Government ministers are putting it about that dodgy sheep bits infected with foot and mouth are for sale so farmers can collect compensation for having their sick animals killed. I doubt it. I wouldn't hand over #2,000 to a bloke in a lay-by on the A470. What do you do if it doesn't work? Call trading standards?

Much as ministers would have us believe the continuing foot and mouth plague is the fault of farmers, the disease is more likely spread by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' gormless ministers on their public relations jaunts, dirty vets, officious inspectors and dubious contractors, all charging around the country covered in mud, blood and gore.

Foot and mouth, "fully under control" in April and, would you believe, entirely eliminated on election day, is not under control at all. In the past 10 weeks there have been 300 new confirmed cases and more than 1,000 contiguous but not infected farms "killed out", with 18 outbreaks in new locations and 11 outbreaks in locations previously thought to be disease free.

Having apparently passed through Wales without anyone noticing it (some disease!), the flock on the mountains is now immune to it, testing positive for antibodies. So now they must be killed, too. Forget mad cows, our ministers are nuts. First we killed animals because they had the disease and now because they got better.

We are not going to have a proper public inquiry into foot and mouth because never have so few had so much to cover up. Under the personal command of the prime minister, who reckons he has handled this "pretty well", 10m farm animals have been killed, 99% of them healthy or only trivially ill. (The official figures are lower and designed to disguise the true toll.)

The payments to farmers will exceed £2 billion with a cost to the greater economy of £20 billion or more, to protect a market for British meat that nobody abroad wants to buy anyway. The government has refused to vaccinate animals at 50p a jab, which could have stopped the killing of healthy animals (at £1,100 a cow).

Its policy has led to the pollution of water supplies, dangerous chemicals pumped into the air and blood on the highways.

Civil liberties have been trampled as armed police have launched dawn raids on smallholdings to assassinate pet goats.

The institutions of animal welfare, represented by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the RSPCA, have been pretty useless. Not one prosecution has been brought. The veterinary profession is sworn to protect animal welfare yet it has presided over the slaughter with barely a bleat.

There is the hypocrisy and then there are the lies. Ministerial lies of acting on the "best scientific advice" - when the policy has been driven by political scientists and the advice of virologists to vaccinate has been ignored. Statements by the supermarkets that they will not sell vaccinated meat - although there is no danger (many farm animals are routinely vaccinated against many other diseases) and they already sell it. The National Farmers' Union's lie that vaccination is "illegal".

New Labour has confirmed itself as the party of ultimate Orwellian double speak with its chief slaughterman, Elliot Morley, hilariously minister for animal welfare. The great mystery of foot and mouth is how have the farmers been able to get away with it - but the politically correct forbid nasty comments about farmers despite them being practiced victims.

I have sympathy aplenty for the smallholders, hill farmers and small-scale operators, many of them organic, who care for their animals and the country and who have resisted the killing. But shed no tears for the industrial meat producers who have turned foot and mouth into a harvest of cash and are now boasting about it. Can this story get more sickening? On past form, without a doubt.

Jonathan Miller