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(See also the Great Orton warmwell page about the fact that the overwhelming majority of animals killed at Great Orton had no active foot and mouth virus and no clinical signs of the disease.)

Sent to by Nick Green in Cumbria

GT ORTON, The Real Story
So, some nice trees are to be planted today at Gt Orton airfield, now officially to be called Watchree. In pathetic display of belated compassion by DEFRA, a display that even Cherie Blair would have been proud, it seems that DEFRA are trying to set aside the horror of the Gt Orton killing site. This disused airfield was used to illegally kill more than half  a million sheep. But, this does not tell the whole story. The 1.6 to 1.9 lambs per ewe were never counted. I was told by  a vet working for MAFF that "It would be mind boggling if we knew how many lambs were killed at Gt Orton.
Let us never forget what REALLY happened at this site in 2001. I enclose some extracts of interest.

1. Just sit back and imagine the scene up there in April 2001 at Great Orton. Animal carnage and suffering on a scale never witnessed in this country before. I also would like you to cast your minds back to the same period. A "travellator" ran all day transporting the bodies of killed lambs from the slaughter tents to their resting place in the deep recesses of the now infamous Great Orton airfield. Some, we know, had only been born very, very recently. A TVI told me last year "Nick, it would be mind boggling to know how many lambs we had killed."

No wonder the then Defence Minister Geoff Hoon, despite being allowed one hour to visit the Gt Orton airfield, barely lasted 15 minutes. He left the site very pale and ashen. Obviously this man could not stomach his governments own work. BLOODY COWARD.

2. Let us consider Gt. Orton. The scene of the most horrific massacre known in this country and considered by DEFRA as “A job well done.” Anyone who has been there cannot help to be moved by the aura of the place. It is an unimaginable place, akin to being, I imagine, in hell. It is interesting to note that DEFRA are to convert this English Auschwitz into a nature reserve. ...Hell on earth. The birds do not sing there, nor do they sing at Auschwitz.

 At Gt Orton there were 4 pens containing sheep gathered for slaughter. 600 ewes an hour were slaughtered DEFRA proudly state.

 This means 150 sheep an hour per pen. One slaughter man killed in each pen.

 Therefore a slaughter man could earn: -

 150 X £3 = £450.00 per hour.

A 4 hour morning shift would therefore bring each man:-

 £1,800.00. or £3,600.00 per 8 hr. shift


£18,000 per 5 day week.

Am I naive or is it just possible that the undeniable attraction of earning £18,000 per week may just have contributed to the appalling welfare standards witnessed throughout FMD 2001.


As stated at the GT Orton trial where a man was on trial for killing a fellow slaughter man with a CBI:-


“Poorly organised. Loaded weapons left lying around. There was a shortage of vets on site to oversee the killing.”


“Sheep burying themselves under dead animals in a futile attempt to avoid the slaughter mans gun.”


“Some workers only lasted a day, it was so horrific.”



2. "I have been appalled to be told by experienced vets, that they have killed hundreds of animals during the recent outbreak of FMD, by intra-cardiac injection, without the prior use of a sedative. One even admitted to me that if he found it difficult to get the heart first time, or after a few attempts, he found that injecting into the liver (IP), did the job fine.

 It has become painfully obvious that as far as many vets are concerned, their allegiance to the oath they swore on qualification, in which they promise to  "above all, my constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care” means nothing. "


 3. Imagine now, wherever you emanate from, whatever your background, the scene at Great Orton last year. Hundreds of thousands of healthy animals were killed here in a vicious killing spree over a period of some three months and sponsored by International coward and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

Although impotent organisations such as The RSPCA and the Humane Slaughter Society attended  “well staged” inspections, they were never to see what really went on at the old airfield at Great Orton. As I have documented in earlier reports, we all have a safety mechanism to protect ourselves from mental stress. It involves, in its simplest form, lying to ourselves. Blanking out anything we choose not to believe. A safety valve, sometimes very effective; but not for every one. For some, this simple process is unable to quell the tide of ghastly images forever impinging on the minds of their unfortunate targets.

 One such person I spoke to very recently came from a very traditional rural background. His life was the countryside the countryside was his life. He was not a “bunny – hugger” by any stretch of the imagination. He was however a man of great integrity, honour and honesty with an inbuilt respect for animals. During last years FMD crisis his innate skills were in great need, but as with others like him, his offer of help was initially ignored. This man was a Huntsman. It was only after a slaughter man was killed at Great Orton that this man and others like him were called in to help.

 This man, like the others called up, wished to help the countryside. They were very unaware what to expect in the killing fields of Cumbria. In fact, what they saw here left an indelible mark on them for life. I asked him what affect the period had had on him. He found it hard to put into words simply saying, “It has changed my life.”

 For this man, what he witnessed here in Cumbria has left him traumatised. He told me of teams of sheepdogs, Border Collies, coming from a dirty farm to gather sheep for slaughter. After gathering, they were told that it was the wrong farm. They had to kill all the stock anyway (they and the dogs were designated dirty) even though the sheep and cattle were healthy. They then went on to the “correct farm” and killed them out as well. All in a days work.

 He told me of how numbers were controlled during the four weeks lead up to Blair’s election, the infamous June 7th. Remember how Professor King stated that FMD would skid to a halt by this date? It didn’t and many, many more thousands of animals were killed after this date. In fact, the killing accelerated after the election.

 Once again, imagine you were helping to kill literally thousands of healthy lambs daily. Little lambs, petrified and calling out in desperation for their mothers, who had probably already fallen to the captive bolt gum and pithing rod. Sadly, these lambs would not be allowed this easy route. You see, lambs are hard to kill. They have very soft skulls and the captive bolt gun, used under the orders of the veterinary surgeons, do not kill the lambs. It simply compresses, viciously, their skulls and tears apart their lower jaw. They do not die, they are still very much alive and are thrown down to join the ever growing pile of wriggling, suffering and terribly frightened little animals. They then had to be pithed to kill them and in some cases were also “vented” (had throats cut).

 Imagine holding a day old lamb. Imagine a Spanish TVI, barely able to talk English. Imagine this vet attempting to administer a needle into the heart of this little creature. The lambs were never sedated. Imagine having to hold this little thing whilst our vet has five attempts at killing this lamb. Imagine seeing 4 broken needles sticking from the chest of this animal.

 This actually happened here, at Great Orton last year. In a supposedly civilised society it is difficult to imagine anything like this happening. But it did, many thousands of times. Men like the Huntsman I spoke to did this job for over two months. “ Lots of the boys have not got over it.”  he said.