TO THE LESSONS LEARNED ENQUIRY
- "The initial response was rapid, and went beyond that which many people felt reasonable at the time."
- "First & foremost, the response to the crisis was driven by the need to eradicate the disease as quickly as possible."
- "The scientists advised that the 24 - hour target was the most important parameter for disease control, and it was the one most fully achieved."
- "The MoD was informed at the outset of the epidemic.
I will now question the above comments by reminding the Government & MAFF/DEFRA of the facts on the ground as they evolved in those very dark days of February/March.
a) Pigs found with FMD at Cheale Meats, 19th February 2001. Dr Alex Donaldson, IAH Pirbright, visits abattoir to confirm the presence of the disease.
b) Disease tracked to Heddon on the Wall, Burneside Farm, 23rd February. Ministry stated the animals had been infected for weeks? But Ministry had visited the farm on 24th January along with trading standards. Mr James Dring was the MAFF Inspector. Out of 114 adjacent pens, 5 were randomly inspected. Why did they miss the disease? On 15th February, some of these pigs were transported to Cheale Meats Essex. FMD was "discovered" at Cheale Meats on the 19th. February, 4 days after the Heddon on the Wall pigs had arrived.
c) Brown calls a halt on stock movements, at last. Why nearly 4 days? The Dutch stopped movements immediately.
d) Day 9. 28th February. 24 cases. Cumbria remains untouched at this stage. ButCumbria has first case confirmed, Sockbridge Hall. Mr Richard Dixon, local vet, says that it was impossible to invoke the 24hr cull because of Ministry bureaucracy. Mr Dixon confirmed FMD on the Wednesday; the slaughter started on Saturday lunchtime. The 10,000 sheep & 400 dairy cattle should have been culled within 24 hrs. 5 days later only 3,000 sheep culled. The 24 hr. cull was already in disarray. The policy was in fact "Dead slow & stop."
e) In the first 2 weeks of the epidemic, it took on average 3 days to slaughter stock on infected premises. This allowed the virus to spread rapidly. "MAFF was in big/big trouble."
f) Day 11. March 2nd. 38 cases.
g) NFU Officer, Les Armstrong, Eden valley Cumbria went down in this period. It took 3 days to slaughter his stock. There were massive delays in carcass removal as well. "It is already slipping beyond the Ministries control."
h) March 11th. Agricultural Minister, Brown, told a different story however. "It is all under control." he said during the programme Morning with Frost. David McLean MP, Penrith and the Borders, "On hearing this my phone went into meltdown. My fax did not stop. An absolute disgrace."
i) Brown later said, "But what would people have thought if I had said it was out of control? There would be a complete lack of confidence." What?
j) Day 19. March 10th. 190 cases.
k) MAFF still chasing the virus. Nowhere near meeting the 24hr cull time.
l) Day 28. 19th. March. 352 cases.
m) Farmers told in Cumbria that because the 24hr. cull is not working, MAFF would introduce a ring cull within 3km of infected farms. This was to be carried out within 48 hrs. David Black & Mike Christian, local vets, attended this meeting. They were furious at this false statement. They banged the table and stated that the 24hr cull deadline was not even being met, let alone attempting to meet the 48hr. 3km. deadline. Gross confusion reigns. Farmers in Cumbria pick up arms. Scudamore, the CVO, had no idea the 24hr. cull was in disarray. Nor had Brown. So they say. MAFF said, logistically, they cannot do it.
n) Scudamore, in the Shepherds Inn, Carlisle, "We are agreed on the principal, but not on the mechanism of the way forward." ... The CVO was reported to be against the modelling. Professor King then took over, "To impose himself on the situation."
o) Day 29. 20th. March. 394 cases. 42 in one day.
p) Day 31. 22nd March. 479 cases.
q) King announces on National TV that the situation is out of control. In fact, it was MAFF who were out of control.
r) 23rd March. Blair states an "Additional cull, to reign in the epidemic." NFU are in agreement. Blair tells Birtwhistle, same day, and who just happens to be along "To pay the PM compliments and was the only one in uniform." He can have anything he wants. I thought that The MOD were all geared up? The CVO was "Agitated, nervous, jittery." It was announced that the CVO & Brown now had "New roles." "MAFF would not decide policy, just deliver." Prof. King, surface chemist, was now in control. He would immediately implement the most horrendous massacre of healthy Cumbrian stock. "A new Policy. A firewall." This policy was and still is illegal. " Blair needs to keep the NFU on side in a run up to the election. If he did not, it would cause a countryside revolution that would make the fuel protests seem tame."
s) Blair states that an election is the last thing on his mind. A real shame the cameras caught him out in Stockholm.
t) Day 38. 29th. March. 779 cases.
At a later date, Professor King, still a surface chemist, attempts to justify the massacre of more than 11 million animals, of which 86% were healthy.
" Analysis of the latest figures means that 20% of stock on contiguous premises were incubating the disease."
"If the cull had not been carried through, then farms would probably have picked up infection BACK from farms that would of got the disease."(incomprehensible pronouncements by Prof. King, Govt. Chief scientist, on national TV)
Could it be that those that govern us, immersed in a culture of spin, presentation and lying, find it impossible to believe that people are telling them the truth?
HEART of CUMBRIA
"Campaigning for the Truth."