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INBOX ARCHIVE OCT - DEC 2004 country issues and animal health

emails or newspaper links

Ordering "The Killing Pens" See note

   Dr Abigail Woods' book: A Manufactured Plague

New powers for the RSPCA? Concern

December 31 2004 ~ Ben Bradshaw has been talking about "sustainable management of wild deer in England.. and the protection of England's native biodiversity."
“…Evidence has also shown that deer carry Lyme's disease which is transmitted by ticks and can cause disease in humans…”
"Thank God he hasn’t realised that anything else that gets bitten by ticks is in the same boat, including sheep, their shepherds and dogs," comments Richard Mawdsley, adding a robust suggestion.

December 31 2004 ~ Pat, a farmer in the West Country, agrees with Gary (below) on the subject of BVD: "... like Gary, we have vaccinated for over 8 years now. Cattle receive an annual booster which protects them and their unborn calf, and all the yearlings get 2 jabs before insemination, thereafter coming into the annual group. Our neighbour also vaccinates. Between us we have lost 160 cattle over 5+ years as reactors to the Tb test. That's not to say they've got Tb, but have had contact with m.bovis..."

December 30 2004 ~ A note on ProMed Mail from a German expert, Martin Rieder , about "Tsunami-related disease potential": "....I am amazed how often it is mentioned that because of the fear of epidemics, dead bodies have to be buried as quickly as possible. Looks like we are still in the 19th century, with all the theories about miasma (meaning bad air, hence "malaria") and dead bodies..." More
Interestingly, this point was made on the Today programme (external link) this morning. (Something of the same exasperation is felt by those many farmers who find themselves unable to bury on farm, as they have done safely for generations, the "fallen stock" that appears to worry the government so much.)

December 30 2004 ~ Michael speaks for many when he writes to warmwell of his sadness about the disaster : "... No water and the heat, cholera and dysentry will take even more life. This is a tragedy on epic proportions. It will test the resolve of our so called politicians. I am not a religious person but God help all those survivors. What a way to start a new year. But we should remember that nature is stronger than us all."

December 30 2004 ~ One small cheering detail from the devastated areas is that no wild animal bodies have been found in Sri Lanka. Instincts that we have lost apparently alerted animals from elephants to rabbits to get away from the coastline before the disaster struck. Evening Standard

December 29 2004 ~ Gary from Kansas writes, "We.. vaccinate cattle for BVD all the time.." and is less than impressed with the posting below from the Scotsman which suggests that BVD could be a pre-cursor to TB. He sends this link to an FAO website that describes animal diseases in some detail. Meanwhile, we read in the Telegraph that "Research using the latest DNA techniques suggests that tuberculosis may have been passed from humans to animals and not the opposite way round as previously believed." Even more reason to take note of the words of Dr Ruth Watkins.

December 27 2004 ~ Scotsman on the Orkney Livestock Association (OLA) 's aim of eradicating bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD). "....BVD also suppresses the immune system of cattle which have not developed antibodies. ..... established scientific evidence that BVD facilitates the spread of bovine TB." .....".

December 27 2004 ~DEFRA webpage "last modified: 23 December 2004" contains the Single Payment Sscheme - Set-aside Handbook (pdf new window) sent to all farmers . Livestock farmers with temporary grassland may need to set-aside land for the first time.

December 21 2004 ~ Private Eye has a graphic and seasonal comment to make on windfarms.

December 19 2004 ~ Roger's comments on the recommendations of the Brussels Conference are far too full of common sense and humanity to be taken seriously by anyone with the power to implement them.

December 19 2004 ~ "On January 1 a Cornish company with thousands of customers is to be put summarily out of business, because the officials of English Nature (EN) are so desperate to show themselves as "good boys" in Brussels, by meeting their EU conservation targets, that they don't mind putting people out of work..." As usual, Booker's Notebook in the Sunday Telegraph is essential reading.

December 19 2004 ~".... current proposals "are unworkable and will add unnecessary bureaucracy and costs at all levels of the local industry". ..the UFU said that the system being proposed...."goes beyond EU requirements". .." The Ulster Farmers' Union has voiced strong opposition to DEFRA's plans to introduce a new system for sheep identification from January 1, 2005.

December 18 2004 ~ Pesticides: Georgina Downs says the Government’s publication of figures does not give a true representation of the real scope of the problem relating to the adverse effects of pesticide exposure on human health.

December 18 2004 ~In the past three years we have had 83 atypical cases of scrapie, 12 among the group with the most favoured genotype - but the massively expensive and much loathed NSP express train thunders on. Too many important reputations on board to stop perhaps but the consequences may well be catastrophic. Scrapie/TSE page

December 18 2004 ~ The High Court has ruled in favour of Bluestone holiday village which is, according to an emailer, "absolutely dismaying. .. The development will take up 500 acres of beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside and looks more like a new town than a holiday village. The plans show terraces of housing and not just log cabins." See press release from the Council for National Parks - which shows the countryside presumably considered expendable by the High Court judge, Mr Justice Jack. The National Assembly for Wales offered £16.5 million grant aid in taxpayers' money to the company if planning permission was granted. Bluestone

December 17 2004 ~ Opponents of the giant turbines in the countryside are taken aback by Mr Blair's own opposition to four turbines two miles from his North East home. Windfarms page

December 17 2004 ~ Errant pigs and Great Danes.." .. ..Malcolm Fowler, former chairman of the Law Society criminal law committee, condemned this use of ASBOs. He said: “I fear it is going to become worse before someone has an attack of sanity.” The Times is interested in the legal aspect of the free range pigs that do not have the right to roam. See below .

December 16 2004 ~ Farming Today on the Burnside video. Mr Bradshaw in a spin. Listen again. - and see a compilation of information on the video taken at Burnside farm.

December 16 2004 ~ British Sugar intends to build a £20m biofuel factory to turn sugar beet into bioethanol at its Wissington factory near Downham Market in Norfolk. See BBC

December 15 2004 ~"We are now not only able to produce quality crops for our subsistence, we are able to sell the extra ones and raise money to sink wells for clean drinking water and buy school materials like books and pens to help our children go to school." The Independent Appeal is a cheering read. Online donation easy, as we have just discovered.

December 15 2004 ~ The Mirror also picks up on the pig story below "...Neighbouring farmer Keith Catten said the pigs destroyed hedgerows and grassland up to a mile and a quarter away. And he claimed they had cost him thousands of pounds in lost earnings because they brought fears of foot-and-mouth disease.." How this "fear" lost him "thousands of pounds" is not explained but Mirror readers may well now believe the nonsensical idea that pigs spread FMD just by existing.

December 15 2004 ~An email from Germany echoes our unease. "Oh yes, it's a brave new world... ... It is already claimed by our NFU that the people who keep animals outside pose a risk to the export status of the country..."

December 14 2004 ~ A free range pig farmer has been made the subject of an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) "Mr Hagen told the court that he had since repaired the fence in order to stop the pigs breaking free." The Telegraph chose to make use of the phrase "going on the rampage" The pigs have, it seems "posed a risk of disease by visiting cows in nearby fields" (which sounds rather more sociable that antisocial). Are we becoming a society so seriously frightened of animals that sheep are shot in Swindon and amiable pigs put behind bars- as indeed their owner might be if they get out again- in the heart of Norfolk? Meanwhile, the really dangerous thugs whose practices are lucrative, cruel and highly dangerous - the ones who really do spread disease - they get off with a fine.

December 14 2004 ~ The atypical form of scrapie has now been detected in more than 80 confirmed cases, including a total of 12 in sheep with the highest scrapie resistance genotypes. icWales report ".. ruled out any similarities with BSE from experimentally infected sheep."

December 14 2004 ~ "...Supermarkets know our costs and therefore margins. They are taking all the profit for themselves, leaving nothing for others. They are parasites, destroying all before them...." was a comment by Bill Newbery of Devon in the BBC "Your Comments" page, following Lord Haskins' attempt this morning to (as an emailer puts it) ".. blame everyone else but the supermarkets on the price paid to farmers for the price of milk."

December 14 2004 ~ Mark Purdey has just had to watch DEFRA compulsorily slaughter 80% of his pedigree downcalving Jersey heifers. They were to have served as the nucleus of his new herd. All of the TB reactors were Jerseys, whereas the same age group of co-reared Shorthorns were all TB free. He writes, "I really do question the whole approach of the upper echelons of DEFRA to the way that we are viewing and handling 'infectious diseases'. You DO NOT deal with this problem by simply slaughtering animals willy nilly and ignoring the critical underlying issues of compromised immunity that represent the real cause of animals succumbing to these diseases..." More

December 14 2004 ~ A travesty of justice. Please see Dirty Meat pages The biggest meat crime case to have come to court recently in the UK, and the result was derisory fines - and a cost to brave Haringey Council of more than £25000. Disgraceful and unbelievable. Animals continue to be illegally slaughtered in the cruellest of conditions while the government boasts about its latest Welfare legislation. Meat criminals are treated with kid gloves and nothing is done to stop the trafficking while human health is treated with contempt. Farmers who care for their animals properly are hedged about with regulations which are driving them out of business. Meat crime thugs leave court laughing - and there is increasing doubt whether even cast-iron cases are now worth pursuing.

December 14 2004 ~ One reader's review of Janet Hughes' Killing Pens.

December 13 2004 ~ "...Instead of prancing around making statements to impress political and urban friends, there is a serious and urgent need for all of you to put teeth and muscle into addressing the real problems in agriculture and the countryside. .. ." The open letter to Lord Whitty in the WMN expresses the intense anger and anguish of one knowledgeable farmer at the pseudo concern of the government and its kow-towing to the absurd "one size fits all" regulations of the EU.

December 12 2004 ~Windfarms "....The first of these enquiries, into a proposal to build 27 giant turbines on Romney Marsh in Kent, was held last October. Every parish, district and county council in the area opposed the plan. If the outcome goes against them, this will pitch an overweening Government against democracy as surely as any issue of our time." Read Booker's Notebook in full

December 11 2004 ~ How many others are packing it in because of "too much interference, red tape and low prices"? Roger's email.

December 10 2004 ~ An emailer writes, "Final pint of organic milk left the farm last week, that's it, hanging the clusters up for good. ...." Read what this farmer has to say about the little red tractor and the Farm Assurance Scheme. Miserable.

December 10 2004 ~ Mr. Bradshaw answer to the latest question about FMD:"The Department has recently concluded its negotiations with the European Commission and as a result the United Kingdom will receive a total of £350 million in co-financing for the 2001 outbreak. The United Kingdom will continue to work with the European Commission and other member states to ensure that the lessons learned from the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001 are applied." Andrew George at least would have been less than impressed.

December 10 2004 ~ A new DEFRA website, launched today by the Chief Veterinary Officer Debby Reynolds, will (says DEFRA) "provide a vital resource for anybody looking for information on animal health and welfare issues". It has the title "Veterinary Surveillance in the UK" and its language style is of the "Want to find out more about an animal disease or condition?" variety.

December 10 2004 ~"Farmers urged to join FMD claim" is an article by Jonathan Riley about Class Law in the FWi today, following a report in The Times on December 6 (see below). We have heard nothing ourselves from Class Law however and the website does not seem to have been updated. We will report if we hear anything new.

December 10 2004 ~ "....FARM does not accept that existing arrangements are satisfactory; does not accept that Tesco is powerless to intervene; does not accept Tesco’s failure to accept its responsibilities to its producers; nor accept Tesco’s failure to take the lead in developing a viable sustainable future for the dairy sector. If Tesco is to retain the trust of its customers, it must use its dominant position in the retail market to bring about a fair system...." Read more of the letter to Terry Leahy
Farm takes to the London streets today.

December 9 2004 ~ "...In a crude attempt to mislead the public about the nature of our oil dependency, the Cheney Report called for increasing U.S. energy "independence" by exploiting the untapped oil reserves of Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and other protected wilderness areas. But ANWR only possesses sufficient petroleum to provide this country with (at most) 1 million barrels per day for an estimated 15-20 years, a tiny fraction of the 20 million barrels of additional oil that will be needed to supplement domestic output in 2025....." An article by Michael Klare that clearly explains the problem of peak oil - a problem to which nearly everything else on this website is in some way connected.

December 8 2004 ~ Tim Yeo said today, following confirmation that the Government will miss the targets set by Tony Blair for CO2 reductions by a wide margin, that "Labour must end its fixation with onshore wind farms and replace this with a broadly based renewable energy policy harnessing Britain's natural advantages to develop marine energy technologies and to promote bio fuels."

December 8 2004 ~"A new certificate in wheel clamping - or as the exam board Edexcel prefers to call it, the Level 2 Btec award in vehicle immobilisation - will take you 30 hours of study at a cost of about £500. It offers "opportunities for personnel in the vehicle immobilisation sector to achieve a nationally recognised Level 2 qualification that is vocationally specific" Guardian

December 8 2004 ~ "A new report calling for the closure of a third of Britain's fishing grounds in order to protect stocks was condemned as "crude, out-of-date rubbish" by Westcountry fishing leaders last night." WMN

December 7 2004 ~ "..the RDAs have been tied down to targets that "concentrate too much on short-term contributions to Whitehall objectives and too little on longer-term regional impact". The report says that Government departments have often imposed "needless delays" before approving RDAs' spending on local projects. .." WMN on the Public Accounts Committee report

December 7 2004 ~ The Prince of Wales has spoken out against the "appalling destruction" of dolphins and porpoises which he says is caused by bass pair trawling. ..."One can hardly imagine what further proof of damage is necessary, or indeed that any citizens of the EU would want to consume bass caught in this appalling way." The Prince's article was published prior to a report by the independent Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP), out today." WMN

December 7 2004 ~ An alarming letter suggesting that there is corruption in the European Food Safety Authority. Apparently, they received - but refuse to make public - fresh evidence on the detrimental effects of GM by Arpad Pusztai. They have also threatened him with litigation if he himself makes his research public : "... Monsanto are tied in with the European Food Safety Authority as they have been for years ever since the Eurobio Office was set up." See also the whistle-blowing article in Le Monde from last April.

December 6 2004 ~ Class Law action on "gross negligence" of FMD begins. The Times today reports: " Lawyers heading the class action will seek full disclosure of official documents at the High Court next month. ....lawyers will ask the High Court to order the Government to disclose memos and directives issued in the immediate aftermath of the first outbreak."

December 5 2004 ~"....EU stopped imports from countries using vaccination on animals for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). As India vaccinates animals for FMD, this resulted in a break in exporting bovine products to EU countries. Since this ban has no scientific basis, EU may consider lifting it Shri Kanti Lal Bhuria said. .."

December 5 2004 ~ Gary Burkholder, an American from Kansas, has a few words to say about the "Kindergarten politics" he sees going on "..a little sand in the eyes and ears goes a long way toward building up one's toy empire." and....

December 5 2004 ~ The cost of re-electing Mr Bush .. An article by Geoffrey Lean in IoS says it all "George Bush's new administration, and its supporters controlling Congress, are setting out to dismantle three decades of US environmental protection..."

December 5 2004 ~ The costs of FMD. An emailer writes, "Another factor that always seems to be overlooked is the cost to farmers who were NOT culled for any reason. I was talking to a friend at the weekend - it cost them tens of thousands of pounds (they are now stoney broke) just to keep going because of the total ban on movements (hence no sales of animals for meat or anything else) and beef was also likely to exceed the OTM rule."

December 5 2004 ~ Fallen Stock scheme - "... the only way that its hopelessly ramshackle system can work at all is by relying on the full co-operation of all the premises registered to assist in disposing of dead stock. Fifty per cent of these registered premises...are hunt kennels. If these are forced to close when hunting becomes illegal in February, Defra's system will collapse. This is what they call joined-up government." Booker's Notebook

December 4 2004 ~ re Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - Roger's email about the chef's views on supermarkets and factory farming are interesting.

December 3 2004 ~ SVS ".. the decision to change the status of the service was taken long before the consultation began.... I have deep concerns about the ability of the SVS to cope in the event of another epidemic but more importantly, who will be held accountable now that it has been placed at arm's length of ministerial responsibility." FWI reports the words of Lib-Dem food and rural affairs spokesman Roger Williams on news that DEFRA is to go ahead with plans to turn the State Veterinary Service See also our own report on the change to the SVS

December 3 2004 ~ "a protest outside Tesco in Stroud to take place at noon on Saturday December 4th and which will last for about 2 hours, in support of the 'Just Milk' campaign..." Please see email from Julia Currie and spread the word if you can.

December 3 2004 ~ "...If as a region we are all determined to buy only local or from those businesses supporting the countryside cause, victory can be ours." WMN

December 3 2004 ~ "...Television chefs have spoken up for poverty-stricken Westcountry dairy farmers who earn less than £3 an hour and are struggling to survive. Rick Stein and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall are among those supporting the Just Milk campaign which is trying to end poverty milk prices by staging protests outside Tesco stores for a third week. The next Just Milk protest in the Westcountry will take place tomorrow from 11am to 1pm outside the Tesco superstore at Lee Mill, near Plymouth..." WMN

December 3 2004 ~ "FMD has been reported in 15 out of the 56 districts in Uganda and has affected more than 50 000 animals... It reported that vaccination has been used only to a very limited extent because of the slow and inadequate release of funds to procure vaccines. >>" ProMed

December 2 2004 ~ The review of SAC re the contingency plans and Operation Hornbeam is on the internet. Many might feel that after three long years of trying to get a spotlight shone on the truly grotesque policies of 2001, it is all a bit much to bear when we read, "..Currently there is insufficient scientific evidence to be confident that vaccination will be an effective tool in controlling an outbreak. .." and "Accurate pen-side tests should be developed.."

December 2 2004 ~ "....of Field Science's 360 customers, not a single one (touch wood) is currently closed up with TB. This could, of course, be just a coincidence..." Anthony Gibson in the WMN on the wisdom of returning to the soil all the minerals leached out it.

December 1 2004 ~ A sheep trader is threatening legal action against animal welfare activists to enable him to resume export shipments out of Ipswich port. Shipments to Belgium arranged by Thomas Lomas, who is based in Montpelier, France, were suspended in September after activists mounted demonstrations.

December 1 2004 ~ Supermarkets and the politicians. Every little helps. Sunday Telegraph"The Electoral Commission, with whom all donations of £5,000 or more must be registered by political parties and individual MPs, shows that Labour has accepted donations from Tesco..." Tesco says in its most recent accounts: "There were no political donations." yet it also gave £5,502 to the Conservatives as "sponsorship of political events" TheSunday Telegraph article suggests that donations may not be being approved by shareholders and not revealed to the Electoral Commission.

December 1 2004 ~ The Dirty Meat and bush meat scandal is not just about public health, important though that it. It is about cruelty and criminality on a scale that rarely gets into the papers or the minds of politicians. The Daily Mail reported "how a chimpanzee acts when faced with the barrel of a gun. Hunters report that the ape often adopts a pleading expression and holds out its paw to the killers. Tragically for the animal – and perhaps for all mankind – the bushmeat hunters of Africa take no notice at all." Read in full Experts fear such monstrous trade is spreading a new Aids-like killer virus.

December 1 2004 ~ " Smithfield Foods announced that its earnings in the second quarter rose 61 percent to $58.4 million...During the quarter the company purchased two ham production plants in Eastern Europe and added cattle feeding to its existing model of live hog production." Extract from and a bland insoucience for what lies behind the profits.

November 30 2004 ~ DEFRA "..they've had to invent a new term, 'chasing away', which is not covered by the (Hunting) Act at all. Presumably I can now get hunts to deliberately chase away animals from my land?" WMN quotes a " North Devon farmer who has never shot a deer in his life who believes he could now be forced to shoot the animals because of an "insane" ruling in the new law banning hunting."

November 30 2004 ~ The much trusted ProMED-mail, the international society for infectious diseases, jealously guards its independence and does not receive or seek support from governments, special interest groups or non-governmental agencies, and has no full-time staff. Its moderators are experts in infectious disease. It is now asking for voluntary donations from individuals who find it useful.

November 30 2004 ~"The Canadian cattle industry has lost $5 billion (Canadian) since the discovery of a BSE-infected cow in May 2003 ... " (That is 2.2 billion pound loss because of one single cow found to be suffering from BSE. In the US, news of the inconclusive test in mid-November caused cattle futures immediately to drop the maximum of 3 percent, after which trade was suspended. )

November 30 2004 ~"Consumers don't want GM crops and the environment certainly doesn't need them. It's time this ailing industry was put to bed." Campaigners dismiss 'safe GM' report

November 30 2004 ~Interesting report on research at Harvard demonstratng how a six minute treatment with a simple saline nasal spray resulted in a "72 percent drop in the number of viruses or bacteria exhaled by the high-producing group"

November 29 2004 ~ Bird flu: "... experts fear it will only be a matter of time before the disease mutates into a form that can leap between humans and sweep through populations with no immunity. ... mass production of vaccines would only start after a pandemic begins, which means it would only reach the public after a time-lag of at least five to six months..." Bleak predictions on Reuters that H5N1 could infect up to 30 percent of the world's population and kill between two and seven million people were described as "a conservative estimate"

November 29 2004 ~ What is it like to drive past German wind turbines in the dark? This email tells us.

November 29 2004 ~"...Whilst on the subject of fallen stock can someone please tell me how one farmer can be paid £50k by Defra to compost rotting meat from the catering trade yet his neighbour has to pay £60 to Defra to remove a sow from his farm?..." From the NPA forum an email on the fallen stock scheme. Not off to a flying start, it seems...

November 29 2004 ~ GM controversy. Reuters ".. four-year study, part-funded by the government but assisted by the biotech lobby, enraged green groups who immediately dismissed the results as one-sided. ..."

November 29 2004 ~ Montreal "... live cattle have been dropped off at the offices of rural cabinet ministers.." See In a parallel to our own dairy farmers' plight, Canadian beef producers are at the mercy of a government condoned monopoly. Prices to consumers have not fallen, slaughterhouse prices for ground beef have increased by 144% yet the producers are getting only 15 and 20 cents a pound.

November 28 2004 ~"...sheep-dippers in the UK that had fatigue–cognitive-pain syndromes that are similar to GW syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, had the same gene variant .." "Gulf War Syndrome Revisited" appeared today on the Axis of Logic website and connections between Gulf War Syndrome and OP poisoning are beginning to be aired. The UK government has been as insistent about its lack of responsibility over organo-phosphates as it has denied the very existence of Gulf War Syndrome.

November 28 2004 ~ While pious governmental lip service paid to "fighting crime" results in so much bureaucratic bullying yet has so little effect on the very nasty power of real criminals, it is cheering to see the truly courageous efforts of Hackney Council and Dr Yunes Teinaz. Their work targets the real villains of lucrative meat crime. They are protecting public health - English, Muslim and Jewish - and protecting animals from illegal slaughter. The important Meat Crime pages are being updated. (new window)

November 25 2004 ~ Tim Yeo has denounced the Government for "bungling" the tragedy of foot and mouth, and presiding over a dramatic decline of the farming industry, leaving the country more and more dependent upon food imports..." Press release from Conservative party

November 24 2004 ~ US "No sign of mad cow disease was found in an animal the Agriculture Department had singled out for further tests..". Seattle Times

November 23 2004 ~ Subsidiary pages on Warmwell cannot be fully updated for a while. (This, for those who are kind enough to be interested, is because of eye trouble. Too much staring at the screen.)

November 23 2004 ~ Changes outlined in the Bovine Semen (England) Regulations and Fees 2004 proposals (in order to achieve EU aims) proposed that each collected semen sample be subject to two health checks. This could see costs rise from £128 to over £3,000 for each bull. The NBA has asked Defra to re-examine its plans. See Journal

November 23 2004 ~ The government wants to delay the enforcement of a hunt ban until after the election. FWi

November 23 2004 ~ "if the government is to meet its renewable energy targets the development of offshore developments must increase, reports the Financial Times. 3000 more wind turbines are needed to supplement the 1000 already in existence. The Prince of Wales strongly opposes on shore wind turbines reported the FWI in August.

November 22 2004 ~ "CIWF is calling on .. Margaret Beckett and Minister Ben Bradshaw to take a lead in the reform of live-animal transport in the European Union.." many more animals will have to endure the misery of overcrowding, thirst, dehydration, hunger and injury during these nightmare journeys?"..." icTeesside

November 22 2004 ~ "a protest outside Tesco in Stroud to take place at noon on Saturday December 4th and which will last for about 2 hours, in support of the 'Just Milk' campaign..." Please see email from Julia Currie and spread the word if you can.

November 22 2004 ~ "ordinary protesting farmers have received courier delivered letters from Eversheds solicitors in Leeds, who are acting for Asda. ....bullyboy tactics...... how have Eversheds obtained the names and addresses? Since October the police have taken numberplates of protestors but surely have not passed this information on?...."

November 22 2004 ~ " ..The conclusion of the film was that livestock are bad news and that we can do without them anyway. I wonder who was really behind this film. ..." Mark Purdey on where the nanny state is leading.

November 22 2004 ~ Geoffrey Lean in the Independent on Sunday writes, "Industry has dropped its last attempts to get GM seeds approved for growing in Britain, in a final surrender of its dream to spread modified crops rapidly across the country. Bayer CropScience has withdrawn the only two remaining applications for government permission for the seeds - a winter and a spring oilseed rape..."

November 21 2004 ~ Thanks to Gary for this link to USDA news conference transcript re the "BSE cow" - still "inconclusive"

November 21 2004 ~ A real-time alert FMD simulation exercise on Foot-and-Mouth Disease took place in Austria last week. Northern Ireland's Farming Life reports .... "Internal and external observers took take part in the evaluation." We have yet to see any public evaluation of the UK Exercise Hornbeam or to know what evaluations were made by "external observers" (if any...we understand the BBC team were ejected from the Truro Operations Room by the DVM Ms Jan Kelly during the Exercise when she objected to the presence of a microphone.)

November 21 2004 ~ Farming Life also has an article Court Of Auditors Reports Back On FMD Outbreak (Farming Life, Northern Ireland) which lists the Court's recommendations and also warmly welcomes the new Stoneleigh archive.

November 21 2004 ~".....wrongly described meat and illegally imported foodstuff from the human food chain. This conference will bring together experts from across the country to discuss these important issues..." A seminar on November 27

November 19 - 21 2004 ~".....Government, in the shape of Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael, had engaged in an elaborate charade designed to pin the blame for an early hunting ban on the House of Lords. "It is the House of Lords that has chosen confrontation and I regret that," Mr Michael declared piously. But his backbenchers were deeply suspicious - and said so.." Jason Groves in WMN Read in full

November 19 - 21 2004 ~"The future of the hounds has got to be considered. There are various factors to look at, but the main fear is that they will have to be put down. ..." WMN

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ ".. limit the mass cull of free-ranging wildlife species for disease control to situations where there is a multidisciplinary, international scientific consensus that a wildlife population poses an urgent, significant threat to public health and safety.." IUCN recommendations from their conference in Bangkok

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ In Cumbria, one in four farmers is now over 60 and only 40% of them have plans to pass their farms on.

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ The Cumberland News reports on a young family, who had restocked after FMD, who have been told by "Cumbria" university that they must leave "..changes were in line with national and European changes from the direct subsidy of high-volume food production to Single Farm Payments and a greater emphasis on land management....“We couldn’t afford to be sentimental about this arrangement....."
How un-English language sounds these days where politics and profits are concerned. Complexity seeking to cover up lack of principle.

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ GeneThera believes that a "live" animal test for BSE could provide results within 12 hours in contrast to existing methods which may take between 4 and 7 days. If the USDA would allow the private sector to test for Mad Cow Disease, GeneThera plans to use their test in conjunction with post-mortem tests, like BioRad Laboratories (AMEX: BIO) and Prionics AG.

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ "Viet Nam's alleged plan to vaccinate poultry if large-scale bird flu resurgence is reported makes sense. At present, only China and Indonesia officially apply vaccinations..." is the opinion of a ProMed moderator on the Promed site's latest update on Avian influenza.

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ seems suddenly to have produced a page about foot and mouth disease and the 2001 crisis under the title "Issue Briefs". Statistics included come from DEFRA.

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ Headlines in the US and elsewhere about a possible and inconclusively tested single case of a perhaps BSE diseased cow that did not enter the food chain. We now read in many papers - without any attempt on the part of the press to show that this is still an unproven theory - that "People who eat food contaminated with it (BSE) can contract variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease."

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ is now online. A search on normal Google for "human genome", for example produces 450,000 or so hits; Google Scholar returns just 113,000 hits, and all the top-ranked items are not websites but academic papers on the subject.

November 19 - 21 2004 ~ "....Truly the skies are darkening overhead. Whether or not people hunt is a matter of supreme indifference to me. But when people are banned from hunting it becomes a matter of supreme importance. Talk of fox welfare is piffle. .." Simon Jenkins in the Times

November 18 2004 ~ "The reputation of both the FDA and Merck lies in shambles today after evidence continues to surface that shows the FDA knowingly approved, promoted and refused to recall a dangerous drug that caused an untold number of fatalities among the American population: Vioxx. "

November 18 2004 ~ Chris Stockdale writes "....This is what DEFRA need to get their heads around if they want a vaccination policy to work - prearranged levels of compensation for loss of value on vaccinated, then marketed, animals. Then prearranged agreements - tied in via subsidies, planning terms or similar horse trading - to stick to the national, not company interest, with swingeing "put them out of business" penalties for infractions...." See also Chris' dissertation on the Foot and Mouth crisis.

November 18 2004 ~ "Will farm exodus see the end of fresh milk?" asks the BBC "The UK is haemorrhaging dairy farmers as they struggle to make ends meet with thousands more expected to sell their herds in 2005...This year a parliamentary committee discovered that while the average litre of milk costs around 50p, roughly 18p of every 50p was unaccounted for - it was simply vanishing in the often-murky supply chain....."

November 17 2004 ~ "....My first supermarket. Now, mmm, long time since I've frequented one," mused Jon Snow in the Channel 4 update. How different things would be if all emulated him. FARM's website asks "Do you think that the current supermarket Code of Practice is a waste of time without legislation to enforce it?" and voting today showed that 81% do indeed think so.

November 17 2004 ~ The number of threatened species on the planet is increasing at unprecedented rates across almost all major animal groups, according to the most comprehensive evaluation of the world’s biodiversity ever undertaken. New Scientist

November 17 2004 ~ You can download from the FARM website an Action Guide, which is a step-by-step guide to organising a Tesco action, and we can give you as much help as you need from the head office. This is our final push before the end of the year to make Tesco listen to the growing public and farming demand for a fair milk price for farmers.

November 17 2004 ~ There are serious financial difficulties at the IAH, Pirbright. Listen again to Farming Today which includes an interview with David Mackay. (Transcript)

November 17 2004 ~ Yesterday's new rules for killing flocks susceptible to scrapie apply to farmers who report and have confirmed a case of scrapie. This assumes that farmers will cooperate. Questionable. (See report in the Western Mail)

November 17 2004 ~ "Veneman should have had public health experts shape the department's response.." Anne Veneman has resigned as head of the US Agriculture Department

November 16 2004 ~ The Western Morning News is to launch a petition aimed at giving everyone in the South Hams a voice against wind turbines. WMN

November 16 2004 ~ Today, Britain’s dairy farmers are paid less for their milk than they were 20 years ago but this hasn’t translated into a price fall for consumers. See "Tesco admits milk price error " Farm press release. Supermarket margins have improved by eight to ten pence per litre but farmgate prices have fallen by around six pence per litre. No surprise either to read that Sir Brian Bender says "...the Government has no view about the number of dairy farmers, the number of beef farmers and so on"

November 16 2004 ~ WMN on the Porton Down "State Killing" verdict "...John Maughan, from Axminster, East Devon, who was also exposed to sarin, said: "It shouldn't have been done to humans. I don't even think they should do these things to animals if they are going to suffer the way I did."

November 16 2004 ~ Nick Green read the recent Veterinary Record letter reproduced on Warmwell yesterday - and has a comment to make. Nick Green's email.

November 15 2004 ~ "Towards a socially responsible policy on animal disease" It is pleasing to see such an encouraging title for a Europe wide conference. ( Dutch Parliamentary website) The Dutch will host this meeting for Committees on Agriculture of all EU member states on November 26th 2004.

November 15 2004 ~ The European Court is to be asked to intervene over controversial plans to build three giant turbines, in what would be Devon's second commercial windfarm...See Windfarms page

November 15 2004 ~ Dune restoration ".. With 920 hectares of dunes, English Nature have little grounds for demanding the felling of any trees... we need all the sea buckthorn and lodgepole pine, as both resist salt winds and give food to red squirrels... EN's idea of consultation is to make their proposals public, end of discussion. ...EN did their best to suppress a full debate with no face to face discussion with an expert. .." Please read in full

November 14 2004 ~ BSE/vCJD is back in the news with a vengeance with headlines involving a mad cow disease “timebomb”. Even the more cautious New Scientist article says "Humans may get different forms of BSE"
It may, however, be remembered that when 2000 anonymous surgical tonsillectomy specimens were screened for disease-associated prion protein there were no positive cases. There is much injecting of rogue prions into the brains of lab animals - but only Mark Purdey's research appears to be probing the causes of TSEs with any degree of success.

November 14 2004 ~ Solar power in Tibet "...all of the village's 247 households have installed solar cookers and vegetable-growing shelters that run on solar energy."

November 14 2004 ~ The story in the Independent that Malcolm Weeks, the pensions minister, has been "forced into an embarrassing volte face after the Department for Work and Pensions admitted he misunderstood pension law" illustrates how politicans are often, understandably, quite overwhelmed by the complexity of the legislation with which they deal. If they were prepared to admit ignorance and ask the real experts, there would surely be more respect and less mistrust from the population. Foot and mouth disease was a subject way beyond the competence of the Chief Scientist, the CVO, Maff and the government in 2001. They ignored the advice offered by the real experts. Even now, there is confusion about the present make-up of the required expert group for FMD. What is needed is an autonomous, non-political, knowledgeable and balanced group who are prepared for a future outbreak and who inspire real confidence.)

November 13 2004 ~ ".. .. a patient from a mixed MV genetic group had been infected with vCJD from contaminated blood ...sparked fears of a mad cow disease “timebomb” in the population ... " says the Scotsman "sparking fears" When fears are "sparked" in the population they become receptive to actions they would normally actively deplore. The entire national sheep flock of the UK would most certainly have been killed in 2002 if the great brain mix-up ( quietly posted on the DEFRA website and no-one alerted to its significance) had not been spotted. See also Muckspreader in June this year.

November 13 2004 ~"....So what is going on with our democracy, where we have officials and gov / quango scientists knowingly pumping out pure disinformation under the guise of sound science, and then criminalising and ridiculing those of us who are trying to work within the confines of the truth?" Mark Purdey's email about DEFRA's (and Jim Scudamore's) political memory lapses and some crucial dates

November 13 2004 ~ "Scientists show how European fishing policies are driving some of the bushmeat trade in west Africa..." BBC - and please see warmwell's Dirty Meat pages (new window)

November 13 2004 ~ Simon Jenkins, his clear-eyed and non-sentimental article in the Times on England's villages "... If in a frenzy of greed and envy, epitomised by the Government’s “housing expansion targets”, we build over these places, we simply destroy them, and destroy them for ever.

November 12 2004 ~ "If you have any pangs of conscience about what is happening to farming in the UK, want to glimpse the depths to which 'official'political policies will sink in order to uphold the cruelly undertaken and out-dated policy of dealing with an epizootic by the medieval mass slaughter of livestock..... 'The Killing Pens' illuminates some of the darker areas of the Government machine..." part of a review on for Janet Hughes' The Killing Pens

November 12 2004 ~ Egg Imports - Hansard Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the status will be of egg imports from other EU countries where the eggs are produced in conditions that would not meet the standards set for the welfare of laying hens in this country. [193929] Alun Michael: ...... World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules do not permit the prohibition of imports of goods on animal welfare grounds alone. Restrictions can only be applied where there is a threat to human, animal or plant health in the importing country. Restriction on trade of goods based on method of production is not permitted and would put us in breach of WTO rules."

November 12 2004 ~ Eleven of the 18 "appointed" members of the agency that advises the Government on the "green" energy needed to combat global warming, work for private companies with heavy financial interests in wind technology. See WMN reports on Windfarms page

November 11 2004 ~ "The hefting system is a part of our heritage in this area and it will disappear. Once the sheep have gone, it will be a dickens of a job ever to get them back.."
Lack of consultation by English Nature on SWES. Richard Mawdsley, of Dash Farm, near Keswick, says that the sheep and wildlife enhancement scheme (SWES) threatens the future of the traditional hefting system and does not deliver the desired environmental benefits. Will Cockbain (NFU) agrees and has raised concerns over the lack of consultation by English Nature before the scheme was launched. Mr Mawdsley's articles These open in a new window for ease of printing.

November 10 2004 ~ Bluetongue : "in the event of a UK outbreak it is probable the government would adopt a slaughter policy, with quarantine and movement restrictions... "ProMed mail warns of the spread northwards of bluetongue. The moderator, commenting on the extract from The Herald above, says, "Killing affected or exposed sheep for the control of bluetongue is unlikely to be an effective, or scientifically justifiable policy. ...The value of quarantine and movement restrictions in sheep is also questionable."

November 10 2004 ~ Closure of abattoirs "... in Britain where agencies such as the FSA seem to act against our own businesses rather than taking a supportive approach.." See article and also the email from Gary in Kansas "... It's no wonder that the UK is increasingly dependent upon foreign-produced meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables."

November 10 2004 ~ Bovine TB. Just as we had "too many sheep" we also have ( so I'm told ) " too much milk" in the UK - an emailer writes, "I suspect after Christmas Defra will 'cull' the valuers. They are determined to get the Compulsory purchase price of cattle down - in the face of a 20 per cent predicted increase in numbers. A new chart just lists the type of cattle (beef / dairy) their age and pedigree / non pedigree. That's all. .... If in Jan 'they' decide to go continental and issue a stop notice on produce from Tb restricted farms, as EU did with BSE, that would.... take the value out of milk quota + reduce beef herd..... Just a thought - a political type thought."
See also this extract from the new TB Blogspot and link

November 9 2004 ~ Defra webpage of information about the EU Directive includes the "Foot and mouth disease: scientific problem and recent progress 2nd annual report (2004) prepared for DEFRA, Science Directorate"

November 9 2004 ~ Holland "....routine sampling of Dutch milk picked up unacceptably high levels of dioxins .... source of contamination to be potato peelings supplied by a McCain's potato processing plant..... 162 pig, cattle, sheep, and goat farms in Holland have also been temporarily closed." See ProMed mail. "Dioxins have been designated as class one carcinogens. They can bioaccumulate as they ascend the food chain."

November 9 2004 ~ "I`m worried. Especially after reading Richard Mawdsley and other stuff at the weekend.
Spent quite a lot of time and did many miles in Devon recently. Seemed to me that the place is now crawling with sheep. Was delighted to see them at first. Then I got worried. Are there too many? and if there are, what next ? A repeat of 2001? Only next time there will be no arguments. .... " from an email receive today

November 9 2004 ~ Telegraph on Monday "Poor lambs Sir - Having had to watch my panic-stricken sheep career about the fields each day for the past week, I hereby offer my vote in the next general election to the political party that promises to unconditionally ban the sale of fireworks to the general public. Alan Brown, Alton, Hants"

November 8 2004 ~ We hear that people still want to write "semi-fictional" books about the crisis in 2001 Clear-eyed Hilary however, who put herself - entirely disinterestedly -into the thick of both the protests and the suffering from the outset, writes without rancour a succinct few lines ( "....His tears, when he returned, were frightening. The army and the slaughter team had got there first. ...")

November 8 2004 ~ "Mr Waugh is not on trial for starting the outbreak and there is nothing with which he is charged, or could have been charged which could determine that." Judge Prowse at the trial of Bobby Waugh. Read in full the Evening Chronicle article from May 2002. Although Mr Bradshaw and his colleagues are careful to qualify statements with phrases such as " by his criminal activity" the implication is that Mr Waugh started the outbreak because of illegal swill feeding and it was to cast him in the role of villain. But the video evidence that helped foster this view in the public imagination at the time was not sent to Lessons Learned and nor was Mr Dring's statement with its test results. The assumption that other premises were infected by airborne spread from this "index" case led to the unnecessary deaths of thousands and thousands of sheep and cattle - whereas there is much evidence (including this note by Richard Mawdsley in Jan 2002) to suggest that FMD was already established in the country.

November 8 2004 ~ " It isn't the function of a Democratic Government to control the minutiae of people's lives, rather to create the conditions where all sections of the community can thrive and prosper. The management of Rural Britain should be assigned to those who best understand it. That way we might preserve our communities, our culture our "environment" and our regional differences; the very things that make us what we are, BRITISH" From a paper by Richard Mawdsley sent to warmwell.

November 7 2004 ~ "Labour has done virtually nothing to cut the pollution that causes global warming, despite repeated claims by Tony Blair to be "leading the world" in combating the climate change..." Independent

November 5 2004 ~ DEFRA press release tells us that "... Larry Whitty launched a long-term strategy to create more demand for and use of renewable raw materials made from non-food crops." Richard Mawdsley comments "....Political stupidity has decreed that we, as a nation, shall render ourselves incapable of ever feeding our people again."

November 5 2004 ~ A wind turbine lorry has got itself stuck in a narrow Devon lane. See WMN

November 5 2004 ~President Vladimir Putin has approved Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the Kremlin says, which will make the U.N. environment pact aimed at curbing global warming effective worldwide. Reuters

November 5 2004 ~ The RSPCA is asking families across the country to video or photograph their pets on Bonfire Night in order to get through to the government how stressed anials can becomee. John Humphrys suggested that such evidence was hardly scientific or objective. Those animal owners who dread the prolonged Guy Fawkes bangs may feel that in this instance the RSPCA is quite right.

November 4 2004 ~ Weather hots up under wind farms - says the new Scientist. See windfarms page

November 4 2004 ~ A law transferring powers on animal health and welfare to the Assembly is being debated in the House of Lords today. Carwyn Jones, whose actions in 2001 did not impress this website, said the powers would give the Assembly greater freedom. But he warned that, in reality, the Assembly would often have to follow London's lead. The Welsh Daily Post has the story

November 4 2004 ~ An abbot in Thailand has made a sanctuary for wild tigers, threatened more than ever by poachers. Visitors who come to stroke them are advised not to tread upon their tails.... Splendid and true story of peaceful co-existence - the horrible backdrop of avian flu and mass killing notwithstanding. Independent

November 4 2004 ~ However, one more miserable strand to the destruction that our selfish species has wrought on the planet and on the animals. Antarctic seals, whales and penguins are facing starvation as krill numbers have fallen by about 80 per cent since the 1970s as a result of global warming. Independent

November 3 2004 ~"Everyone is talking about windfarms in England. It would be dreadful if the English countryside were to be wrecked on a German scale."....a grim warning to Britain from Germany. Please see windfarms page if you share our concern about giant turbines being allowed to dominate the most beautiful parts of the country.

November 3 2004 ~ The Arctic is warming almost twice as fast as the rest of the planet due to global warming, according to an eight-nation report compiled by 250 scientists. Sci-Tech today

November 3 2004 ~ "Traditional apple orchards will not have to be grubbed up this winter and farmers with small fields will not be required to leave two metre-wide buffer zones around hedges and ditches under new farm payment rules that come into force in January. But the new scheme has been extended to include land used for grazing horses..." The ever excellent Western Morning News

November 3 2004 ~ Teflon - over-heated Teflon products can harm pets, reports the Telegraph today. Their article from Oct 8. also suggests that Teflon is also responsible for birth defects. Alun Michael is reported to be concerned. He appears less so about the very real danger of pesticide use in the UK, claiming recently that "no new scientific evidence has come to light that would provide a safety based justification for buffer zones."

November 3 2004 ~ As if there were not enough heartbreaking news today we have to report that French hunters have shot dead the last known female brown bear native to the Pyrenees. Her 10-month-old cub escaped unharmed

November 3 2004 ~ Fast on the heels of stories suggesting that blood donations could be a thing of the past, we read today that vCJD prions can be removed from blood using a new filtration technology from Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL) The Leukotrap Affinity Prion Reduction Filter process reduces infectious vCJD prions from red blood cell concentrates, the most commonly transfused blood component. It could be available in early 2005. See Medical News Today

November 3 2004 ~ Even CNN is now taking peak oil seriously; "....analysts agreed the peak movement's warnings have not been widely reflected in domestic energy policy.... "People don't want to face this reality," said Rodgers. "Once you accept it as a possibility -- ...-- then you have to make all sorts of changes (in the way you live), because it would not make sense not to."

November 2 2004 ~ "an actor dressed as Lord Nelson posed for pictures on the River Thames at Greenwich. But before he was allowed to board an RNLI Lifeboat, safety officials made him wear a lifejacket over his 19th century admiral’s uniform.." Bryn's retort to this will shiver your timbers......"not all my own work" he adds modestly.

November 2 2004 ~ "Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, said anger in rural communities was reaching boiling point as people became increasingly frustrated by a lack of Government understanding about the countryside.....All sorts of threats are being made. There is talk of civil action, which I entirely deplore, but desperate people resort to desperate measures."
Mr Paterson would not clarify what actions had been threatened, but added: "I was alarmed by the mood." " ic Birmingham

November 2 2004 ~ "GM crops: good or bad? Those who choose the questions determine the answers" Sue Mayer & Andy Stirling Extract "We need to recognize and address—rather than deny—the full diversity and subtlety of public aspirations and concerns about our technological future .." EMBO reports 5, 11, 1021–1024 (2004)

November 2 2004 ~ The inflated "compensation" levels (compulsory purchase rather) that, along with undoubted bullying and scaremongering, made mass slaughter easier to accomplish in 2001 will be unnecessary now that the more draconian legislation is in place. The government is going to "rationalise" compensation levels for notifiable diseases/TSEs and it looks as though they are going to try to insist that farmers and stockmen take out insurance to cover their losses. DEFRA's plan - after consultation - is to pay against a regularly updated table of set values for each class of animal. What hundreds of bureaucratic hours have been spent and hundreds of thousands of words written in planning for the slaughter of susceptible animals.

November 2 2004 ~ Letters have been sent to every cattle farmer in Britain on new TB measures. See DEFRA page "Preparing for a new GB strategy on bovine tuberculosis" (opens in a new window)

November 2 2004 ~ Dairy farmers see red at environment minister's 'green concrete' gaffe.... See FARM's press release

November 2 2004 ~ FARM's press release "In 1998 there were 36,700 dairy producers in the UK; in 2003 there were 26,600. That's over 10,000 lost in just 5 years - 2,020 a year, c.40 a week. [From]
In the last decade, the average retail price for a litre of milk has risen from 41 to 48 pence. But in the same period the price the farmer gets has fallen from 24 to 18 pence. [From and Office of National Statistics]

November 1 2004 ~ "Soon after the present and short-term ‘price crisis’, which can only intensify in the 2005-2008 period, and within at most 10 years, both oil supply and natural gas supply will enter into constant and terminal decline, due to physical depletion..." Peak Oil news

November 1 2004 ~ "the Empire of Farm Assurance has been built on the back of the BSE epidemic: where auditors earn their living going round farms looking for cracked window panes, strategically placed flower pots and the right number of 'No Smoking' signs, and where more auditors are paid even more to audit the auditors. Yet meanwhile we have untreated lame cows, and no facilities, let alone any requirement, for herdsmen to receive training before they are allowed to calve cows..." email received

November 1 2004 ~ "Imported food entails pollution and traffic congestion. In a few years there will be a shortage of oil and the whole oil-based system will eventually collapse. .." Clive Aslet's article which appeared in the Financial Times on Feb 23 2002 seems more than ever relevant. Meanwhile, locally produced food is regulated to strangulation point.

November 1 2004 ~ "...Agriculture in this country is far less significant in terms of votes than it is in other European countries. Furthermore, the enlargement of the EU is likely to lead to massive surpluses of food...
... it is politically desirable for Britain to maintain the ability to feed herself ......whether the escalating price of oil is the beginning of the end of the cheap energy era or not, it is predicted to run out in the very near future, so maybe for that reason alone, cheap imported food will no longer be readily available. ..." extracts from one of the most thoughtful and prescient emails we have received recently

November 1 2004 ~ "Once payments for all notifiable diseases have been rationalised, Defra will want to enter discussions with livestock producers on who pays what in the event of an outbreak of notifiable disease. These talks are likely to revolve around insurance cover and perhaps a new levy on producers" The Pig Site.

November 1 2004 ~ "... I am an ex policeman, so I wonder If you can feel a little why I hate lots of politicians.." an email received today about Iraq, the EU, hunting with dogs - and a warning about civil disobedience.

October 31 2004 ~The "biotech revolution", which has been acclaimed by scientists as the path to miracle cures, has not delivered genuine improvements, according to an official study published this week....Dr Nightingale said that his findings on biotechnology were unlikely to be well-received. "We've had people screaming at us, but we have the figures," he added. Telegraph. See also warmwell pages on Dolly the sheep

October 31 2004 ~" It’s a story of poverty, organised crime and slaughter; a trade with the potential to spread deadly disease; a trade which Governments here and abroad seem either unwilling or unable to stop..." The updated UK Meat Crime pages (new window) on warmwell contain the transcript of last week's File on Four

October 31 2004 ~ Gambling - a note from Val "...whether because my Methodist upbringing was always agin' gambling OR because my mathematical training made me realise how badly stacked the odds are against you ...."

October 31 2004 ~ "Following the findings by a research group in France that they suspect the presence of a TSE [transmissible spongiform encephalopathy] infection in a goat's brain which tests cannot distinguish from BSE, the European Commission has submitted data received from the French authorities to the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL) for TSEs based in Weybridge, England, for an evaluation by an expert panel. " See ProMed mail and compare this to the BBC treatment of the story

October 31 2004 ~"A huge area of land has been contaminated from leaks at Hunterston nuclear power station in North Ayrshire . The contamination is much worse than previously suspected, and far more than has been admitted at other nuclear sites in Scotland. Some 81,000 cubic metres of soil - enough to fill 900 double-decker buses - are laced with radioactivity which for years has been spilling from pipelines and blowing off open-air ponds of nuclear waste." Sunday Herald

October 30 2004 ~ DEFRA proposes to "rationalise" compensation DEFRA website - Consultation on cattle compensation: Bovine TB, Brucellosis, BSE and Enzootic Bovine Leukosis "Further to the consultation on proposals to rationalise compensation for notifiable animal disease control which closed in January 2004, I invite you to consider the enclosed follow-up consultation which outlines proposals for a new cattle compensation system using table valuations only. Please respond by 24 December 2004"

October 30 2004 ~ The BMA is warning about biological weapons based on the growing ability of scientists to unravel and compare human DNA. Genetically engineered anthrax, smallpox and polio viruses are also "approaching reality", the BMA claims in a new report, Biotechnology, Weapons and Humanity II.

October 30 2004 ~ Copy of an understandably exasperated letter to DEFRA from Edmund Marriage, of British Wildlife Management, about the Sustainable Management of Wild Deer in England consultation:
Extract: "You should not be using the word management in this consultation, if the key management issues and problems are being ignored for political reasons. Collectively you have made a terrible mistake in dismissing and burying my evidence.."

October 30 2004 ~ Hugh writes, "If Elliot Morley does not like the "biodiversity ' of Dairy farms, then perhaps he should take a look at Intensively Farmed Cornlands of East Anglia where bird and wildlife populations have dropped to non existent levels and plants and humans are sprayed out of existence. "You should not be using the word management in this consultation, if the key management issues and problems are being ignored for political reasons. Collectively you have made a terrible mistake in dismissing and burying my evidence ..." Read in full

October 27 2004 ~ European Union and German officials have uncovered a huge fraud scheme involving Indian water buffalo being labelled as Australian beef, according to German news weekly, Der Spiegel. (25-10-04) (email)

October 27 2004 ~ Bushmeat in Britain could spread an Aids type virus. File on Four last night added more worries to the scandal of meat crime in the UK. See warmwell's Dirty Meat pages. The fear is that the new virus could result in a new disease which would have global impact.

October 27 2004 ~ The House of Lords voted 322 to 72, a majority of 250, to amend the Hunting Bill to replace a ban on the sport with a "compromise" licensing scheme.....Opening a debate on the proposals, Lord Donoughue, the Labour peer, told the Lords that the cross-party amendment had wide support. He said: "If the Government does not accept this rational compromise and also uses the draconian Parliament Act against its original proposals, then my government - of which I am normally a most loyal supporter - will in my view be shamed and humiliated by its actions...."

October 27 2004 ~ US livestock farmer, Gary writes with horror " cattle exports are really an eye-opener to me. These are all LIVE ANIMAL shipments! Just look at the website, open it and look at the picture!" and sends this link to China Daily. Bryn adds, " Nobody needs LIVE animals travelling 5000 plus miles to Jordan. I hope they choke on the meat! I am ashamed of this." - Independent "

October 26 2004 ~ Many readers of this website will share our shock and sadness at the death of John Peel. The tone of Saturday morning's Home Truths was unique. John Peel liked ordinary people, always assumed he was one of us - in spite of his extraordinary knowledge and popularity -and was funny and self-deprecating. He relished the British foibles still to be found far from the grey corridors of politics. He will be terribly missed. BBC page for tributes.

October 26 2004 ~FARM's Just Milk campaign is seeking to mobilise the general public in support of dairy farmers. With 40 dairy farms going out of business every week, and the diversity of the countryside being eroded, the crisis is of concern to us all. To find out more, click here...

October 26 2004 ~ Fallen Stock

Which would be a reasonable if roundabout answer if the DEFRA website was not so full of errors that such a search leads nowhere.

October 26 2004 ~ Scotsman. Fordyce Maxwell reports on Ross Finnie's announcement of a four-point action plan. "... to prevent exotic diseases such as foot-and-mouth"..... (see report) "A new national disease database will allow farmers to benchmark their performance against national averages and ensure that targets for disease reduction and eradication can be set by the Executive. " ( In other words, it is the farmers who must somehow keep animal disease at bay. Targets will be set...Since the opinions of the veterinary profession are now pretty much sidelined by government and far fewer vets now want to take on farm work, this sounds a tall order. Surely, threats to the farmers are no adequate substitute for a proper contingency plan. As a ProMed moderator wrote yesterday: "The whole art of disease regulation is that it must be perceived to be fair, sensible, and correct. Regulation then has wide support and self-policing.")

October 26 2004 ~ Calls for a law allowing licensed fox hunting instead of an outright ban are set to go to a vote in the Lords today. Labour peer Lord Donoughue, who has tabled the changes, said: "We stand a reasonable chance of getting this through because we had a majority of over 300 for the Middle Way option [licensed hunting] when that was voted on." He criticised Alun Michael for saying it was getting rather late for peers to "engage on the issue". BBC

October 26 2004 ~ Dead and dying trees essential for many other forms of forest life are in short supply, conservationists say. BBC

October 24 2004 ~".... the cost of regulation to our economy is now more than £100 billion a year,.... this makes regulation easily the largest "industry" in Britain...... The reason I have written more about this than any other journalist in recent years is that, 12 years ago, I was made aware that the explosion of regulatory and bureaucratic pressures on almost every sector of the UK economy was blossoming into one of the most serious problems confronting the country..." Booker's Notebook

October 24 2004 ~ "On Thursday, Mr (Owen) Paterson flew to Aberdeen to address a conference on how the Scottish fishing industry could be made viable within the common fisheries policy...he was told he would not be permitted to speak..." Booker's Notebook

October 24 2004 ~ The way in which foot and mouth disease was managed will be an election issue, suggests William Hague. See Shropshire Star

October 23 2004 ~ The Federation of British Animal Sanctuaries (FoBAS) sends these notes about the Animal Welfare Bill, indicating its deep concern. See too the other pages on warmwell about the Bill.

October 22 2004 ~ "Russia's lower house of parliament ratified the Kyoto protocol today, breathing new life into the international environmental treaty..." Guardian

October 22 2004 ~ Fallen Stock - a pay-as-you-go national fallen stock collection scheme is finally to start on November 22.

October 22 2004 ~ 23 tonnes of organic free-range Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, and Moy Park. chicken contained traces of nitrofurans - a cancer-causing chemical banned in livestock since 1995. The FSA are investigating. Reports are in the Guardian, also in Scotsman and reported by the BBC and several others.

October 22 2004 ~ Nuclear plant radiation may be much greater than previously supposed. This is bad news for those who look to nuclear power as the ony possible alternative energy source in the coming crisis. The Committee Examining Radiation Risks of Internal Emitters (CERRIE) have issued a report. The Times reports
CERRIE was established by Michael Meacher, who accused it last month of gagging two dissenting experts Richard Bramhall and Chris Busby, who argued that the risk of cancer from low level radiation was much higher than officials estimated. According to their theory, inhaled radioactive particles could lodge in the body of a foetus and damage cells in a confined area.

October 22 2004 ~ The UK is responsible for almost 30% more carbon dioxide than it reports, says WWF BBC "humans currently consume 20% more natural resources than the Earth can produce... populations of terrestrial, freshwater and marine species fell on average by 40% between 1970 and 2000...A Defra spokesman told the BBC: "The government isn't misleading the public; ..."

October 21 2004 ~ "Have there been no lessons learned - and once again where are the RSPCA ?" asks Pam, after reading about the mass cull of deer in Scotland - including hinds in calf.

October 20 2004 ~"This inaction is a disgrace and it makes me so angry." Owen Paterson on bovine TB WMN "increasing infection rates are beginning to cause alarm on the Continent...Russia could use TB as an excuse to ban imports of milk or milk products from the EU." (Warmwell reported on this threat from Russia at the end of September)

October 20 2004 ~ "...large superstores, which most people think are sucking the life blood out of smaller communities. ..94 per cent of those questioned in the South West felt powerless campaigning against such large developments. Two thirds of the sample had seen their community's economy suffer after small shops had closed. ." WMN

October 20 2004 ~ "..... Much of the science with which they (English Nature) justify their actions can be shown to be flawed; especially that used to justify their enforced reductions of sheep numbers on the moors and commons. One mistaken belief is that if one reduces the sustainable grazing level by a half, dramatic change (improvement?) will ensue. In practice, after a short time, the most vigorous plants become rank and unpalatable.... the more delicate plants are smothered. ." " Richard Mawdsley's letter about the apparent ignorance of officials and "zealots" dealing with Environmentally Sensitive Areas - "Defra is swamped by a plethora of self inflicted regulations. The UK Habitats Regulations (1994), the gross child of the above, runs to 72 pages..."

October 20 2004 ~ 23 tigers in a private zoo in eastern Thailand have died of avian influenza after being fed with raw chicken in the Sri Racha Tiger Zoo. 400 tigers are kept in the private zoo. At least 30 tigers have fallen ill and the zoo has been closed. Five tiger caretakers at the zoo have also showed symptoms of flu and are being examined in hospital. See

October 19/20 2004 ~ " Because of these available alternatives for eradication, killing healthy animals does no longer automatically receive the people’s support. These mass-killings destroy our sense of values and damage our faith in governmental policy. ... the over-all gain of the non-vaccination policy is in no proportion to the enormous material and immaterial losses (and costs), due to outbreaks in the agricultural sector." A printable coloured flyer (pdf) from the Netherlands' Association of Small holders (New window)

October 19/20 2004 ~15th and 16th December 2004 Brussels International Conference The Material and Immaterial Costs of Animal Disease Control "Towards an Effective, Affordable and socially Acceptable Animal Disease Control Regime." Registration closed on October 15th. Was any reader aware of this conference?

October 19 2004 ~ FMD vaccine "500,000 doses of antigens will be kept on hand at Merial facilities in the United Kingdom."

October 19 2004 ~ "....contiguous slaughter was rarely achieved within the 48 hour target in the field and many species of animal on contiguous premises remained in good health and went beyond the accepted incubation periods for FMD before they were killed.. ...analysis clearly demonstrates the impor­tance of field veterinary epidemiology and effective col­laboration in disease control strategies." Professor Crispin's guest editorial in the Veterinary Journal can be seen on the science pages

October 19 2004 ~ The foot and mouth disease in Zambia's Southern Province has stabilized, thanks to massive vaccination The official Zambia News Agency reported yesterday that 60,000 animals have been vaccinated and they are intending to vaccinate 35,000 animals to maintain a buffer zone. Details are reported in China Daily.

October 18 2004 ~ "France and Germany with €24 million and €15 million respectively will receive the largest chunk of the overall TSE funding, compared to the UK’s €5.57 million. By contrast the UK is set to get €4 million for BSE programmes, against France’s €500 000 and Germany’s €875 000...." "Brussels commits €188 million to food safety issues in the Union linked to animal diseases, signing off the largest slice for eradication of mad cow disease." It would be interesting to know whether any of the millions will be going towards independent research.

October 18 2004 ~ Gulf War Syndrome. BBC "... the theory that vaccines and chemicals interacted in some way "still lurks". Shaun Rusling, vice chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, accused the scientists of having "cold hearts" and "closed minds".

October 18 2004 ~ " it could vaccinate sheep or cattle even if the UK government disagreed. .." Wales@Westminster weblog Devolution creeps sheepishly ahead

October 18 2004 ~Following warmwell's new page on the part to be played by the RSPCA in the Animal Welfare Bill, an emailer writes, "...I find it appalling that the RSPCA adopt the standard "Police Caution" as part of their superficial police-power pretence ........ next we shall have football referees saying it, and boy-scout leaders too. Maybe even bus conductors and traffic wardens?"

October 18 2004 ~ The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is to investigate allegations of police brutality outside Parliament Square during the Government's vote to ban hunting with dogs. WMN
See below
for more on this.

October 17 2004 ~ Bovine TB - some exasperation about gamma interferon, the exponential rise in cattle tb, and the apparent inability of those in government to do research or even to talk to each other.

October 16/17 2004 ~ ".....the stories that I heard about the RSPCA were appalling. They must not be allowed to get these new powers under the Animal Welfare Bill - if they do, those of us in the UK may as well hand our animals over now and give up." This extract from an email below has prompted us to devote a page to the Animal Welfare Bill and the proposed new powers for the RSPCA

October 16/17 2004 ~ Windfarms: "....The Government, as deluded by its windmills as Don Quixote, is backed by a strange alliance of ill-informed, sentimental greens and the wind-power companies themselves. The latter cannot believe their luck at a bonanza worth more than £1 billion a year. On the opposing side, led by such eminent conservationists as Prof Bellamy and James Lovelock, is an increasingly clued-up army of critics, who cannot understand why we should desecrate vast tracts of Britain's most beautiful countryside for what they see as "the scam of the century". Thank goodness for Booker's Notebook.

October 16/17 2004 ~ An emailer writes to complain that the "Welsh Assembly is riding rough-shod over everything." and sends this extract from the Western Mail:

"Why have a planning inquiry at all? Carwyn Jones is Minister for Planning also, and has obviously chosen to ignore the findings of the inquiry and also the views of the people of that area. It is altogether disgraceful."

October 16/17 2004 ~ Lord Whitty announced yesterday the creation of a new £3.5 million scheme offering grants to help harvest, store, process and supply a range of energy crops to fuel a new breed of biomass power stations. ( Ben Gill is to "head a Government-appointed taskforce") Devon people, already fighting giant turbines, are not too happy about any of this. Peninsula Power Ltd has submitted a planning application to build a 23 megawatt biomass station, costing £40 million, on a 36-acre airfield next to the village of Winkleigh. Campaigners there say that the site would emit "dangerous fumes and create unsustainable volumes of traffic as the crops were transported in." WMN reports

October 16/17 2004 ~ vCJD " the department of health is stressing that risk of being infected are minimal and people should not be unduly worried by receiving the letter. Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: "Throughout our handling of the issue of vCJD we have adopted a highly precautionary approach...."

October 15 2004 ~ The dog owner who appealed against the order to have his dog Dino destroyed, has won. The German Shepherd had bitten a woman who unwisely intervened in a dog fight. It cost the owner many thousands of pounds and three years to get the sentence lifted.

October 15 2004 ~"We also need to bring forward the use of the Gamma Interferon test for TB in cattle. It is more accurate than the existing test and would reduce the number of cattle being slaughtered..." James Paice, quoted in the WMN (But see front page for comment)

October 15 2004 ~ A new initiative in India's Kerala state insisting that every cow is vaccinated against FMD is likely to be extended to other Indian States. See Economic Times. India

October 15 2004 ~ Key lessons from the seminar this week, hosted by the CLA (13 Oct), about the unique contribution that land management can make to combating climate change.

October 15 2004 ~ Sue writes, "A well run Sanctuary was recently inspected by Defra and Trading Standards and they were told that one of their sheep should be put to sleep as it was too fat and this was ' not conducive to a long life'. The sheep was 14 years old. ..."
Sue adds, "The world has indeed gone mad and it is so sad. I had a meeting in South Wales a week or so ago and the stories that I heard about the RSPCA were appalling. They must not be allowed to get these new powers under the Animal Welfare Bill - if they do, those of us in the UK may as well hand our animals over now and give up.
Pleased you liked Janet' s book ...and the introduction! It amazes me that she had the guts and the dogged determination to carry on against all odds."

October 14 2004 ~Work has started at Bradworthy for Devon’s first giant wind turbines WMN ""If this can happen in Bradworthy against the determined protests of the local community, then no fields or cherished vistas in the Westcountry are safe or sacrosanct" .......Wildlife will be scattered as 70 metres of hedgerows are torn up. Ancient country lanes that are scarcely wide enough for a horse and car to pass will be widened. The heavy lorries and diggers will muscle down these thoroughfares......." See windfarms page

October 14 2004 ~ British Wind Energy Workshop for the South West is a "charm offensive"
"Planners and councillors should be aware that this is a blatant charm offensive. It's pure propaganda and a kind of special pleading by the industry. They have refused to enter into any public debate with us. They have declined every opportunity to consider an impartial and realistic view of all the concerns about wind turbines. "All their opinion polls are the ones that they have conducted. Don't be taken in by this." Dr Caroline Jackson urges a boycott and demonstration. Windfarms page

October 14 2004 ~ "...he juggled the demands of farming, writing and celebrity with indomitable energy. Not the least remarkable of his writings was his last book, a little-noticed novel, Retrieved from the Future, which anticipated another English civil war after the collapse of oil supplies and the pricking of the global economic bubble. .." From the Times Obituary Column today for the late, great John Seymour. We had not realised that he was so prescient...

October 11 2004 ~It is "such a well organised illegal enterprise that I would be surprised if some of you have not eaten that meat. After arms and narcotics, the trade in illegal meat is considered to be the third biggest illegal trade - estimated to be worth up to £1billion a year. .." Dirty meat page

October 10/11 2004 ~ Organised crime in the meat trade is on the increase, flourishing in the UK, and very nasty indeed. Methods of importing illegal food into the UK are becoming increasingly sophisticated. High risk meat from certain UK abattoirs or secret barbaric killing sheds is trimmed and repackaged to make it appear fit for sale. Local authorities are failing to let the FSA know exactly how bad things are. Appropriate penalties do not exist. The FSA is reluctant to push for a new offence or recommend increased sentences, saying that to amend the Food Safety Act is not possible because of EU regulations. The criminals featured in Channel 4's Dispatches are still in business. See Dirty Meat pages.

October 10 2004 ~ " ..animals, with characteristics of both gorillas and chimpanzees, have been sighted in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to local villagers, the apes are ferocious.... ... New Scientist is to publish its report about the mysterious creatures next week." BBC - (This description could, of course, fit homo sapiens )

October 10 2004 ~ "Farmers tell me they are shooting and snaring an abnormal number of foxes in recent days...... A van in a motorway car park was found by acquaintances of ours to be full of urban foxes...Nothing is more upsetting that seeing sheep bleeding to death after being savaged by these imported foxes" The BBC reports on the fact that farmers in Snowdonia have shot and snared as many as 118 foxes in three months. Snared and poisoned foxes suffer great distress before death.

October 10 2004 ~ Contaminated Chiron vaccine factory in California. Who knew what, when? See New York Times "What remains unclear is when the British regulators became concerned enough about the situation to order contingency supplies of vaccines for use in Britain. Flu vaccines, which are grown in chicken eggs, take at least three months, and sometimes as long as six months, to produce." (see email comment)

October 10 2004 ~ "I may have been a little hasty when I mentioned the word 'bribe' that was used by the group wishing to build Wind Turbines in Cumbria.
My wife says..'threat' is a better word.." Jan writes

October 10 2004 ~ More on "organic" chicken from Lawrence. "..When it comes to ‘organic’ chicken production there is the opposite of gold plating of the directive – and – who benefits? Supermarkets and ‘global’ food businesses, of course. It is time to wake up to the corruption at the heart of our food production."