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ARCHIVE JAN 2005 - JULY 30 2005

July 30 2005 ~ Three US astronomers have found a 10th planet, the largest object found in our Solar System since 1846. BBC A giant patch of frozen water has been photographed nestled with an unnamed impact crater on Mars. BBC

July 30 2005 ~ Pro-hunt campaigners have lost their second High Court challenge to laws outlawing hunting with dogs.

July 29 2005 ~ US BSE "Dr. John Clifford, head veterinarian for the United States Department of Agriculture...... : "In this case, we had some staining, but the staining did not match up with what they would typically see in a BSE case. It didn't have the normal distribution it would see within the samples." MeatingPlace.com

July 29 2005 ~ Freak tornado Twenty people were injured when it ripped through south Birmingham on Thursday PA

July 29 2005 ~ 50% drop in marine species The variety of species in the world's oceans has dropped by as much as 50 percent in the past 50 years, according to a paper published today in the journal Science. Washington Post
Vital marine species under threat Guardian

July 28 2005 ~ Conservative Animal Welfare Group. "The illegal Bush meat trade is a game of Russian roulette with the bullets being: Foot & Mouth disease, Swine fever, Avian flu, Ebola, Monkey Pox, SARS" says this press release from "CAWG". "...The trade is illegal, the risks to the UK both in human and animal terms are significant. This trade also adds to the destruction of endangered species in other parts of the world. Turning a blind eye to the Bush Meat trade is both dangerous and morally indefensible." See also Dirty Meat pages on warmwell.

July 28 2005 ~ Avian Influenza - vaccination: ProMed "....Viet Nam .... Reportedly, vaccinations will begin 1 Aug 2005 at commercial poultry operations and smaller household farms in northern Nam Dinh province and southern Tien Giang province in the Mekong Delta. - Mod.AS"

July 28 2005 ~ 9-5 job "Same over here," writes a farmer from Germany, referring to the email below, " the last one who made a suggestion ("What about doing B & B? It's such a wonderful place you live in..") I sent away and told him not to come back before he had managed to get himself a job with the mail delivery services. Once he had delivered all the letters and has managed to do his office job properly he is very welcome to come back with some more good ideas..."

July 28 2005 ~".....The very latest insult comes in the form of an extremely expensively produced magazine from the Rural Development Service entitled Options for Change Your Farm Your Business Your Future in which, under Livestock Farmers, comes the suggestion that everyone should get a 9 - 5 job as well. .." email about this, about DEFRA howlers and about waiting and waiting for a taxi if you do not look British...

July 28 2005 ~ US BSE The government is investigating another possible case of mad cow disease, the Agriculture Department said yesterday. Washington Post

July 28 2005 ~ The plans to build a £57m road and visitor centre at Stonehenge have been rejected by Salisbury district council ..." a move greeted by cries of triumph from local residents and of astonishment even from some opponents of the scheme" Guardian.

July 28 2005 ~ Sometimes emails arrive that seem to justify the apparently disparate nature of the issues on warmwell. They show that other readers join up the dots too. This email is such a one. And this one disagrees that a parallel can really be made...to which this restrained riposte, received at midday.

July 28 2005 ~ New Zealand. Following the FMD scare in May, reports TVNZ " there is some disquiet among farmers who believe they were left out of the loop during the feared outbreak. There is frustration too that farm leaders were given no advance warning of the scare, and that just months earlier there had been no farm involvement in an operation to test New Zealand's preparedness for foot and mouth....This year is the 60th anniversary of Federated Farmers and with an election looming, outgoing president Tom Lambie reminded those present that the federation "speaks with a credibility that cannot be matched by a politician or bureaucrat, no matter how well intentioned"."

July 28 2005 ~ "The oil giant's profits - equivalent to £1.3m an hour - were in line with the figures released by its rival BP earlier this week, which established a new record for a UK company..." peak oil news

July 28 2005 ~ Climate Change In a paper that has been described as "weep-silently-aplogize-to-your-children-and- throw-yourself-out-a-window depressing," Tim Dyson of the London School of Economics says "....Apropos carbon emissions and climate change, however, it is argued here that not only is major behavioral change unlikely in the foreseeable future, but it probably wouldn't make much difference even were it to occur. In all likelihood, events are now set to run their course...... it is worth considering the notion that the very interdependent complexity and high degree of specialization that characterize the world's most economically advanced countries could be a potential source of vulnerability for some of them..." (pdf in new window)

July 28 2005 ~ Tireless Bryn Wayt has responded to warmwell's wail of frustration yesterday at not being able to locate Defra's Hornbeam report on the part of the Defra website where it was said to be... Here is an account of his own finally successful attempt to track it down (but not on the DEFRA website).

July 27 2005 ~ FMD Directive One of the stakeholders who attended, at his own expense, a DEFRA meeting on Monday to discuss the transposition of the FMD EU Directive and the implications of control strategies on the Processing and Retail Industry was, at first, refused entry in spite of having confirmed attendance on two separate occasions. Questions were sent out for consideration by attendees after office hours on Friday for Monday morning's meeting (see also Front Page). The Chairman's area of expertise appears to centre on the Rural Payments Agency. Recent requests to DEFRA for minutes, notes or action points from these meetings have so far failed to produce results. If Defra meetings - at its own premises in Page Street - are poorly organised, what hope for an outbreak of FMD anywhere in the country?

July 27 2005 ~Georgina Downs, the campaigner who continues to receive emails and letters from people all over the country reporting clusters of various cancers, leukaemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and neurological problems along with many other medical conditions, has applied for a Judicial Review in the High Court. It is currently "stayed" pending the outcome of a Royal Commission study. However, a report published in the US today will add fuel to her assertion that pesticide exposure constitutes an unacceptable health risk. See her press release today and our page on her unstoppable fight against the largely unregulated pesticide use in the UK.

July 26 2005 ~ DEFRA's website. Anyone looking for Defra's report on Operation Hornbeam on their somewhat labyrinthine website will eventually find on the page entitled DEFRA PUBLISHES REPORT ON EXERCISE HORNBEAM a hopeful looking link to the report on Operation Hornbeam. It leads to the index page for the Contingency Plan. So does the link for the Contingency Plan. One does rather wonder what would happen if DEFRA were reduced to asking for small donations to help keep their website online. Our own pages on Operation Hornbeam are a little easier to locate - but can anyone direct us to DEFRA's own report on its FMD simulation exercise? (They could!)

July 26 2005 ~ GM superweed has been found in the UK. Telegraph "The plant, which is resistant to some types of weed killer, is the result of GM oilseed rape cross-breeding with a common weed in farm scale trials." Friends of the Earth (FoE) said the finding, which comes less than a month after the UK tried to persuade other European countries to lift their own bans on growing GM oilseed rape, raises serious concerns about the impact of growing GM oilseed rape in Britain. GM page latest

July 26 2005 ~ Cepheid has announced that it has identified a software bug in one function of the diagnostic software utilized in conjunction with its SmartCycler® system. The company has notified its customers of a simple work-around that permits continued reliable use of the system. See press release

July 26 2005 ~ oil prices "....Campbell reserved his harshest criticism for the way that oil executives remunerate themselves, especially at such a volatile time in the oil marketplace. “It is obscene what these people pay themselves, absolutely obscene. And of course once again these huge payments to executives are included in the balance sheet as running costs, offset against tax.." See peak oil pages

July 26 2005 ~ Defra has announced on its website that a pilot programme of lay TB cattle testing is to start next month. "The 'Veterinary Surgery (Testing for Tuberculosis in Bovines) Order 2005' permits trained and competent State Veterinary Service Animal Health Officers, under direct veterinary supervision, to carry out tuberculin testing, and measure and record the results. The pilot is expected to involve up to 11,000 tests and 18 Animal Health Officers and 4 Senior Animal Health Officers..."

July 25 2005 ~ The future of warmwell.com. An offer to contribute towards keeping the website's archive at least open on the internet by paying some of the technical costs involved has been received. Please do email warmwell if you would like to help me to cover these costs.
The Coordination Action website on FMD and CSF (new page), also has up to date news and readers' forum.

July 24 2005 ~ Fishing "Mr Bradshaw, no doubt, will continue to maintain that the conduct of the French is "exemplary", while his officials continue to harass British fishermen in every way they can devise..." From Booker's Notebook today

July 24 2005 ~ Concreting over green fields.. Sunday Times Focus on Mr Prescott ".... Bulldozing thousands of historic Victorian terraces, concreting over green fields, giving the nod to a tower block that will shadow the Houses of Parliament. .."

July 24 2005 ~ Solar energy. Until now, solar panels have been expensive and not really practical for most people. The news extract suggests that efficient and less expensive panels are on the way. "...Ordinary, flat-plate solar modules have their entire sun-receiving surface covered with costly silicon solar cells and are positioned at a fixed tilt to the sun. In contrast, Amonix's systems offer significant cost savings by using inexpensive flat, plastic Fresnel lenses as an intermediary between the sun and the cell. These magnifying lenses focus and concentrate sunlight approximately 250 times onto a relatively small cell area."

July 24 2005 ~ ProMed on FMD in China ".....Since 13 May 2005, 9 outbreaks of FMD serotype Asia 1 have been officially notified to the OIE by the Chinese authorities. They are located in 7 provinces, spread over distances of about 4000 km, from the far eastern parts of China (Jiangsu, Shandong, Hebei and Beijing) to the centre (Gansu), midwest (Qinghai) and the far north west (Xinjiang autonomous region)...This situation puts the countries bordering China at risk....."

July 24 2005 ~The suspected avian influenza in Russia is " unlikely to pose a threat to humans, a senior Health Ministry official said on Friday [22 Jul 2005]. " according to ProMed in this report, which also carries a useful paragraph of explanation: " Avian influenza virus is split into strains [serotypes] such as H5 and H7. Both of these have the potential to be high or low pathogenic [in birds]. Of the H5 strain, there are potentially 9 different subtypes such as H5N1, H5N2 and H5N3. The deadly strain of the virus that has struck Asia recently is the high-pathogenic H5N1 type that can be transmitted to humans."

July 21 2005 ~ Professor Hugh Pennington has predicted that up to two million Britons could die from a mutated form of the H5N1 virus. However, as far as anyone yet knows, the virus has not mutated. One wonders at the reason for such scaremongering at the Daily Mail and elsewhere. ProMed's July 15 entry about the conflicting results in Vietnam was worrying - but not in any way reason for a global scare.

July 21 2005 ~Traceability "... has become a buzzword in the food industry. Consumer demands for higher-quality foods and more variety have never been greater. Spurred on by recent food scares around the world, such as mad cow disease and bioterrorism fears, governments are forcing the adoption of food traceability systems. Everyone from producer to retailer will be affected by food traceability. This state-of-the-art review deals with the key topics of traceability - technology, law, forecasts and case studies. A must read for anyone involved in the food industry." www.idtechex.com

July 21 2005 ~ " James Roth, director of Iowa State's Center for Food Security and Public Health.... told the Senate Agriculture Committee that the government should develop animal vaccines that could be deployed within 24 hours.." Desmoines Register

July 20 2005 ~ Newcastle Disease French authorities "undertook active surveillance and sampling which has now allowed them to conclude by blood sampling that birds on one farm have been exposed to the ND virus in the Loire Atlantique "Departement" of France..... and have reported the incident to both the EU Members States and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) today.... investigations in both countries must continue....." ProMed Digest.

July 20 2005 ~ FMD epidemic policies- truth will out? An email from a reader who asks for anonymity: "The art of spinning did not work for the Lions rugby tour" (see BBC) " - no amount of rhetoric from Campbell could alter the score - so perhaps there is a message here for the abolition of spin in politics?
Stephen Byers, under oath, has admitted to lying - perhaps we might discover a similar trait if our Prime Minister was to be examined under oath for matters such as the 2001 FMD epidemic and the war in Iraq. He can protest as much as he likes about inquiries, but on no occasion has he had to give evidence under oath..." Read email and ethics test that readers may have seen before - but still makes one smile.

July 20 2005 ~ Climate Change "... many questions remain unresolved, ..."Lords a Leaping is written by Cécile Philippe, director of the Molinari Economic Institute, an independent, non-profit, non-partisan research and educational institute. It is about the report from the Committee for Economic Affairs of the House of Lords - which " recognizes that the Kyoto Protocol will have only a very small impact on lowering global warming ... unlikely the plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will succeed.... invites the British government to review its energy and climate policies." The final paragraph says of the House of Lords, its members remind us of truths too often kept from the public.

July 20 2005 ~ Bees ".. it didn't take long to find just the right academic..... Getting hold of DEFRA for a statement was a bit more difficult, but finally one was dictated down the phone... Michael hoped this meant there might be movement, that maybe DEFRA was going to change its mind; I was less convinced..." Extract from Today Programme Newsletter
See below for what DEFRA is doing to its Honeybee Health Programme "....all to save £250,000, and to show dutiful compliance with a directive many other countries will ignore."

July 20 2005 ~ RCVS Consultation - - The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 - is now open for public consultation.
Mona has written an email telling us that a" Regulation of veterinary services under review is being conducted by the Royal College of Veterinary surgeons (RCVS), "and they are looking for input from animal owners" She notes that a response is required by August 1st

July 19 2005 ~ EU outlines plans to relax BSE restrictions The EU's TSE Roadmap is dated 15th July. "...any relaxation, although scientifically justified, may call upon the political courage of the Member States to reduce the current measures in place..." says the "Roadmap". Now, evidently feeling that there's no time like the present to demonstrate "political courage", the FSA will hold stakeholder meetings in the UK " to discuss proposed changes to the Over Thirty Months Rule (one of the BSE Controls) and the outcomes of recent trials of BSE testing.." They are to be held between the 25th and 29th July. See also front page

July 19 2005 ~ CAP ~ Euro MP Jonathan Evans, leader of the European Conservatives on Margaret Beckett's address to the European Commissioners last week icwales: "When she was asked what Tony Blair meant when he called for CAP reform she could not say.... when she was asked what the UK's plans were for reform she was not able to respond. Half the commissioners walked out of the meeting at that point because they felt there was no point in carrying on the dialogue if there was nothing to be said."

July 19 2005 ~ Fishing WMN "The industry has moved on but the ministry has not. It's clear that they just want their pound of flesh." Jim Portus, chief executive of the South West Fish Producers' Organisation, said the accused men would strongly contest the charges said that any fishermen who were penalised with large fines could face bankruptcy. Mr Portus added that soaring fuel prices were exacerbating the problem..." Yesterday's cases were heard at Newton Abbot Magistrates Court. All were adjourned until August, when trial dates will be set.

July 19 2005 ~ a new Sustainable Energy Europe campaign was launched today by the European Commission “This campaign will promote better living standards, stimulate economic growth, create jobs and enhance the competitive position of European industry on world markets,” said European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

July 19 2005 ~ There are now extreme weather conditions throughout Europe. Drought in France, Spain and Portugal - where cattle are dying - and floods in Germany, Austria and the East. See report in the Independent As for the UK, the drought conditions in the South East are described (also in the Independent) as "critical". Phil Burston, the RSPB's senior water policy officer is quoted: "To save our wetlands, our wildlife and the livelihoods that depend on them, we must stop wasting so much water in homes and gardens, build houses to the highest water efficiency standards and force water companies to address their shameful rate of water leakage. Failure to do it will see our wetlands ruined and billions of pounds squandered on unnecessary new reservoirs and more desalination plants."

July 19 2005 ~ BSE"......on the Canadian front. Prior to the ban, the U.S. imported about one million head of cattle per year, many of which went to slaughterhouses and meat-packing plants in northern states. Those plants are now at risk of being shut down; already, 7,800 jobs have been lost to protectionism. Then there is the cost to consumers: Beef prices have risen by 20% since the ban took effect, no small price to pay for burying one mad cow..." Interesting article in Truth abut Trade org. daring to question the BSE/vCJD link and deploring mad cow protectionism.

July 19 2005 ~ Common Fisheries Policy. Seen on a Forum ".....On Saturday we had a stall at the local Fish Docks Open Day ( Grimsby) and were handing out leaflets condemning the CFP. The response was great with the vast majority of people whole heartedly supporting the cause. But one guy emphatically refused to accept a leaflet. I was so astonished at his hostility that I asked him why he was refusing to support the British Fishing Industry.
" I'm from the Opposition" said he.
Puzzled... I asked who that might be.
"Defra" he replied.
Now if that don't say it all!"

July 18 2005 ~ DEFRA spending on legal fees and consultancy :"Figures supplied in a Parliamentary answer to the Lib-Dem MP Andrew George show that Defra has spent more than £480 million on "consultants and professional services" in the last three years, with a £180 million bill run up last year alone. ..." WMN reports on DEFRA's 480 million pound bill for "consultants and professional services" in the last three years. (DEFRA spent £42 million on disease prevention and £63 million on animal welfare, according to its annual report .) Read in full

July 18 2005 ~ Dirty Meat. Dr Yunes Teinez writes, "Please feel free to reprint the letters . There is a slow progress but the issue of the hot meat from licensed plants is affecting the meat safety in the UK due to the fact that the slaughtered ewes are very thin, not kept to set for 24 hours for fitness, and then sent to the market mis-described: for the Muslim as Halal , for the African as "goats"....usually ending as mince, to schools, hospitals and the kebab industry.
The reality is that this type of meat is unfit for human consumption."

July 17 2005 ~ Wind farms " Scottish Tories have called for a rethink of energy policy and a moratorium on controversial windfarm proposals. .." Scotland on Sunday

July 17 2005 ~ "Britain's farmers are being forced to throw away as much as a third of their fruit and vegetables — most of it perfectly edible — because supermarkets are imposing ever-tougher rules on its cosmetic appearance. .." Sunday Times

July 17 2005 ~ Booker's Notebook today says of the EU Directive about vitamins and supplements (see also below) : " There is no scientific reason for the new law. Its greatest beneficiaries will be the pharmaceutical companies who have lobbied for it in Brussels, because it will drive thousands of their smaller competitors out of business. They have freely used bogus science to whip up a scare that misuse of food supplements can cause adverse reactions (albeit in only a tiny minority of users), while hiding away the fact that tens of thousands of people each year suffer much more serious, even fatal health damage from their own proprietary drugs, all licensed, at vast expense, as being safe to use."

July 17 2005 ~ On the subject of Ben Bradshaw (see below) and Stephen Byers, Booker also has a few words to say: "...what it is that can so isolate ministers from reality that they can claim in the most brazen manner that black is white in this way. Yet these are the men who have the power to both make and enforce the law." Booker's Notebook

July 17 2005 ~ On the same subject, Simon Jenkins today on "This is a good week to bury the ministers with a licence to steal" See also warmwell's updated blog page (new window)

July 16 2005 ~ Wind turbines - An accident involving a 70 ft wind turbine has happened between Dittmansdorf and Neukirchen in Saxony. A defect in the lower segment of the steel tower is apparently the cause. The crashed turbine is not a pretty sight. Damage is estimated at about two million euros. report

July 16 2005 ~ Meat Scandal An end to "hot meat"? Hundreds of old cull ewes, often in a deplorable condition, are slaughtered every day at Meat Hygiene Services licensed plants. The meat is transported without proper refrigeration for the Muslim markets all over the country, often reaching the markets in a condition unfit for human consumption. The updated DirtyMeat page (New page) reports on progress following the ICC letter to Shaheen Zar of the Meat Fraud and Diversity Branch Enforcement Division at the FSA.

July 16 2005 ~ First case of Newcastle Disease in the UK for eight years. 9,000 pheasants in Surrey are to be culled. The affected pheasant chicks are just two weeks old and were imported from France a fortnight ago. The Times and the Telegraph carry the story. Valerie Elliott writes that it has " led to an immediate ban on all exports of live birds, hatching eggs, meat and eggs outside the European Union. The disease is as damaging to the poultry industry as foot-and-mouth is to livestock."

July 15 -16 2005 ~ Coordinated Action website "To make this a broad and responsive platform, we seek your participation, especially to contribute to the online discussion fora on topics of interest.." After more than four long years, a hopeful sign. There were so many empty references to the "best scientific advice" in 2001; here at last is the project that will coordinate the real thing. Read the announcement of the website for the EU FMD/CSF Coordinated Project. Front page "Breaking News"
After only a quick look at the site, one page particularly to be recommended is FMD control policies – who decides and on whose advice?

July 15 -16 2005 ~The schools tuberculosis vaccination programme for young teenagers is to be dropped after more than 50 years in favour of a system aimed at babies in the population who are most at risk. Telegraph

July 15 -16 2005 ~ Food Miles "More than half the food imported into the UK could be grown in this country according to a new report released last night, that warns the environmental cost of so-called "food miles" has reached £9 billion a year. The report, commissioned by the Government, explodes the myth that the huge growth in food imports has been driven purely by consumer demand for exotic or out-of-season produce..." WMN

July 15 -16 2005 ~ Bird flu is suspected to have caused the deaths of three people in Indonesia, the health minister says. BBC

July 15 -16 2005 ~ "International scientists say they have sequenced the genomes of three parasites responsible for diseases that kill more than 150,000 people a year. ...... Chagas disease, African sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis caused by the three pathogens. It might even be possible to make vaccines, they told Science journal. " BBC

July 14-15 2005 ~ "....The Government's target figure for Britain's 2010 saving in carbon dioxide emission by means of all renewable electricity generation in Britain is 9.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This amount is less than four ten-thousandths of the global carbon dioxide emission of nearly 25,000 megatonnes per year recorded by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. " See letters in yesterday's Telegraph

July 14-15 2005 ~ Norm in Australia writes, "I see you have a letter on the UK governments 'Global Warming' strategy captured from the Telegraph. Well here is a website that has an alternative view on the weather and prediction.."

July 14-15 2005 ~ The march of bovine TB. The discovery that bovine TB had been found in pigs in Cornwall " is unusual and unwelcome" says BBC South West Environment Correspondent Adrian Campbell. The later BBC report quotes Andy Biggs, president of the British Cattle Veterinary Association, who said "the evidence so far showed the disease had been confined to the farm." There is no risk of bovine TB spreading to humans, says the BBC. A senior ProMed moderator does not appear to be so sure: "If the current situation continues, it might be only a matter of time before humans are infected."

July 14-15 2005 ~ New Zealanders are no longer allowed to feed family pigs untreated food scraps from the family kitchen. Stuff.NZ reports that "a campaign is underway to advise dozens of backyard operators who keep a handful of pigs that they must comply with the new regulations."
The cost is now going to skyrocket. The unconfirmed blame for the UK's FMD outbreak in 2001 on swill and the inflated fear about BSE have led to global restrictions on small farmers . If only one could really feel confidence that it is common sense that drives these regulations. At a time when the price of oil is going to make it harder and harder for foodstuffs to travel long distances the ability of small farmers to produce their own food should surely be encouraged.

July 14-15 2005 ~ Last June, the Times reported on a Zoological Society of London report calling for a unified national agency that would track animal disease continuously through clinical, post-mortem and population studies. " It could also employ newer methods of disease tracking such as satellite monitoring, which can be used to identify weather patterns such as El Niño that can be linked to outbreaks of animal disease. "

July 14-15 2005 ~ a pill for every ill or a no-brainer?
Guardian "Launching the report yesterday, the government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, said that brain-enhancing drugs developed to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's were likely to find increased use among healthy people looking to improve their perception, memory, planning or judgment..."

July 12- 13 2005 ~ Wind power: The WMN reports that "crucial sections of the guidance to planners on consulting the public over windfarm applications were produced by a consultant for the British wind industry.....The report, Wind Power in the UK, is being distributed to councillors, planners and environmental decision-makers and is presented as a "good practice guide to ensure decisions are based on a good understanding of the real issues"...... one of the report's main consultants was David Milborrow, who has strong links with the wind industry."

July 12- 13 2005 ~ "....after a series of replies deemed insubstantial or misleading, at least five MEPs left, prompting an apology from Ms Beckett..." The Independent reports that Mrs Beckett was repeatedly challenged in Brussels yesterday over the UK's calls for a thorough reform of agriculture spending up to 2013 . Her replies were considered misleading and evasive.

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ The CLA has urged the government to give a greater role to biofuels and biomass when developing its policies on climate change FWi
See also "Green Fuels maintains that one tonne of oilseed rape will, when crushed, produce on average 350-litres of oil. The set-up, which includes Alvan Blanch's new XT150 press and Green Fuels' processing plant, will produce 300-litres each day and is anticipated to cost in the region of £15,000. "Although this seems to be a fairly high capital cost, it's an investment which will easily pay for itself within a year," says Mr Hygate." FWi

July 11 - 13 2005 ~

(One would feel a certain sympathy for Mr Bradshaw as a matter of fact, were it not for his extraordinary outburst. A close reading does indeed support the view that the suggestion was "kite-flying" - and the response duly noted. However, the whole affair underlines two deplorable aspects of government - the ungoverned arrogance of some of its Ministers and the lack of clarity - unintentional or deliberate - in government documents. Such impenetrable communication is - especially for a government that says it believes in "improved access to information and wider participation of the public in decision-making processes .." - very much to be regretted.

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ Sites chosen for new windfarms will be revealed by the Welsh Assembly Government when it unveils its energy strategy later on Tuesday. BBC

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ The European Court has decided to tighten rules on the sale of vitamin and minerals. "... The HFMA and NAHS argued the directive was an unlawful restriction on freedom to trade, that implementation would impose an unnecessary burden on British business and there are no reasons to believe it is necessary to protect consumers' welfare." BBC

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ Bovine TB: Steve Dube reports on the NFU badger cull plan icwales. ".. measures would tackle a problem that is harmful to badgers as well as farmers and livestock and that could not wait for the results of current trials into the effects of culling badgers. ..... "The measures are aimed at diseased badger populations, and do not threaten the thriving badger population as a whole." Tim Bennett See also BBC
( In the UK, the number of farmers diversifying away from cattle to reduce the risk to their businesses is on the increase. )BBC

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ WMN "Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw used a television debate yesterday to accuse the Western Morning News of lying about a fishing report. London Editor Jason Groves reckons the Minister should be a little more careful with his facts before being so free with his language..." Read in full and see the relevant part of the report here

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ Cornish fishing leader and Caradon Conservative councillor Sheryll Murray, of Millbrook, appeared on the programme. She said:

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ An antidote to rage? See windfarm game at SOCME. Windfarm page or Run the programme from here

July 11 - 13 2005 ~ BSE: USDA has killed the 29 herdmates of the BSE positive cow in Texas.....in spite of an earlier report from Chron.com that said none had tested positive and that no more testing was to take place.
USDA's own website asserts " There is no evidence that the disease is transmitted through direct contact or animal-to-animal spread."
We read at Charlotte.com

It is interesting how many journalists seem to be certain both about "how the disease first spread" and the necessity of killing herd mates of a disease that has never been shown to be contagious.
Adlyfe, Inc. has developed a sensitive blood test for protein folding diseases that could provide earlier diagnosis of BSE, "possibly before visible symptoms occur." The test has been under development for three years under the support of the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health.

July 9 - 10 2005 ~ The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) met in Kuala Lumpur this week and have produced a $100 million plan to reduce the likelihood that bird flu could spread to humans. The strategy includes compensating farmers when they report disease, compensation for the culling of infected flocks and paying for poultry vaccination in high-risk areas. "Without international support, poor countries will not be able to battle bird flu," Dr. Domenech said. Joseph Domenech has called on all governments to step up animal vaccination programs. See Environment News Service or read here in full

July 8 - 10 2005 ~ According to FWi, in the past financial year DEFRA spent almost £180 million pounds on “consultancy and professional services” – more than on its environment strategy (£165m) or on animal welfare (£63m), disease prevention (£65m) and forestry (£125m). Norman Baker, the Lib Dems’ shadow environment secretary: “With many British farmers struggling to make ends meet and environmental projects crying out for funding, why is the government throwing so much money at private consultants when it has its own civil servants and independent experts queuing up to give free advice?”

July 8 - 10 2005 ~ Windfarms latest. Sir Donald Miller, late of Scottish Power, submitted evidence at the Whinash Inquiry.

July 8 - 10 2005 ~ PMWS. Australia's pig producers may sue the Federal Government, if it is confirmed the disease has entered the national herd. ABC.net

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ Avian influenza has reached the Phillipines. It is not yet clear if it is the H5N1 strain. BBC

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ Hill farming. The Western Morning News has three articles today. None pulls any punches "The dire financial prospects facing many Westcountry hill farmers stem from the way the Government chose to implement the Common Agricultural Policy reforms in England."
Mrs Browning, the Tory MP for Tiverton and Honiton, said. "In many of these upland areas there is simply no substitute for grazing by livestock. It is all very well the Government talking about environmental payments, but you cannot get machinery and equipment up on to the moors, nor would you want to. You do wonder whether Margaret Beckett understands all this."

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ The National Trust says it has carried out an analysis of farming on 370,000 acres in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and Moors, Peak District and Northumberland and the Telegraph headline is Hill farms on edge of extinction, warns National Trust The NT told Charles Clover that it had carried out the analysis after being faced with an outcry about its decision over High Yewdale( see warmwell pages) Charles Clover writes

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ Test results expected in the next two days will determine whether the pig disease, post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), has entered Australia for the first time. See ABC.net

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ Cancer in the UK. Norm has added to the email sent yesterday. Among other quotations, we read: "....At least 18 tonnes of Depleted Uranium weapons have been test-fired in Britain at army ranges in Kirkcudbright and Cumbria. Most of the munitions landed in the Solway Firth, where they remain..."

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ The San Francisco Chronicle says, "There is no evidence to date that the bird flu virus can be transmitted readily among humans, but epidemiologists fear that it could easily." The article quotes UC Davis veterinarian Dr. Carol Cardona, an expert on avian influenza..."This virus has been around for nearly a decade, and human movement of domesticated birds usually explains it, '' she said. "If birds get sick, they don't walk far, but people walk far with them.''

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ A day of bad news. Avian influenza has been found in migratory wild geese in China. USA Today calls it "an ominous development that could allow the virus to spread .... to parts of southern Asia not yet infected, as well as into Europe, say the authors of the Nature report" and also talks of the "futile" attempt to stop the disease by culling. "25 million chickens have been killed in a futile effort to stop the virus"

July 7 - 10 2005 ~ Oil is now at $61. www.chicagotribune.com

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ On the very day that Tony Blair opens the G8 summit with a focus on global warming, the House of Lords Select Committee on economic affairs has reached some uncomfortable conclusions for him - and for Professor King, Sir Robert May et al - ( interestingly, members of the same group whose actions over FMD in 2001 caused such destruction and misery.) The Committee chaired by Lord Wakeham, says in its report that the Kyoto protocol will make little difference to rates of warming and that "serious questions" are being raised about the IPCC; "....there are concerns about the objectivity of the international panel of scientists that has led research into climate change ." See press reports new window (Wednesday) See also what Professor Dennis Bray said about scientific consensus and why Chris Landsea resigned from the IPCC

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ Dependency on debt was the subject of an enlightening email last week. 34,215 people have now signed the petition against secured debt adverts on Children's TV and 53 MPs have signed the Early Day Motion here There is apparently no sign that TV channels are about to take any notice.

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ The Register's Charles Arthur on the big politics behind the science of the energy crisis:

July 5 - 7 2005 ~"... The problem is that renewables like wind, waves and solar can't cover the energy shortfall once the UK's nuclear power stations go offline around 2020; presently fission produces 25 per cent of the UK's electricity. Building more nuclear fission stations looks the easy option, but Margaret Beckett, at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, hates them and talks them down as fiercely as King talks them up. .." (read in full)

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ Norm in Australia has looked at the Telegraph article; Revealed for the first time: the cancer map of Britain and notes "a very remarkable coincidence" not mentioned in the article. Could the depleted uranium used at military firing ranges behind the highest incidence? - (and is anyone able to open, rather than merely save, the pdf file at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/cancer0705.pdf?)

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ From the icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk "...Big dogs have such a bad reputation. Trooper, who is a rescue dog, has not only overcome what he has been through but his determination to look after Edith meant he overcame his disability and his fears. Edith could have been lying on the floor for hours if it wasn't for Trooper. She is devoted to the dog, I think she would kill anyone who tried to hurt him."
(regular readers may like to know that Morgan, too, is considerably better.)

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ Britain received its first-ever shipment of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Monday. The UK must now rely on imports since the North Sea fields are increasingly drying up. The gas will be pumped into National Grid Transco's new LNG terminal. See ABC news. Even now, few have woken up to the coming rise in fuel and energy prices - and the implications of this.
Comment

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ The Times reports on the results of an unofficial infected badger extermination strategy in Devon. ".....Mr Bennett said: “The NFU is not seeking to eradicate all badgers, rather we wish to see a healthy badger population and a healthy cattle population.” A vaccine for cattle and all wildlife is the ideal solution, he said, but farmers could no longer wait for such a development.

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ At the same time that Portsmouth was patriotically celebrating Trafalgar, three Royal Navy armed guards from the fisheries protection vessel HMS Mersey (acting under the orders of DEFRA and enforcing the EU's Common Fisheries Policy) took up a position in the wheelhouse of an astonished English skipper. His crew were placed under arrest and forbidden to communicate with anyone via the satellite phone. See Dr North's article No charges were laid and no explanation given to the vessel owners as to why the action had been taken.

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ Avian influenza: International health experts have called for mass vaccination of birds across Asia to prevent avian influenza from becoming pandemic General Front Page

July 5 - 7 2005 ~ ProMed Mail " the overall total number of definite or probable vCJD cases (dead and alive) remains unchanged at 156. These data are consistent with the view that the vCJD outbreak in the UK is now in decline.."
A 12-year-old boy in Portugal with no history of visiting the UK has been diagnosed with vCJD. A patient in a Dublin hospital is also suspected to be suffering from variant CJD. It is not yet known if he has travelled in the UK. See also Britain's most expensive myth

July 4 - 7 2005 ~ An emailer writes, ".... Elliot Morley is right now trying to persuade other European nations to drop their opposition to GM crops. ..... he is clearly preparing to position the UK as a champion of genetic modification. George Bush and Tony Blair want African farmers to use GM seeds..... Bob Geldof and Bono are deflecting the public away from the real issues. " (See also Guardian for June 24)

July 4 - 7 2005 ~ More than 100 pigs have been seized from Brian Hagan's smallholding at Briston near Holt by the RSPCA. The newspaper article does not say why. It may be remembered that Mr Hagan was made the subject of an ASBO last December.

July 4 - 7 2005 ~ Windfarms An article by Dr David Toke (see Windworks.org) examines how the financial regime of the Government's Renewable Obligation is influencing wind power deployment in the UK.".. The UK’s ROCs system seems is expensive, it is prone to manipulation by the oligopolistic electricity suppliers, and it is too inflexible to allow offshore wind schemes to be easily financed." Read in full

July 4 - 7 2005 ~ "... trying to prevent a private company from creating a wind farm on Whinash comprising 27 turbines, each one of them more than 370 feet tall. That is roughly 70 feet higher from ground to the tip of a blade than the Statue of Liberty from a toe to the tip of the torch....Even on these buffeted uplands, wind does not blow steadily enough to generate constant power; Britain's 100 wind farms produce only a tiny sliver of the country's electric power; and government subsidies mean that wind power costs consumers much more than power from Britain's gas, coal and nuclear-powered stations...." NY Times

July 4 - 7 2005 ~ Organophosphates. A new study has found that the health of 367 sheep farmers who reported a range of serious health problems as a result of using OP-based dips was "generally poor", with most suffering neurological problems and fatigue. DEFRA remains defiant and says there is "nothing in the new report that would lead to OPs being withdrawn ... the report did not provide conclusive proof that long-term use of OP-based dips posed a direct threat to health...OP dips would continue to be licensed for sale." Read in full particularly about the government's fear of compensation claims.

July 4 - 7 2005 2005 ~ Asia needs about $100 million in the next three years to fight avian flu, but only about a third of that has been pledged, health and livestock experts said. See Reuters

July 1-3 2005 ~ "....the vast majority of the general public assumes that what the future holds is “more of the same”. ....Such a view is untenable because it ignores the fact that almost all materials essential to modern civilization will be orders of magnitude more costly, and scarce.... In 2150, for example, a wind turbine constructed of steel, concrete and plastic may not be able to generate, during its lifetime, as much renewable energy as would have been used up in creating it. .." See windfarms page and peakoil page

July 1-3 2005 2005 ~ Prof John Brignell's blog: http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/2005%20July.htm "...The science of global warming is not settled, not as long as different methods of measuring temperatures give conflicting answers, not as long as weather satellites and weather balloons show little if any warming in the past 25 years, not as long as computer models used to predict future temperatures and other climate effects remain unvalidated. It would be foolhardy to base far-reaching decisions affecting national economies on insubstantial evidence."

July 1-3 2005 ~ Photovoltaic schemes – which harness sunlight to generate electricity – are being phased out from this summer by the Department of Trade and Industry even though the Government promised support from 2002 to 2012

July 1-3 2005 ~ The Sunday Telegraph article about proposed energy ration cards carries a somewhat less than flattering photograph of Elliot Morley with the caption: ‘We should have an open mind’ Ministers "believe they need to start a public debate on energy rationing." BBC "...The plan would see people issued carbon units - each equivalent to 1kg of greenhouse gases - to use when buying products such as flights and petrol.."

July 1-3 2005 ~ The Hexham Courant reports that David Smith, the Haydon Bridge farmer who, as chairman of the National Sheep Association " went head to head with Government ministers during the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001" has been awarded the George Hedley Memorial Award. ".... I spent countless hours travelling from home to London to lobby and talk to ministers. It often felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere; I hardly ever met the minister for agriculture Margaret Beckett, and had to deal with junior ministers who could not give you a direct answer. Any questions had to be deferred to the minister, and it would take a week or two to get an answer. .."More

July 1-3 2005 ~ Foot and mouth outbreak: lessons for mental health services David F. Peck is Professor of Health Research at the University of Stirling. "The 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK was widespread and devastating. Some areas (e.g. Cumbria) were very badly hit, but all farmers were affected to some degree. Huge numbers of animals, infected and healthy, were slaughtered.....systematic studies found elevated levels of psychological morbidity among farmers and other rural workers, especially those directly affected...."

July 1-3 2005 ~ EU Referendum blog ".... The Independent has been assiduous in making the case against the CAP, with an article today headed: "How the CAP helps our poorest farmers", pointing out that The Queen gained £545,897 from agricultural subsidies last year, the Duke of Westminister £448,472, the Duke of Bedford £365,801, the Prince of Wales £225,465 and the Duke of Northumberland £450,740. Never mind that much of this money actually goes to the estate tenants – many of whom are far from wealthy – this is a propaganda war being waged, and one which plays well with the public. .."

July 1-3 2005 ~ World governments have agreed that the Iter project - an attempt to re-create the energy at the heart of the sun - should be built at Cadarache, near Aix-en-Provence, in southern France. Iter = International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. "... The hope is that within 30 or 40 years the project will master a clean, cheap, safe and virtually inexhaustible form of energy by fusing atoms, rather than splitting them." Independent report

July 1-3 2005 ~ "Ministers are to introduce sweeping changes to the way that common land is managed ...the principal objective is to make it easier to protect the many wildlife sites that exist on common land and that have been threatened by farming and other activities. ..... some fear that the decline in the farming industry could lead to problems associated with under-grazing in the future. ..." WMN

July 1-3 2005 ~ An emailer writes, "Why is it taking both the US and the UK government so long to "validate" the rapid on-site diagnosis tools? It simply doesn't make sense. You say on the website that the UK Health Protection Agency itself says that "For avian influenza, use of the RT-PCR diagnosis tool is now considered essential" and that Real Time PCR is "the most sensitive test is RT-PCR for the detection of viral RNA"
But this has been the case since early in 2001. WHY was its use refused then - and why are the authorities STILL dragging their feet to validate such tests when they are evidently being "unofficially" used? It is impossible to escape the conclusion that they do not want to be able to detect the disease quickly enough to preclude pre-emptive culling. Why this should be is another matter."

July 1-3 2005 ~ Joyce writes, "Western Isles top brass have caved in over the windfarms, despite 88% of the population being against them in a recent poll...I only hope that the councillors, who have obviously forgotten who pays them, get a reminder in the next election of who works for whom."

28/30 June 2005 ~ An emailer writes, "Can't believe they are going ahead with that windfarm in the Western Isles. I see it's the " 'socio-economic' factors associated with it" that swayed the vote. .... why are people prepared to sacrifice the really valuable things in life (eg the environment, family closeness, community involvement) to get their hands on some ready cash/create more jobs? ..."
Gill recommends a fascinating book by Michael Rowbotham which, among other things, explains why "debts mean that a small farm can be productively very efficient, but financially not 'viable'. .." Read in full

28/30 June 2005 ~ Herald June 29 ".....During the meeting, councillors warned that Lewis was greatly in need of extra income and that the wind farms could provide it. Anne Macdonald, from Lochs, said: "The government has given our area a title of outstanding beauty. "It is beautiful, but beauty does not put food on the table . . . renewable energy can be a vital part of our economy and it is the only sector that offers the prospect of a substantial number of jobs."..."

28/30 June 2005 ~ Bovine TB WMN "...Robert Forster, the chief executive of the National Beef Association.... said many farmers in the Westcountry were close to breaking point over the Government's failure to tackle the badger issue. ... Government's plans to cut compensation payments for TB and to introduce a costly new cattle testing regime in hotspot areas like the Westcountry could prove the final straw....." Mr Forster said farmers had written to the Chancellor in the hope that the potential cost savings would prompt him to investigate Defra's stance. ......"

28/30 June 2005 ~ bio-fuel. ".... Malcolm Shepherd, managing director of Green Spirit Fuels, said: "These are exciting times for the UK's developing bioethanol industry. We have been exploring the possibilities of production in this country for a number of years, and learning lessons from countries such as Sweden, Spain and the USA where plants have been successfully running for some time. The establishment of Green Spirit Fuels is the next step in a process which will see the production of bioethanol at a number of sites in the foreseeable future. For UK growers bioethanol production could use a large proportion, if not all, of the current exportable surplus of wheat. This would bring stability to the market." WMN

28/30 June 2005 ~ Polly Toynbee ".....for a fraction of the ID card cash another fledgling industry might be given the kiss of life. Micro-energy investment could mean windmills and solar panels on millions of homes, all fitted with combined heat and power (CHP) boilers. (These save the 40% of gas wasted by power stations, and convert gas to electricity in the home, cutting bills.) Blair was eager for a photo opportunity at Solar Century, a leading solar power manufacturer, on the day he announced climate change as a key theme for G8. But since then the solar industry has been left to face all its funding ending next April, with only vague promises for the future..." Guardian

28/30 June 2005 ~ While very briefly on line, the news is that thunderstorms are making it impossible to update warmwell at the moment. Apologies.

28/30 June 2005 ~ On the grim news that the green light having been given for the wind farm on Lewis, (there were more than 4,000 objections) an emailer writes from Germany, "Last year I was nearly sent to prison when cutting down one old tree that was damaged by storm and was close to falling down on the railtrack...."damaging a nature monument"... And these guys just spoil an whole island and can get away with it, what a mad world."

28/30 June 2005 ~ That the Western Morning News has been one of the few beacons of light since warmwell's inception is owing to Mr Williams' fearless, committed editorship. While he was there one was able to point to the WMN as the exception to the rule when mourning the passing of the independent press. Comments or appreciation on the sad news of his retirement may be emailed to warmwell.
".....We do not want an editor who toes the party line!!..." messages have begun to arrive

28/30 June 2005 ~ High Yewdale - the National Trust have conceded on virtually all the points raised by those aghast at the decision, but show no sign of reconsidering their decision. Updated pages show a visit by HM Queen Elizabeth to High Yewdale and make an urgent appeal for your support.

28/30 June 2005 ~ GM concern "If you just grow GM crops you are pushing farmers down the line of just producing a commodity. That is really not what we need, particularly in a region like the Westcountry where we can establish a reputation for growing high quality and safe food." John Sherrell, chairman of FARM
WMN reports on Elliot Morley's view that European ministers are going against "sound science". EU ministers have overwhelmingly rejected the proposals to lift the GM bans imposed by Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, France and Greece. See also the article by Geoffrey Lean showing "Stalinist tactics" by the FSA.

28/30 June 2005 ~ "Shadow Wales rural affairs minister Helen Mary Jones has called on the Welsh Assembly Government to act immediately to tackle bovine TB in Wales. ... more than £18m has been spent on bovine TB compensation, and the Government's lack of understanding of the problem was highlighted by budget despite the incidence of bovine TB continuing to rise. ...." icwales

28/30 June 2005 ~ GM. "Britain's official food safety watchdog - which prides itself on its "openness" - is embroiled in a row over the blanking-out of large sections of a document relating to a banned GM maize illegally imported into the country..." Article by Geoffrey Lean last week in the Independent about the FSA. "..the maize contained a gene conferring resistance to antibiotics that could potentially cause people to resist vital medicines."

28/30 June 2005 ~ "London and many other coastal cities could disappear beneath the waves within 200 years.." Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London See Independent

28/30 June 2005 ~ If you cross the Channel you are likely to be met by smailing French farmers bearing gifts.... Reuters ".....Tony Blair has not stopped attacking French agriculture. His only aim is to break up the CAP and create one big free-trading market in Europe," the union said. "French farmers don't want this unbridled liberalism

28/30 June 2005 ~ ProMed moderator on wildlife smuggling "The United States and Europe are some of the biggest markets for smuggled animals." Read that and weep. This illegal trade is a threat to us all. The Northern Hemisphere pandemic of Newcastle disease in 1970-73 was a direct result of a demand for pet parrots, which was met by parrots being smuggled north out of South America and Africa. There are repeated scenarios like this all the time. And the animals that reach their sales points are but a trivial fraction of the many captured that die en route, quite apart from the adults shot to capture the youngsters. They come with their infections and internal and external parasites. The same applies to the illegal tropical fish industry. - Mod.MHJ"

24/27 June 2005 ~ "....In preparation for the Senate votes and the G-8 conference, radical environmentalists have been trying to smear scientists and other Kyoto skeptics. No wonder. Over the past few years, emotional claims of global-warming champions -- like the famous "hockey stick" chart of rising temperatures -- are being coolly repudiated. Sensible researchers are looking to activity on the sun itself as the instigator of recent warming on earth..." http://www.techcentralstation.com/062405F.html

24/27 June 2005 ~ Oil prices. Warmwell's peak oil news pages began in April 2004. There are now louder voices warning of the pending peak in world oil production that may well lead to a global economic collapse.The Guardian today talks of "... the early stages of an energy crisis that will fundamentally affect our lives over the next few decades. If that is so, western policymakers need to be thinking hard - and thinking hard now - about what life is going to be like when the oil and gas run out. .."

24/27 June 2005 ~ More than 4,000 objections have been lodged against the £430million Lewis project by energy giant Amec a plan for the world's biggest windfarm - 80% are from Western Isles residents. In addition, there have been 1,400 objections to another massive windfarm on Lewis, planned by Beinn Mhor Power. That plan will also be considered tomorrow. Communities throughout Lewis and Harris have voted overwhelmingly against both. The RSPB are against.

24/27 June 2005 ~ 80 years ago, Devon entrepreneur Charles Seale-Hayne left £100,000 for a college of agriculture and technology "in the immediate neighbourhood of Newton Abbot". Farmers from all over the Westcountry and elsewhere studied at Seale Hayne. Campaigners to save it won the backing of Teignbridge MP Richard Younger-Ross, and Sir Donald Curry. Students past and present joined the campaign. We hear (WMN) that just four weeks after a memorial service marking its closure, it was proposed that it be sold off for urban development.

24/27 June 2005 ~ The Western Mail last week:

Farming Editor Steve Dubeargues "...the British rebate, achieved by the Thatcher administration at Fontainebleau in 1984, has benefited the Treasury to the disadvantage of anyone living in the British countryside......Fontainebleau means that £86 of every £100 of EU rural development funds spent in Britain above a low allocation effectively is from the Treasury. Under the deal that Tony Blair is defending ...Britain's allocation is just 3% of the EU rural development budget - and that includes farm subsidies. It compares with, for example, Ireland's 9% and France's 17%. ...." Read in full

24/27 June 2005 ~ Monday's Guardian "For dairy farmer Roland Uglow, the worst thing is having to hold down bull calves, healthy and full of life, to give the man from the knacker's yard a clean shot at them.
....plants barley at Trecarne Farm in Delabole, near Camelford, to provide a habitat for the scarce corn bunting; he loves to see deer on his land; unlike most farmers he even has a soft spot for the fox. But he is convinced that it is the badger that is spreading bovine TB - after all, he ran a closed herd: in other words he did not bring in new animals but bred his own. He said: "Badgers have to be caught and checked. If they are positive we have no choice, we have to get rid of them. We destroy infected cattle - surely we have to destroy infected badgers as well." . .." Read in full

24/27 June 2005 ~ We see from the Bovine TB Blog that DEFRA is funding a study at Warwick using PCR in spite of apparently dismissing its availability or efficacy in TB research.
Real Time PCR is being used widely in animal disease research - yet its dismissal by Professor King in early 2001, when Professor Fred Brown tried, face to face, to explain its importance to him, was one of the great scandals of the whole fiasco. See also front page

24/27 June 2005 ~ Efforts are under way in Africa to establish regional animal health databases. This is part of the global livestock information management system to be established in the course of implementing the Promotional Regional Integration (PRINT) - a Livestock project funded by the European Union. See http://www.delbwa.cec.eu.int/en/eu_and_sadc/integration_livestock.htm

24/27 June 2005 ~ ".. a ruling from East Sussex county council that children must no longer bring egg boxes into school to be turned into dinosaurs and Daleks, because they might contract salmonella poisoning. ......the egg scare had been based on a complete misreading of the science. But right at the forefront of that media hysteria, which led to 5,000 small egg producers being driven out of business, was the Daily Mail." Booker's Notebook

24/27 June 2005 ~ Of the report on ProMed about the "new and worrying development" of possibly widespread outbreaks of foot and mouth on the Chinese mainland, the moderator writes,

See relevant page of ProMed Read also the warmwell pages about government cuts at Pirbright.

24/27 June 2005 ~ BSE in America. The US Department of Agriculture said it had started an investigation to determine the animal's herd of origin. Yet there can't be many concerned who do not have reason to suspect that the animal came from Texas.
Interesting is this comment from http://sify.com

The "real concern" then is not a concern about public health but about trade. Yet all news articles about this case continue to trot out variations on the "Experts believe the pathogen leapt the species barrier to humans through the consumption of contaminated beef..."theme. We recall Magnus Linklater's article" They drive us mad with false fears about mad cows"

24/27 June 2005 ~ The front page of warmwell is devoted to foot and mouth disease. To see the more general front page - also updated - click the link at the top of the front page - or click here. (opens in new window)

24/27 June 2005 ~ Inefficient meetings, rife with meaningless drivel and hot air are the result of bad management skills. Print out and play with colleagues this simple game (opens in new window) - sent by an emailer - to check how quickly it's possible to shout Bingo! ("People are now even listening to mumblers - thanks to Bullsh*t Bingo") More seriously, bad communications and bad management skills make effective meetings impossible. Unfortunately, this is happening at the highest levels.

24/27 June 2005 ~ emailed warning: "Apparently someone posing as a telephone engineer rings up and says he is checking the line and tells you to dial 90# and then hang up. DO NOT DO IT. If you do, they have complete control over your line and use it to make calls.”

24/27 June 2005 ~ Oil price hits $60 a barrel ... BBC

24/27 June 2005 ~ The Tescopoly website encourages people take action to end supermarket abuse ".... Tesco controls nearly 30% of the grocery market in the UK. In 2005, the supermarket chain announced over £2 billion in profits. Growing evidence indicates that Tesco's success is partly based on trading practices that are having serious consequences for suppliers, farmers, overseas workers, local shops and the environment....."

24/27 June 2005 ~ "... Colin Tudge observes, ‘The modern food supply chain is convoluted and so long that it allows endless opportunities for malpractice of all kinds – including many that beggar the imagination of those who are not criminally inclined. The supply chain is impossible to police because it is so complex, and because policing is so expensive (and nobody wants to pick up the bill – certainly not the governments who win votes by keeping the price of food down). .... new diseases are emerging and more virulent forms of old diseases are growing ..." Interesting article from SlowFood.com (India)

20/23 June 2005 ~ Extraordinary true story in the Scotsman of 3 lions, in in a remote corner of Ethiopia, rescuing a 12-year-old girl, kidnapped by men who wanted to force her into marriage. They chased off her abductors and guarded her until police and relatives tracked her down.

20/23 June 2005 ~ WMN "The National Beef Association has warned that farmers will resort to shooting badgers infected with bovine TB if the Government does not press ahead with a controlled cull....More than 2,000 farms in the Westcountry are currently under restrictions because their herds have been infected with the disease..."

20/23 June 2005 ~ WMN "...Many farmers feel they are being "scapegoated" for the Prime Minister's failure to win reforms on the future of Europe and aid for Africa.
Ian Johnson, spokesman for the South West National Farmers' Union: "........ Mr Blair wants to be seen as the saviour of the world and is prepared to sacrifice what he considers to be an insignificant proportion of the population along the way. But farming is the backbone of the whole rural economy. This isn't just about farmers. We also have a huge rural tourism industry in this region and a huge food industry and they are all interdependent. "

20/23 June 2005 ~ The European Food Safety Authority is now officially inaugurated "...a significant ratching up of the integration process, a deliberate move intended to increase the visibility of "Europe" by ensuring that obscure technocratic functions are given a specific, high profile European identity" says Dr Richard North.

20/23 June 2005 ~ Peak Oil. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) optimistically report that "global oil-production capacity should increase dramatically by the end of the decade..." (See Bradenton.com) we are reminded that Jean Laherrere says," In the past there was only one worldwide source of field reserves, being Petroconsultants funded by a geologist (bought by IHS in 1999). Now IHS, who bought recently CERA, has lost its geological background and uses more and more political data...."
In a balanced article in last Sunday's Sunday Times, David Smith nevertheless writes that if Matthew Simmons is right, "now might be the time to start panicking.."

20/23 June 2005 ~ An emailer writes that the decision by the UK to make non-notifiable a disease that wipes out whole colonies of honey bees, (European Foul Brood, or EFB), "... will result in increased incidence of this and other diseases. When, not if, all this comes to pass all we nasty farmers with our wicked chemicals will get the blame. The politicians, the conservationists and our “leaders” will be whiter than white. Our “leaders” with their expensive pensions will still be able to afford honey on their toast.." See also front page

20/23 June 2005 ~ China Daily reports that Xu Shixin, MOA's division director of the veterinary bureau has "refuted a report by the Washington Post on Saturday that the Chinese Government had encouraged farmers to use amantadine on their chickens to prevent bird flu. "The report was groundless," Xu said. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have both expressed concerns over the issue.

20/23 June 2005 ~ "The country's fastest-growing pastime involves setting up a pressure group to campaign against some disproportionate regulatory imposition, only to be fobbed off by politicians and officials who insist they know better..." Article in the Telegraph about the likely consequences of the Licensing Act on the income of village halls. "....there is a curious disjunction between what the Government says will happen under the new Licensing Act and what the people affected by it say is already happening or fear is about to happen. Whom do we believe?"

20/23 June 2005 ~ The American Press - Cleveland.com for example - are mentioning Peak Oil more and more: "...recession will grip the globe because the price of oil, and everything tied to it, will skyrocket. Starvation will abound because oil-based fertilizers we've grown to depend on will be in short supply. Energy wars could erupt to control the remaining oil fields..."I think peak oil is every bit as important as the threat of thermonuclear war," said Matthew Simmons, head of Simmons & Co. International of Houston, an energy investment-banking firm. Simmons compares today's lackadaisical approach to the coming world oil crisis to Europe as it stood on the brink of World War II in 1938. ... "

20/23 June 2005 ~ Worry over climate change - or the realisation that oil and gas depletion means big trouble?
We read in "The Business" that "While the politicians focus on researching climate change technology, the UK prime minister has struck up a provisional agreement with a number of firms, including BP, Electricitie de France (EdF) and Rio Tinto, for them to declare their intention to find new sources of energy ..."

17/19 June 2005 ~ ".... "..... many OPEC members ....are unable to prevent prices rising because of such refinery capacity shortages ..." Barclays Capital analysts wrote in a note Wednesday. "We expect $60 for crude to be breached in pretty short order." See peak oil pages

17/19 June 2005 ~ "Domestic gas bills are expected to soar this winter as the future cost of gas hits record highs. The price of gas for delivery in October is currently 66p a therm, a 75% premium on this point last year..." This is Money

17/19 June 2005 ~ Today's Booker's Notebook "....with wild bees gone, and other pollinators not appearing until after many fruit trees and crops are in flower, it seems crazy to risk losing thousands more beekeepers and millions of bees - all to save £250,000, and to show dutiful compliance with a directive many other countries will ignore. .."

17/19 June 2005 ~ "For every dollar to be dished out to Africa at the G8 meeting next month, another is snatched away by Western protectionism" The Independent on Sunday explains why millions of Africans have a stake in the outcome of Europe's farm row - and that "while much of the wrangling in Brussels was over the future of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy, the last thing on the participants' minds was its impact on Africa." The article spells out the real life impact of tariffs and EU undercutting on the poorest nations. Read in full .

17/19 June 2005 ~ Cefn Croes "....Mr Wright can see from his house the 225ft turbines capable of generating 59.5MW of electricity, stretched over several miles of mountain. But from the top of nearby Plynlimon, he has a panorama of more than 300 machines in eight smaller windfarms. "The door has been opened to the industrialisation of the Cambrian mountains," he said yesterday. " See windfarm page for a round-up of recent news about windfarms. BWEA's Embrace the Revolution campaign was launched in Wales this week. It claims that "an overwhelming majority of people in Wales - three quarters - agree that wind farms are necessary to help meet the country's current and future energy needs"

17/19 June 2005 ~ Large-scale vaccination of cattle against foot-and-mouth disease is under way in Russia's Amur Region after the disease broke out in a village near the border with China. More than 250,000 doses of vaccine have been brought in to treat all the region's cattle. See M&C News
ProMed reports this outbreak

17/19 June 2005 ~ The determinedly optimistic Fordyce Maxwell reports in the Scotsman on the speech by Bob McCracken, president of the British Veterinary Association " Given fair treatment and co-operation at all levels, vets, farmers and civil servants can counter the threats and give farming a future....At last, he said, and how true, we are seeing some fruit borne from the never-ending flow of consultation documents. The ball is now in the hands of the veterinary profession, and its clients, to ensure its success. .."

17/19 June 2005 ~ An emailer wonders if "...the expansion of oilseed biofuels is something to do with trying to drive cattle farming out of England ? But where will our soil fertility come from if the livestock manure is no longer an input within the system?" Read extract

17/19 June 2005 ~" a new emphasis on environmental leadership, caring for rural England and delivering a sustainable future for farming..."
This is the 2005 DEFRA Report's verdict on itself.
Its Vision may be read and marvelled at here.
Its Five Year Strategy can be found on the Defra website (pdf )

17/19 June 2005 ~ Last night's Channel 4 item about electricity micro-generation was excellent, according to an emailer :

See also http://www.est.org.ukhttp://www.micropower.co.uk/ and a firm called Encraft who specialise in providing advice and analysis to home-owners on this issue. http://encraft.co.uk

17/19 June 2005 ~"..... closed herd on the remote Roseland Peninsula for 40 years, but now bovine TB has taken a hold - and a rising local badger population appears to be the only source. Despite repeated requests from the couple, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is refusing to test badgers on the farm, leaving the source of the disease unconfirmed...
...."Defra are content to have that level of unreliability for cows, but not for badgers - that is unfair," she said. "If they are waiting for a test that is 100 per cent accurate they will never get there. We could say the cattle test is unreliable, but we have to use it." ....." WMN

17/19 June 2005 ~ A Hexham Chronicle article begins: "Emergency vaccination is set to be moved to the forefront of foot-and-mouth disease control by the EU Foot and Mouth Disease Directive....."
But that is where it has appeared to be from soon after the 2001 debacle. What worries many of us - but not, it appears, the Hexham Chronicle which dutifully trots out what is on the Defra website - is that "the basic policy of slaughter of susceptible animals on infected premises and those identified as dangerous contacts" remains. Unfortunately, "dangerous contacts" and "susceptible animals" can still mean exactly what the government wants these terms to mean. For the Secretary of State to have a "duty to slaughter" will mean that there will be no personal accountabilty for any decision to carry out future unnecessary slaughter. It will be legal (as it was not in 2001) and no one will have any right to protest.

13/15 June 2005 ~ The Independent reports that "the hospital bug Clostridium difficile, which is sweeping through NHS hospitals, is killing twice as many people as MRSA..."

13/15 June 2005 ~ An email from Kansas will interest other PMWS watchers. This is a disease largely unheard of by the public at large. But, as the writer says, "millions of pigs born, have never reached the 40th pound since the year 2000, all over the world....with the exception of Australia - so far...PMWS is a world-wide epidemic now....no questions about it....but still is not a "reportable" disease.."

13/15 June 2005 ~ An extract from Wednesday's "Snowmail" update:

China today. And tomorrow?

13/15 June 2005 ~ That splendid arch heretic, Bjørn Lomborg, writes in the Telegraph, "the world's most distinguished economists.... found dealing with communicable diseases like Aids and malaria, malnutrition, free trade and clean drinking water were the world's top priorities. The experts rated urgent responses to climate change at the bottom. .The national academies must stop playing politics ..The urgent problem of the poor majority of this world is not climate change. Their problems are truly very basic: not dying from easily preventable diseases; not being malnourished from lack of simple nutrients; not being prevented from exploiting opportunities in the global economy by lack of free trade. ." Read in full

13/15 June 2005 ~ Government policy is causing Britain to become dangerously over-reliant on imported gas, the consultancy group Ernst & Young claimed yesterday. Independent

13/15 June 2005 ~ A Cologne court has granted Greenpeace access to a 1,139-page study by Monsanto. The study found that rats fed GM corn had smaller kidneys and raised levels of white blood cells and lymphodcytes compared with rats fed a non-GM corn. "Monsanto initially handed the study over to the EU regulatory authorities with the proviso that it be kept confidential ..." See http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/87876/.htm

13/15 June 2005 ~ Western Morning News "Ministers have been accused of stifling debate on bovine TB by railroading independent experts into "rubber-stamping" government policy on the issue. .." Read in full

13/15 June 2005 ~ Defra incompetence. An email today: "....He feels it is somewhat of a coincidence that BOTH reply paid envelopes went astray. ....My friend is now ineligible for payments I gather. He is less worried about the money, than the time he wasted filling in the ****** forms!"

13/15 June 2005 ~ The fluoridation of water, seen as a boon - but in the opinion of eminent and ethical scientists, an expensive, dangerous con trick. Yet another area where scientists will not admit that there is so much undeniable evidence to show they are wrong. Yet another area where open debate is squashed. See http://www.slweb.org/ "..public policy is too often influenced by breach of scientific integrity in high places."
The Observer yesterday: "New American research suggests that boys exposed to fluoride between the ages of five and 10 will suffer an increased rate of osteosarcoma - bone cancer - between the ages of 10 and 19. In the UK, fluoride is added to tap water on the advice of bodies such as the British Dental Association. .... " But see warmwell fluoride pages and see also http://www.fluoridealert.org

13/15 June 2005 ~ Wildlife crime. The Independent points out that this is now the world's third largest criminal activity after arms and drugs. ".....At each sell-on more money changes hands. "If you kill a tiger, you can buy a motorbike," someone told me in Laos. But when the skin reaches London or Shanghai it is worth a hundred motorbikes. Collectors from Vietnam or Japan pay more if a species is endangered. .." Read in full

12 June 2005 ~ The oil crisis is bringing coal driven steam engines back in Indian Railways. See peak oil news. (and how cheering it would be to see steam trains back in the UK.)

12 June 2005 ~ BSE a second American animal has tested positive for mad cow disease. See ProMed Mail

12 June 2005 ~ Avian Influenza. China has announced details of a second outbreak of bird flu, this time in the western region of Xinjiang. Vietnam started a pilot project to inoculate poultry against the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus in two provinces this month
Xinhuanet "France... has purchased about 40 million doses of vaccine and more than 10 million masks, which will be ready for use by 2006, when maneuvers against a massive bird-flu outbreak among humans will be staged"

12 June 2005 ~ ".....just as the clamour for action grows in anticipation of next month's G8 meeting in Scotland, another group of academics has begun fighting to have its voice heard. It includes experts in fields ranging from agriculture to medicine, and most of them agree that something strange is happening to the Earth's climate. Where they part company with Lord May is in their assessment of the threat it poses...." Sunday Telegraph

12 June 2005 ~ Prof Philip Stott, Emeritus Professor of Biogeography, University of London wrote to the Telegraph on friday:

12 June 2005 ~ "... Climate change is big business. It shares star billing with Africa at next month’s G8 Gleneagles summit...... For every account of looming catastrophe there is a reassuring study that proves the climate change industry wrong. Based on available science, the debate should be balanced — but it is not.....The Bush administration allegedly uses any scientific source that corroborates its position on climate change, dismissing those that contradict it. But so does the green lobby. ..." Comment: Jenny Hjul in the Sunday Times 'Global warming' is melting our brains Read in full

12 June 2005 ~ A list of sites earmarked for the disposal of nuclear waste in the 1980s was published on Friday under the Freedom of Information Act. See New Scientist "...Although the list was drawn up in the late 1980s, some of the sites are likely to become candidates for waste disposal again in the future. For this reason, the release of the list is likely to reignite the ferocious debate over nuclear waste disposal."

12 June 2005 ~ Secret plans to postpone solving Britain's nuclear waste crisis for up to 1,000 years are being drawn up by the nuclear industry says the Independent on Sunday.
What British Nuclear Fuels' scheme ( the result of "looking at new, innovative ways of doing things" as part of drawing up "a broad range of options" ) amounts to apparently is the frightening delaying tactic of storing waste in aptly termed "millennium domes" in the hope that future generations may know better what to do. Read the article by Geoffrey Lean

5 June 2005 ~ Mandelson wants to fast-track GM by Geoffrey Lean in the Independent

4 June 2005 ~ BioMed Central Over 100 Open Access journals covering all areas of Biology and Medicine

4 June 2005 ~ Matthew Parris Opinion in the Times "..... As a human being I am complicated by tenderness for the losers, even where my species wins. This makes us lords of the Earth. We are the bow, we are the arrow, but we feel for the arrow’s mark. Alone among the species which populate the planet we cannot hurt without feeling hurt, cannot diminish without feeling diminished. This does not separate us from “Nature” but unites us to the whole of it. .." interesting and melancholy article

3 June 2005 ~ David Ball, Professor of Risk Management at Middlesex University, has resigned from the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) Times "...proper use of technical expertise would have allowed CoWRM to have narrowed the list to six options within weeks. A year was wasted in trials of a public consultation technique that had to be abandoned because of its flaws.." See also This is life and death, not a spinning matter by Magnus Linklater at the end of April.

3 June 2005 ~ More Global Warming heresy. A case for re-assessment of the science of GW. This week's Sepp newsletter points out that the editors of Science rejected a study by German professor Dennis Bray, based on a poll of some 500-climate scientists, which showed a complete lack of scientific consensus. This extract is a letter by Madhav L Khandekar submitted to Physics Today a year ago which points out that "current temperature data may be significantly contaminated by extraneous factors like population growth, economic activity, GDP (Gross Domestic Product) etc. in many regions of the world."
While the truth may well be with the global warming gurus, it does worry us that those who seriously question received wisdom on scientific issues involving millions of pounds of public money and very far reaching legislation (such as the causes of BSE and Global Warming) are silenced or smeared by the establishment. The public good is not served by this lack of open debate.

3 June 2005 ~ "...since 1939 the number of farms in Britain has fallen from 500,000 to 191,000; three out of four jobs in agriculture have been lost since 1945; Defra figures for 2004 show an average farm income of just £14,000. In the South West, the problems are perhaps at their most prevalent and the beef suckler herds, producing prime West country beef, are especially under threat. Jilly Greed, from the National Beef Association South West, stated in the WMN yesterday that prices paid to farmers for beef are currently 20 per cent below the price paid in 1994, which means many Westcountry beef herds are loss-making units.." WMN

3 June 2005 ~ Bovine TB. A report, commissioned by the South West Regional Development Agency is due to be published next week. It shows that £88 million of public money was spent in the last financial year. Researchers from Exeter University (WMN) "...discovered the human toll of bovine TB, with farmers and their families suffering higher levels of stress and anxiety. ..."... All of this is compounded by an acute sense of frustration and dismay about an apparent lack of progress in regaining control over a disease that was once thought to have been eliminated ..."

June 3 2005 ~ "Pesticides and other man-made chemicals may lower male fertility for at least four generations, according to new research. .. the findings, published today in the journal Science, suggest that toxins may play a role in inheritable diseases that were previously thought to be caused solely by genetic mutations. "It's a new way to think about disease. We believe this phenomenon will be widespread and be a major factor in understanding how disease develops," Dr Skinner said..." Independent

2 June 2005 ~ vCJD ".... it had not been possible to identify either the specific cause of the disease in the local cases or establish any link between them. Suppliers of butchers' shops in the area had been investigated but experts had not identified any common food source linked to the cases or found any butchery practices which raised concern..." Doncaster Today

2 June 2005 ~ "..Ministers yesterday moved a step closer to ordering compulsory new tests on cattle in TB hotspot areas - despite warnings from farmers that the move would be "unacceptable" unless action was also take to tackle the disease in badgers..." WMN
The scientific journal, Nature, has found that cattle movements could lead to bovine TB becoming established PressTrust "Movement is more important in spreading TB than anything else from the national point of view," co-author William Wint, of the Environmental Research Group in Oxford, told the BBC News website. "Our study certainly doesn't let badgers off the hook, but then it doesn't hang them up on a cross either."

2 June 2005 ~ Letter in Ipswich Chronicle (US) ".....Reducing consumption of all kinds of energy is a worthy aim, but wind turbines — no matter how big or how many — have nothing to do with our use of oil. They don’t have much effect on our use of current electricity sources, either. Krafchuk reports an average wind speed of 11.5 mph. That translates to an average output from the 1.5-MW turbine of only about 150 KW, 10 percent of its capacity. Two-thirds of the time, the output would be less than that. .... “success” is not in the small amount of unpredictably variable electricity generated by wind, but in the profitable sale of “green credits.” ..."

2 June 2005 ~ West Country beef herds are under threat. Jilly Greed, of the National Beef Association South West. writes in the WMN ".... A looming crisis is gradually unfolding ...any immediate and even long-term prospect of an improvement seems to be thwarted as big business sucks the life out of the British beef industry. Their concern is margins and pursuing corporate stratagems, which continue the unsustainable, cheap food policy. Supermarket price wars are as damaging to the Westcountry beef industry as the large volumes of imported beef. ...."

2 June 2005 ~ Kevin Feakins has won a court order to force the government to remove waste left in the clean-up operation during the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001. We are hoping for further details. The BBC report is very short. Mr Feakins may not be everyone's idea of the ideal farmer. However, he has been determinedly fighting DEFRA over this case for four years. Warmwell links

1 June 2005 ~ Mark Purdey agrees with the farmer who wrote in near despair about the Single Farm Payment Scheme. A farmer himself, Mr Purdey writes "...these schemes are having a negative effect on the environment so far. ....... why can't these public funded payments go to farmers for simply keeping those sacred corners alive and uncontaminated by humanity - as they always have been ? I want our children to have those aesthetic rustic experiences that made such an intrinsic impression upon me during my childhood..." It is an important letter that should be read in full

31 May 2005 ~ "Media coverage of the Dr Thomas Butler case has been extensive Science, The Scientist, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, BBC, CBS, and many other news sources have run stories suggesting that Butler may have been a victim of the widespread fear about (bio)terrorism and may have been singled out, presumably to serve as an example, as part of a flawed strategy to fight bioterrorism. ..." See Clinical Infectious Diseases 2005;40:1644-1648

31 May 2005 ~ Max Hastings in the Guardian says, "..Anyone who supposes that wind turbines can meet demand is a mathematical duffer. A wind farm the size of Dartmoor would be required to provide the energy of one nuclear plant. ...We are all energy junkies. We may argue about means of satisfying the global craving, but it seems wildly fanciful to suppose that it can be met by wind farms. .... I will bet my socks that half a century from now our children will depend heavily on nuclear power to keep their lights burning - because there will be nothing else that is clean, affordable and works."

31 May 2005 ~ BSE - 3 cases in Dyfed in young cows
. Times "Experts are trying to discover if the cows, from a farm in Dyfed and aged between 36 and 43 months, were infected by the same route, possibly through imported feed.." See warmwell's BSE pages and emediawire.com We wonder how the independent study by Professor William Hill FRS is coming along and feel it may be just a matter of time before it becomes acceptable to contradict the infectious prion theory of BSE.

31 May 2005 ~ The vast forests of Russia are under threat from an unprecedented surge in the number, frequency and scale of forest fires. Independent "Twenty years ago forest fires destroyed about two million hectares of Siberian forests - the loss of an area the size of Wales. Last year 22 million hectares - about half the size of France - were lost to fire....."After a fire, the timber improves and is even better, it comes in better quality after a fire, and that is the time when people can come in, fell the trees, and sell the timber to China and get good money," Dr Sukhinin said. "The Chinese pay good money, and they pay the same money for timber from affected areas as for timber from unaffected areas, and that is the reason for the arson. .."

30 May 2005 ~ Health experts are concerned at a sudden increase in the number of British cases of Lyme disease, an infection carried by ticks. Times

29/30 May 2005 ~ "...the public should heed the silent alarm sounded by the ExxonMobil report, which is more credible than other predictions for several reasons. First and foremost is that the source is ExxonMobil. No oil company, much less one with so much managerial, scientific, and engineering talent, has ever discussed peak oil production before.." Peak Oil pages

29 May 2005 ~ "As the Government was later tacitly to concede, this cull was against the law. The Government had no legal power to destroy healthy animals which had not been directly exposed to the virus. I hope there are no animals on Sir David's desert island..." Christopher Booker too was a little less than impressed with last week's Desert Island Discs. Booker's Notebook

29 May 2005 ~ "....the effective subsidy for each megawatt of turbine capacity, generating for a third of the time, equates to a staggering £135,000 a year. Even after an initial capital cost of £750,000, this makes wind power one of the most lucrative "licences to print money" ever known..." Booker on Wicks in the Sunday Telegraph

29 May 2005 ~ Dirty Meat "This Bank holiday weekend hundreds of carcases of smokies , and illegally imported cattle feet , arrived at the capital without any action being taken by the authorities....." Dr Yunes Teinaz has sent us the letter from the Islamic Cultural Centre to the Food Standards Agency, hoping to find a legal way to permit sheep and goat carcasses with their skin on to be health marked and placed on the market. This could stop a filthy, cruel and illegal trade. .

29 May 2005 ~ Independent on Sunday (Geoffrey lean) "Two legal initiatives are to be launched to force European bureaucrats to make public secret research on the effects of feeding GM corn to rats..." read in full

28 May 2005 ~ Defiant statement from DEFRA's Old Guard is reported in today's WMN "...yesterday senior Defra officials told the WMN that the contiguous cull would remain a policy option that could be used in some circumstances." Read in full

28 May 2005 ~ Wind turbines "... they did not disclose is how nPower, a subsidiary of a German company, has persuaded this Government and the (Welsh) Assembly to erect giant money-making farms on our hills. This is how it works. A turbine developer gives a donation of £240,000 to the Labour Party election campaign, in return they give them a subsidy of £160 million! They can possibly make a profit of £3.25 million per annum on this and with subsidies make £10 million per annum..." See windfarm pages for roundupof the last week or so in Wales.

28 May 2005 ~ In the NAO report Sir John Bourn says that DEFRA has made improvements but that there is still scope for improvement. "Increased senior level oversight of the process and giving stakeholders as much certainty as possible will help the department to achieve better and more consistent results ."

28 May 2005 ~ A report in the BBC claims that patterns of bovine TB in Britain are more closely associated with cattle movements than proximity to badgers

28 May 2005 ~ The Brazilian government is helping its farmers by encouraging the use of ethanol, a fuel that can be made from sugar and used to power cars.

26 May 2005 ~ The New Zealand FMD hoax cost the country "as much as $2 million" which does not include los of staff time and compensation - presumably paid to farmers for the movement controls imposed. See www.stuff.co.nz

26 May 2005 ~ The penny is starting to drop. www.medfordnews.com ".....oil production will never again increase. This, even as demand and population are soaring globally. Eighteen of the world's largest oil producing countries have already entered decline....... The problem, simply stated, is one of population overshoot, collapse and die-off. ..." (The article reports the coming lecture by Michael Ruppert, 54, author of "Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil")

26 May 2005 ~".... the Energy Minister is parading his ignorance almost as soon as the nameplate has been screwed on to his office door..." Unrestrained comment from Neil Young about Mr "Windfarm" Wicks, the new energy minister. See WMN

26 May 2005 ~"..... even if you have a sympathetic minister, the officials seem to be more interested in covering their backs than in trying to minimise the impact on the industry. They do make life unnecessarily complicated and it is very frustrating for farmers to see a set of rules imposed on them that are not being imposed on their competitors .." restrained comment from Ian Johnson, spokesman for the National Farmers' Union in the South West, on the new NAO report. See WMN

25 May 2005 ~ WMN West Devon planners have refused an application for a three-turbine windfarm on Yelland Farm, near Okehampton, because of its visual impact on the national park. "....controversial plan had attracted 1,500 letters of protest and was also opposed by the Ramblers' Association and Dartmoor National Park Authority. Yesterday, Jonathan Cardale, chief executive of Dartmoor Preservation Association (DPA), hailed the decision as a "victory for local democracy"..."

25 May 2005 ~The UK's CO2 emissions are 3% higher now than they were 1997 - and the UK won't meet its 2010 target.

25 May 2005 ~ Venture capitalist Nigel Doughty gave Labour £250,000 after a dinner with Tony Blair held for potential donors this year. His company owns LM Glasfiber, the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturer, which is likely to make a huge profit from the campaign for renewable energy. Angela Kelly writes, "It seems that the press have only received a handful of letters commenting on the £250,000. donation given to the Labour party by a windfarm developer. Judging by the number of comments I have received this is obviously a case where everyone thinks that everyone else has already written.."

24 May 2005 ~ WMN "Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett has dismissed the advice of more than 350 vets who called for a targeted cull of badgers to bring the bovine TB epidemic under control - prompting outrage from vets and farmers in the Westcountry...The unprecedented vote of no confidence in the Government's TB strategy, by hundreds of members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, raised hopes.... a dismissive reply that was slipped out by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this week - a delay vets believe was deliberately orchestrated to avoid negative publicity in the run-up to the general election .." ."

24 May 2005 ~ The costs of a windless day. "Policymakers will need to balance two basic goals:

  • ensuring cost recovery for actions taken by utilities to comply with renewable energy goals and reliability requirements; and
  • determining how industry participants will share in the costs of integrating wind energy into the nation's supply infrastructure. ..."www.industrywatch.com

    24 May 2005 ~ "The Chinese government has allocated 3 million doses of avian bird flu vaccine to inoculate the domestic birds in West China's Qinghai Province. The allocation comes immediately after the latest death of migratory birds in a local village was confirmed to be caused by the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. ...Qinghai has also taken emergency measures by closing off areas to prevent people and fowl from coming in contact with wild birds." http://en.chinabroadcast.cn

    22 May 2005 ~ "...the public inquiry into the controversial Whinash windfarm in Cumbria is expected to hear evidence this week. One opponent, the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, said: 'I predict that most of these windfarms will be taken down within 15 years after ruining the place. The freedom to roam around in an unspoilt landscape is vital for many.." (Observer)

    22 May 2005 ~ Angela Kelly writes, "going into the EU on present terms will irrevocably seal the fate of our countryside.... Blair’s acceptance of a huge donation from the ‘wind farm boss’ (Sunday Times, 22/5/05) who owns LM Glasfiber, a Danish company and ‘the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer’ is a dire warning indeed."

    22 May 2005 ~ GM report gives "prima facie cause for concern". "....secret research carried out by Monsanto...shows that rats fed the modified corn had smaller kidneys and variations in the composition of their blood. According to the confidential 1,139-page report, these health problems were absent from another batch of rodents fed non-GM food as part of the research project..." Independent on Sunday (read both articles in full)

    22 May 2005 ~ "Britain's vets, thanks to an EC directive, could soon have to spend a quarter of their working lives recording mountains of almost wholly irrelevant data, forcing them to increase their bills to pet owners by up to 25 per cent..." Booker's Notebook

    20 May 2005 ~ "....due to soil degradation, increased demands of pest management and increasing energy costs for irrigation (all of which is examined below), modern agriculture must continue increasing its energy expenditures simply to maintain current crop yields..." The full article "Eating Fossil Fuels" by Dale Allen Pfeiffer is now available

    20 May 2005 ~ ".... report by the Sustainable Development Commission, published yesterday.....Kate Ashbrook, general secretary of the Open Spaces Society, said: "The report does not make clear the fact that the Government subsidises wind energy, which is the only reason why it's economical." WMN

    20 May 2005 ~ RPA - "Confirmation of the massive delay last night led to warnings of severe cash flow problems for farmers, and calls for interim payments to be made.. Richard Haddock:"We were told it would be December, then February and now the end of March - although, given the mess it's in, I can't see these payments going out until June. That means farmers could be almost 18 months without payment. How are people supposed to pay mortgages, bank loans and bills?" WMN

    18 May 2005 ~ Writing about Bjorn Lomborg and his book The Skeptical Environmentalist Michael Hanlon, Science Editor of the Mail (January this year): "Climate change has now become a global industry, with a multi-billion-pound budget, and hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists whose careers are predicated upon their agreement with the central thesis......Spend a fraction of that money on anti-malarials and clean drinking water for Africa, Lomborg argues, and you will save far more lives than trying to alter a fluctuation in the planet's climate that may have nothing to do with us, and may be more benign and temporary than the doom-mongers claim..."

    18 May 2005 ~ A report commissioned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says a massive wind farm on the Isle of Lewis could be "catastrophic". windfarms RSPB Scotland has submitted a formal objection to the 234-turbine wind farm. About 5,000 have been lodged in total, opposing the plan.

    18 May 2005 ~ "The Tb figures for March made grim reading. Cattle slaughterings up almost 30 % on 2004.....Friends in Cumbria are seeing a lot of badger carcasses around the Stavely, Kentmere area near Kendal - including one in a field. That is not good news at all." Read email in full.

    17 May 2005 ~ "...on the most crucial issue, Bellamy is utterly persuasive. That is the urgent need for us to curb our demand for ever cheaper, ever more available food (and the huge bargaining clout that this gives to Tesco et al) in view of the damage that chemical-driven “big” farming is now known to inflict on wildlife and our increasingly precarious water supply." Times "... David Bellamy’s new book - “Conflicts in the Countryside: The New Battle for Britain” ..... should be required reading for the metropolitan sophists of HM Government, most of whom would be hard-pressed to tell an udder from a combine harvester.”

    17 May 2005 ~ "Tony Blair was facing a mounting rural backlash last night over his decision to retain the "incompetent" Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its controversial Secretary of State Margaret Beckett ".....Anthony Rew, a dairy farmer near Newton Abbot: "Years ago, with what was then the Ministry of Agriculture, people had a great deal of respect for it." WMN

    17 May 2005 ~ Andrew George, the MP for St Ives... "The main aim of the department is to bury rural issues so that there is never a story. After foot and mouth, I think Tony Blair realised that any news from rural areas is likely to be bad news for the Labour Party. Mrs Beckett was given the job of smothering rural issues.."
    Angela Browning, Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton : "It was quite noticeable talking to farmers during the election campaign what a low opinion they have of Defra....Unfortunately, food production is not at the heart of the Government's agenda."WMN

    17 May 2005 ~"....the extended Executive powers to enter farms and slaughter stock in an exotic disease outbreak . ..Although the draft says that vaccination is the preferred option against disease, vaccinated animals might also have to be slaughtered. ..." Fordyce Maxwell in the Scotsman on the draft Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Bill.
    It may seem ironic to readers that the government says its Animal Health and Welfare Bill aims to "prevent cruelty" when we consider the widespread cruelty, incompetence and bureaucratic bullying of the government's own 2001 slaughter policies. Moreover, there is no veterinary reason for vaccinated animals to be slaughtered merely as a result of being vaccinated.

    16 May 2005 ~"On bovine TB we now have a defined framework within which we can reach more informed decisions as hard evidence emerges. This is the greatest challenge we and the livestock industry currently face and it is important that we move forward together." Debbie Reynolds CVO in the 2004 report, published today on the Defra website

    16 May 2005 ~ Peak Oil. The academic Richard Heinberg of the New College of California says that world governments are aware of the pending crisis. The CIA say "if they have 10 years to prepare, the economic and social chaos could be minimised. But if it's less, the US will face a serious problem and the government will have to manage it without public input. For that, read martial law." peak oil news

    16 May 2005 ~ Indonesia is testing pigs in several regions for bird flu after discovering the virus in swine on densely populated Java island. In Thailand, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives confirmed today that no cases of avian flu had been found among Thai pigs.

    16 May 2005 ~ Many thanks to those who wrote and are continuing to write to the National Trust about the sad situation at High Yewdale Farm. Unfortunately the replies, an example of which we have been sent, do little to dispel the gloom. Its tone has been rather cruelly described as being like "defrawaffle".

    16 May 2005 ~ New Zealand has found no clinical symptoms of FMD nearly a week after the threat at Waiheke Island. We understand that the authorities for bio-security in the NZ government say that "there has not been any need for any kind of diagnostic test ("pen side" or otherwise) in the current response to what is, in all likelihood, a hoax."

    16 May 2005 ~ India Independent "... More than 4,000 farmers have killed themselves in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh since a programme of free-market measures was implemented by a "hardline liberalising regime" with the help of a £1.65m grant from the Department for International Development (DfID)."
    A Christian Aid report shows " in stark detail the damage that is done to poor people when the dogma of so-called 'free' trade is pursued in the name of poverty relief." It found that DfID was " bankrolling the closure, restructuring and privatisation of 43 state-run enterprises, including agencies supporting farmers."

    15 May 2005 ~ "I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. .." Chris Landsea has decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    15 May 2005 ~ There are too many modern heresies and science is the poorer. No heresy is permitted on the subject of man-made global warming - even though the surface temperature rose about 0.6 degrees C in the last century and can be explained in terms of an increased activity in the sun - which has continued, particularly in the last twenty five years. We hear from Angela Kelly that "Many independent scientists now describe the climate change debate as ‘political science’ because it is not permitted to counter the ‘politically correct’ consensus on global warming."

    15 May 2005 ~ David Bellamy : “Global warming is a largely natural phenomenon. The world is wasting stupendous amounts of money on trying to fix something that can’t be fixed..” Sunday Times reports that Professor Bellamy is to lose his role as the figurehead of two leading wildlife organisations.

    15 May 2005 ~ Cambridge wind farm fight " the planning application for 16 wind turbines on farmland between Boxworth and Connington had been turned down by South Cambridgeshire District Council ...Your Energy, the company behind the plan, has now decided to appeal against the council's decision ......."

    15 May 2005 ~ Waiheke hoax. Stuff.co.nz "....Massey University epidemiologist, Roger Morris said it would not be easy to import the virus. "If you are using body tissues you've got to be quite knowledgable about moving them around without the virus dying. If someone has really technically got the knowledge and makes up their mind to do this, it's a bit like trying to stop al Qaeda." Morris said no one in New Zealand or Australia kept stores of the live virus, as it was "much, much too dangerous". .." (Experiments using live virus were taking place in the UK in 2001)

    15 May 2005 ~ BSE/vCJD Sunday Times for an article about vCJD and disease scares. It quotes the new director of the National CJD Surveillance Unit, Dr Richard Knight. On the cluster of five cases linked to the small Leicestershire village of Queniborough we read:

    Mark Purdey's research suggests a more plausible answer.

    14 May 2005 ~ A farmer writes to tell us that the WMN has " a 7 page letter to the paper from a member of staff at Exeter dealing with the subsidy payments... the whole RPA system is in shambles and is being run appallingly. The staff have been told not to give any assistance to farmers in form filling. Letters and pleas for help are being totally ignored. Staff dealing with the forms had minimum training ...as the workload increases the RPA are laying off staff and the remaining staff are becoming utterly demoralised. " (read article)

    13 May 2005 ~ Defra has announced the opening of a "multi-million pound laboratory that will contribute to Government research into bovine TB"

    13 May 2005 ~ New Zealand agricultural officials said no evidence has been found of foot and mouth disease three days after the claim. (See front page)

    13 May 2005 ~".... a survey among 530 international climate scientists found that nearly 30% were skeptical of the IPCC conclusions about anthropogenic global warming. About 10% of those surveyed disagreed strongly..."www.sepp.org

    13 May 2005 ~ "..Matthew R. Simmons says the world is blindly and blithely racing toward an energy crisis rooted in false assumptions about plentiful Saudi Arabian oil reserves. .." Peak Oil

    13 May 2005 ~ Morgan. There are some signs of improvement. Many thanks indeed for the kind inquiries.

    May 2005 ~ A disgusting trade - subsidised by the EU.. Around 200 000 live cattle are exported each year from the EU to Lebanon and Egypt,. An EU declaration has been written by Neil Parish, Paulo Casaca, Marios Matsakis, Caroline Lucas, Miguel Portas, calling on the Commission and the Council to "bring an immediate and permanent end to the system of export refund payments on live cattle exports to third countries..... for public funds to instead be spent on schemes which promote and protect the welfare of animals"
    Can we please write to our MEPs to ask for their support for the Declaration so that it becomes European Parliament policy.


    8 May 2005 ~".....Teinaz, a big man with a big mouth, has a £100,000 bounty on his head thanks to his outspoken attacks on criminal gangs" The Observer has two disturbing articles today on the "bush meat" trade. See warmwell pages on Dirty Meat to read the articles.

    8 May 2005 ~ One of Australia's best and most important scientists, David Banks, was among those killed in a light aircraft crash in far north Queensland at the weekend. The Age.com "Dr Banks, 55, was the principal scientist with quarantine authority Biosecurity Australia and, in many ways, had done a huge amount to protect Australians from unwanted diseases and pests."

    7 May 2005 ~ ".....He is relieved to have cleared his name, which had been blackened by the Defra allegations against him, and he hopes that in some small way that this case will send a message to Defra, that they have to stop bullying Westcountry fishermen." WMN on the acquittal of the respected West Country fisherman and Lifeboatman, Dave Hurford.

    7 May 2005 ~ Sir Bernard Ingham's response to George Monbiot's article about windfarms (see windfarm page) Many thanks to Angela Kelly for this. The Guardian has chosen not to print Sir Bernard's letter today - which seems odd.

    7 May 2005 ~ Farmers Weekly poll: 97% the government should focus on cutting red tape.
    97% government must find ways to make trading relationships between retailers, processors and producers more equitable.
    Other key issues: more support for the biofuel industry, action to tackle the growing problem of bovine tuberculosis and moves to reduce the levels of food imports. See http://www.fwi.co.uk/article.asp?con=27004&sec=21&hier=21 and thanks to Burkie in Kansas for the link.

    7 May 2005 ~ Very, very gradually, we are beginning to become aware of the implications of what is euphemistically called "the energy crisis"and oil depletion - not mentioned during the election campaign. Here is a mainstream US article speculating that in the not so distant future "...On a world scale, with heavy constraints on fertilization and irrigation, there simply will not be enough food to support the 6.4 billion people currently on earth. .." Peak Oil

    6 May 2005 ~"EU states should stop using fish as feed in tuna farms, which risks spreading exotic viruses to the Mediterranean, environmental group WWF said on Wednesday..." Reuters
    Unnatural feeding practices have caused such problems in the past . Lessons are not learned when money is at stake.

    6 May 2005 ~".. researchers are scathing about the poor quality of research into the impact of wind farms around the world. The findings of many studies are kept secret for commercial reasons, while supposedly public information produced for planning applications comes without raw information or is of poor quality.." New Scientist and see windfarm page for the research

    5 May 2005 ~ Wind power represents " a tiny drop in the ocean can make no measurable difference to atmospheric CO2 concentration, and has no chance of altering climate..... Meanwhile, every consumer enormously "subsidises" wind power, paying for it to threaten landscape, property values, tourist income, birds and bats, all to no good effect. It is time to stop and consider why we are doing this.." See windfarms page for the letter by Dr John Etherington

    4 May 2005 ~ Fallen Stock . "Meurig Raymond, NFU vice president, said while he recognised that there have been problems with regard to the collection service, they have not been the fault of the NFSco. ".... there needs to be an early government review of the scheme and aspects of its funding in order to ensure that the same problems do not reoccur in the next twelve months."
    Farmers Weekly reports that farm leaders say the National Fallen Stock Company is not to blame for the burial ban

    4 May 2005 ~ "...Having pledged to curb UK carbon emissions by 20 per cent of the 1990 rate in 2020, and 60 per cent within a generation — cuts far steeper than the Kyoto Protocol requires — emissions have been rising, not falling, for the past two years. There are few lamer passages in the manifesto than the statement that “our review of progress this summer will show us how to get back on track”. Times article today

    4 May 2005 ~ Bob Hunter, who died on Monday, changed the face of enviromental protest. John Vidal in the Guardian remembers the "media-savy warrior - Greenpeace member 000 - who set out save the planet..."

    4 May 2005 ~ Baroness Golding: "The hunting debate is supposed to be about improving animal welfare, yet we now know that the exact opposite will happen and welfare will be diminished. The next Government must look again at the Hunting Act and replace it with genuine animal welfare measures, such as the Bill to give all wild mammals basic protection, which was introduced into both Houses of Parliament by Lord Donoughue and Lembit Öpik." See press release

    4 May 2005 ~ Chemicals in oral contraceptives and food containers harm unborn baby mice raising concerns about the effects in humans, say scientists. BBC

    2 May 2005 ~ Yorkshire Post "...there is increasing concern that wind farms, rather than a boon, are actually an environmental blight, considering that the windiest places in Britain, by their very nature, are often some of the most starkly beautiful. And this concern is matched by a growing realisation that wind is far from being the panacea for Britain's energy problems that its most ardent advocates claim...."

    2 May 2005 ~ The online petition "Peak Oil Production & Decline - Raising awareness and discussion of the consequences and solutions"target=new (opens in new window) calls on the UK Government to do such things as ".... recognise the importance of oil and gas in agriculture and therefore address how food will be grown and distributed in the future."

    2 May 2005 ~ Howard Hayden, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Connecticut has summed it up perfectly: "In recent years, the little country Denmark has gained a certain amount of fame with its wind turbines. No, they don't get much electricity from them. They sell them to suckers."
    Angela Kelly writes, "A Dane, who hates wind turbines and what they have done to his country told me cynically "That's global politics, Danish style".

    1 May 2005 ~ "... the only media outlet where voters will get any detailed information about their candidates will still be their weekly paper." says the Sunday Times quoting WMN editor Barrie Williams' dismay at the lack of coverage of bovine TB in the election. Luckily, you can at least find out about your own MP's record to date from the excellent, volunteer-run theyworkforyou.com
    Here, for example, is their information on Diana Organ - whose apparent ignorance of the FMD suffering in her own constituency of the Forest of Dean in 2001 still bewilders us. She left Parliament on 11 April 2005 and is not standing this time. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/diana_organ/forest_of_dean

    1 May 2005 ~ "the helium-filled balloon reached the height of the tip of the blade of the tallest turbines proposed for the area." See windfarms latest

    1 May 2005 ~ Poor Margaret Beckett's command of English does not please John Preston of the Sunday Telegraph. He writes, "....Who would actually choose to tune in to Margaret Beckett "Live in Erewash", covered in lingering detail on BBC Parliament - her speech was so dull that even the Labour faithful started slow hand-clapping. All one can say for sure is that these acres of guff are not having the slightest effect on the polls..."

    30 April 2005 ~ Peak Oil. A UK petition "therefore addressing how food will be grown and distributed in the future as well as preparing a full, honest and major public awareness campaign on the future economic and lifestyle consequences of oil depletion.." (see Peak Oil news pages)

    30 April 2005 ~ Two letters in the Telegraph Nuclear power, not wind farms, is the way forward "....Canon Rawnsley, a founder of the National Trust who fought so hard to prevent a railway from being driven through the middle of the Lake District, would turn in his grave if he knew of the proposals put forward by brainless green campaigners who have fallen prey to the blandishments of the energy companies ".....
    " ... in Germany, with its huge windpower industry, the bird-life organisation NABU has recorded the killing of 41 red kites.."

    30 April 2005 ~ The Telegraph reports on China "on the threshold of commercialising GM rice"

    29 April 2005 ~"...Another important landscape change is the replacement of low-intensity farming systems—which support a high level of biodiversity (Bignal & McCracken, 1996)—with industrial agroecosystems. In Finland, the loss of habitats that are associated with traditional low-intensity agriculture is the second most important threat to species after forestry ....in our ultimately finite world, the longterm consequences may be surprising and unpleasant." Landscape fragmentation, biodiversity loss and the societal response by Ilkka Hanski

    29 April 2005 ~ Well worth reading, in spite of its bleakness, is this "letter from the future" http://www.museletter.com/archive/110.html : " the revamping of society's entire energy infrastructure would take decades, while the price signal from resource shortages might come only weeks or months before some hypothetical replacement would be needed. Moreover, they should have realized that there was no substitute for basic energy resources..... it appears that human survival in the twenty-first century hinged on many small and seemingly insignificant efforts by marginalized individuals and groups..."

    29 April 2005 ~"...one jumbo jet journey to New York and back emits as much carbon dioxide as one Whinash turbine was alleged to save in a full year..." See latest windfarm pages for update on Whinash inquiry.

    29 April 2005 ~ "...many opponents are indeed conservationists and defenders of wildlife. Even Greenpeace, adamantly pro-wind, has balked at the extent of the proposed facilities on Lewis, as has virtually every nature group. Many opponents recognise the problem exactly as Monbiot (see here) describes it and agree with his assessment of the futility of building ever more giant wind farms. How he concludes that industrial wind facilities are "necessary" is a mystery..." letter in the Guardian today

    29 April 2005 ~ ".....Farming Today - who have been asking listeners their views on whether farmers in the UK are necessary....Am I the only person who sees a Nation where there is only a Tesco supplying food at astronomical cost to a population who have lost the ability to grow their own food? " email from one of the several Pats who correspond with warmwell.

    27 April 2005 ~ WMN "The Government is facing a £40,000 compensation bill after a judge ruled it should have paid for a £7,000 foot-and-mouth clean-up operation at a Devon farm. ...the farm was later declared free of foot and mouth...Mr Justice Hart also ordered Defra to pay 80 per cent of the £37,000 legal costs .."

    27 April 2005 ~ Fallen stock. That surreal diktat, the Animal By-Products Regulation, 1774/2002, saying that no animal may now be buried on its farm has provided a very lucrative opportunity for one enterprising company : "Internet-based vehicle scheduling helps farms overcome dead animal disposal problem" complete with "a specialised plastic pallet called a Dolav" in which to store the bodies. Waste Per Se specialises in the collection and treatment of agricultural wastes and animal by-products. Its subsidiaries, WRE Collection Services and WRE Disposal Services, are going through a period of unprecedented operational growth .... See www.responsesource.com

    27 April 2005 ~ "... concerns are never subject to a competent investigation. Investigations are very often biased to protect those at the heart of the problem. .." Andrew Taylor is standing as a political candidate (Cardiff South) against Alun Michael and sends us this email.

    27 April 2005 ~ The Sun takes up the case of the new-born lambs at the Boston Abattoir in Lincs and prints a photograph of the lambs. Of DEFRA, the abattoir workers say; “We will take this as far as we need to. The lambs are healthy and do not need to be killed. If they want the lambs killed they should come here and do their dirty work themselves. This should be a special case. It’s a one-off."
    A DEFRA spokesman said: “These laws are in place to safeguard animals’ health.”


    (Sun readers may not remember that literally thousands of healthy lambs were killed at Great Orton and elsewhere in 2001 because of similar attempts to protect their health.)

    27 April 2005 ~ Ellen MacArthur has joined forces with the Prince of Wales to highlight the plight of the albatross BBC

    27 April 2005 ~ "...the local council refused an RES development with a unanimous vote, only to have it overturned 12 months later by the Scottish Executive on appeal. Moray Council are now considering, whether they can afford to risk losing a judicial review, and also withdrawing their objection to two other applications by AMEC for 80 x 100 metre turbines because of the potential legal costs. The developers have the money and the support of the government and are virtually unstoppable - local democracy doesn't exist." (part of campaigner's email, quoted by Angela Kelly)

    27 April 2005 ~ Of George Monbiot's article yesterday, Angela Kelly writes, "I find it incredible that Monbiot can state that "One daily connection between Britain and Florida costs three giant wind farms.." and be seemingly indifferent to the huge damage that giant wind farms do to our rural heritage. .....insignificant and unreliable contribution to our energy needs ....small and uncertain pollution savings. The significant damage to the countryside and huge financial burden cannot possibly be justified."

    27 April 2005 ~ The Scotsman today "....The Soil Association says that about £100 million of public funds are spent annually on agricultural biotechnology research in the UK against only about £2m into organic farming.....GM companies of encouraging an atmosphere among researchers who oppose pro-GM messages. "Fear of the inevitable hostility to any unwelcome findings is coupled with fear of even approaching the boards of research councils with such proposals." ..." This reference to hostility to any unwelcome findings echoes Magnus Linklater today on the dismissal by Elliot Morley of Dr Keith Baverstock, the international radioactivity expert ."

    26 April 2005 ~ ".. a single jumbo jet, flying from London to Miami and back every day, releases the climate-change equivalent of 520,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. One daily connection between Britain and Florida costs three giant wind farms.." George Monbiot today. See windfarms page and peak oil page

    26 April 2005 ~ The Guardian Analyst fears global oil crisis in three years ".... Colin Campbell, former vice-president of Fina and chief geologist of the oil giant Amoco. "The information governments give is grossly unreliable.... ..we are in for an extended period of restricted economic activity. I do not think that we will adjust very smoothly."
    See also warmwell's peak oil pages, updated daily since last April.

    25 April 2005 ~"..Bidding for a third term in power, it is believed the Prime Minister wants to avoid discussing the issue (nuclear power) until after the election, and his review of Britain's energy needs is not mentioned in Labour's manifesto..." icwales

    25 April 2005 ~ DEFRA is urged to pay its £40 million outstanding bills.....".Most of these firms have been subjected to nearly four years of forensic accounting at the hands of Defra officials, which has in itself cost millions to carry out." FPB chief executive Nick Goulding quoted in the WMN and icteesside.icnetwork.co.uk See also warmwell pages on the non-payment fiasco

    25 April 2005 ~ Two new photos of High Yewdale are on the High Yewdale pages. Please keep up the pressure on the National Trust if you possibly can. It will be a national tragedy if this Cumbrian farm with its history, its pride and its age-old skills is allowed to dwindle into mere holiday cottages.

    24 April 2005 ~ Angela Kelly writes to say that Professor Philip Stott’s new website (illustrated with a picture of a damaged wind turbine) is well worth a visit: http://parliamentofthings.info/
    He still hosts his site on: http://www.greenspin.blogspot.com/ See also Professor Stott's article last week "The failure of our political parties to be realistic about future energy demand could be catastrophic"

    24 April 2005 ~ Nuclear power Observer Leader "...Britain now has half-a-million cubic metres of highly radioactive waste - ... always meant to be interim measures for dealing with nuclear waste...The government, in particular Environment Minister Elliot Morley, has chosen to ignore these concerns....a serious political misjudgment." If only it were possible to get 100% behind nuclear power as do the highly respected James Lovelock and Phillip Stott. But the risks, unfortunately, do not seem negligible.

    24 April 2005 ~ As we have seen, with BSE, genetic modification and the whole global warming issue, those who have the most to lose if the whole truth is told will silence anyone whose research suggests unpalatable possibilities. Last August,the Sunday Times reported that "Government lawyers have blocked a minority finding .. which follows a three-year investigation into the effects of low-level radiation. Dr Chris Busby and Richard Bramhall, members of the committee examining radiation risks from internal emitters, believe that the risk of cancer from low-level radiation dangers is greater than realised..."

    24 April 2005 ~ GM industry puts human gene into rice Independent on Sunday Geoffrey Lean writes,".... The move, which is causing disgust and revulsion among critics, is bound to ...drive the controversy surrounding it to new heights...
    .....caution that if the gene were to escape to wild relatives of the rice it could create particularly vicious superweeds that were resistant to a wide range of herbicides..."

    23 April 2005 ~ "The Westcountry's biggest windfarm could fall foul of a string of environmental obstacles, the Western Morning News has learned. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is demanding a series of surveys into the threatened effects of 22 huge turbines at Fullabrook Down in North Devon on the landscape, wildlife and tourist economy of the area. It has raised concerns about the possible impact on the adjacent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of the North Devon coastline..."

    23 April 2005 ~ ".. the No 10 review of Britain's energy needs is not mentioned in the manifesto. But a team in the Strategy Unit, led by Lord Birt, the former BBC director general and one of the Prime Minister's closest advisers, is studying whether nuclear power should play a central role in combating global warming..." Independent Global warming? Or a global problem that no politician is prepared to discuss?. See peak oil pages

    22 April 2005 ~ The Netherlands has announced that a 26-year-old woman has been diagnosed with variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease The Dutch health ministry said that it suspected tainted beef as the cause, although did not explain why.." The interior ministry says that Dutch beef is safe to eat because all cattle are tested at slaughter. See BBC

    22 April 2005 ~ Wind Turbines - TELETEXT Page 348 - 21/4/05 “Do you support more wind farms?” 1,137 Votes were cast:
    YES 29% - NO 71%
    (See politics and the peak oil news pages for more on the energy question. It goes far beyond nimbyism and far beyond even the very important question of preserving the last wild places of Britain for the health of the nation.)

    20 April 2005 ~ High Yewdale. The windfarms question echoes the issue of High Yewdale Farm. If you have written to Fiona Reynolds in support of High Yewdale, please do also send an email to warmwell (unless you have already done so - in which case, a huge thank you, Hilary, Janet and others). There is such despondency in Cumbria that a word from you may make all the difference. Please write. Only individuals can make a difference now. I have been a life member of the National Trust for years. I am now extremely concerned about the way my money is being spent.

    20 April 2005 ~ An email from the magnificent campaigner and painter, Angela Kelly:".. It is interesting how many of the luminaries, who hitherto have remained silent, are now openly declaring their opposition. I wrote letters to many of them over the years, but they just encouraged (sometimes begged!) me to fight on and said they couldn’t go public themselves ‘because of their position’. .."
    Ah yes. We know that one of old...

    20 April 2005 ~ She also quotes David Bellamy, in fine form today, explaining why he cannot support the position of Greenpeace and FoE: "..Wind farms could eventually contribute something like 7-8 per cent, according to supporters, but only at the cost of ruining some of country's most beautiful upland landscapes and only on days when the wind blows constantly and at the ideal speed.."

    20 April 2005 ~The ITV Teletext service is having a poll on the issue of windfarms. If you want to vote "No" in opposition to wind farms please vote TODAY on 0906 651 3156 - and ask as many people as possible to phone. The call only costs 12 pence.

    20 April 2005 ~ Philip Stott speaks for so many of us on the subject of Whinash: ".. By supporting it, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and Greenpeace lose any credibility ... . In the name of an arrogant, ill-thought out, set of dogmas and theologies, these fanatics will sacrifice.. even landscape beauty, peace and wilderness. And we should never undervalue the importance of 'wilderness' for the long-term psychological health of an increasingly-urban world... " Read in full

    20 April 2005 ~ No apologies for concentrating on energy and windfarms ; in the near future we may well look back on the present moment and curse our inaction.The Public Inquiry into Whinash starts today. Windfarms “Britain is heading for a crisis in power supplies to which no amount of preferential treatment for renewable energy sources can do more than make a peripheral contribution for decades to come”.

    20 April 2005 ~ "the uplands of Britain are being industrialised. ... By subsidising the market rate for electricity to the extent of 300 per cent and offering £1 billion in other subsidies, Ms Hewitt has invited a Klondike goldrush from American, Japanese and European entrepreneurs. The Whinash scheme in Cumbria is subsidised desecration. Few Britons, especially those who holiday abroad, will have any idea just what is being done to the western uplands of Britain in their name. These turbine parks are truly massive, requiring to be serviced by networks of new roads, quarries, pylons and substations across virgin moorland. The saving in greenhouse gas is negligible — less in a year than is exhaled by one transatlantic jet...." Simon Jenkins today .

    20 April 2005 ~ The Today programme discussed Whinash yesterday but not one speaker mentioned the crucial point which is that these heavily subsidised windfarms are inefficient The energy produced is minimal, needs constant back-up from conventional power stations and they do not reduce Co2 emissions. If this were not the case we might think twice about opposing these nature-dwarfing monstrosities. We hope that readers who are good at proven facts and figures might contact the Today Programme. (new window)

    20 April 2005 ~ "..Weary and depressed at yet more infighting in the election on the minutiae of issues I log on and just have a quick look at Warmwell's inbox page - and find, to my relief, that I am not alone in thinking the election is silent on the really big issues.." email received today

    20 April 2005 ~ A concerned Cumbrian writes, "Many thanks for the fantastic mention of the Sunday Times Leader article about the proposed wind farm in Cumbria. Blair's mob are desperate to have our lovely countryside swamped with these horrible things.
    May I ask you to feature two polls currently going on in Cumbria?
    Julian is featuring a poll on his www.visitcumbria site He will pass the poll results to the Whinash Public enquiry.
    The other Whinash poll can be found at the local 'Evening News & Star Poll' www.newsandstar.co.uk (Results stood at 43% for 57% against when we visited.)

    19 April 2005 ~ WMN "...The plan to breed beef cattle from dairy cows will create a whole new market for farmers across the South West, bringing hope to an uncertain future for dairy-beef producers, whose livelihoods are threatened by cheap foreign imports..."

    19 April 2005 ~The World Health Organisation is recommending that governments prepare for a pandemic of bird flu by stockpiling Tamiflu, the antiviral drug that can lessen the worst effects of flu but not cure it. Britain has ordered enough to cover 25% of the population. See Reuters

    18 April 2005 ~ Live BSE test: " The Chronix GLT is performed on live animals and requires only a blood sample. In its current format, the GLT, a living test, can be run on hundreds of samples a day..." See Chronix Biomedical Awarded Grant for Mad Cow Disease Living Test; New Blood Test Only Ante Mortem Diagnostic to Address BSE Eradication

    18 April 2005 ~"..Unless you have ridden in the back of a cattle truck and understand the pressure of jostling around at highway speeds with lots of animals trying to remain standing, then you do not understand the difficulty these animals face....." ProMed moderator comment on the news that the US may lift the downer ban.

    18 April 2005 ~ Mark Purdey, who has always defended the cattle licensing system, posted a batch of cattle passport applications in good time, but a five day hold up in the post ( which BCMS had admitted ) meant that the oldest calf missed the deadline by one day: "... Under the present situation where BCMS dictate that it is illegal to sell an unregistered animal into the foodchain, we are therefore cornered into having to pay for the knacker to kill a perfectly healthy bull calf as soon as possible; depriving the both the animal of its life and the foodchain of a nutritious meat product. " Mr Purdey's email

    17/18 April 2005 ~ warmwell.com is preparing a series of new pages to publicise a new book to be published in the near future by Chris Chapman "Silence at Ramscliffe"
    Some of Mr Chapman's work has been on warmwell since January 2002. He has been touched by the number of people and organisations who have already shown interest in the project. A letter he received from a respected farmer on Dartmoor has been given to warmwell as an example. It sums up what so many of us feel:

    17 April 2005 ~ "......when a car is chugging along on bio-fuel.... not even a faint whiff of fried potatoes. Everybody does notice, on the other hand, when somebody builds a wind farm in an area of unspoilt and beautiful countryside. This week the planning inquiry into the Whinash wind farm on the edge of the Lake District National Park will begin. Opponents include Lord Bragg and Sir Chris Bonington who rightly say that the farm, encompassing 27 400ft high wind turbines, will be a blot on the landscape visible for miles around. It amounts to no less than an “industrialisation of the countryside”. Sunday Times Leader

    17/18 April 2005 ~ The Oil Depletion Analysis Centre (ODAC) is a UK-registered educational charity working to raise international public awareness and promote better understanding of the world’s oil-depletion problem. They are organising a one day conference in Edinburgh with many of the most well known speakers on peak oil.

    17 April 2005 ~ Apologies for the previous week's absence. The warmwell laptop is still out of commission but an aged PC is filling the gap. Windfarm and Peak Oil news pages are now updated.

    10 April 2005 ~ David Bellamy OBE, botanist ".... I want free speech, fair play and a fair countryside bursting with natural history while providing local food and a place for healthful recreation and solace. My vote will go to the party that will stand up for these rights, and declare a moratorium on any further desecration of our countryside with wind turbines."Daily Express Thursday April 7 2005

    10 April 2005 ~ " Led by pillars of the Lake District establishment, including Melvyn Bragg and the mountaineer Chris Bonington, an army of Cumbrians is gathering to fight off the plans for the largest wind farm ever on mainland Britain. " Independent We also hear that on April 6th South Cambridgeshire District Council voted by 28 - 0 to refuse planning permission for Your Energy’s application for the huge Cambridge Wind farm project. Angela Kelly remarks drily, "BWEA’s “Embrace the Revolution” campaign, in this case, seems to be about as effective as their wind machines."

    10 April 2005 ~ "Mr Foster (Hastings's first-ever Labour MP and a solicitor) is so concerned by Defra's conduct towards the Hastings fishermen that he has offered, whether or not he is re-elected, to represent the two men until their case is concluded." Booker's Notebook

    9 April 2005 ~ The importance of sharing expertise and information across national boundaries. On the subject of avian influenza, we were very pleased to see that ProMed said yesterday, "Veterinary and Public Health Services should better work together to improve national, regional and global health security. Public Health Services should support the agriculture sector and veterinary services in order to control and eliminate the disease at its origin."
    ProMed adds that OIE and FAO have launched a New Worldwide Avian Influenza Network (OFFLU) which will improve international collaboration between OIE and FAO laboratories specialising in AI in animals and laboratory networks focusing on human influenza.

    9 April 2005 ~ Bovine TB Today's Times "An exclusion zone and animal movement restrictions have been placed around a farm in Canonbie, Dumfries and Galloway, after an outbreak of bovine TB. A total of 95 cattle at Southwoodhead Farm will be slaughtered, with the source of the outbreak yet to be established."

    8 April 2005 ~ EU Export refunds promote a trade that causes enormous suffering to the animals - forcing them to travel in poor conditions for up to 10 days, with inadequate veterinary checks; and then to be slaughtered under conditions which are illegal in the EU. Compassion in World Farming asks us "Please send our e-postcard to Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel, Agriculture Commissioner at the European Commission.
    Please contact your MEP and ask him/her to sign Neil Parish MEP's Written Declaration. If half of all MEPs sign the above Written Declaration, it will become the official opinion of the European Parliament. (If you are not sure how to get in touch with your MEP, please see http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm, or contact the UK Office of the European Parliament on 020 7227 4300 ) .

    8 April 2005 ~ It appears that there exists an extensive record of correspondence between Beatrix Potter and the early National Trust officers, in which she frequently expresses her displeasure at their lack of understanding of local conditions. See High Yewdale pages (new window)

    8 April 2005 ~ " We are greatly encouraged by the support that we have received for our action from local people in Pembrokeshire, as well as from the rest of Wales and elsewhere in the UK. This reflects the public interest in this case and in the protection of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park“
    An emailer who shares our concern about High Yewdale in Cumbria, sends this piece of good news about the appeal against the High Court Judgement in fvour of the Bluestone "Holiday Village"

    7 April 2005 ~ Warmwell is planning a series of pages on High Yewdale Farm for the website. This 17th century farm near Coniston in Cumbria was bequeathed to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter. She believed that the National Trust would preserve the style of hill farming she so loved. With its very high levels of animal welfare, excellent stockmanship and economic viability, it has been called the Jewel in the Crown of the National Trust. ...who now propose to break it up.
    (See Telegraph of Jan 24th) Meanwhile, we should welcome emails on the subject. ( Picture of farmhouse in new window)

    6 April 2005 ~ Norman Church 's article on the unsustainability of hydrocarbon-based agriculture together with Eating Fossil Fuels should be the bedtime reading of Sean Rickard, Margaret Beckett, Ben Bradshaw and Uncle Tom Cobbley. Not even organic produce is energy efficient unless it is locally grown. Those who say the UK is now in a "post-agricultural era" are throwing away our very survival if Norman Church is correct: "The priority must be the development of local and regional food systems, preferably organically based, in which a large percentage of demand is met within the locality or region." Read in full

    6 April 2005 ~ The ineffable Sean Rickard is quoted in Farmers' Weekly saying, "These larger scale farms are less damaging to the environment than their smaller counterparts.."
    It may be remembered that Mr Rickard, at the height of FMD, said, "The general reaction to this outbreak has bordered on the hysterical." Luckily, George Monbiot was the other part of that two-way correspondence in 2001. (Read)

    6 April 2005 ~ More and more about peak oil is creeping into the US newspapers. Headlines such as "However difficult, the energy crisis must be dealt with" ("Although some of the "End of Oil" theorists may be overly pessimistic, we would be fools to ignore the concerns they have raised...") and "Mad Max future? CRASH COMING AS OIL PRICES PEAK" are two of today's offerings.

    6 April 2005 ~ Greenpeace is opposing a giant wind farm of 234 turbines planned for across 30 miles of Lewis (Western Isles) See windfarms page

    5 April 2005 ~"There are 9 different varieties of the H5 avian flu virus. One strain, called H5N1, jumped to humans in Asia during 2004, killing 48 people. The strain of bird flu that has struck poultry in North Korea is different from the one that has killed dozens of people in Southeast Asia, a UN expert said Tuesday [5 Apr 2005] after visiting the North..." ProMed

    5 April 2005 ~ "When I was a town planning officer I had a duty to resist proposals likely to harm the environment. I am therefore appalled at the prospect of Wales becoming a gigantic windmill theme park..." This is southwales

    5 April 2005 ~ Turbines at edge of Dartmoor. WMN "The fact that it is outside the boundary is of no significance because everything is up for grabs now. This is probably the most frightening scenario which has faced us since the foot and mouth crisis." The action group's next meeting will be held on April 20 at the Okehampton Charter Hall at 7pm.

    5 April 2005 ~" Plantlife surveys are done by volunteers who report on species in one area over the years. The charity, which can be e-mailed on enquiries@plantlife.org.uk is very keen for more volunteers for the survey." Independent

    5 April 2005 ~"The peak oil idea -- which says that world oil production will go into irreversible decline sometime in the next decade or two -- is quickly morphing into conventional wisdom.. ...a recent report prepared for the U.S. government..concluded that strong action must be taken...if we are to avoid “a long period of significant economic hardship worldwide.” http://www.gnn.tv/
    With oil at $58 a barrel oil analyst Ken Miller yesterday at Purvin & Gertz in Houston. "I view this as a very unstable situation."

    5 April 2005 ~"Diesel fuel moves every single item in the economy....Your clothes, your food -- everything you need to survive is going to be impacted." The US is beginning to notice why peak oil experts are seriously concerned. The warmwell Peak Oil news page began in April 2004.

    4 April 2005 ~ Some much needed and cheering news today is that the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's Cathedral have - because of massive and well informed local opposition in Essex - withdrawn their support for Npower Renewables' plan to build 26 massive wind turbines . See windfarms page Angela Kelly, the painter and founder of Country Guardian considers the change of heart at St Paul's is "thanks to the brilliant campaigning of the BATTLE group ."

    4 April 2005 ~ Lets hope that at least some of those who continue to support our own disgusting intensive chicken trade by buying cheap chicken read the Daily Mail. Cheap the meat certainly is. But it is the birds who pay the price. What is more, (and easily explicable when you read the Mail's exposé), at least half the chicken on sale in UK supermarkets is contaminated.

    4 April 2005 ~ The battle over the fate of Scotland's Western Isles hedgehogs restarts today. Rather than limit expanding numbers with anti-fertility drugs in bait, the authorities prefer to catch them at night and administer lethal injections. ..animal welfare campaigners (include) Joanna Lumley, Twiggy, Sting, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Tim Rice. See Independent for the story.

    3/4 April 2005 ~ " the Scottish Executive have approved a plan to start filling the Solway Firth Estuary with giant wind turbines...The Solway Firth is a wildfowl sanctuary for many species of birds and waterfowl." See email from Cumbria .Allerdale and Cumbria County Council both objected to the scheme. It was approved anyway. See also windfarm pages.

    2 April 2005 ~ the human body is a significant air polluter, according to a scientific study of "bio aerosols" : "Human skin particles, dandruff and cell fragments, and similar bits and proteins naturally shed by other animals and plants can add up to as much as a quarter of all particles in the air, said the study by Ruprech Jaenicke of University of Mainz in Germany." IOL.co.za

    2 April 2005 ~Efforts are being made in the US to prevent the National Institutes of Health from destroying an irreplaceable collection of human brains. See Washington Times "French researchers currently are re-examining specimens .. to determine if the woman was indeed infected with vCJD. If she was, it would suggest the disease began infecting people more than 20 years earlier than previously thought. .... "There is information locked up in these freezers that will be lost forever if this collection is destroyed."
    In Britain, the Corsellis collection, housed at Wickford Essex, has specimens some of which appear to show lesions compatible with the so called 'new' type of CJD, dating back to the early part of the 20th century. MP Teresa Gorman successfully campaigned to stop the Corsellis Collection from being dispersed

    2 April 2005 ~ "Bradshaw has hidden behind NFU skirts, and asked for 'their' strategy on bovine TB. Meetings this week. Total waste of time - and predictable..." An email from a West country farmer who is frustrated not only by DEFRA's lack of understanding but also by a forum comment from someone whose admirable love for wildlife is, unfortunately, as nothing to her hatred of farmers - the assumption being that the misery of FMD was all mere hypocrisy. PB adds, "When I think of the suicides and tears, fear and horror ..... well you know how we feel."

    1 April 2005 ~ WMN "Millions of pounds earmarked to help farmers are being lost to government bureaucracy..., the Commons public accounts committee said vast sums were being soaked up by administration costs. "The department should ...simplify the application processes and streamline its administration of schemes ..." the report concluded. It said that farm business support should be targeted at small and medium-sized family farms rather than large agri-businesses who often benefit at present."

    31 March 2005 ~ WMN quotes Bill Harper, the National Beef Association’s South West regional chairman: “We are making the dire bovine TB situation an election issue and telling Gordon Brown loud and clear what 350 vets have already told the Government – that there is a way to prevent this disaster for the benefit of everyone concerned, including the healthy badger population.”

    30 March 2005 ~ Reader poll from a German website: " Do you think countries should reconsider developing wind power facilities if they threaten birds and bats? Please provide your full name and country in your reply. "

    30 March 2005 ~Mike Meredith writes with news of a new book:"Physiology and Behaviour of Animal Suffering" by Neville G Gregory

    30 March 2005 ~ "...The Office of Fair Trading's audit of the big four supermarkets' buying habits has laid bare for the first time what sort of treatment smaller suppliers can expect to receive. In particular, it has highlighted the chaotic way in which J Sainsbury, the country's third largest supermarket, interacts with its suppliers, using more than 300 different payment terms and negotiating each contract with suppliers separately..." Telegraph

    30 March 2005 ~ "the stark reality of the bush meat trade and LAGA is one of the few organisations trying to bring the traders to book. It's largely staffed by volunteers, local people with a fervent commitment to their cause. They scour the markets looking for endangered species, animals like gorilla and chimpanzee. These are the big prize. Their flesh is an expensive, much sought after delicacy. It’s used at banquets and in rituals..." a reminder of the File on Four programme aired last October. The transcript is available from the Dirty Meat pages.

    29 March 2005 ~ Comments about the Watchdog programme:

    Yes. It is unfortunate that this otherwise excellent programme raised again the spectre of the "theoretical possibility".... See BBC page for brief report on the programme and the BSE/scrapie page for heretical views about BSE.

    29 March 2005 ~ The dangers of illegal imports of Bush meat (see pdf file). The ebola-like Marburg hemorrhagic fever virus, which has already killed over 120 people in Uganda, was first identified in Germany and Yugoslavia in 1967, where it had travelled with green monkeys imported from Uganda. Marburg is a viral disease with no cure or vaccine that doctors have said can be "rapidly fatal." See also ProMed mail.

    29 March 2005 ~ Comment on Peak Oil from Seattle "...everything, including the dollar, is balanced precariously on the edge of a cliff. We have chosen force and belligerency to maintain our place in the world and our access to oil when cooperation and the rule of law are the only real options open to us. Peak oil means that we are entering into a reality far different and much more threatening than the one to which we are accustomed." Read in full

    28 March 2005 ~ A major earthquake has struck off the west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island today, and officials have warned of the possibility of another tsunami. See Guardian ( A grim story of earthquake can be read in Tuesday's Independent- but only one ten foot wave reported by Tuesday morning)

    28 March 2005 ~ The threat to public health nearer home than avian influenza is the billion pound illegal trade in dirty meat. Dr Yunez Teinaz writes:
    " I have managed successfully to arrange the purchase of smokies from Southwark and Brixton in Lambeth for the Watchdog programme, going on air Tuesday 29 March @7 pm.
    It is alarming when hundreds of carcases of illegal meat enter the human food chain without any action from the local authorities or the FSA.!
    I am sure that the viewers of the programme will find the footage disturbing. This is an issue affecting the health of the entire nation.
    The same criminals still in business; nothing happens to them !" (Dirty Meat pages)

    28 March 2005 ~ Avian Influenza 'I have never seen the international community as agitated about anything as this. Although it sounds alarmist, the balanced view is that we are overdue a major pandemic " says Professor Roy Anderson in the Observer. However, Reuters reports that " the World Health Organization says it has seen no evidence so far to suggest the virus is changing into a form that could be transmitted easily from one human to another."

    25 March 2005 ~"NFU North-West Dairy Board chairman Ray Brown has told NFU members that he wants the national NFU Dairy Board to liaise with equivalent organisations throughout Europe before more North-West dairy farmers are put out of business due to the ever decreasing amount they are paid for their milk. This especially applies to milk into cheese." .....two-thirds of dairy farmers are failing to cover their production costs...."The Journal

    24 March 2005 ~ A farmer who, like many, has no quarrel with public access by genuine visitors, but who has been on the cruel receiving end of damage writes "Several times I've heard (particularly Lord Whitty) refer to 'The public's right to see where its money is spent', and words in this press release like 'enjoyment' of the countryside reinforce that. ..." Read in full this warning about the new "Conservation" body.

    24 March 2005 ~ In connection with the story below, a West Country farmer writes with this surreal tale of officialdom "..... I said that as the operative was tramping the area going from wood to wood, even if he/she disinfected wellington boots, the spores of previous 'hits' would be in their hair, nose clothing and there was no way they were coming into our ancient woodlands.
    'Oh no', the lady said, 'we just need the farm maps to see who owns the woodlands'. 'But you've just released a CD showing how much subsidy we received ..." Read in full

    23 March 2005 ~ Lazy journalists choose sensational headlines without regard to accuracy - and this headline, as well as knocking both the monarchy and farmers, refers to a system that no longer exists - the Yorkshire Post cries, "The Queen and Prince Charles 'rake in farm subsidy windfall'" before mking clear that the disclosures related to the CAP payment system in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 – which has since been reformed.

    23 March 2005 ~ DEFRA says that Margaret Beckett "... today outlined progress towards the establishment of a new organisation with the aim of conserving and enhancing England's landscape and wildlife and encouraging people to enjoy and gain benefit from it. Mrs Beckett announced that the name of the new agency will be Natural England, with the strapline "For People, Places and Nature".
    Sorry? "strapline"? Defra's diction does rather make one wonder if "Natural England" might consider conservation of the English language as well.

    23 March 2005 ~ "These plans provide clear structures and systems and help to achieve cooperation and effective delivery. They demonstrate the progress that the department has made and is continuing to make in improving its emergency preparedness and contingency planning..." So says Ben Bradshaw in the foreward to the new Contingency Plan Version 1 (pdf) (which replaces version 4.)

    23 March 2005 ~ a justification running out of wind? "Alex Kapranos, the lead singer of the band Franz Ferdinand, said: "Our modern lives depend upon easy access to huge resources of energy. We’re going to run out of fossil fuels so we need to find an alternative resource - and it’s unlikely that we’ll run out of wind."
    Leaving aside the questions about turbine efficiency and political correctness and expediency, this is one of the first statements we have seen that suggests the rush to build turbines is less about Kyoto and more about peak oil. See today's Scotsman.

    22 March 2005 ~ A Welsh farmer will bury fallen stock because it has not been collected for five weeks. See FWi - and also our pages on the Fallen Stock scheme

    22 March 2005 ~ "...This coming scarcity cannot be wished away, nor can it be erased through drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which contains far too little petroleum to make a significant difference even in U.S. oil supplies. Only an ambitious program of energy conservation..." See Peak Oil news

    22 March 2005 ~ Kelly's "Aye" - The Independent reports that "The Government promised that it would provide new money to improve the quality of school dinners .... ministers changed course yesterday..." (Radio 4 yesterday told that part of the electorate who were listening that in France at least £2 is spent on every child's school dinner.)

    22 March 2005 ~ The Independent reports "Yet another nail was hammered into the coffin of the GM food industry in Britain yesterday when the final trial of a four-year series of experiments found, once more, that genetically modified crops can be harmful to wildlife.." See GM page

    22 March 2005 ~ "Farmers' leaders yesterday demanded stronger laws to help stamp out illegal food imports which threaten the farming industry. The Ulster Farmers' Union also wants 'on the spot' penalties introduced to deter personal imports of illegal foodstuffs." Belfast Telegraph

    21 March 2005 ~ Spain is to "police" EU fishing grounds. Shadow Agriculture Minister, Owen Patterson, said: “Following the revelation that Spain recently used illegal drift nets and discarded 65% of fish caught, it seems completely perverse that the Government is allowing fishing to be directed from Vigo.” Press release text

    21 March 2005 ~ Hilary Peters, our observant traveller, has found a permanent home See her last entry She writes " ...alternative voices are being heard. They are even being heard by the government, always the last to hear good news.
    It seems but a few minutes since farmers were being threatened and bribed to poison weeds, invest in battery cages, grub up hedges, exterminate wildlife, kill stock that didn1t conform to market pressures,. Now the threats and bribes are all aimed in the opposite direction. Even if there is not (yet) a huge change on the ground, the climate of opinion has changed. .."

    21 March 2005 ~"Blair backs Oliver on school meals - but not with cash - no extra funding would be allocated.." Independent

    21 March 2005 ~ "...The recognition of the healing powers of rock dust comes after a 20-year campaign by two former schoolteachers, Cameron and Moira Thomson. They have been battling to prove that rock dust can replace the minerals that have been lost to the earth over the past 10,000 years and, as a result, rejuvenate the land and halt climate change. To prove their point, the couple have converted six acres of open, infertile land in the Grampian foothills near Pitlochry into a modern Eden..." Independent

    20/21 March 2005 ~ Email received: "..Very interesting keynote speech at the International Food Exhibition last week from Joanne Denney-Finch, the chief exec of the IGD (Institute of Grocery Distribution) - the trade organisation of the large retailers (tho' they claim to represent all retailers).
    To my amazement I read that she said that 'now is the moment for local and regional food' , that new IGD research shows that 70% of British consumers want to buy local and regional foods, and that they are a way to bring much needed innovation into the industry. " See www.igd.org.uk

    20 March 2005 ~ School dinners. Snowmail says, "I've just interviewed the Education Secretary Ruth Kelly who made a lot of positive sounding noise about empowering parents to support schools and giving them a 'toolkit' to do so - but will they have a veto over schools serving up rubbish? Where's the cash coming from to pay all the overtime necessary for dinner ladies serving food instead of rubbish? Well, that's not clear ..."

    20 March 2005 ~ Virgil Kirkendall worked on windmill projects at the request of NASA - his conclusions:
    “I’ve seen so much bull about wind turbines that I don’t feel is true. They try to sell people on wind power, and it’s not for free. The truth is, it’s very difficult to get,” Kirkendall said. “I just don’t want them to feed a bunch of misinformation to people who have no experience in it".... The cost of building and maintaining windmills are not worth the amount of energy produced, Kirkendall said. .." See windfarms

    20 March 2005 ~ Professor David Bellamy, Sir Bernard Ingham and Dr Mike Hallwill be speaking on April 12 at Saddleworth Hotel, Huddersfield Road, Delph OL3 5LX. Click here if you would like to go.

    20 March 2005 ~ The G-20 group of developing countries, at its meeting in Delhi, has called for an immediate standstill to farm subsidies by the rich nations.
    The EU uses subsidies to dump farm produce on world markets while also erecting high tariff barriers to keep out the exports of developing countries. The G-20 accounts for 65 percent of the world's population, 72 percent of its farmers and 22 percent of agricultural output. Brazil's foreign minister, Celso Amorim said, "This was a very positive meeting that showed the G-20 is not only alive and kicking but it's kicking in a very forceful, pragmatic manner." See Reuters

    19/20 March 2005 ~ "Last week The Telegraph published a letter from the environment minister, Elliot Morley, attacking fly-tipping as an "anti-social and potentially damaging crime". He was not prepared, he said, to tolerate the criminals responsible for it any longer. What made this outburst curious was that Mr Morley himself recently authorised one of the most glaring examples of fly-tipping in the country, by granting a licence for a further 200,000 tons of rubbish to be dumped this year in one of the most beautiful bays in Cornwall." Booker's Notebook

    19/20 March 2005 ~ Straight Vegetable Oil "There are a number of SVO systems available worldwide, that have been in use for a number of years. The idea of using heated vegetable oil as an alternative fuel is not a new one and has been used successfully in Europe for a number of years. In Germany, there are actually small groups of farmers (2-4) who grow rapeseed, crush the oil themselves with their own oil expeller, feed the meal to their own livestock, and then use the oil in their farm machinery. " See website

    18 March 2005 ~ FOOT AND MOUTH SCARE "Lorry loads of livestock were turned away from a Pendle abattoir and staff told they must stay on the premises on Wednesday, sparking fears of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease..." Read in full

    18 March 2005 ~"..... shows a picture of a solar breeder. That, by the way, is about 5 miles from my home. It was built by Solarex, and it is a sign of the times. Mr. Speaker, this is now owned by BP. They know that oil is not forever. They are now the world's second largest producer of solar panels. .." part of the transcript of the hour long presentation on the end of cheap oil given to the US Congress on Monday. Read in full

    18 March 2005 ~ FWi on the decline in the number of pigs in Britain " .. by almost 6% to 457,000, according to the latest DEFRA census. It undermines the findings of the mid term June 2004 census which indicated a recovery in numbers, especially with regard to replacement gilts....Unless there is a reversal in this 25 year downward trend, more abattoir closures and mergers can be expected, cutting competition in the market as a whole. In the absence of home-produced product, rising pigmeat consumption in the UK will be met by further imports, which already account for almost 70% of the market." Little news of the pig diseases rife in the UK ever get to the mainstream press. We should welcome further information.

    18 March 2005 ~ A mobile information unit to highlight the risks from foods people bring back from abroad will be parked in the London Central Mosque and Islamic Centre, 146 Park Road, London, NW8 from 12pm to 2.30pm today. Dr Yunes Teinaz, Hackney Principal Environmental Health Officer and advisor to the London Central Mosque, said, "It is vital that we are all made aware of the regulations regarding personal food imports as a great number of travellers tend to bring back food products that have been given to them as gifts by family or friends. It is great that information is available to people of many different backgrounds and cultures". Press release

    17 March 2005 ~Horse and Hound this week has a very worrying story: "I made a complaint after my kennel huntsman, Steven Lenton, was bashed and had to have 24 stitches in his head. Four or five weeks later, I'm having my collar felt by the Met.... ... it's being used to frighten field sports supporters. People are being charged with offences they clearly haven't committed...it's not about hunting any more..." Read in full

    17 March 2005 ~ The outcry about the carcase "which could have been contaminated with BSE" (BBC) hits the headlines. It is always worrying when safety regulations get broken by inefficient or overworked officials but BSE, over which hang so many unanswered questions, seems a political disease as much as a threat to humans. A bit of thymus in one carcase that slipped through an otherwise tight net isn't a real risk and the FSA's position here can perhaps be understood.
    However, the FSA position on the really diseased meat getting into the human food chain cannot be understood. Because of lax laws and a reluctance to get to grips with a nasty problem that involves criminal gangs and vast amounts of money, public health really is in danger.

    16 March 2005 ~ The U.S. Senate have approved a Republican plan to allow drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Reuters says "The government estimates up to 16 billion barrels of oil in ANWR are technically recoverable, although much of that would be too expensive to produce at today's prices."

    16 March 2005 ~ Prince Charles has paid tribute to the women of the farming industry yesterday for "taking the lead in a time of great change." WMN

    15 March 2005 ~ Jon Snow's ever readable "Snowmail" asks today (among other things) "Is nuclear power creeping back on to the global energy agenda? Julian Rush is at the G8 Climate Change conference - let's see.
    Britain, one of the world's biggest arms sellers says it wants to draw up a treaty to limit them. It's Jack Straw's initiative, is this what Labour party strategists were trying to tell us about flying pigs?.."

    15 March 2005 ~ Noel Edmonds says that the energy crisis is too important to be left to politicians and (as with Animal Health) that we need a "ground up, not "top down" approach. "Campbell Dunford, chairman of Save the Vale, which hosted the forum, and has fought off plans for giant turbines in Blackmore Vale, said: "The issues are huge but we can all make a small difference....This is not a future problem, it is a problem now." WMN today.

    15 March 2005 ~ Peak Oil "... if we turn out to be wrong then we merely look silly. However if the detractors are wrong, if the fountain of eternal energy, whatever that might be, is not found soon then the western civilisation we all know and love, contingently reliant upon oil to feed, clothe, house and medicate itself is about to end. .." Scoop.co.nz
    "OPEC ministers from Algeria and Libya rejected Saudi Arabia's plan to increase oil production, saying the group can do nothing to control this year's surge in oil prices.." Bloomberg.com (Is it really the right time for DEFRA to be talking about a "post agriculture era" in the UK?)

    14 March 2005 ~ Animal health and public health is just too important to be left in the hands of career politicians. But there are questions that will not be answered without the determination of some of them. On its front page, the WMN reports the story Tories Pledge to hold Foot and Mouth Inquiry.

    14 March 2005 ~ Has anyone else been wondering who is to pay for the Sudan1 fiasco, another odd happening, full of secrecy, squabbling and buck passing? It all seems a symptom of the fact that food production is now a global industry, controlled by just a handful of companies. See also Comment and Observer article

    14 March 2005 ~ Defra's mastery of information technology... We have been forwarded a refreshing letter from the Farmers' Guardian about DEFRA's spy in the sky (see below)
    ".....Could they alter the map of Britain as they have of our small farm? Would the Isle of Wight be missed - or Cornwall?
    Who knows what dark deeds are afoot..."

    11/13 March 2005 ~ Mrs J Hughes from Buckinghamshire sends this email about DEFRA's spy in the sky technology. It is, she says, being used to check out that farmers are following the 'rules' given for Country Stewardship. Reactions to her email would be most welcome.

    11/13 March 2005 ~ Crucial new fishing industry laws "... Mr Bradshaw seemed to have some difficulty in answering the questions put to him. But his Labour colleagues remained silent, until they could dutifully give this mountain of unread paper their approval. Few probably even realised that the regulations under discussion were approved in Brussels last December and have already been law for three months. Whatever Parliament thought about them was thus wholly irrelevant." Booker's Notebook

    11/13 March 2005 ~ "We are in the position of a chap with a headache whose doctor prescribes “aspirin”. As the pain doesn’t go away he is given ever more potent and expensive pain-killers until he becomes really ill;…and all because the doc can’t be bothered to find out why the poor fellow has the headache in the first place..." Richard Mawdsley sends this account of a fascinating argument about government, agriculture and the mess we are in.

    11/13 March 2005 ~Hexham Courant "...George Howarth MP said: “We want the Government to accept that they have taken away people’s livelihoods as a result of Defra’s failure to supervise one farm.” The £40 million swill processing industry was closed down after it was alleged that foot-and-mouth had spread from swill used at Burnside Farm.."

    11/13 March 2005 ~ Lord Sainsbury, has just donated £2 million pounds to the election fund of the New Labour party As the speakcampaigns.org website says, "Sainsbury is the key to why this government is so determined not only to build the primate laboratory, but also to impose GM crops and food products on the population, despite huge public opposition in both cases." (Thanks to Bryn and Richard for this information)

    11/13 March 2005 ~ It looks as though organophosphate poisoning may have killed 27 children and made 103 others very ill in the Phillipines on Wednesday. It is still unclear how pesticides could have infected the cassava snacks eaten by the children, but it is likely that farmers sprayed trees growing above the tubers. http://news.balita.ph

    11 March 2005 ~ The penny, as well as the petro dollar, is starting to drop . The International Energy Agency has said that the "soaring demand for oil is threatening to prompt political clampdowns on fuel use" See Peak Oil pages.

    11 March 2005 ~ A Yorkshire Post letter from a well informed and eloquent farmer concerns what he rightly sees as a form of blackmail, and adds "... avian influenza is a human killer as well. So if the Government doesn't wake up today, it will not only be destroying farming..."

    11 March 2005 ~ Email received on the subject of Mr Blair: "....now we hear he was in the House - but didn't want to sit in the Chamber to hear the debate. Even if he doesn't actually go - at least he is deservedly getting the treatement he deserves and Parliament is showing it has some backbone. I think once he has been deposed the reluctance properly to investigate the costs of foot and mouth 2001 might also be lifted. ."

    10/11 March 2005 ~ Farming Life comments on the swill processors' plight. The article quotes David Fursdon, CLA deputy president: "This was a heavily regulated industry and no swill processor was actually prosecuted in relation to the outbreak of FMD, so why haven't they received compensation like other groups whose businesses were banned by governments - for example mink farmers?" 62 swill feeders were put out of business as a result of the ban.

    9 March 2005 ~ A 81-year-old Vietnamese man whose two grandchildren are being treated for bird flu has tested positive for the virus even though he showed no symptoms Reuters See also below for ProMed moderator's upbeat comment on unapparent symptoms.

    9 March 2005 ~ The Miami Herald notes that a network of 3,500 emergency workers, farmers and veterinarians will be trained across the state to identify, then respond to any kind of agricultural emergency in order to help protect the food supply from terrorist attacks and natural disasters and also " to save Georgia's $42 billion agricultural industry from economic ruin"... they noted that "suicides among British farmers increased substantially after their herds were destroyed during an outbreak of foot and mouth disease." read in full

    9 March 2005 ~ "How will the price of food be affected when the costs of bringing it to market rise dramatically? How much of our economic model will survive, given that much of it presupposes cheap oil? Can we continue to assume that we can procure raw materials for manufacturing from anywhere in the world? Can we assume that we can sell goods anywhere?"
    Interesting that concern about the end of cheap oil is at last beginning to be in the mainstream and business papers. See NZ Business Day article on peak oil page

    8/9 March 2005 ~ DEFRA has announced another consultation - this time "on the proposals to amend the legislation on BSE testing to facilitate trade in cattle over thirty months for human consumption" read on DEFRA website Extract:

    8 March 2005 ~ Poor old "Air Miles Margaret".... Mrs Beckett has declared that ministers will be forced to make energy savings in their departments to offset the carbon dioxide released by their planes.
    WMN quotes Norman Baker ( Lib-Dem environment spokesman) "You'd have to reforest the Amazon to make up for Margaret Beckett's air flights"

    8 March 2005 ~ Fallen Stock scheme. Wales. "Quite simply, it has been a failure so far....Farmers, having paid into the scheme, are having to wait up to and in excess of three weeks for carcass collection, and the standards at centres are far from being examples of good bio-security..." Farmers Weekly. More on warmwell's fallen stock page Scrapping the scheme and allowing farmers to use bio-digesters to decompose carcases would seem to be the best solution to the continuing chaos.

    7 March 2005 ~ WMN ~ "Farming Minister Lord Whitty is also meeting growers, wholesalers, processors and food service companies today to highlight opportunities for them to supply the public sector. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is leading a drive to encourage public bodies, schools and hospitals to serve meals that meet government objectives on health and nutrition."

    7 March 2005 ~ "....plans for more than 6,000 turbines to be built across the country threaten to damage the unique scenery that has influenced a host of writers, artists and poets. A report by the Scottish Wind Assessment Project (Swap)..." for the Independent article today and the SWAP report, see windfarm page

    6/7 March 2005 ~ "World oil peaking represents a problem like none other. The political, economic, and social stakes are enormous....If peaking is imminent, failure to act aggressively will be extremely damaging worldwide." For those interested, see Dr. Robert L. Hirsch's summary of a recently completed study for the U.S. Department of Energy

    6/7 March 2005 ~ In Germany, the public is becoming increasingly restive about wind farms. They tend to occupy shorelines, high points and open country, making them highly visible. Der Spiegel says: "Resistance to the encroaching 'asparagusing' of the landscape by the affected population is growing across the country." See warmwell windfarm page and today's round up of news including article from the BBC

    6/7 March 2005 ~ Barbara Sutcliffe, the doughty fighter for justice on organo-phosphates, sends a link to a website which details all chemicals in use in agriculture. This information was published in Farmers Weekly by Barbara in a letter in the Feb11-17 edition. The website is: http://turva.me.tut.fi/iloagri/natu/fh_main.htm There is a facility to tap in the chemical in which you are interested.

    6/7 March 2005 ~ Let them eat cake? An email just received from a farmer reports a DEFRA official's remark that we are now in a "post-agricultural era" - by which he presumably meant that the UK is to be a non-food producing part of the enlarged EU and that the giant supermarkets will provide.... Such folly is extraordinary at a time when even this government must see that the era of cheap oil itself is over, and - however much of the countryside is covered in giant turbines - the cost of energy and particularly of transportation is going to bring globalisation to an end. (Iran and Venezuela - two of the world's major oil nations - have responded to US policy to get tough on rogue states by threatening to cut supplies to world markets. See peak oil news pages)

    6 March 2005 ~ "...the implications of the Government's dismissal last week of an urgent plea by 350 vets and scientists that it should act now to halt the epidemic of bovine TB that is sweeping through Britain's badger population. In an extraordinary step, the vets wrote an open letter to Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, expressing their "despair" at her refusal to permit a targeted culling of TB-infected badgers." Bookers Notebook

    6 March 2005 ~ DEFRA, on page 7 of their handbook on Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) says: “DEFRA has designed ELS to be simple to administer, with a minimum of paperwork.” The link below takes you to DEFRA’s ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTEEN page guide. http://www.defra.gov.uk/erdp/pdfs/es/els-handbook.pdf (Actually, page 2 alone temporarily deprived me of the will to live.)

    5 March 2005 ~ We hope to be able to make or get a transcript of part of Farming Today This Week in which we heard that bird feathers from China can carry the bird flu virus. Although, because of avian influenza, poultry meat has been banned, duck, chicken and turkey feathers were still being imported. Professor Hugh Pennington says the virus can survive in faecal material on the feathers and cleaning cannot insure against this "very nasty business" and that we should not rely on luck in the face of a "very great risk" for indigenous birds or potential to kill people. He says he is "unhappy about the importation of feathers". DEFRA issues no guidelines for any but the most cursory visual testing. No lab testing for pathogens is done at all. They are only interested in "certification". Inspectors are, sadly, not infallible? (Front Page)
    See also BBC report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4321059.stm

    5 March 2005 ~ Jan in Cumbria comments today "There are other countries who attempt to protect their people.... We allow all sorts of 'dodgy' non UK meats through our borders..." and he sends a link to New retroviruses jump from monkeys to humans See also our pages on dirty meat

    4 March 2005 ~ Simon Jenkins on the sham of the New Forest's new status as a National Park has some rare praise for DEFRA "....Margaret Beckett’s born-again agriculture ministry, now grandly titled “environment, food and rural affairs”. Yesterday it announced details of the new Environment Stewardship Scheme, heralding the most radical change in farming since the advent of the Common Agricultural Policy. It is possibly the last hope of stopping Mr Prescott from opening the urban floodgates. .." Read in full

    4 March 2005 ~ Times "Every farmer in the country will receive £12 an acre if he signs up to follow basic green farming practices. Other householders with more than 25 acres may also sign up to the new scheme. All organic farmers will receive a base rate of £24 an acre. For the greenest farmers, who look after sites of special scientific interest or own land with archaeological remains or monuments, there will be an extra payment that could be as much as £195 an acre.". (What a pity that journalists such as Valerie Elliott continue to feel it appropriate to feed the urban public's erroneous view of farmers (fostered by government spin) by writing sneeringly of "government handouts" )

    3 March 2005 ~ Mr Davidson asked Brian Bender of vaccination "...would farmers have a veto again with the bill falling on the taxpayer?" It would be good if the truth of all this could be stated simply.

    The difference in approach taken by the government today has nothing to do with new advances in technology. Those advances were available in 2001 - as warmwell has been saying for four long years - and we are frankly sick to death of hearing about "hindsight" from those who deliberately ignored the experts at the time.

    3 March 2005 ~ Tom Murley, director of HgCapital, told the second annual Wave and Tidal Energy Conference it was not so much about saving the planet from global warming as about market share. ....
    They were in it for the money, so should the green electricity industry be, he said. It was a straightforward commercial fight." Read Reuters alertnet.org article or in full here

    3 March 2005 ~ Oil prices climbed to near $55 a barrel today. Some traders said they were stunned by how rapidly crude futures have advanced. See peak oil page

    3 March 2005 ~ Wind farms in Scotland "according to a poll commissioned by BBC Scotland. Some 55% of those questioned by Mori Scotland said they objected to plans, with 42% expressing strong opposition. However, 29% said they supported the proposals and 18% strongly backed the renewable energy schemes. "

    3 March 2005 ~ Milk: "...Farming leaders in the Westcountry yesterday gave a cautious welcome to the increase in supermarket retail prices, but said it was vital that the increase was reflected in the price paid at the farm gate." WMN

    3 March 2005 ~ News from Cumbria News and Star is that DEFRA, facing a High Court action, has finally settled out of court with Cumbria Waste Management, to whom they owed £5 million; a deal that is "likely to be the biggest so far arising out of FMD – more than the £1.4 million paid to Lakeland Waste Management last year. Now the only firm in the county still awaiting Defra payment for FMD work is Cumbria Contract Services (CCS),which still has £1.7 million bill outstanding for work including disinfecting roads." See also warmwell page on FPB campaign about small and private businesses still owed money by DEFRA.

    3 March 2005 ~ WMN article "Bird Shooting Ban is Typical Labour Policy' quotes Richard Haddock: " Farmers and landowners are "doing everything possible" to introduce cirl buntings to the area but flocks of up to 18 magpies are a constant threat to the programme. We don't want to eradicate them altogether. We want to be able to keep them under control. This is yet another nanny state introduction. They are losing touch with reality.....the new law would force farmers to use traps to kill nuisance birds, which he said was a more cruel method as well as time consuming The farmer has to wring the bird's neck when he finds it trapped in the cage."

    2/ 3 March 2005 ~ Bovine TB - Farmers mobilise for nationwide protest - Robert Forster "...we are not ready to endorse Government plans for farmers to bear a greater share of control costs which last year topped £92 million, are expected to hit £110 million by the end of this year, and could increase in further 20 per cent annual jumps thereafter. Farmers will only agree to contribute to the cost if they have more say in control strategies and are sure that they are working..." See WMN and the Bovine TB Blog for reaction from the West Country to "The strategic framework for improving control of bovine tuberculosis."

    2/ 3 March 2005 ~ WMN "Farmers and landowners in the Westcountry are furious about "incredible, unmanageable" new rules governing the shooting of pest birds, which they claim came into force "without warning". The new laws, which came into effect yesterday, mean those who own land must be able to demonstrate they have explored every avenue for controlling nuisance birds before resorting to using firearms." See also WMN Thursday

    2 March 2005 ~ Avian flu is now referred to as the possible cause of a "deadly flu pandemic" that could "potentially kill more than 50,000 Britons". See London Standard. John Reid has announced that 14.6 million doses of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu, costing £200 million, would be stockpiled after all. (See below for Geoffrey Lean's comments on Feb 20 ) The World Health Organisation's cumulative count for avian influenza fatalities has not been updated since 2 Feb 2005 according to ProMed Mail today.

    1 March 2005 ~ A Holstein Friesian cross cow born on 3 October 2001 and slaughtered as a casualty, was confirmed today as having had BSE. This brings to 100 the number of cattle born since the MMBM feed ban of August 1 1996. Professor William Hill, Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology, Edinburgh is carrying out an independent assessment of the possible causes of BSE cases born after the reinforced feed ban of August 1996 (BARBs) at the request of DEFRA. See also TSE page

    1 March 2005 ~A Cornish engineer, Pat Cooke, has drawn up plans for a tide power generator he believes has the potential to supply a quarter of Cornwall's energy needs. The Ocean Hydro Electricity Generator (OHEG), which would work by harnessing the tidal power of the sea, would be six times more powerful than a single wind turbine. WMN

    1 March 2005 ~ Some much needed good news. The Independent reports that the "Fairtrade Foundation, which guarantees that produce meets a minimum set of trade standards, found that sales of approved products in the UK rose by 52 per cent last year to £140m compared with £92m in 2003. That shows consumers are increasingly prepared to pay a premium for a product to ensure farmers in the developing world are guaranteed a stable income.."

    1 March 2005 ~ TB. After foot and mouth, the NFU lobbied Defra to allow the movement of livestock from herds that were overdue for bovine TB tests. The ISG's "forcibly expressed" advice to restrict cattle movements was ignored by DEFRA who ruled that it "would not be proportionate to the risk". The ISG report comments, "We are now seeing the consequences of this lack of caution." See icWales

    1 March 2005 ~ "Is there an ill wind blowing for wind farms?" asks Angela Kelly of Country Guardian. Following the two articles in the weekend's press: the Aberdeen Press & Journal, "RSPB joins fight against plan for Lewis windfarm" and The Guardian, "Report doubts future of wind power" (see windfarm page) a panel based phone-in and questions will take place today between 13.10 and 14.00 on BBC Radio Scotland. CLICK HERE to go to BBC Radio Scotland online

    28 February 2005 ~Georgina Downs points out today that the Government’s response to Sudan 1 is contradictory. "The Food Standards Agency has stated that the withdrawal of products containing the substance Sudan 1 is a "precautionary measure" and stated that "the risk is likely to be very small, but it is sensible to avoid eating any more" Yet despite substantive evidence of the risks to people in the countryside from crop-spraying, the Government has not taken any action at all ..."

    28 February 2005 ~ Thousands of horse, pony and donkey owners face a maximum fine of £5,000 from today ( repeat offenders can go to prison) because they have failed to comply with European Union regulations and not bought passports for their animals. The passports cost between £20 and £30 but owners also have to pay a vet to fill in a silhouette identifying markings. About 500,000 horse passports have been registered. But up to a further half a million are still not covered. In last March's debate , Bob Spink said, " The horse passport is a disgraceful regulation. It is simply being pursued to feed the cruel and poorly regulated European slaughterhouses—largely to provide horsemeat for the salami trade, which is something that people in this country find repugnant. We should seek to stop the live export for slaughter of all animals from this country, not seek to extend it to horses. ... "

    28 February 2005 ~ An interesting email received today about the Beaufort Hunt

    28 February 2005 ~ Julian Jones was banned from keeping animals for life nearly six years ago - yet was convicted yet again last week after a distressing find of sheep dead and dying in a filthy barn. Criminal gangs make vast fortunes by selling decomposing meat for use in 'smokies'. While the FSA, created for our protection, says it would be a breach of EU law to create a new offence against this loathsome trade, we can only be grateful for the tireless efforts of Dr Yunes Teinaz, Senior Environmental Health Officer for Haringey and his virtually one-man battle, carried out in spite of death threats and intimidation. See Dirty Meat page

    28 February 2005 ~ Protecting the ravens at the Tower from carrion crows - whose numbers are escalating in London. The Independent says " ... the cull may not be legal for long - putting the ravens' future in jeopardy. Ministers in the Department for the Environment have ordered a review of the law under which wild birds - including crows - can be shot."

    27 February 2005 ~ That "animals may be so emotionally similar to humans that welfare laws need to be rethought." is the subject of an article in the Sunday Times. John Webster, professor of animal husbandry at Bristol, has just published a book on the topic, Animal Welfare: Limping Towards Eden. It should be required reading for anyone with responsibility for animals. The virologist, Dr Ruth Watkins, wrote to warmwell in 2003, "The control of disease by killing farm animals is promoted unashamedly and no apology was made for failing to apply methods in human medicine to the care of farm animals as in the FMD epidemic of 2001."

    27 February 2005 ~ Didi Phillips speaks for many when she reminds us that during 2001 the methods of the police state, now so feared in the face of the Terrorism Bill, were already in place and used against farmers who were virtual prisoners in their homes " ..... in our case it took ten days to get a licence for an ambulance to come onto our farm ! If Labour's backbenchers are so shocked about the new powers being proposed in the anti-terror laws, why didn't they say anything during FMD 2001 when farmers were imprisoned on their farms for months on end. ... " Read email in full

    27 February 2005 ~ The Sunday Herald reports that the Scottish Executive is "under investigation by the European Commission for 32 alleged breaches of laws on nature conservation, waste, fishing, sewage treatment, farming and environmental assessment. ....Several rules on foot-and-mouth disease, the movement of farm animals and the trade in plants are also being broken" including "a directive controlling trade in “semen of domestic animals of the bovine species”. . .." Read in full

    27 February 2005 ~ Earlier this week, as we reported, Thailand approved a program to vaccinate free-range chickens, ducks, fighting cocks and tropical birds reversing an earlier ban.

    27 February 2005 ~ As for the rumours that bird flu "has spread much more widely than was previously thought" ProMed says that there are continuing doubts about the sensitivity of the diagnostic test performed in different laboratories. Although it has been widely reported that encephalitis may be associated with avian influenza..., "100 encephalitis cases examined subsequently were found to be H5N1 virus-negative". "Convincing seroprevalence data are still lacking. The Japanese data now favor an interpretation that avian influenza virus infection of humans is widespread and mostly unapparent. If confirmed, such data should be a cause for rejoicing rather than a reason for generating further alarm and despondency. - Mod.CP

    27 February 2005 ~ The Sunday Telegraph asks "You call this environmentally friendly?" and discusses "....proposals to replace the existing power cables with a 400,000 volt-line would see 164ft-high pylons - double the size of the current pylons - built through the central Highlands, with some structures erected in previously untouched areas..." See article and windfarm page

    26 February 2005 ~ From the Front page of the Guardian "Wind farms are an expensive and inefficient way of generating sustainable energy, according to a study from Germany, the world's leading producer of wind energy. The report, which may have ramifications for the UK's rapidly growing wind farm industry, concludes that instead of spending billions on building new wind turbines, the emphasis should be on making houses more energy efficient..." Read in full
    Warmwell windfarms page (new window)

    25/26 February 2005 ~ Peak Oil conference "...By 2010, many energy resource experts predict that global oil production will peak and start to decline ....The purpose of the session is to inform Massachusetts' legislators, staff, and the public about the implications of the imminent decline in global petroleum production. The session is titled “Cheap Oil; Gone Forever”. ." peak oil news

    25/26 February 2005 ~ “The environmental movement has lost its way, favouring political correctness over factual accuracy, stooping to scare tactics to garner support. Many campaigns now waged in the name of the environment would result in increased harm to both the environment and human welfare if they were to succeed.” Dr P Moore, a founder member of Greenpeace http://www.neimagazine.com/story.asp?storyCode=2026964

    25/26 February 2005 ~ vCJD: STERIS Limited today announced that its product for removing and inactivating prion contamination from surgical instruments is immediately available for sale and use in United Kingdom hospitals. The detergent can remove and inactivate prion contamination from surgical instruments in 15 minutes

    25 February 2005 ~ The Ecologist this month contains a review of Janet Hughes' The Killing Pens.

    25 February 2005 ~ Sir Brian Bender's answers at the PAC committee on Feb 23 (see front page) have caused Robert Persey to express his feelings forcefully on the NPA forum
    "Why should farmers pay for DEFRA negligence in the future?. Why should farmers pay for FMD or Swine Fever that jumps out of a landfill site or a meat composting centre? Isn't the Government culpable by playing fast and loose with our food supplies and letting infected meat into our Country? Are landfill operators or compost site operators forced to carry £5 billion of insurance cover? .." asks Mr Persey. (Read in full)

    25 February 2005 ~ A recent study of 5,500 badgers found that 26 per cent tested positive for tuberculosis. That was in 1996-98 and it is predicted that the incidence today will be higher. Infected badgers, gaunt and in pain, no longer resemble the plump faced friendly creatures on the RSPCA statement (see below). Dr Ruth Watkins' article seems more relevant than ever. WMN's articles on bovine TB today. 350 vets who have written a letter to Defra Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett, expressing a vote of no confidence over her handling of the growing bovine tuberculosis crisis and have called on the Government to agree to a controlled cull of infected badgers. Valerie Elliott has written about this in the Times Mr Owen Paterson has tabled 600 parliamentary questions on the link between bovine TB and badgers. (WMN)

    25 February 2005 ~ Today's statement by the RSPCA ".... The RSPCA strongly opposes any suggestion that badger culling should take place, as suggested by the open letter signed by 300 vets reported today....the government must simply stick to its position and make no decision until the trials have been properly concluded." "

    25 February 2005 ~ Beef on the bone off limits...again The end of the OTM scheme could mean the return of the beef-on-the-bone ban http://www.fwi.co.uk/article.asp?con=17463&sec=18&hier=2

    24/25 February 2005 ~ "... Saboteurs in Iraq have regularly targeted oil pipelines. Labor unrest in Nigeria threatens that country's output. There are also concerns about output growth in Russia and Venezuela. "If there's any kind of disturbance in the Middle East, you're easily going to see $60 a barrel," said Carl Larry, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York..." Peak Oil news

    24 February 2005 ~ "Ken Livingstone is to spend £1million protecting London's emergency workers from a feared Asian bird flu outbreak. The Mayor said he had decided to act before an expected government announcement on the levels of anti-viral drugs it planned to buy for the country. .." Evening Standard (Thanks for this link, Pat.)

    24 February 2005 ~ "So we now have ultimate "proof" that man-made global warming is real and that carbon dioxide is the culprit. However I question whether our own Government has the slightest belief in this. Three years ago the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution warned that, "by 2050 air transport, unless curbed, will be one of the principal contributors to climate change caused by human activities". On 18 January, Mr Blair celebrated the unveiling of the A380 Airbus, the world's largest airliner, which will emit over 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide per 24-hour operational cycle..." Letter from Sir John Etherington in the Independent yesterday. See also windfarm page

    24 February 2005 ~"We have had a Food Standards Agency operating in this country for several years now, yet without Italian surveillance thousand upon thousand of consumers would have been eating these apparently unsafe products. The Government and its various agencies, including the Meat Hygiene Service, have been very quick to jump on farmers and abattoirs, loading them up with regulation and control almost to the point where it has become impossible to trade at all. We have been the easy targets to hit. There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence around of sharp practice in the higher reaches of the food chain - but remarkably little action or enforcement against it." The WMN quotes Gerald David, whose family runs a chain of butcher's shops across Somerset and Devon. He is quite right. Government agencies hit the easy soft targets at the bottom of the food chain but are very unwilling to take on the real food criminals.See Dirty Meat pages (new window)

    24 February 2005 ~ Yesterday's anti GM demonstartion " was organised by Friends of the Earth (FOE), the Five Year Freeze, FARM and the National Federation of Woman's Institutes. The rally was attended by the former Environment Minister Michael Meacher MP, who said the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, were supporting GM in defiance of their own policies. "Everyone except the Government is against GM. Public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed and if anything it's hardening. The supermarkets aren't stocking it," he said." WMN

    23 February 2005 ~ Close to 140 million birds have died or been destroyed in the Asian bird flu epidemic so far. Many farmers are now in deep debt with poultry farm losses in Asia in 2004 estimated at more than $10 billion. The FAO has called upon the international community to respond to the urgent requirements of the Asian countries for support in their efforts "to get on top of this current serious situation."

    23 February 2005 ~ Scarecrows from across the Westcountry will be deserting their fields today to descend on Westminster to lobby the Government to keep Britain free from genetically modified (GM) crops.... "scores of people from the South West are travelling to London to urge their MPs to stand up for their right to choose GM-free food, for stricter rules to prevent GM contamination, and liability laws to ensure that biotech companies pay if anything goes wrong". (WMN)

    22 February 2005 ~ "Loss of forests; the building of roads and dams; urban growth; the clearing of natural habitats for agriculture; mining; and pollution of coastal waters are promoting conditions under which new and old pathogens can thrive, according to research published today in Unep's Global Environment Outlook Year Book for 2004/2005." Read in full (Independent)

    22 February 2005 ~ "Politicians, supermarkets and consumer watchdogs renewed their criticism of the FSA while calling for a public inquiry to examine why the dye was not detected sooner. .." Independent

    22 February 2005 ~ ProMed Mail on avian influenza and the possibility of a "a very significant development"

    22 February 2005 ~ "The sad tale of the iron triangle (of alarmism) and the iron rice bowl (of science) ..." an extract from the pdf file of "Climate Alarm- Where Does It Come From?" by Richard Lindzen at http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/264.pdf, sums things up perfectly - in three succinct pictures.

    22 February 2005 ~ The British Goat Society supports "KIDS FOR KIDS" a charity that began when its founder, Patricia Parker MBE, visited Dafur and met a nine year old boy walking seven hours to reach water. According to Xinhua, Patricia and her son were abducted by rebels on Saturday. The charity has provided water for 50,000 people and lent goats to over 400 families - hence its name. "The tragedy of the current conflict is that it has made life even harder for families here" We are invited to help. (Patricia and her son are now safe.)

    21 February 2005 ~ The courageous and outspoken Vandana Shiva writes in Zmag today about a new Food Law which" floods India with toxics in foods and replaces our strict PFA and our natural food systems with toxic processed food. .." She says, "....There is only one system for food safety – locally produced, freshly processed food ...." As supermarkets rush to remove hundreds of products, dyed with Sudan1 from the shelves and the FSA struggles to justify its existence, what she writes about " the disease causing homogenous, centralized industrial food culture of the west" is more relevant than ever - both to India and to us. Read in full

    21 February 2005 ~ Didi writes to point out that the major part of the " £40 million pounds which is still owed to contractors for work done during FMD 2001" was for "work building pyres to dispose of healthy cattle and sheep not infected with FMD, and for cleansing and disinfecting farm buildings on farms contiguous to FMD premises. Many of these so-called infected premises were never even blood tested for FMD."

    21 February 2005 ~ The scandal of unpaid FMD bills by DEFRA is reported worldwide. ".... a report from spending watchdog the National Audit Office confirmed that £40m was still owed to contractors who worked on the clean-up. The news prompted public accounts committee chairman Edward Leigh to accuse the government of "dragging its heels" on the issue...."

    21 February 2005 ~ Farmers whose cattle suffered from TB but who are now clear of the disease are receiving letters from the SVS stating that, even though clear, they will not be able to sell any of their animals in the markets or outside the hotspot areas.
    Farmers in the SDA areas are to receive half the amount of single farm payment (SFP) than neighbouring lowland farmers. This new restriction will mean that they cannot even hope to get a proper market price for their animals. No one inside the area is buying.

    20/21 February 2005 ~ Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons, of Simmons & Co International, says, "we may have already passed peak oil" Peak oil news on warmwell.

    20/21 February 2005 ~ The end of cheap oil will have dire social implications that are not being talked about by politicians. Alternative energy sources are indeed urgently required but giant wind turbines, 22 storeys high and marching across the landscape literally in their thousands, are neither an efficient nor a democratic answer.
    The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies February 2005: "...other measures deserve to be given closer consideration, but they involve much greater political sensitivity. ... it is time for the UK and other EU Governments to face up to these realities, and open up a wider debate.." "CO2 Emissions Reduction: Time for a Reality Check?"
    See windfarm page

    20/21 February 2005 ~ "...Derek Baxter, chairman of the planning (regulatory) committee, said: "If I thought these turbines were going to have any benefit I would support them. I think they are just going to lead to expensive electricity to the detriment of those living near them." edp24.co.uk

    20/21 February 2005 ~ "Mr Bradshaw's call to close the south-west England bass fishery to pair-trawlers was rejected by the European Commission in August" is the final sentence in the IoS's article "Fishing boats 'kill 2,000 dolphins a year'" Greenpeace has launched a High Court challenge to the Government, seeking a ban on all pair-trawling for bass within 200 miles of the UK. (Booker's Notebook commented on this last October)

    20/21 February 2005 ~ Avian influenza. Against louder media forecasting of a human pandemic, now that a small boy in Vietnam has died without respiratory symptoms, we see that ProMed Mail sounds its welcome and customary note of caution:[".... rather much is being extrapolated from study of a single fatal case. The level of exposure and immune response of the general human population in the region is still an unknown quantity. ...." - Mod.CP]

    20/21 February 2005 ~ Geoffrey Lean in the Independent on avian influenza: "Experts warn that because of air travel the pandemic could reach Britain within a day of breaking out in the Far East. A drug that can treat it, oseltamivir, already exists, and is mainly marketed as Tamiflu. But although other countries are rushing to stockpile Tamiflu, the Department of Health says it will make no decision before the spring."

    17 February 2005 ~ "A massive oil and gas drilling project planned by Shell off the eastern coast of Russia could lead to the extinction of the Western Pacific grey whale, a report has warned. The study, commissioned by the oil company itself, recommended operations be halted..... A consortium led by Shell is seeking some $5bn of public cash to help fund the initiative, including money from the British taxpayer. " Independent

    17 February 2005 ~ The "McLibel Two" never gave up. The European Court of Human Rights now says that they should have been granted legal aid for the marathon legal battle with McDonalds... the government’s failure to provide them with legal aid effectively denied them the right to a fair trial. Scotsman

    17 February 2005 ~ UK Atomic Energy Authority "recorded more than 40 security breaches, including eight incidents it classified as "failures of security leading to unacceptable or undesirable consequences". The disclosure could not come at a worse time for the government, which is preparing to authorise the controversial construction of a new generation of nuclear power stations later this year." Scotsman

    15 February 2005 ~ And now for the good news...on Friday the 13th, 2029, the Independent tells us, giant asteroid 2004 MN4 will narrowly miss earth. (However, the paper does not spare us the details of what will happen if it does hit.)

    15 February 2005 ~ "She knew she was on the death list. She said she would be protected because of her age and because she was a nun - she was wrong," she said. "We don't know who hired the gunmen but we know the loggers and ranchers were very upset by what she was doing. She was working with the human rights people to protect the small farmers who have been given the right to the land." Independent

    15 February 2005 ~ "...the stage was set for a carefully stage-managed conference that provided a forum for one worst-case disaster scenario after another. Any hesitation or incredulity about claims that the effects of a warming world will unavoidably be catastrophic were discarded or ridiculed. Professor Paul Reiter (Pasteur Institute in Paris and Harvard University), was even lucky to be allowed into the conference after four separate applications had been either lost or not processed by the conference organisers...." From "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change" - the most depressing conference ever

    15 February 2005 ~ Public servants putting political careers becore the public good? See Scotsman and windfarms page "...The majority of MSPs, with a notable few exceptions, local councillors and, surprisingly, the Churches, are silent about the greatest threat to Highland life since The Clearances."

    14 February 2005 ~WMN "Tony Blair has been urged to "apologise" for presiding over the decline of the Westcountry dairy industry - as ministers confirmed that farm subsidy payments would be severely delayed this year... Hugo Swire, Conservative MP...:"Given that the Prime Minister is in an apologising mood, will the Secretary of State take this opportunity to apologise ..... what practical advice does she have for this sector, which is suffering from a lack of Government understanding and woeful neglect?" ( See also the revelations in Muckspreader)

    14 February 2005 ~ Were readers aware that more than 10, 000 influenza viruses from all continents have been isolated and characterized by the WHO/National Influenza Centers this year? See ProMed's entry on flu vaccines

    13/ 14 February 2005 ~"....What we ignorant laymen are rarely told is that there remain serious uncertainties about the extent and causes of climate change - as even some scientists working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will quietly concede. Yet woe betide any expert who tries to raise such questions in public." Times article

    13/14 February 2005 ~ When the Chief Scientific Adviser submits to his political masters' script even on a subject that is evidently very close to his heart, one wonders even more what "independent scientific advice" can amount to. Democracy page

    12/13 February 2005 ~ "The animals did not have to die. Even if they had been suffering from FMD, most would have recovered. In any case, most of the animals killed were not infected. Defra decreed that the animals should be killed for their notion of what was “the public good”.." An email from Lawrence, also thanking Nick Green

    12/13 February 2005 ~"Defra are offering hill farmers large sums to take their ewes off the tops, thereby disturbing the balance of vegetation. Bob predicts that in five years, they'll be offering even higher sums to put them back. .." Hopeful email from Hilary

    12/13 February 2005 ~Lawrence's important points about compensation include:

    12/13 February 2005 ~ "I want to thank you for raising the issue of the horrors of the carnage of Foot & Mouth by publishing Nick Green's letter at a time that the smug Mr Blair is choosing time to hold election rallies throughout the country...." Another Cumbrian, the fearless Jan Fialkowski, writes with more pictures and comment.

    12/13 February 2005 ~ "These are just two of the hundreds of our cows and sheep who were brutally slaughtered. How could any vet authorise and take part in this mindless and pointless slaughter of healthy animals ?" writes an emailer, who reacts to the idea that the memory of the slaughter could ever be "airbrushed"(see front page) with this heartfelt email and photographs.

    12/13 February 2005 ~ It will be interesting to see how GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) who manufacture Seroxat react to the news that in a "randomised double blind, reference controlled trial" half of those given St. John's wort for six weeks reported an improvement - with no side-effects - in their symptoms of depression, versus one third of those who took Seroxat. British Medical Journal online
    The EU Food Supplements Directive comes into force this summer, and thousands of vitamin and mineral products will be banned. The regulators who are behind this, the Medicines Control Agency and the EU's new Medicines Evaluation Agency ( almost entirely funded by licensing fees from the pharmaceutical companies) - remain (Booker's Notebook 24/11/2002) "strangely quiet about the thousands of deaths caused each year by synthetic drugs they themselves have licensed as safe to use..."

    12/13 February 2005 ~ "Many wind farm operators are getting huge profits as part of a Government environmental policy that is also pushing up electricity prices, financial watchdogs say today. A report from the National Audit Office suggests that most onshore wind farms could operate on half the level of available subsidies...." Telegraph

    12/13 February 2005 ~ Michael asks ".. Where is the real truth. Now we have goats. If it was not serious it would be a joke...
    ...we bought Janet's "The Killing Pens". It sat by my bed for two months before I could bring myself to read it. All I can say is, what a courageous lady Janet Hughes is....As we found, she was lied to at every juncture, and we saw in those terrible days so many injustices carried out in this governments name that it makes me ashamed to be called British...This lady had so much courage , why are the rest of us such wimps? It really makes you sit up and think."

    12/13 February 2005 ~ Emailer: "Trouble with the VAST majority of us ordinary folks is that we were brought up to accept authority, be polite & meek in general, & let someone else 'sort it out'........." Read in full.

    11 February 2005 ~ On Tuesday Tony Blair "facing a potential election" said that it was electorally impossible to "slap" taxes on cheap flights to curtail rising airline pollution. (See Times) No explanation is given as to why it is politically acceptable to have high taxes on cars, petrol and other goods, yet not on flying. Can the Prime Minister really believe that "scientific advances" will address the problem? An emailer comments "This tells us quite a lot about our PM"

    10 February 2005 ~ "......contrary to what the public was told, there were millions of doses of the appropriate strain of foot- and- mouth disease vaccine available from the European Vaccine Bank. In the new Animal Health Bill, the Government has legalised the illegal policies it carried out in 2001, and removed the right of challenging them in a court of law. " Yorkshire Post letter to the Editor by Suzanne Greenhill

    10 February 2005 ~ On Tuesday night, Ministers were urged to place an immediate moratorium on the construction of new windfarms following the publication of a devastating critique of the Government's renewable energy policy. See WMN and windfarm page

    10 February 2005 ~ The American Research Chemist, Marvin J Grubman has been honoured by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for his contribution in the research on a novel vaccine strategy for prevention and control of FMD in livestock.

    10 February 2005 ~"Biologists said yesterday that the plan to give every species its own barcode - made from a stretch of DNA unique to each life form - will help them to understand the bewildering diversity of life. The DNA barcode will represent a segment of a gene that differs from one species to the next but is almost identical to all members of the same species." Independent

    8 February 2005 ~ One dead goat from fifteen years ago (see front page) has led the FSA to announce - using the double negative it also favours in connection with the theory about scrapie in sheep - that it is ".. not advising people against eating goat meat or products, including dairy products." (See also BSE/scrapie pages)

    8 February 2005 ~ Yesterday's Telegraph on global warming, Stephen Byers and the ostracising of outsiders: "The committee has consulted widely. Yet it seems to have ignored those who believe that the Kyoto accord, that beacon of international co-operation in a naughty world, is based on bad science. .... it's a global industry nowadays, and the last thing its proponents want is evidence that they're wrong. Careers are at stake. " Read in full

    8 February 2005 ~ "The creator of Dolly the sheep is expected to be given a licence to clone human embryos for medical research. Professor Ian Wilmut and a team at Kings College in London plan to clone early stage embryos to study motor neurone disease (MND)." BBC
    See warmwell page on Dolly and, for interest, the article " Unravelling the DNA Myth- The spurious foundation of genetic engineering" from mindfully.org

    8 February 2005 ~ Ellen McArthur crossed the finish line at 22.29 GMT last night and has broken the record for single-handedly circumnavigating the globe. This is one person's sheer determination and courage against extraordinary odds and we find it inspiring. It has, according to the Independent, "stunned the sailing world."

    7 February 2005 ~ I am sometimes asked how many people are reading warmwell.com. This is quite a difficult question to answer - but here at least are the website statistics for January 2005. It must be remembered that a proportion of "hits" are from Search engines, following the updates. But this is also good news since it means that warmwell is reaching researchers across the globe.

    7 February 2005 ~ When even the former chief of Scottish Power, Sir Donald Miller describes Scottish plans as "alarming", adding "It is difficult to believe that they are fully aware of the damage they are doing..." we should realise that wind turbines are not the green, gentle alternative that they seemed at first." email

    7 February 2005 ~ Sir Alistair Graham (see opposite) has made it clear that

    Read in full

    6 February 2005~ Peak Oil is not discussed much by politicians or the press. That doesn't mean it is not driving mega policies. James Howard Kunstler's view of post-peak society is fairly optimistic in the long term. ".. local food grown in outlying areas and backyards, and the general collapse of the Walmart/big box/suburban economy"
    Another - an American blogger -sounds a horribly familiar warning, and we can see it happening already: "...the end of cheap oil and the merging of mega-corporate big boxes could drive the last nail into small capitalism's coffin. After all, many, many people live within hiking (by 19th century standards) distance to a Walmart today....Rather than encouraging small-scale entrepreneurialism after the collapse of suburbia, national and local government will simply work toward making sure all needs are included under Walmart's roof. This consolidation of retail/entertainment/culture trade will just make the whole deal easier to regulate and tax. " See also Peak oil news

    6 February 2005~ We read in the Sunday Times that

    This will make most readers of this website of all political persuasions feel sick. The relaxation of red tape? The misery and chaos of 2001 was a result of political panic, bureaucratic callousness and the allowing of "experts" - who were nothing of the kind - arrogantly to override international knowledge and local veterinary experience. Last week's letter from the NFMG makes these points better than we can. Little have we seen in the past four years to reassure us that it could not all happen again.

    5/6 February 2005~ Part of a letter in the Stornaway Gazette 3-2-05: seems worthy of quotation: "I am in favour of clean energy, but not at such a price.... I challenge those we have elected as our representatives to give us a channel. If not, they will probably one day feel the backlash and anger of an island cruelly and quietly led into the biggest money-driven and greed-grown venture that we have ever known. ..... God has gifted to us our islands. Let us be wise guardians of it and not allow man’s greed to ruin it...... Perhaps in closing this letter I could just remind our MP and MSP, who both support this project, just who elected them..." IVOR M MACKAY Windfarms page

    5/6 February 2005~ Lighten the Gloom! Read " How to be a Bad Birdwatcher " Amazon We are told that "It is a real delight. A hoot. It is earthy and a joy to read. Not just about birds but also a simple message about conservation. It was the surprise best seller over Xmas."

    5/6 February 2005~ "...Mr Lewis also wants to know 'what the government really thinks' about the Butler and Hutton inquiries, if there was a cover-up over the foot-and-mouth epidemic and other "unsavoury and embarrassing" incidents..." Guardian article
    If?

    4 February 2005~ Our roving reporter went today to Bradworthy where the windfarm is 1-2 miles from the centre of town in an area surrounded by farms and a few houses. One house is up for sale.

    4 February 2005~ Windfarms in Scotland: ".... yesterday, Trevor Croft, the Scottish Executive Reporter who chaired last September’s inquiry, overruled the council and said the development, by Renewables Energy Systems (RES), could go ahead....Eddie Coutts, the convener of Moray Council, said: "The council refused this application believing that the scale of this proposed development is totally inappropriate to Drummuir. It stands by that decision. Clearly, in this case, national policy has ridden roughshod over the wishes of Moray and the community of Drummuir." ." Scotsman

    4 February 2005~ The death from vCJD of a Japanese man is reported by the BBC - Comment

    3 February 2005 ~ Snowmail "...One year on from the devastating tragedy in which 23 Chinese cockle pickers died on the flat, highly-tidal sands of Morecambe, exploited migrant workers are still there, scraping a living from the self same sands. Worse, a suppressed TUC report reveals hoards of illegal and legal migrants are exploited and abused in institutions ranging from the NHS to the smallest local shop....."

    3 February 2005 ~ "Sir Michael (Bichard) added that the handling of a number of dramatic events, including the foot and mouth epidemic and the Soham murders, where officials or professionals who had "attempted to readily shift the blame" for failures onto others, "contributed to a breakdown in trust and confidence ..." Guardian

    3 February 2005 ~ "Under the guise of helping get Iraq back on its feet, the US is setting out to totally re-engineer the country's traditional farming systems into a US-style corporate agribusiness.....for every farmer that stops growing his unique strain of saved seed the world loses another variety.... The people whose forefathers first mastered the domestication of wheat will now have to pay for the privilege of growing it for someone else. And with that the world’s oldest farming heritage will become just another subsidiary link in the vast American supply chain. "
    We are grateful to Dave B for this link to the Ecologist. (21 Jan 05)

    3 February 2005 ~ WMN articles on windfarms "...chairman of the Realistic Energy Forum in the South West, said "The German Government tried to suppress the truth. They were ashamed to have committed themselves to a policy that is so wrong. But we could end up making the same mistake and that would be madness. What we need is an open-ended look at our energy policy and an end to this folly over wind turbines." Jo Foster, of the Bradworthy Lobby Opposing Turbines, said: "People haven't realised how big these things are. Now that they can see them for themselves, it will really bring it home." Read articles in full

    3 February 2005 ~ "Yesterday, at a major debate on the dire plight of the dairy industry, not a single minister deigned to turn up. Instead, a whip read a bland pre-prepared statement which contributed precisely nothing to the debate." Read in full the article from WMN Defra is merely a sad, sick joke

    2 February 2005 ~ A long time supporter of warmwell,Coleen, writes, "I saw some lambs yesterday and almost like a 'flash back' I recalled the lambs being rounded up from the local farm to be taken to Great Orton. I was emailing someone last week about vaccination and fmd. They hold the view (that was so rife at the time) about vaccination affecting the meat/milk market; they also believe that ALL vaccinated animals would have to be slaughtered. I pointed them in the direction of Warmwell. I hope they took the time to read and be educated."

    2 February 2005 ~ "From the time the samples are received to the results currently takes about two hours" The Director of Engineering at Plexigen - a privately held biotechnology company which has developed a rapid diagnosis test, the geneCube™, says that it is ".. designed to test samples from whole herds continuously whether FMD (and other diseases at the same time) is suspected or not. We can keep the per test cost low by being able to perform multiple tests on about 400 samples at once. From the time the samples are received to the results currently takes about two hours (this is again for 400 samples and multiple disease tests). In theory, the time for one test that can be as little as 10 minutes." www.plexigen.com

    2 February 2005 ~Private Eye's Muckspreader: "EU’s new farm waste regulations, which will soon make it illegal for farmers to keep any ‘waste’ on their farms..... under EU waste directives, the number of waste disposal sites is being drastically reduced, particularly those licensed to take ‘hazardous waste’, of which there are now only 10 in the entire UK. Many farms are now hundreds of miles from the nearest hazardous waste site......this poses farmers with quite a problem. The only real winner will be Gordon Brown. Either he will benefit from fines on farmers who use their (red) diesel illegally, or he will clean up from the taxes charged on the profits made by the contractors farmers will now have to employ to remove their waste legally." Read in full

    1 February 2005 ~ Interesting to see how dissident scientists are smeared if the current received opinion has become politically correct. One is reminded of the BSE/vCJD question, the OP scandal, the GM controversy, windfarm effectiveness and, of course, the consensus of the political establishment in 2001 that vaccination "wouldn't work" in spite of the fact that it was working splendidly in Uruguay. The meeting of climate scientists at the Hadley Centre in Exeter appears to have preferred not to ask anyone to speak who was not of the opinion of Michael Mann, the leading global warming proponent. Like Sir David King below ("Americans are trying to discredit me"), Sir Robert May was particularly scathing last Thursday in the Guardian about David Bellamy and Michael Hanlon, science editor of the Daily Mail.
    While we do not know enough to know who is right, we do know that a proper debate would be welcomed by the genuinely scientific mind. When political policies are driven by science that science should be willing to be scrutinised and questioned.

    31 January 2005 ~ "From the epidemiological data available today, no link is indicated between goat meat and meat product consumption and variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD). However, the BIOHAZ Panel recognised the lack of knowledge with respect to the incubation period of vCJD and exposure levels of the human population.... more information is needed to assess the significance of the single French case. .." EFSA reacts to possible goat BSE infection

    31 January 2005 ~ "... the threat posed by the wind farms to some of Britain's finest wet moorland is even greater than the threat to the residents' quality of life. The wind farms will form a "ring of steel" around the sites, they say, blighting the landscape, damaging the habitat and leading to rare birds being killed by the turbines' propellers. The biggest fear is for the nightjar, whose population has been falling for several years and which is listed as a "priority bird" in the Government's bio-diversity action plan. Campaigners say that it could be extinct in the area within five years if the wind turbines are built. Thorne and the nearby Hatfield Moor contain thousands of rare plants and animals. Thorne Moors has more than 5,000 invertebrates and plants, including cotton grass, cranberry, bog rosemary and sundew. The two sites cover almost 9,000 acres and are protected by European Union laws. They are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Protection Areas under the EU Birds Directive and Special Areas of Conservation under the Habitats Directive...." See yesterday's Sunday Telegraph

    31 January 2005 ~ "...there has not been a significant reduction in overall pollution levels. Professor James Lovelock, a prominent environmentalist, argued last May that nuclear power was the only realistic way to curb global warming." Telegraph on Government plans for the possible construction of new nuclear power stations if it wins the election.

    31 January 2005 ~ " Changing the law is not going to make any difference. They should be looking at what the labs are doing, rather than turning their attention to us." Heather James Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. BBC reports on the part of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill that will protect pharmaceutical giants such as Novartis from harrassment from vivisection protesters.

    30 January 2005 ~ A report on windfarms that the German Government has shelved ".. also cast doubt on one of the main arguments for wind power: that it cuts the amount of "greenhouse gas" polluting the atmosphere. The report says that almost the same effect can be achieved - at substantially reduced costs - by installing modern filters at existing fossil-fuel power plants." Sunday Telegraph

    30 January 2005 ~ "...Throughout this week, components of the three 246ft high turbines have been arriving at the Forest Moor site near Bradworthy in North Devon. Massive lorries have brought in parts of the turbines, threading their way through the narrow lanes in the area...80ft blades..." WMN

    30 January 2005 ~ "... a judge last week imposed crippling fines on two local fishermen for committing a criminal offence that, until the two men were charged, no one knew existed. Although the judge claimed to be upholding EC law in finding the men guilty, he was supporting fisheries inspectors of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in creating a law which conflicts with rulings from the European Commission and which exists nowhere else in Europe..." Booker's Notebook
    See also the Defra self-congratulatory press release "..One of Defra's main aims is working towards a sustainable and viable fishing industry and marine environment.."

    28 January 2005 ~ The connections between the issues of concern to this website have never seemed so close.
    Four years ago, bewilderment and frustration at the police state tactics (used against those trying to defend their rights from a bureaucratic and bloody nonsense) created warmwell.com.
    "This is the real world, not Disney World," sneered an English policewoman who pushed her way into a private house to help slaughter Carolyn Hoffe's five healthy pet sheep in 2001. Sixty years ago the trains were rolling into Auschwitz. The politicians standing in the snow there yesterday made all the right speeches - but in 2005, after countless "inquiries" have whitewashed over the darkness at the heart of government, with once-loved British institutions succumbing to mere profit seeking or worse, with the healthy landscape more and more under threat, with thousands of human beings now slaughtered in the false name of liberty, and the real liberties we have been unwise enough to take for granted disintegrating before our eyes, it is surely time for those with voices not used to making speeches to speak out. Simon Jenkins does so in the Times.

    27- 31 January 2005 ~ Apologies for lack of updates.
    Inundated with emails - all of which need attention and should receive replies - and held back a little by eyes that are feeling the strain, warmwell is having to consider priorities and rearrange some pages. Although all issues are very important, only those we simply can't postpone will be reported here in the next few days. The website should, dv, be running normally again some time in February.

    27- 31 January 2005 ~ The decision, described as "crass and uninformed", of the National Trust to split up High Yewdale Farm in the Lake District is something that readers of warmwell who are National Trust members may like to consider. See email.

    27 January 2005 ~ Ministers plan to arm themselves with personal powers to impose tough restrictions on the freedom of British terror suspects, including "animal rights protesters". We imagine that anyone who behaved as many did in 2001 to protect healthy farm animals from illogical and cruel slaughter might find themselves so designated in any future outbreak. Since the left hand appears not to know what the right hand is deciding we are extremely concerned.

    28 January 2005 ~ In 1997 UK self-sufficiency in indigenous food was 81.7% falling to 74.2% in 2004 according to Defra figures. James Paice commented: "The dramatic decline in self-sufficiency has had a damaging impact on farm incomes, the environment and animal welfare. Not until the Government levels the playing field for British farmers and through honest labelling allows them to benefit from their high husbandry standards will this trend, fuelled by cheaper, lower standard imports, be arrested."

    25 January 2005 ~ Avian influenza - "...the British Government is preparing for such a pandemic, and it's got contingency plans in place, including buying and making inflatable mortuaries, quarantine facilities, and preparing evacuation plans for big cities...." ABC.net
    An emailer writes,".. There seems no mention of any of these dramatic details in the draft of the UK avian influenza contingency plan as shown on the DEFRA website. No inflatable mortuaries (inflatable?) nor grand evacuation plans..." More

    25 January 2005 ~ We are very grateful to Pat for this update from Sky News on the pig farmer ( below )made the subject of an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) ".... proceedings relating to the alleged breach of the order have been discontinued. "Mr Hagan had been due to appear before magistrates in King's Lynn again on Wednesday to hear of developments in the case, but he will not now be doing that."

    25 January 2005 ~ WMN "....People living near the site of what will be Devon's first windfarm spoke of their fears yesterday after one of the narrow lanes in the area was blocked by a stranded crane heading to the site."..."It's going to be pretty amusing if they get the turbine parts stuck as well...The plans for the windfarm were originally rejected by Torridge District Council, but a Government-appointed planning inspector later overturned that decision..."

    24/5 January 2005 ~ Just as happened at the Judicial Review into the decision not to have a Public Enquiry for Foot and Mouth, (as we reported in 2002) , the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith himself, will be in the High Court in person to defend the government's Hunting Act against a challenge asking the Court to rule that the 1949 Parliament Act, used to pass the Hunting Act, is invalid. See FWi

    24/5 January 2005 ~ "If Tesco were a nation, it would have the 74th biggest economy in the world. Tesco has grown from a single market stall to become Britain's retail king..."more Not content with helping to destroy Britain's dairy farming, supermarkets want to rule the world - and Tesco is well on the way, as the extracts show. As an emailer writes, "...if Government won't intervene.....West Country shoppers should not buy milk from supermarkets...buy it from garage forecourts, local shops or the milkman!"

    24/5 January 2005 ~ "...Although composting has been around for a long time, it is only in the last five years or so that it has been seen as a safe and viable way to handle animal carcasses on the farm...animals that die from contagious diseases have little chance of affecting other farms if they are composted on site. " Times Argus, Vermont, US on Sunday.
    Simple and effective. However, since May 2003, under the EU's Animal By-Products Regulation, it has been a criminal offence for farmers in this country to dispose of carcasses on their farms. See fallen stock page.

    24/5 January 2005 ~ The WMN's scathing article about Margaret Beckett last week concludes, "The Government's own rural watchdog delivers a withering verdict on New Labour's blueprint for tackling the problems of the countryside. The Countryside Agency says it "is not recognisable as a strategy" and the "rural strategy" launched by Mrs Beckett in the summer, is not worthy of the name...... millions of pounds of money earmarked for rural projects is still being wasted because of excessive bureaucracy and a poor priorities."

    24 January 2005 ~ "To him it appears to be a dry statistical exercise, whereas to those involved it was flesh, blood, tears, sweat and heartbreak." Jason Groves of the excellent WMN - (who tells me that he reads Warmwell regularly) - quoting Antony Gibson who shares our dismay at the recent pronouncements of Sir David King.

    24 January 2005 ~ Two interesting articles on climate change: The Scotsman's "Man-made greenhouse gases saved world from big freeze" has Dr Benny Peiser, from Liverpool's John Moores University saying that: "Instead of driving us to the brink of disaster, human intervention will be seen as vital activities that have unintentionally delayed the onset of a catastrophic ice age." Meanwhile the Independent's message in "Countdown to global catastrophe" is ominous. Stephen Byers, for example, thinks that there is "...an ecological timebomb ticking away.." and who would dream of doubting him?

    23 January 2005 ~ The I-SIS ( Institute of Science in Society )Report, September 24, 2001 suggested that the FMD epidemic might possibly have been the result of a bio-warfare simulation or genetic engineering experiments gone wrong. Scientists in Australia genetically modified a mousepox virus - then realised they had created a highly virulent strain that could not be stopped by vaccination. Now, on the subject of GM modification of the smallpox virus to "counter any threat of a bioterrorist attack" the Independent quotes the warnings of the man who eradicated smallpox, Professor Donald Henderson, "...the minute you start fooling around with it in various ways, I think there is a danger..."

    23 January 2005 ~ The suspect case of FMD is Ireland shows clearly how slow the authorities still are - four years on from the UK outbreak of 2001 - in confirming the presence of disease. 48 hours is surely a nonsense when the one-step RT-PCR test can detect the virus within six hours. (FAO link) . Rapid and accurate identification is possible - so why the 48 hour wait for Pirbright to give a definitive answer before an appropriate response can be made?

    23 January 2005 ~ Godmanstone Dairy Farm, Cerne Abbas gets approval in Hilary Peters' latest ediary entries. ".....www.manor-farm-organic.co.uk (a good website containing an explanation of homogenisation, a process that sums up the supermarket principle) They had an open day, in pouring rain. The public joined in bringing the cows home for milking, met the calves (still with their mother) and ate cream teas in the farmhouse. You can buy milk and cream at the gate any time. A good institution, sadly atypical of dairy farming today."

    23 January 2005 ~ " Two contrasting episodes last week highlighted the shambles Britain is making of the EU's common fisheries policy. In Cornwall our fisheries minster, Ben Bradshaw, was so badly caught out by a blunder he had made just before Christmas that, to save his embarrassment, he proposed that Britain should turn a blind eye to the breaking of EC law. Yet in Sussex two Hastings fishermen were prosecuted by Mr Bradshaw's officials and convicted for unwittingly contravening an EC fisheries regulation that no one had ever heard of before..." Booker's Notebook

    23 January 2005 ~ The British Medical Association report dents the image of the rural idyll Reuters "The centralisation of health services, combined with the remoteness of some areas and the lack of public transport means many people living in the countryside have difficulty getting to a doctor or the nearest hospital. "Deprivation in rural communities has been ignored for a long time. There is a real case of the haves and have-nots." The report called for more innovative health facilities, such as mobile services, better transport and the use of telemedicine.

    January 22 2005 ~ Although withdrawn at the last minute yesterday, "to allow more studies to be undertaken to provide more information to the council", Goveton planning application will be resubmitted in the "near future" with the same number of turbines on the same location. Residents will fight on. See Windfarm page

    January 21 - 28 2005 ~ Two anniversaries form the subject of Simon Jenkins' article in the Times; Einstein's Theory of Relativity and the novel Don Quixote: ".. a more important work than all of Einstein's theories...Miguel de Cervantes...surveyed the landscape of post-medieval Europe and asked, but where is Man? He grasped at valour, love, loyalty, triumph and mortification and, like his contemporary, Shakespeare, compressed them in a human frame....." Read in full
    'But where is Man?' seems a question forgotten by those whose grandiose plans result in senseless destruction - of healthy animals, of ageless landscapes, of traditional ways of caring for the land - of thousands of people.

    January 21 - 28 2005 ~ 'Illegal trade' in cow passports BBC "What we are looking at is probably the biggest breach of the rules seen in Britain." Government rural advisor Lord Haskins said the discovery highlighted the inadequacy of the UK's food tracing system. He also questioned whether the passport scheme was worth keeping. .."

    January 21 - 28 2005 ~ WMN reporting James Paice and others: "Ministers were accused of treating the countryside with "neglect and disdain" last night as MPs on all sides criticised the Government's rural record..... "It was still not known what caused the foot and mouth outbreak .... the Government sits on its hands paralysed.......58 per cent of rural households have no regular bus service......We have the Government's obsession with wind power....." Mr Paice said the countryside faced its biggest economic change since 1945.

    January 21 - 28 2005 ~ The Killing Pens "pulls no punches when singling out those she considers to be the main culprits: countryside minister Carwyn Jones, Wales chief vet Tony Edwards and UK chief vet Jim Scudamore..." An article in the North Wales Weekly News describes Janet Hughes' book and her legal fight in detail. Read in full

    January 21 - 28 2005 ~ Friday. We have just heard that the application for wind turbines at Goveton has been withdrawn. See windfarm page for other news of toppling turbines.

    January 21 - 28 2005 ~ Justifying the demise of small dairy farms, Lord Haskins says that supermarkets "keep inflation down", there is no exploitation and "people like shopping in supermarkets".
    However, the destruction of small-scale farming will have consequences for Britain not mentioned by Lord Haskins. Unrealistic prices from cut-throat competition between supermarket giants will last only until the winning giant has a monopoly. Then, with the demise of small producers, with Rural Britain reduced to a desolate ranch-like landscape, with Keep Out signs around intensive "farms" and feed-lots, the population will have no choice but pay whatever prices are demanded.
    Friday's WMN article is a chilling glimpse into the future.

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Windfarm debate. BBC Newsnight today (Thurs) 11.00PM will be discussing Wind Farms in the Ochils & Glenfarg. Debate with Bob Graham in Inverness.

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~The Welsh Assembly is "set to ignore overwhelming opposition to wind farms and allow hundreds more huge turbines to be put up across Wales. It is has been revealed that 87 per cent of the 1,700 responses it received to its consultation on future energy needs were against building more turbines. But the Assembly is to dismiss fears and carry on with a major wind energy programme..." Windfarms

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ In Perthshire, the Perth and Kinross Council today (Wednesday) turned down the planning application for a giant turbine development near Blairgowrie by 8 votes to 2. 16 turbines, each 197 metres in height, were planned for land at Drumderg, Bridge of Cally. At the original hearing in August, the committee were set to approve the application but, in the face of an unprecedented number of objections, decided to carry out further consultation.
    See also Perthshire.co.uk and windfarm page

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ FWi "Conservationists are concerned that without grazing livestock many valuable wildlife habitats will be lost. "Biodiversity in the region's grassland and in most of our wildlife reserves depends on regular grazing," said group chairman Lady Caroline Cranbrook..." (As one emailer writes, "what a surprise!!! what were we saying in 2001?")

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ TSE in French goat? The result is imminent.
    From the Pro-Med mail website. Moderator comment: "On 30 Nov 2004, EU's Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) was informed that a definitive interpretation of the French data on a goat suspected of BSE could not be provided by the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for TSEs (based in Weybridge, England) until further data from mouse bioassays were available in about 2 months. Those results are anticipated with great interest. - Mod.AS]"

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "The Scottish Executive has revealed plans for a website to "blow away the myths" used by opponents of windfarms. .." This is North Scotland
    Hmm. Warmwell's webpage on wind turbines echoes Professor Fell's view that, "we need all the electricity we can get that doesn’t create carbon dioxide, but predicating this almost entirely on wind when there are other, less obtrusive technologies seems simplistic, stubborn and perverse."

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ That Professor King should assert in today's Independent article that: "My worry is that if there were an epidemic tomorrow, the British public might be expecting vaccination to be used " is alarming indeed.

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Americans are trying to discredit me, claims Chief Scientist Independent Sir David King complains that "these lobbyists stand up after I've given an hour's talk and say, 'There are scientists who disagree with you'...."

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Dissenting voices. Bjorn Lomborg of The Skeptical Environmentalist As Michael Hanlon, Science Editor of the Mail put it, "Climate change has now become a global industry, with a multi-billion-pound budget, and hundreds, if not thousands, of scientists whose careers are predicated upon their agreement with the central thesis......Spend a fraction of that money on anti-malarials and clean drinking water for Africa, Lomborg argues, and you will save far more lives than trying to alter a fluctuation in the planet's climate that may have nothing to do with us, and may be more benign and temporary than the doom-mongers claim..." - or as Mark Purdey points out:

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ At a time when he was publicly championing cuts in greenhouse gases (in his September speech, Mr Blair spoke about "massive change in the way this country produces and uses energy. We are committed to this change") the UK Government asked for targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to be excluded from EU climate policy to be replaced by the vague phrase: "significantly enhanced reduction efforts".. This was overruled by other member states. See Guardian and Observer " A spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs declined to comment on the leaked documents, but said it was important to have a flexible approach to targets..."

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ The surge in meat crime, the concern of so many about cruel distances animals have to travel to slaughter, the demise of good small farms, contemptuous ignorance of government about farming, and the gold-plating of illogical EU rules - we are reminded of a Muckspreader article from September that brings all these threads together " ...it looks as though, within two years, all the remaining tiny local abattoirs will have to close their doors. Brussels and Defra will at last have achieved their goal. Some of the best-quality meat still on the market will no longer be there to buy. And the only people rejoicing will be the supermarkets, who will have knocked out yet another tranche of their smaller competitors; and of course the regulators, who blindly derive their income from dreaming up and enforcing bureaucratic edicts which have ever less connection to the real world in which the rest of us have to live."

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~"in August 2002, when the European Commission first threatened to withhold £900 million from the Government on the grounds that it had recklessly overspent on the crisis, Defra's response was to find any excuse not to pay hundreds of contractors, including CWM. Again and again, after nitpicking that contractors had not produced the required paperwork, Defra has eventually been forced to pay up. On Tuesday Mr Morley was still shamelessly using the same tactic .... If we are ever faced by a repeat of the 2001 crisis, they will find few willing to come to their aid." Booker's Notebook

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "a wide-ranging action plan to tackle meat crime..." How many of the "stakeholders" being consulted by the FSA about the possibility of new legislation have, as their first priority, the health of the human and animal population of the UK? More powers are needed to tackle meat crime - now a trade worth £1bn a year in the UK.

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "I am coming out of the organic farming scheme at the earliest opportunity....I am not alone among hill farmers in finding it impossible to continue. Rather than go quietly I would like to do something to improve animal welfare on upland organic farms..The two issues upon which organic rules fail my hill farm are the welfare of the farm animals and the conservation of ancient grassland. ..Surely it is the conservation of the soil and its fertility that is important in the organic movement. ." An open letter from Dr Ruth Watkins to the Soil Association and the Organic Farmers and Growers. Dr Watkins would welcome feedback on her ideas from any interested reader.

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ "Fewer welfare problems; animals less stressed at point of slaughter; better quality meat; lower on-costs; less wear and tear on our overworked road system." An impressively simple email arrived today

    January 16 - 22 2005 ~ Noel Edmonds... said that when first asked for his views on wind energy he had replied that it was a good thing, but he had since found out how little he knew. "I was green-washed by the propaganda put out by the energy companies. This whole issue is about making money," he said. See windfarms page

    January 15 2005 ~ Another email about the long journeys to slaughterhouses: "The thing to do is to get Ben Bradshaw and put him in one of the lorries with the lambs travelling from the North of England to a Devon abattoir. It wouldn't do him any harm to make him stand and watch them being killed - especially if the slaughter is Halal or Kosher.."

    January 15 2005 ~ "Ministers last night signalled a U-turn over controversial new taxes that threaten to "sound the death knell" for many of the Westcountry's traditional agricultural shows. In a brief statement, licensing minister Richard Caborn suggested that the Government would back down over plans to levy massive new charges on some of the Westcountry's best-loved country events.." WMN.

    January 14 2005 ~Which? are launching a 'GM - don't lose the right to choose' online action on their website to add fuel to the coexistence consultation. The action involves sending an email to Mrs Beckett asking her to protect our right to GM-free food. The url is http://www.which.net/campaigns/food/gm/gmaction.html

    January 13 2005 ~ Georgina Downs (see pesticides page) continues to receive emails and letters from people all over the country reporting clusters of various cancers, leukaemia, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and neurological problems along with many other medical conditions. She is now urging the Government to assess cases of prostate cancer in residents living near sprayed fields, as the Government Advisory Committee has admitted a possible link with pesticide exposure. Press release

    January 13 2005 ~ www.bovinetb.blogspot.com"...We have already reported the launch of a British PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) diagnostic tool on this site...... This machine we understand, is 100 percent specific to m.bovis, and can be used on farm to give a result from any body fluid (blood, urine, sputum or pus) in under half an hour...How much better to .... be certain that a group of badgers or their sett is infected, then for the benefit of all the ecological spill overs of tuberculosis, not least the badgers themselves, clear that sett in its entirety. "

    January 13 2005 ~ "...one of the most important facts that we have to get across to the average consumer of electricity who has been conned into thinking that commercial wind turbines are reducing CO2 emissions . Most of them have no idea how they are being ripped off to pay for it all." windfarms page

    January 13 2005 ~ BSE madness. Globe and Mail in Alberta "....Alberta Premier Ralph Klein went farther, saying that a wholesale slaughter of older cattle may be necessary to restore confidence in the Canadian beef supply."

    January 13 2005 ~ 87% of responses to the Welsh Assembly's controversial Tan 8 policy are opposed to wind farms... the largest response to a planning consultation in Wales in living memory. Ammanford campaigner Ellyn Harries said, "It's not nimbyism. Our entire backyard will be covered in them. ...It's just arrogance and for arrogance, for rich men to get richer...." Please see windfarm page

    January 12 2005 ~ An emailed pdf file of the Gazetteer of Wind Power in Scotland, produced by The Scottish Wind Assessment Project, has arrived at warmwell: "an important document which maps and lists all the windfarms proposed, refused, approved in Scotland. It includes a dreadful picture of an array of wind turbines in Morayshire - FROM A DISTANCE OF 7 MILES. It highlights only too vividly the effect they have on the landscape over considerable distances - and they would obviously look even more disproportionate and outrageous in the small rural landscapes of many English windfarm sites. .." Windfarm page

    January 12 2005 ~ One wonders, in the face of the new BSE case confirmed in Canada, how much longer the official theory about MBM feed can continue. It is clung to tenaciously: "Based on preliminary information, feed produced prior to the introduction of the 1997 feed ban in Canada remains the most likely source of infection in this animal" says Canadian Food Inspection Agency News release
    The Alberta beef cow was just under 7 years old and was born after feed restrictions.

    January 12 2005 ~ As for vCJD, an article in the Times today says " ... findings dispel fears of a vCJD timebomb, which were raised last year when research suggested that up to 3,800 people might be infected with the incurable brain disorder. A more precise analysis of these results indicates that only a small fraction of this number will contract the disease ... " Read in full

    January 12 2005 ~ Another human death from avian influenza in Viet Nam. ProMed Mail calculates the toll in Vietnam is now 24.

    January 11 2005 ~ Study 'proves case for badger culls' Charles Clover in the Telegraph "..... More than 2,300 badgers were culled in the trials, the results of which were described by the scientists as "quite conclusive". .."

    January 10 2005 ~ TB in wildlife - Irish report today. WMN Anthony Gibson said that "even if a change in strategy led to a 50 per cent reduction in cases of bovine TB, it would avoid the slaughter of more than 10,000 cattle a year, save taxpayers at least £15 million in compensation, and spare around 1,200 farmers a year the misery and financial loss of an outbreak of bovine TB. ..."

    January 10 2005 ~ The link to the pdf file of the Defra report on Hornbeam appears on its webpage about FMD news http://www.defra.gov.uk/footandmouth/.

    January 9 2005 ~ Although a 98 page report on Exercise Hornbeam appeared briefly on the DEFRA website, it seems now to have removed - along with its accompanying news release. Can anyone explain why? On their contingency plan page page "last modified: 6 January 2005" there is now no report on Hornbeam - but we are still greeted with the assertion : "Defra’s existing contingency plan for foot and mouth disease has been continuously reviewed and updated in light of experiences and lessons learned from the 2001 outbreak."
    (For the reference to the DEFRA Hornbeam report click here It is a page that also claims to have been " last modified: 6 January 2005" but the report was removed some time after the 7th. Curious.)

    January 7 2005 ~ Shadow Environment Secretary, Tim Yeo MP said: "I am delighted that Tony Blair has finally recognised that local communities should have a say when it comes to deciding where wind farms are to be sited. "Instead of forcing people up and down the country to accept wind farms on their doorsteps and thereby putting all Britain's eggs in one basket, we should use our natural geographical advantages and encourage a wider range of renewable energy, including tidal and wave power." See press release

    January 7 2005 ~ The Council for National Parks (CNP) is seeking leave to appeal against the High Court’s judgment that the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s decision to grant outline planning permission for the Bluestone development was lawful. Ruth Chambers, CNP’s Head of Policy, said: “we have thought long and hard about the disappointing judgment from the High Court and our trustees unanimously decided to seek leave to appeal because of the implications of the Bluestone judgment for all National Parks, in Wales and England.

    January 5 2005 ~ Wind Farms in the US "the siting, aesthetics, economics, transmission line logistics, and potential climate effects of wind energy are increasingly controversial. .. . residents are concerned that windmills would interfere with wilderness and wildlife, or simply degrade the scenic beauty of the view... " http://notes.sej.org

    January 5 2005 ~ "Wake up good people of Wales! The beauty of your country is being destroyed as you slumber. Marcus Rand, chief executive of the British Wind Energy Association, clearly wants to cover your finest scenic landscapes and seascapes with gigantic wind turbines up to 450ft in height (Post, December 21). He claims that the UK's current wind turbines are generating the equivalent of enough clean electricity for half a million homes. How can they? The wind hardly blew anywhere in the UK for the two months up to December 15 - certainly not 24 hours a day..." This is South Wales.co.uk and see warmwell's windfarm pages.

    January 4 2005 ~ From the PigSite "European agriculture ministers are conscious that current methods of handling disease outbreaks are not only costly but also pose ethical problems ..... They also want to control costs. They have flagged up several times in recent years their desire to shift costs onto livestock producers, who would then have to take out insurance ... Currently companies are reluctant to offer affordable policies, because of the huge risks involved. .... in Britain it is planned to introduce a levy on livestock producers to create a disease control fund. Further details about this will probably be unveiled by Defra later this year. ..."

    January 4 2005 ~ Tim Collins MP "says he wants the government to answer a host of inquiries under the new Freedom of Information Act which came into force on January 1. .. answers about the legality of culls whereby animals not necessarily infected were slaughtered because they were housed next to infected beasts. ..he also wants information about the background to the decision not to vaccinate animals against foot-and-mouth..." NW Evening Mail and see also the Scotsman "Tories Seek Answers from Government Departments"

    January 4 2005 ~ In spite of the second case of BSE in Canada (confirmed on Jan 2 see Bloomberg) we read on Newsline that "USDA officials say that will not change a plan to reopen the US border to Canadian beef in March. Mary Kay Thatcher "We have to stick to sound science and open our borders to countries that follow sound science or other countries will never open their borders to us..."

    January 3 2005 ~ The GM watchdog, the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission, is to be scrapped. See Guardian "... .... the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and other pro-GM forces in the government, particularly Tony Blair, had not factored in the persuasive powers of Prof Grant, who managed to produce three influential consensus reports... the commission insisted the consumer should have the freedom to buy non-GM British food... ..... Privately, members have been told the organisation is to be abolished..." Read in full ."

    January 3 2005 ~ Private Eye's Muckspreader on the new Countryside Rights Of Way Act. "...All of which sounds very admirable, until the question arises of who will actually pay for all this blizzard of bureaucratic activity.... "at the current time it is understood that the preparation of management plans does not commit the county council to implementation”......" Read in full

    January 2 2005 ~ Associated Press report of a girl in Milwaukee who has survived, unvaccinated, a rabies bite. She was treated for rabies with an experimental combination of drugs. She is the first known person in the world to survive the disease without receiving the rabies vaccine. She spent nearly 11 weeks in the hospital.

    January 1 2005 ~ "CAP reforms are most radical changes for industry in 50 years": -".... In the case of beef, the EU has come from having a stockpile of more than 500,000 tonnes to the point where, for the foreseeable future, large quantities will have to be imported. ..Some analysts have predicted that there will be a massive reduction in the beef breeding herd. .... The best land will still be farmed, though the units will be larger and will employ less people. The real threat is in the more fragile and remote areas where farming may be abandoned with much of the countryside reverting to scrub. .." The Herald

    Archive Oct 2004 - Dec 2004

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    New powers for the RSPCA? Concern

    24/27 June 2005 ~ " The sustainability of the population of Europe is at risk because there are too few children being born " Professor Bill Ledger, Sheffield University BBC GENERAL Home Page - updated (New Window)

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