First an E-mail from Jane which will only concern those of you who are
members of DASH (Devon Association of Smallholders):

Message to all members of D.A.S.H.

If you have received your July 'Update' today perhaps you, like me, are not
entirely happy with the comments of the committee as expressed on page 5,

Please get in touch with me if you would like to join me and other DASH
members in signing a letter which states our objections to their behaviour.
I am not seeking to stir up any trouble, but I do feel that the committee
should not be condoned in their undemocratic behaviour by our silence.


Jane Schofield  Tel: 01884 861181 or


#                                                #

News now from Diana across the valley from us who received this in
conversation with a local farmer whose stock were slaughtered under the
contiguous cull:

 they will not risk re-stocking with "sentinel" animals, as per the MAFF
scheme, but will wait until
declared "clean". They can't face going through a slaughter again. Perhaps
you should check with your "contiguous" neighbours - if they restock with
sentinel animals they will be monitored and eventually blood-tested. If they
re-infect, they will take their neighbours down with them again, including
     As I told Rosie, the rumours are that one person, not from Bridgerule,
is resisting the blood tests in this area. That should set the cat among the

Our comment:  Talk of re-stocking seems rather previous to us, yet that is
precisely what is starting to happen now in other areas of Devon pronounced
"free" of disease.  More haste, less speed . . . . .

#                                                  #


More on wooden tongue in cattle from Jo, who first raised the subject:

I've been looking up wooden tongue in Eddie Stratton's "Cattle Ailments
recognition and treatment".
The pictures of slobbering cows are very similar to those on the next page
for FMD!
2 organisms are involved.
"a germ caled Actinobacillus lignieresii which affects soft tissue causing
woden tongue.
A fungus called Streptothrix actinomyces or Actinomyces bovis which affects
bone causing lumpy jaw.
Both the germ and the fungus are normal residents of the mouth, lying
dormant in the tonsils chiefly. They can also be present in lymph glands in
other parts of the body.
When any of the soft tissues of the mouth...... are scratched or cut the
Actinobacillus may take the chance to multiply and grow in the damaged
When they multiply, both the germs and the fungi produce foci (small
abscesses) of pus which surround themselves with hard fibrous tissue. This
causes the 'wooden' feeling.
When the cow's tongue becomes 'wooden', grazing and eating become well-nigh
impossible and naturaly the animal slobbers at the mouth and rapidly loses
condition. Usually the glands under the jaw become hard and swollen also...
A practical prevention, widely used in S America, is the daily feeding of
small quantities of iodine. Iodine has a curative effect on wooden tongue
and aparently small quantities such as are present in the average iodised
mineral do exert considerable control."

>From that it sounds as though the small abscesses could easily be mistaken
for blisters. interestingly our friends are converting to organic so not
using the general mineral blocks they would have used in the past , which
sound as though they would prevent it.


#                                                    #

This report came in today from Tony York:


As promised I am communicating as soon as possible to ensure that everyone
is aware of what happened at our meeting in Wolverhampton on Sunday. This
communication is being sent to all those who attended, the main committee, a
ll websites (,,,, and all people who e-mailed me with their support.

Firstly can I take this opportunity to thank both everyone who attended and
the hundreds of supporters who gave their support but for one reason or
another could not join us. The display of over a hundred e-mails on the
'Supporters Apology Board' made a very impressive site.

There were around eighty of you present from all parts of the country. I was
amazed to see so many people attending considering that we only had four
days in which to organise, inform and finance the event. When the idea was
first discussed on Wednesday 26th I personally would have been delighted if
thirty could have been present.

As each day went by it became clear that we would exceed that number and
although it was not until Thursday that we could confirm a venue (just three
days before the meeting!) we really felt that fifty was becoming an
achievable goal. It was wonderful to see such numbers able to attend and
with the long distance support into the hundreds it is clear that given more
notice of such an event in the future you could fill a room twice the size.

Putting together such an event in such a short space of time is not easy,
extremely stressful and at times means you have to 'fly by the seat of your
pants and just pray' especially when you have to get a major hotel to
provide you with a #500 meeting room free of charge. I offer my thanks to
Val Sinclair and Julia Currie for all their help and assistance.

Our speakers were (in order of speaking) ... Dr. Ruth Watkins (Virologist),
Janet Bayley (Press/Public Relations - main group committee), John Gouriet
(Freedom in Action - main group committee), Judith Bell (Burges Salmon
solicitors), John Paine (Solicitor who resisted MAFF at Blackfordby Hall),
Simon Foster (Skipton Farmer with experience of how intimidating MAFF can be
when the cull your animals).

It was a good mix of speakers with plenty of fact, information and help as
well as a good measure of humour. It was particularly good to have John
Gourier breaking his journey to Scotland in order to give this meeting his

We held a raffle (Items under #100) and a special draw for the more
expensive prises. Tickets for the raffle were 50p each (minimum two tickets)
and to enter the main draw everyone was asked to 'write their name on a #5
note' and put it in the bucket with the winners being the person whose name
was on each five pound note that was drawn. WILL ALL PRIZE WINNERS PLEASE

We raised a massive amount of money for such a small group .. nearly #500!
So thank you all for digging so deep and a double 'thank you' for those of
you who donated such wonderful prizes. Dot Boag, Mary Critchley, Greg
Lance-Watkins, Val Sinclair, Jane Barribal, John Paine, Jacquita Allender,
Michell Coxon, John Harrison, Caroline Shipsey, Carol Harris, Mike and
Melony Doughty, Val and Martin Lusmore, Jamie Roberts. There may be one or
two names missing from this list so please forgive me as odd bottles of
wine, gin etc kept appearing. Thank you ALL.

In fact there were so many wonderful prises that it was agreed that over
#600 worth of prizes should be held back for another fund raising
draw/raffle to be held at a later date. The committee will decide how and
when this is held. Prizes in this draw will include antique prints, oven to
tableware, books signed by the author, unique individually mounted mood or
scenic photographs. Watch the next announcement from the committee for
information but until then all donated prizes are being held by Val Sinclair
or are still in the possession or the people who have donated the prizes.

A suggested new 'Help Pack for Farmers' prepared by Julia Curry was given to
Judith Bell (Burges Salmon solicitors) so it could be legally checked and it
was agreed that all present would be sent a copy was it has been agreed.
The committee will decide how best to make this new help pack available to

A committee was chosen to drive forward the important work that takes place
on the ground at farm gates where so often the battle is either won or lost.
It was agreed that helping, advising and supporting farmers and those under
intimidation and threat must me a main priority.

It was suggested from the floor that the committee should consist of a
chairman plus six people with a further seven people who would stand in at
any time a committee member was not available. Although all those nominated
and selected to either be on the committee or 'deputies' held a meeting
after the meeting there is still a lot of work to be done. The committee
agreed that all persons would put forward their own individual thoughts on
what the main aims of the sub group should be.

Phil Owens (Farmer) made the very important point that this committee and
sub group should be responsible for and concentrate their efforts on what is
actually happening in the 'battlefield'. It was agreed that Jane Barribal at should be the centre for information, phone calls and link
for farmers and workers on the ground with Janet Bayley being responsible
for press releases etc for the 'National Foot and Mouth Group'.

The National committee should be responsible for wider issues. Two members
felt that their efforts would be better suited to the wider issues and an
approach was made to Janet Bayley regarding this. Janet Bayley agree to
follow this up and in view of the need to have more 'active' members on the
main committee will be working towards having these people on the main
committee rather than dealing with just the narrower 'work on the ground'
issues. It was also felt that Janet Bayley or one of the other members of
the main committee should attend the 'action groups' committee meetings to
ensure a continuous and regular flow of information. Janet Bayley is today
issuing a press release about the meeting and will post it on all websites
for everyone to see.

Although I felt very honoured to have been elected as chairman of this group
it is with great regret and much sadness that I feel for personal reasons I
must tender my immediate resignation and cease working with the 'National
Foot and Mouth Group'. It has not been an easy decision to make especially
as I feel so passionately about what is happening but I know it is the only
decision I can take.

I felt, that in view of the fact that the committee were unable to reach a
decision regarding its exact structure after the meeting, it was better I
resign before the important decision of who are the seven and who are the
deputies is made. Had I made my decision later then it would have caused
further difficulties with a new chairman having to be selected after other
offices had been filled.

The committee now have a free hand to select their chairman by democratic
vote and must then speedily appoint a treasurer and secretary whilst then
opening a Bank account in the sub groups name. The money held by Judith Bell
should then be deposited as soon as possible.

Although, as from this moment of my resignation, I have no official office
and am no longer part of the committee I would openly ask the committee
members to take into account my views of the way forward and act as quickly
as possible to set up the body that will help, support, encourage and advise
both the farmers and those on the ground. It is very important, in my
opinion, that the opportunities created by this meeting are not lost in a
sea of trivia as mobilising and organising the ground forces is the key to
success. The ten thoughts I would like to leave with the committee are as

1. There is a need to establish who are to be Secretary, Treasurer and
Chairman as soon as possible. A bank account must be opened and monies

2. The additional five actual committee members should be chosen and the
deputies named as this was the way the delegates on the floor requested the
committee be constructed.

3. The main committee should have a balance of both geographic location and
'farm gate on the ground skills' as this is the main purpose of this sub
group. Especially having already made representations through Janet Bayley
that two members move to the main committee to strengthen that committee and
support Janet.

4. From my own experience I know that 'time available' is an important
factor for anyone working to help the people on the ground.

5. Decision on the next fund raising event (money will always be needed)
must be made and the prizes for the next raffle organised.

6. Follow up the progress of the new 'Help Pack' and post to those at the
meeting. Greg Lance Watkin has all the details. It should also be posted on
the internet for easy access.

7. Communication both within the group and outside is vital. Silence and a
feeling of not knowing what is going on is demoralising. An information flow
to everyone on a regular basis is important and someone should be appointed
to ensure that this is done as often as possible. This can be via e-mail,
the major websites and where necessary via fax. The electronic age enables a
quick, speedy and regular flow of information to take place with very little
effort to a great number of people. The telephone has been around a lot
longer than computers and is equally important.

8. There is now a 'ground force fighting fund' of almost five hundred pounds
to start the ball rolling. It will help pay something towards those who
devote so much time and money (in the form of telephone calls, travelling
etc.). The committee should judge each individual request on merit with
perhaps such decisions being taken by the secretary, treasurer and chairman.
All cheques should require two signatures.

9. In my opinion Simon Foster would make a good treasurer and John Paine a
good secretary. Both Jon Dobson and Val Sinclair have proved themselves as
great 'on the ground' workers all over the country and there are clearly
many candidates who would probably want to be my successor and would do a
good job provided they have the time, passion and financial resources.

10. Finally I would urge unity, tolerance and moderation. All too often over
the past weeks I have seen or heard apparently sane minded people being
irrational and at times downright rude to their colleagues who are fighting
the same battle. This does nobody any good. Listening, understanding and
compromise are very good substitutes for arrogance, intolerance and selfish
self interest in any committee.

Obviously the committee have a great deal to do and I am sure that they will
keep you all informed of their progress. I am sorry and more than a little
sad to be leaving you all but hope that the example set in having organised
our first national meeting (without money!), raised our first funds, brought
so many together under one banner and communicated quickly will be built on
by everyone with the aim of bringing this awful state of affairs to an end
as quickly as possible.

Thank you all for your help and support over the last four months. I wish
you well and will miss you all

Tony (No longer the Troubleshooter)


As a footnote, this item was posted on the warmwell website:

July 2 - At the Foot and Mouth Action Group's meeting in Wolverhampton
yesteday (July 1) a farmer from Skipton made a particularly moving speech.
Explaining how his farm had been designated a contiguous case, he described
how the ministry had bullied him into allowing his herd to be killed. The
farmer thinks it's doubtful whether the original "Infected Premises" was
infected with FMD at all. He had not known he had a right to oppose the
cull - and broke down as he said so. He is now very anxious to help other
farmers. He wants them to know that they have a right to stand up to MAFF/

#                                   #                                    #

This report is from the Farmers Weekly website:

2 July 2001
New cases spark fresh virus fears

By FWi staff

CONCERNS are growing that foot-and-mouth is on the rise once again after
more cases were reported in Yorkshire and Wales.

A case of foot-and-mouth has been confirmed at Bridge House Farm, Silsden,
West Yorkshire. It is the first outbreak in the area since 23 March.

Three other cases in North Yorkshire were also confirmed over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Farmers' Union of Wales is worried by a cluster of
foot-and-mouth cases discovered on farms near Brecon.

Four cases of the disease have been confirmed on farms at Libanus within the
last week, the most recent being diagnosed on Saturday (30 June).

Before last week, no cases had been found in Wales for almost a month.

The National Assembly has so far failed to identify how the disease reached
Libanus. It is also still unclear which farm first fell victim to the virus.

More than 5000 cattle and sheep have so far been slaughtered either because
they have the disease or are on adjoining farms.

But the fear is that many thousands more may be affected if blood tests
reveal that the virus has infected sheep on the Brecon Beacons.

"The FUW is extremely concerned by developments at Libanus," said union
President Bob Parry.

"It has been claimed that the virus may have been present in the area for
several weeks before being discovered, which is worrying all the farmers.

"All we can do is pray that the virus has not spread any further than the
immediate area surrounding Libanus."

Mr Parry said the implications for farming and tourism would be "too
dreadful to contemplate" if the disease had spread across the Brecon

#                                 #
#                                       #

From the Ananova website:

Eradicate virus before end of summer, says farmers' leader

A farmers' leader says the Government must take advantage of hot weather to
eradicate foot-and-mouth before the end of the summer.

Ben Gill, president of the National Farmers' Union, delivered the message on
the day he would usually give an address at the Royal Show in Warwickshire.
The show has been cancelled due to the crisis.

His comments came after a fifth case of foot-and-mouth was confirmed at a
farm in the Brecon Beacons, raising concerns the disease may have spread.

The latest case was found in sheep at Cwrt Gilbert, Libanus, Brecon. Four
cases of the disease have been confirmed on farms in Libanus within the last
week, the most recent on Saturday.

Mr Gill said it is imperative foot-and-mouth is thwarted before cold weather
returns and the disease, which does not survive so easily during warm
spells, regains momentum.

However, he said his union would still oppose a programme of vaccinating
animals against the disease even if it survives through to winter.

"The best time to kill foot-and-mouth is during warm weather," he said. "We
must not waste this opportunity.

"I welcome the fact that there were no new cases yesterday but the rump of
this disease is being extremely stubborn."

He also called on ministers to tighten up security at ports which he claimed
were inadequate.

He said recent trips to Australia and the United States had shown him how
far behind Britain was in preventing infected products carrying such
diseases from slipping through controls.


Our comment:  Good to see that Ben is keeping an open mind on vaccination .
. . . . . .

#                                               #

Here is a breath of fresh air!- from the BBC Devon Online Site:

Many farmers in the South West are expecting to receive letters this week
from the rural affairs ministry, Defra, advising them how they can re-stock
their herds following the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Vets are carrying out thousands of blood tests on livestock across the
region to check for any signs of foot-and-mouth antibodies. If all the tests
prove negative, the area will be given the all clear, and some farmers can

Expert evidence given in recent court cases, where Defra has sought an
injunction to allow them to slaughter "at risk" stock, has clarified the
circumstances when livestock are most at risk of picking up infection.

Airborne spread of the virus is now thought to be very rare, except where a
large group of pigs are the source. In addition, the period of time when
animals shed virus after infection, as well as the incubation period between
infection and the onset of clinical symptoms, is much shorter than the 21
days often used by ministry vets.


Our comment:  Slowly, but inevitably, the scientific truths are emerging in
the mainstream media channels.  So when are DEFRA going to stop slaughtering
contiguous farms, when the basis for doing so is looking increasingly
tenuous and, in most cases, illegal?

Another item on the same site refers to members of this message group and
their stand over footpaths:

 A North Devon farming couple are planning to apply for permission to
vaccinate their sheep and cattle against foot-and-mouth disease.

If they get the go-ahead, they'd be the first in the South West and could
help to change the country's outlook on the disease.

The couple who are hoping to win permission to vaccinate are Lawrence and
Karen Wright from Mortehoe. They own a closed flock of organic sheep and are
among the few producers of organic ewes milk in Britain.

They've been keeping their animals secure from contamination throughout the

But now they say that the demand by Government to open footpaths in the area
threatens their bio-security, and one casual infection could decimate farms
and tourist businesses throughout their valley.

So the Wrights intend to try to vaccinate their animals to protect them
against such infection and are applying to the farming ministry, Defra, for

But officials say that if they did vaccinate it wouldn't stop slaughter
teams from taking out their animals even if they weren't showing signs of
the disease.


#                                             #

Vigil staged by anti-cull activists

This is Lancashire

FOOT and mouth protesters staged a go-slow drive through the Ribble Valley
and released hundreds of black balloons as part of a 'Stop the Slaughter'
More than 100 activists gathered at the Department of the Environment,
Farming and Rural Affairs veterinary site at Gisburn cattle market where
they held a 10-minute silent vigil, before 50 cars set off in slow-moving
convoy down the A59 to Clitheroe.

There they drove though the town centre sounding their horns and flying
black balloons from car windows..

A total of 49 cases of foot-and-mouth have been confirmed at Lancashire
farms since the first outbreak in February.

The protesters drove through Whalley and Chatburn -- causing traffic
congestion -- before returning to Gisburn where they released hundreds of
black balloons and tied black ribbons to the fence surrounding the
high-security DEFRA site.

The Gisburn HQ deals with the allocation of vets and government officers to
deal with new foot and mouth cases in the Ribble Valley.

There were more than 100 staff vehicles on the car park when the protesters
arrived on Saturday and security staff looked on as the action went ahead.

Organiser Dave Robinson, of Withgill Fold, Clitheroe, said the protest was
being made by a group of people who had been brought together by their anger
at the massive cull of healthy animals in a bid to beat foot and mouth in
East Lancashire.

"Most people here have never protested about anything in their lives
before," he said. "But they are just so upset.

"The cull is barbaric and it isn't working," he added. "Vaccination does
work. It's been proven the world over."

Rosemary Lodge, of Burnsall, tied a black balloon to the fence and said:
"They just won't listen. We feel so helpless. We've seen people in tears in
the streets."

A police spokesman said the protest had been very peaceful "We had no major
problems. There was some traffic congestion but they kept moving at a
reasonable speed. It was very well behaved."


from Alan & Rosie