Reminder of Facts? - Some answers! 18th January (2002)

I have been very pleased to receive some answers and more information as a result of the short article I published on the 17th!

It seems some of my previous information was incorrect, so my apologies!

I am most concerned that we do get at the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! - I wonder if that is possible in 2002? I do hope so!

Here are the corrections - so far! If you know better, please let me know!

1. Bobby Waugh sent 2 lots of pigs to Cheale Meats

2. FMD was suspected in 27 sows on the 19th February 2001. These sows came from three different sources, Buckinghamshire, Isle of Wight and Yorkshire, and had arrived on the 16th and 18th February 2001. The oldest lesions, seen in those that arrived on the 16th, were estimated to be 5 days old.

3. No signs of FMD were found in the 3 farms that had delivered the 27 sows.

4. On the 22nd February Bobby Waugh's stock were inspected. 90% of his 527 pigs had lesions. The lesions were estimated to be 12 days old when seen on 24th February. (Source - The Veterinary Record)

I have also received similar confirmation from another source, but first of all a correction.

Large parts of the abattoir were closed for cleaning out. We still don't know if this is an annual practice in the quiet part of season or was it for another reason?

Included below is the full text I have received, which seems to confirm some of the information above.

"Cheales received 35 sows from Waugh at midnight 15/16 Feb 2000 - no symptoms of FMD seen nor in the week before (8th Feb), when they received another consignment of 50 sows and 1 boar. The Vet Inspector saw symptoms of lameness in 27 dead sows on his antimortem inspection. There were 109 pigs alive in the abattoir at that time and FMD type symptoms were discovered in 28 of them. The affected pigs came from the Isle of Wight, Bucks and an old boar from N Yorks (via Selby Market). The oldest lesions were estimated to have been approx 5 days old on 20 Feb 2001. These were seen in both groups of pigs that had entered the abattoir on 16 Feb, younger lesions on pigs that arrived on 18th Feb. MAFF website states that Cheales had 308 pigs slaughtered - so some discrepancy on figures. No FMD was found on any of the three suspect sources above. Infection was therefore thought to have occurred after arrival at Cheales. Approx 600 contacts who had supplied livestock during the previous fortnight were visited by Ministry vets with priority given to swill fed premises. (We do not know whether any had anti-bodies - no reports are clear on these results)

Waugh's farm was found to have widespread lameness in its pigs, approx 90% of the 527 had lesions suggestive of FMD. (MAFF slaughter chart says 523 pigs). Oldest lesions were estimated to be 12 days old when examined on 24 Feb 2001.

Pigs stay in lairage from Friday to Monday and no clinical symptoms were seen in pigs slaughtered Mon 12 Feb 2001.

At least 14 of the 70 Northumberland group were believed to be by direct spread by aerosol or fomites from Waugh's. FMD was found in cattle at a farm in Ponteland (IP 2001/6) on 23 Feb as a result of a private vet's report.

This farm had sent sheep to market on 13 Feb, which may have been incubating the disease. Up to 50% of the housed cattle herd on this farm had vesicular mouth lesions on Feb 23. The sheep were not fully examined and no clinical symptoms seen. On 12 Feb, of the 27 sheep, which had the oldest lesions (estimated 9 days old on Feb 25) that had been housed in a shed near the cattle, 16 of them, together with 3 from the owner's other premises, were sent to Hexham market on Feb 13. These sheep had earlier suffered two episodes of lameness leading to footbath treatment on Feb 10 and 20. Examination of the 11 remaining sheep from this group at slaughter on 25 Feb revealed healing foot lesions suggestive of FMD in 5 and all 11 were seropositive for FMD. It is therefore likely that these sheep were infected concurrently with or earlier than the affected cattle. None of the other 339 sheep on the premises were close to the affected cattle or showed clinical or postmortem evidence of disease.

Windborne spread from Waugh's farm was modelled using Epiman, Name and Rimpuff. (See Veterinary Record re modeling teams). Ponteland farm was 8 km NE of Waugh's and lay under the predicted virus plume. The Ponteland IP was considered the source of the widespread dissemination of FMD in the UK. The sheep were split at Hexham market and sold to 2 dealers (16 sheep) and a local butcher (3 sheep). One dealer sent his 6 sheep back to his home farm in Lancs where FMD was confirmed 27 Feb (2001/15). Second dealer sent his 10 sheep together with 174 other sheep bought 13 Feb at Hexham for sale at Longtown on 15 Feb. Thereafter infection was spread either by infected animals or through contamination of vehicles and people in this initial transmission phase.

None of which explains how Hugues Inizan's 402 Brecon sheep which were sent to Brittany, via Plymouth, on 31 January, managed to have been exposed to FMD and develop anti-bodies. UNLESS - Farmer's Ferry had been contaminated already as probably was Cheale's by exposure to FMD many months before. Don't forget that FMD is inactivated by the low pH of meat but remains very active in the bone marrow - potentially for 60 days. It only exists in the bone of animals actually infected so infection would have to come into the abattoir to be spread quite unknowingly. I think it was either Dr.Simon Barteling who mentioned this possibility at the Penrith Scientists' Meeting last year. Nobody would even know the place was infected for months. Therefore in the lairage there would be the chance on occasions for something to have time to develop and show early symptoms and be noticed - if someone was observant enough, of course! If they were not actively looking for FMD, and who would be? Probably only aware of just classical swine fever, allegedly, was dying off at the time or PMWS which shows exactly the same symptoms as Classical Swine Fever."

In view of the information I've received so far,

it would seem animals from at least eight different farms from five separate areas, four of which were hundreds of miles apart, were infected at a similar time. That seems to indicate to me that there was absolutely no way that Bobby Waugh's animals, started it all.

Nor indeed did any of the farms that supplied the animals found to be infected at Cheale Meats last February.

Of course I am well aware that the failure to restrict animal movements immediately, probably contributed to more infections across the country but we have to dig a lot deeper to find the original source. Many people feel sure and others probably know for certain, that FMD was burbling among our sheep population for many months prior to February 2001.

It is now painfully obvious that the Government's slaughter policy was 'shutting the stable door long after the horse had bolted', while there are some who suspect they are the ones who failed to keep the stable in good repair and so let it escape in the first place! Just akin to a guilty stable lad, they are now engaged in a fair amount of what I believe psychologists call 'displacement activity'. The Prime Minister is busy sorting out other countries and the Minister trying to introduce the most unbelievable laws to legalise more killing; or is that called 'cognitive dissonance'? Either way, it's high time they admitted their mistakes and started to repair the stable!

By the way, I'm told Bobby Waugh's Farm had not been cleansed and disinfected until a team started last Monday, at a reported estimated cost of £40,000 the delay because it's alleged there was a problem disposing of sixty tonnes of slurry!
That has got to be about the worst 'joke' I've heard all year - they've disposed of a few million tonnes of healthy animals, with little regard for human or animal health and welfare, let alone the environment so, what's the problem - conscience?