon Jenkins writes today in The Times..

The obscenity of the policy is said to be irrelevant because of its success. Yet what other industry would be allowed to protect its profits by paying soldiers to kill piglets with spades and drown lambs in streams? What other industry could get civil servants to bury cattle alive or take potshots at cows from a 60ft range? What other industry can summon teams from Whitehall to roam the lanes of the Forest of Dean, as one frantic farmer telephoned me, like Nazi stormtroopers seeking healthy sheep to kill on the authority of a map reference? I told her pathetically to raise a barricade and call a lawyer. The 3km-cull has now been accepted by Imperial College, with desperate understatement, as over-draconian. ....

the Data Protection Act???

..from today's Telegraph report..."the ministry was not providing details of animals culled on individual farms. Local ministry officials have been ordered not to divulge these details because they would infringe the Data Protection Act. He said: "I cannot see in withholding this information on the total number of animals being slaughtered what personal information is being protected."...

May 22 Labour retract their accusation that broadcasters incited protestors on their campaign trail - think John Prescott -

May 22 Oaklands Farm bloodtest results come back negative

Sixteen new cases of foot-and-mouth in North Yorkshire:suggests a second wave. Channel Four reported May 22 from the area and examined claims that Maff have been massaging the figures.

New Information from Farmtalking.com (see links for address)


Grain Lorries for carcasses


May 16th

Dr Donaldson from Pirbright broke ranks to denounce contiguous cull on the Today programme. Anthony Gibson SW NFU agreed. Prof David King suave but unconvincing.

May 15th

MOSSBURN ~ Scottish Executive Statement

The case has been adjourned and the Mossburn animals will be blood tested.

Received May 15th

Sorry to put a dampener on the jubilation earlier with Tony's wonderful news (re pigs at Blackfordby Hall) but I think we may have a major crisis looming in N Yorks with these Settle cases.

I put a poster on the noticeboard in Settle tonight and one through the library letterbox. We saw one cull lorry wending its way through the town, heading towards Bradford. We then decided to visit the hotel where the army landrovers are neatly parked in the car park and my husband went inside on some pretext of asking for directions. Whilst he was speaking to the receptionist, a smartly suited gentleman (presumably the Manager) was speaking to his mother on the telephone. "It's going to be very bouyant for the next 3 to 4 weeks. Yes, mother, they are all staying here. I'm hearing some horrendous stories even that bleach has been poured down animals throats to make it look like they have FMD". My husband shot out of the hotel in disbelief as to what he had heard.

We then drove down the road to a pub where we knew the owner. The carpark was full of 4X4s and I immediately knew that there must be TVIs here. Well, my dear husband went in on another intelligence mission and found the bar full of "burly" male vets. The owner was quite apologetic for having them staying there - he was full. Nobody else in the bar but them too, no locals. Not all the TVIs are there - apparently there are more elsewhere. The vehicle registrations were from Leeds,W Yorks, Hexham, Northampton, Birmingham and Peterborough.

They had killed 3,500 sheep at Close Farm( ? ) today, which is behind his pub.The farmer stayed to oversee it and was in tears as the last one was destroyed. There was nothing wrong with them.Apparently 400 cattle will be slaughtered tomorrow but we are not sure where. The carcasses are being taken to a rendering plant in Bradford, some are going for rendering in Widnes and the others are going to Catterick (the incineration plant).

We will keep an eye on things locally but there seems to be something very serious brewing here.

Received May 13th by Jonathan Miller (the journalist - see newspaper section)

"I must thank you for keeping our plight in the public domain. The killing is continuing with the borders and

it would appear that they intend to kill all the sheep and goats from the border to a line from Berwick on Tweed to the Soloway. This will be a firebreak so Scotland can start exporting meat again.

It appears that unknown to us the govt applied to the EU for some type of law change for the Borders, Cumbria and Devon that allows them to kill whatever they want. This was agreed and none of us had any idea this was happening. In the Borders the whole operation is being run by Maff's Charles Milne, who has already had many complaints lodged against his arrogant and high handed manner. He also has some of the the most horrific stories of this whole episode attributed to him and his killer vets.Three of these are, Katrina Richie the vet from hell ( read J gouriet the killing fields ), Victoria Cleghorn, assaulted Mrs Hoffe's 70 year old mother when trying to break into there house to kill 5 sheep, Erica Murray the vet trying to cull the Mossburn animal sanctuary at 6am in the morning, and lets not forget Misty the goat, the list is endless. When you speak to the vets on the ground at Dumfries their excuses for this killing of healthy animals is totally unscientific and carries no credability at all.

Our main concern has to be Anne Young in Cumbria. She has been in isolation with her 200 rare breed Merino sheep and 100 alpacas . She has been fighting under the 1981 animal health act , and so far , because of her bio security (second only to the Duke of Westminsters) she has avoided the cull. But now we have found out that they have every right to kill these animals she may have a big problem. Because the way Maff are they just could be planning a dawn raid to take her animals out. These animals have been housed since November and have had no contact with anyone at all, apart from Anne. It is imperative that all these animals are kept alive. You can contact Anne on 01768 870191, 07939 228750."

From May 13

Maff in the Forest of Dean are now blood testing all on A notices instead of culling first and testing afterwards

the news is not permeating to other Maff groups - or anywhere much at all.

Becks Farm - Earlier this week Becks Farm was culled of 1100 healthy breeding ewes

in spite of the fact that the nearby farm Murthorn had its suspected FMD livestock culled almost 10 WEEKS before. See Magnus Linklater's article in The Times, May 10 (magnus.linklater@virgin.net) and also letter from Earl of Dalkeith Please read

Will this Early Day Motion ever see the light of early day?


Mr Tony Banks Tom Cox Mr Mike Hancock John Robertson Mr Gerry Steinberg Norman Godman John Cummings Jeremy Corbyn Bill Etherington AnnCryer 10 signatures so far

That this House acknowledges the appallingly difficult problems posed by the continuing outbreak of foot and mouth disease; looks forward to a full Government inquiry into the causes of the disease with consequential prosecutions of those responsible; congratulates the Minister of Agriculture on his dignified stance throughout these distressing times; and

asks him to call an end to the semi-demented policy pursued by his Department's officials of slaughtering healthy farm and pet animals, the extermination of which creates extreme distress to their owners and owes little or nothing to an appreciation of nature or science.

extract from Sunday Times (Maff 'masks' true foot and mouth tally by Jon Ungoed-Thomas ) today.."

P> Too late for many in England and not applying to Scotland.... came this announcement