Quoted with gratitude from From Horse and Hound magazine July 5th 2001-
A distressing record of slaughter during the foot-and -mouth crisisBob is not his real name. He is a contractor working for DEFRA (Maff) and fears victimisation were his name to be revealed - the reason for this will become plain.
He is, in his own words, "a stockman, not a slaughterman". He was brought up on his grandfather's farm and was taught to respect all animals, but also to realise their place in the food chain. His grandfather took him to a slaughterhouse when Bob was nine years old.
Thanks to the efficiency of Maff's arrangements, Bob spent many hours sitting in the cab of his machine doing nothing, so he started to keep a diary. In it, he details some of the things he saw, as well as things he heard from wagon drivers, solicitor, soldiers, vets and MAFF men. dates and names have been omitted to protect the recors. Diary excerpts are reproduced in Bob's own words. people will find much of what follows deeply distressing.
Mid-March"120 cattle slaughtered this morning, what a sight. they shot a bull and he just would not die. He was shot four times and pithed every time; he justb would not go."
Note: captive bolt guns are used on the cull. A blank cartridge fires a 4in steel bolt into the skull and a strong spring then retracts the bolt. This stuns the beast and a steel rod is thrust through a hole into the brain to achieve quietus - this is "pithing".
Lambs are supposed to be killed with a lethal injection, but Bob was often asked to hold them while they were shot, the bolt going through the skull and often blowing the bottom jaw off. One man told Bob that he had not yet seen a lamb injected on any of the farms he had been on, but vets are thought to be charging for the injections.
Bob says:"It should be Blair and Brown doing this and getting splashed with brains and blood from little lambs.
One wagon driver rang the RSPCA and was told that Trading Standards was responsible for animal welfare: "Animal rights have given so much money to this government and are so far up Blair's backside they haven't been seen since 23 February, 2001"
Early April"Wagon driver tells of wagon body full of cattle splitting while in transit.
"Sheep still not dying fast enough, slaughtermen moving so fast through the pen tht shot sheep are trying to get back on their feet.
JCB driver telling me he witnessed young lambs having their throats cut on a farm in Northumberland.
The farmer had to shoot his last 20 sheep himself because the slaughtermen ran out of blanks.
"Told about cow shot yesterday - as they tried to pith her, she stood up and ran round the barn. Six slaughtermen jumped on her and shot her twice more. She must have been demented with fear. Every slaughter and welfare rule is broken here and MAFF just stand by and watches.
"Run-off from decontamination plant running down ditch and into stream. MAFF ignores this.
Story of police marksman taking 25 shots to kill eight beasts - farm worker told me this and counted shots personally. no one seems to care. I think the mentality is that this is ut of control, so why bother? Better half thinks I'm touchy and bad tempered, I wonder why?"
Mid-April"Stories going around that this is big government plan to reduce livestock numbers i the UK, it's working. reports on TV about spread of FMD always followed by statement that illegal animal movements are probably to blame, yet MAFF is licensing wagons that are leaking blood all over the countryside. it's not true that everywagon departure is overseen by MAFF, most times it's just a young squaddie.
Wagons in Cumbria are water tested fro leks. In Northumberland and Durham they jut give us another bag of shavings to saok up the blood."
Late May"Told today that the only way to open the Roman Wall for tourists is to slaughter along its full length. this bears out the statement to me by vet some weeks ago that 'there'll be nothing left alive between Carlisle and Newcastle."
JuneStory of marksman shooting cattle in a pen with .243 rirle. he took 35 shots to kill 14 animals, bullets passing through one animal and striking another behind. MAFF stood and watched. Tthe farmer walked away crying.Vet told me today that more animals are being killed at this time than during any period of the whole crisis.
Worker cleaning on farm where 1,500 animals had been killed told to disinfect round a jackdaw's nest for "conservation reasons". Nest full of hair and wool from dead animals.
"Had enough of this madness and called it a day" (copyright H&H)