Andy has just returned from Cumbria and sends this report:

Good to hear that the march went well and that you enjoyed (!!) your trip to
the "smoke" - hopefully the general public can be sufficiently stirred from
their midsummer ( or has it now become endemic??) torpor to realise that
everything down on Tony's farm isn't all rosy (no pun intended Rosie !).The
scale of the devastation in Cumbria and particularly up on the Pennine moors
was very evident during my field trip last week - it really was hard to find
any sign of livestock just occasional pockets of a few cows and a few sheep
here and there

.Apparently the moors are fondly known as MAMBA country (miles
and miles of bugger all) and never was a description more apt - it really
was depressing.The coach in which we were travelling was pulled over a
couple of times for spraying with disinfectant but having watched the way
the process was carried out the whole saga seemed to be one of "keeping up
appearances" rather than having any substantive impact - the wheels and
wheel arches were sprayed but what about the axle and gearbox housings,
together with all those other nooks and crannies under a vehicle of that
size ?

Needless to say there were very few places where we could  exit the
coach so it became a something of a virtual field trip in
Cumbria.

Fortunately we enjoyed better luck in Northumbria although most
excursions were confined to coastal locations - still the sun shone the ice
cream was good and the ale was most palatable (I think it was called Black
Sheep but I can't recall every moment with absolute clarity !).


I read with amazement the details regarding Zimbabwe's strict biosecurity
measures (!!) - presumably they paint "keep out" on the side of the fence
facing the buffaloes.I was also pleased to see that the UK has such reliable
records on the import of vaccinated meat - it really does make all the
arguments against vaccination look even more spurious.

By the way does anybody know if Ben Kill is on the payroll of the Argentineans or South
Africans ?

ENDS


From the Farmers Weekly website:

23 August 2001
Court cull woman to fight on

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

A TEACHER who lost a High Court challenge against the government's
foot-and-mouth slaughter policy says she will fight on - even if it means
financial ruin.

Janet Hughes was ordered to pay legal costs estimated at #25,000, of which
only #5000 is covered by donations to her Save our Sheep fund.

After a four-hour hearing, Miss Hughes vowed to continue her personal battle
to halt the slaughter of animals not showing clinical signs of the disease.

"I might be mad but I will not give up," she said.

The latest blood tests results from sheep in the Brecon Beacons have all
been negative, indicating that further culls may not be necessary.

But routine testing is due to start on other common grazings.

ENDS


23 August 2001
'Stores mark up lamb by 300%'
By FWi staff

SUPERMARKETS are charging consumers up to 300% more for British lamb than
the price paid to farmers, claims a newspaper investigation.

The Daily Mail suggests margins are soaring, especially in south-east
England, despite the problems facing farmers as a result of foot-and-mouth.

The paper reports that in July, farmers were offered an average of 74.9p/lb
(165.2p/kg) for lamb, the lowest figure for 10 years.

When it reached the supermarket shelves, however the price had soared to an
average of #2.81/lb (#6.19/kg).

This compares to an average price of 90p/lb (198p/kg) for the same type of
lamb wholesale in Smithfield market.

On a whole lamb basis, a farmer who reared a 34lb animal would have sold it
for #25.47, but then seen it fetch #95.55 once it reached store shelves.

Devon farmer Richard Haddock said: "There is clear profiteering which is
unforgivable given the state of the farming industry."

But a spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, which represents leading
retailers, said that high prices were the fault of processors.

Stores would charge lower prices if they could, he said.

"We don't buy lamb directly from farmers, but from processors. Supermarket
prices reflect the price we pay processors, not the price they pay farmers."

The British Meat Federation rushed to the defence of processors and
abattoirs, claiming they were being squeezed from both sides.

It also pointed out that supermarkets will not take all the meat from a
lamb, which leaves them trying to find other buyers for less popular cuts.

ENDS


From the Ilkley Gazette:


 Animals culled in new outbreak
AROUND 1,000 animals have been slaughtered in the wake of the latest foot
and mouth disease outbreak in Addingham.

The cull of cattle and sheep took place at four farms near Chandlers Cote
Farm where an outbreak of the virus was confirmed last week.

Despite the outbreak Ilkley and most of Addingham Moor have remained open to
the public with movement restrictions only in place within a 3km protected
area.

The culling was accompanied by the closure of various parts of Bolton Road
and officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) refused to let Gazette reporters anywhere near where the killing and
loading operations were being carried out.

A spokesman for DEFRA said slaughtermen went on site to cull 30 cattle and
1,100 sheep in addition to the 166 sheep and lambs on the infected site.

The latest case was the first to be confirmed in the district since August
1, when nearly 700 infected animals were discovered at Lowfield Farm in
Beamsley.

Rob Simpson, spokesman for the Yorkshire and North East branch of the
National Farmers' Union, said the news was a severe blow to the farming
community.

He said: "This latest case is a real mystery - we have no idea where it came
from. This is the first to be reported in our region for eight days,
including hot spots in North Yorkshire such as Thirsk.

"Until now there had been a degree of optimism, but foot and mouth can take
at least a month to show."

He said that he had spoken to many farmers who were furious over the
re-opening of footpaths ordered by the Government a month ago.

"It's not just the farmers - its people in the rural community who believe
that opening footpaths was a bad idea - some local authorities have been
applying to keep everything closed, but they have been undermined by central
Government."

Bradford Council was told it should re-open around 800 miles of footpaths
last month, including Ilkley and Addingham moors.

Countryside service manager Danny Jackson confirmed that rights of way would
only be closed if they were in the 3km protection zone around the infected
sites.

He said: "The footpaths between Moorside Lane, Addingham Moorside and Ilkley
and Addingham moors have been closed again because of the outbreak.

Although Ilkley and Addingham moors are still open, there is no access from
Addingham Moorside to either of the moors.

ENDS


Just a short message tonight - no time to spare!

from Alan & Rosie