FORSOOTH 20th July
Ro telephoned to inform us of a fundraising event for the Heart of Devon
cause. This will take place at West Point, Exeter on the weekend of
27th/28th October. There will be stalls, trade stands, entertainment etc.
to provide a good day out. If you would like to take part in any way,
further details can be obtained on 01837 810326.
Anne has sent this update to Wednesday's item about blood testing being
accompanied by excessive slaughter in Cumbria:
Last week saw the culling of over 27,000 sheep and cattle in Cumbria as
Ips CCs or SOSs. During Saturday & Sunday (weekend just past) although DEFRA
declared only 2 farms as IPs, the cull was implemented on 10 farms 2 Fells
and a Common. This is not unusual, we (Cumbria) have rarely had less than
20,000 animals per week culled since the election.
About the news item, it would appear that the animals were all slaughtered
before the VNT results came back from the Lab. This may be because DEFRA
are now doing the ELISA test at the local Veterinary Investigation Lab which
is located about 3 miles from me. The local news has just announced that
this lab will be processing 20,000 samples per week from next week. My
sheep were tested on Monday, but they have told me that my samples would be
processed at Pirbright, could this be because I asked for details of the
training the staff would receive before analysing the tests?. The
Westmorland Herald has in their Situations Vacant column - wanted
Scientific Assistants to process ELISA tests and lab attendants to unpack
and register blood samples - these vacancies are for an initial term of 1
year with the possibility of permanency. They are obviously setting up for a
Our comment: Just to re-cap, our information is that the new facility at
Penrith is using an automated process for testing samples by the ELISA test.
Any positives or "maybes" will be sent to Pirbright for screening by VNT.
So, negative results could be issued fairly quickly from Penrith, but
inconclusives or positives will take longer to check out at Pirbright.
Our report yesterday on Professor Anderson drew this response from Tom:
I thought Richard North,s piece was most interesting for those of us who
believe things have been going on which we have "no right" to know about.
Lets assume that a trial was going on with a vaccine back in September in
the U.K.. You cant test a vaccine without it acting on the FMD virus, otherwise
how do you get results? Someone was careless and it got away from them and
into the environment. Remember the reports about MAFF looking for supplies
of railway sleepers way before February? Recently a report was released under
the 30 year rule about what went on at the germ warfare factory in Cornwall,
it showed an official PR job to cover up the truth about production of
gases, Parliament was lied to. Before that, under the same 30 year rule, it came to
light that nerve gas was sprayed from an aircraft in the Bristol Channel and
the wind as intended carried it over North Devon. The public do not know the
result of that trial. Law is not something highly regarded as being
important by those in authority, it merely serves to give people a false sense that
they live in a well ordered society with the proper checks and balances and
that being so, nobody questions official actions. If there is a govt policy
in place, then that is treated as equal to law and acted on, as we have
seen in the actions of MAFF officials and Police. In truth these people are
merely pawns in the grand game. Fall guys are needed to take the blame and it seems
Ronnie and Bobbie Waugh may be playing that role as well as Willy Cleave.
When war breaks out, the first casualty is truth. Ordinary men can be divided
intotwo categories: Competent and incompetent. We seem reluctant to accept that
so-called professional men are the same. Professional men ask us to accept
that by virtue of their training, they have a greater insight into the grand
scheme of things and we trust them instinctively without really
understanding why until a serious event such as FMD forces us to recognise reality.
trust has cost us all dear and the only way to restore some of it
is to have a full open Public Enquiry
A quick message from Peter regarding our favourite Professor:
Look out for the Sunday Times this weekend. got news that they are
snooping in on this story... we'll see! fingers crossed!
And from Bryn, here are the E-mail addresses for Anderson's colleagues (the
ones who actually do the work!), in case any of us should want to ask any
questions . . . . . .
Dr Christl Donnelly email@example.com
Dr Neil Ferguson firstname.lastname@example.org
# # #
From the Farmers Weekly website:
FARM-BASED food processing and retail businesses could be forced to close in
2004 because they do not meet EU requirements on food safety.
Eunice Taylor of Salford University said that the vast majority of small
food businesses - including farm shops - failed to meet EU regulations
designed to enhance food safety.
The rules concern Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), which
should protect consumers from illness caused by poor handling of foodstuffs.
A pilot project conducted by Salford University to get businesses through
HACCP saw 30 apply, but just three completed the task.
"The EU Commission expects to enforce the regulation in 2004, but UK
industry is not prepared for it. Are we going to close down all the food
businesses?" asked Prof Taylor.
Karol Bailey, who owns a farm shop in Tabley, Cheshire, said she found HACCP
"terribly complex" and the industry needed to provide some solutions and
Our comment: Presumably this is just to mop up any farm businesses left
standing after the FMD outbreak . . . . . .
From the Heart of Devon website:
Foot and mouth inquiry must be 'open'
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons yesterday insisted that any inquiry
into the foot and mouth crisis must be "open and transparent", after the
Government refused to say whether it would be held in the public domain.
Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared to rule out a full public inquiry into
the epidemic in the Commons on Wednesday, promising a "different type of
But yesterday a spokesman for the Department for the Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs, said no details of what form the inquiry would take would be
released until after the disease had been eradicated.
But the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons yesterday said that delay was
unacceptable, and called on the Government to make an announcement "sooner
rather than later". RCVS senior vice-president Roger Eddy said this would
enable the inquiry team to "hit the ground running" when the end of the
outbreak was in sight.
And Mr Eddy also insisted that the Government must pledge to hold the
inquiry in public - and not behind closed doors.
"It is imperative that the inquiry be open and carried out in the public
domain," he said.
"We are not seeking a full public inquiry, but it should identify the
successes and the mistakes, and make recommendations for reducing the risks
of dealing with future outbreaks, should they occur."
On Wednesday Mr Blair said he did not believe a full "public tribunal
inquiry" into the foot and mouth outbreak was necessary.
He said he was acting on the advice of the RCVS, which had said a public
inquiry would not deliver results quickly enough.
But yesterday the Country Land and Business Association, which represents
rural businesses, took issue with his stance.
CLA president Anthony Bosanquet said the Government could impose a deadline
to ensure that a public inquiry was concluded swiftly.
"The CLA agrees that the inquiry should not be a lengthy, drawn-out one, but
why does a public inquiry have to take three years?" he said. "An
independent chairman could be given a timescale of, say, six months."
From the warmwell website:
Negative' death toll emerges
Responding to a written Parliamentary Question from Westmorland and Lonsdale
MP Tim Collins, DEFRA minister Elliot Morley revealed that tests from 52
Cumbrian farms - culled-out as contiguous premises - proved negative. On
those farms 19,738 sheep and 3,405 cattle were killed.....
The Thackerays, of High Scales farm near Shap, are just one of the families
who now know their slaughtered stock was not infected and their 220 sheep
and lambs, mostly from the dwindling Kendal Rough Fell breed, four cows, one
bull and eight bullocks, are included in the figures released by Mr Morley.
Ann Thackeray, who described her family's ordeal in the Gazette recently,
said: "The more you see of it the more you think they are just killing for
The true number of contiguous premises slaughtered-out and animals killed
when there was no infection present is almost certainly far higher than Mr
Morley's figures show, but blood tests were not done on all contiguous
"Because of the Government's refusal to shift from its scorched earth
policy, thousands of healthy animals have been needlessly slaughtered.
"Recent reports in the national press suggest that this is only the tip of
the iceberg and absolutely reinforce the need for the Government to lay its
cards on the table and call a full an independent public inquiry into the
handling of the whole foot-and-mouth crisis." July 20
From The Guardian:
Friday July 20, 2001
The government yesterday threw a lifeline to the countryside by signalling
the reopening of footpaths closed more than four months ago to control foot
and mouth disease.
The decision to revoke an order forcing councils to close around 118,000
miles of rights of way was welcomed by the Ramblers' Association. But the
National Farmers Union said it could be premature because of "unknown
pockets" of foot and mouth around the country.
The Foot and Mouth Group, a national network of retired vets, scientists and
country interests, also disputed government claims that the disease was
being contained, with 10 outbreaks confirmed on Wednesday, the highest
number for some time. It said the disease was now endemic in sheep and
showed no signs of tailing off as ministers claim.
The decision to reopen the remainder of the countryside by next Friday means
that around 85% of rights of way should be open again, although large parts
of Cumbria, and parts of Durham, Devon, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and
Lancashire, will still be out of bounds for walkers.
In three-kilometre "protection zones" around infected premises ramblers
could have to wait for many months for orders to be revoked. But Alun
Michael, the rural affairs minister, said veterinary advice to the
Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs showed that the
disease was not being spread by walkers but by poor disinfection practices
and other lax procedures.
The Ramblers' Association maintained that none of the 1,800-odd cases in
Britain had been attributed to people using footpaths. Chief executive Nick
Barrett said: "Rural businesses have suffered terribly. From the end of next
week the vast majority of paths will be reopened and people can safely
return with confidence, helping rural communities to recover from the
devastation of the past few months."
But fears are growing that the disease will linger well past the autumn,
breaking out in other unexpected areas. Janet Bayley of the Foot and Mouth
Group said: "Clearly this disease is not being contained as the government
claimed. The key issue is how far it has spread through the national sheep
flock, where it would appear to be endemic."
Nevertheless, with the government believed to be considering vaccination,
ministers are trying to present an image of normality returning to the
countryside. This week they announced that grouse shooting can go ahead in
most parts of England after the "glorious 12th" next month.
But Defra acknowledged that grouse shooting, which brings millions into the
rural economy annually, carried a risk of spreading infection.
Our comment: We understand, and sympathise with, the genuine concerns of
those who receive a DEFRA video one day urging farmers to keep up tight
biosecurity, only to find the next day that footpaths across their land are
being forcibly re-opened by the government so that the public can wander
about once more. But what we can't understand is the statement above
credited to Janet Bayley of the National Foot and Mouth Group, who refers to
the disease being "endemic" in the national sheep flock. Regular readers
will know that there is no scientific evidence for this whatsoever, on the
contrary, large-scale blood testing has shown how very few sheep have
antibodies and so far only one small group has been shown to carry live
virus. It does Janet's credibility no good at all to repeat such nonsense
without checking the facts first.
From The Times:
THURSDAY JULY 19 2001
Courage, not killing, is the answer Mrs Beckett
Vaccination is still the only answer to the plague ravaging our countryside
The latest issue of CAM, the magazine for Cambridge "alumni", hits my desk.
It carries an admiring profile of one of the university's most famous sons,
Professor David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser. Its opening
sentence leaves me open-mouthed: "Dave King has had a good war when it comes
to foot-and-mouth, walking tall through the hail of media shrapnel that has
cut down plenty of those in the front line."
It was he, says the article, who first gave warning to the Prime Minister of
the dangers of the disease, who introduced the culling policy; and who
predicted that the epidemic would be "fading fast" by June. "By early
April," it goes on, "firebreak culls were proving a success . . . by the
middle of April, with over 1 million animals dead, he was announcing that it
was 'fully under control', by the end of the month that it was 'receding',
and should be eradicated by July or August." I checked the latest
information from DEFRA, the people formerly known as MAFF, who chart the
spread of the disease. I found no mention of eradication. The average number
of cases remains stubbornly at two or three a day, and the epidemic is still
ravaging whole areas in Cumbria, Yorkshire, and the Brecon Beacons. I found
no one prepared to say that it would be over by the autumn and many who
believe it will still be with us well into next year.
Thus far, some 3.5 million animals have been slaughtered, and the
predictions are that that figure could reach six million. With the tourist
industry in the North of England, Wales and the Borders on its knees, a
conservative estimate is that the cost to the British economy may be as much
as #10 billion - twice as much as BSE. And Professor King walks tall.
In any other sphere, a leader whose strategy had so disastrously failed
would surely by now have resigned. It says much for the arrogance of science
that Professor King is not only still there, but continuing to argue that
his course is the correct one. His view is simple, if brutal: once the
disease had taken hold, the only way of containing it is to kill infected
animals within 24 hours and others in contiguous areas within 48 hours. The
fact that the disease has continued to spread has more to do with the
failure of farmers and others to observe "bio-security" than with any flaws
in the policy itself.
He has clearly convinced his new boss, Margaret Beckett, the Environment
Secretary, that this is the only possible course of action, because she has
endorsed it. She talks of "bearing down more heavily on the disease,"
issuing new restrictions, and keeping animal movements to the "absolute
Yet this is not just a failure of policy, it is a defeat for science. Five
months into the worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth the world has seen,
Britain, which once boasted scientists whose genius lay in eradicating
disease, has, in this case, simply caved into it. All arguments for
vaccination, a proven medical success story, which has been instrumental in
combating virulent diseases, both animal and human, the world over, have
Mrs Beckett says that the case for vaccination is "constantly under review,"
but the truth is that it has not been properly considered since the early
days, when it was endorsed by the Government but rejected by the farming
unions. The official view is that it is an unreliable way of defeating the
disease - it cannot set up a "firebreak" as fast or as efficiently as a
cull, it would mask the incubation of FMD, and do nothing to prevent its
spread. It would delay Britain winning back FMD-free status, it would not be
tolerated by Europe, and the consumers would refuse to buy vaccinated milk
or meat. Finally the farmers are still against it.
None of these statements is true. Or rather, every one of these statements
can and has been challenged directly by experts who point to the success of
vaccination elsewhere. Because the proposed vaccine is the killed, or
inactivated version, it does not infect the vaccinated animal. It acts as an
antigen stimulating the immune system to produce a protective neutralising
antibody. Either a high payload vaccine requiring only one dose could be
used, or a commercial vaccine requiring two doses separated by three weeks.
It could be introduced tomorrow to protect, for instance, hefted sheep in
the Brecon Beacons National Park, or animals trapped on the fells of
Cumbria, allowing them to move freely within a vaccinated area. At present,
they are dying of diseases like fly-strike because they cannot be sheared or
moved off ground that is filthy and used up. This has become an animal
welfare issue as well as a battle against an epidemic.
It is untrue to say that all farmers are opposed to vaccination. A growing
number now realises that regaining export status is a distant dream, and
that vaccination might actually contain the disease more quickly than the
present policy - as happened in The Netherlands. Nor is Europe necessarily
against it. Germany, Holland and France have reconsidered their positions,
and a crucial meeting of agriculture ministers and FMD experts will meet in
September with the express aim of hearing the arguments for vaccination.
Instead of waiting for others to tell us what to do, Britain should seize
the initiative and use "ring" vaccination to stamp out the latest outbreaks
in selective areas. If that works, then the experiment can be extended.
This, surely, is how science advances - not by sitting still, but by trying
something new. And it should be led by a scientist. If Professor King can
persuade Mrs Beckett that there is a more civilised way of defeating this
disease than simply killing animals, then he can indeed claim to be walking
Our comment: With a little more research and a few more correct facts and
figures, this article would have carried even more weight - for example,
the number of animals slaughtered is already 6 million including voluntary,
firebreak and welfare culls plus lambs, piglets and calves excluded from
official figures - but despite this, it is a very welcome piece of
journalism that recognises the reality of the situation and stands out from
the mainstream "its all over" media.
from Alan & Rosie
To the Rescue, Heart of Britain Benefit Show
Global Entertainments in association with Heart of Britain-Devon is staging
a two day charity weekend at Westpoint Showground, Exeter on Sat 27th and
Sun 28th October.
The purpose of this event is to raise money for farmers and allied
businesses that have suffered severe hardship during the recent foot and
Even now as life returns to normal, the effects of this disaster are still
to be seen in the rural communities. The public as a whole would believe
that this outbreak and the hardships it brought are now history.
This is not the case, as can be seen throughout the rural communities of
Britain. Farmers with generations of tradition are now facing wipeout due to
the lack of any sort of rescue package being forthcoming from this
With this apathy in mind Global Entertainments have brought together victims
of the disaster who have been supporting the Heart of Devon campaign.
The two day event will cater for all ages with a vast array of activities
and stands. This will really be a beacon of light after the months of
darkness for Devon.
Plans are being laid for an outstanding show. (watch this space).
Applications for trade stands are being taken at #30 a day, we are
especially encouraging local traders who have been struggling to keep their
business thriving, concessions are available for traders who are genuinely
in need. Catering stands will be by negotiation, as will fairground
attractions. We are appealing for trade sponsorship from large companies and
ask that these companies contact Paul Cassidy at Global Entertainments.
All proceeds from the event are to benefit those who have been hardest hit
by the foot and mouth crisis so please give it your fullest support. Over
the coming weeks could you please help by giving the show as much coverage
as you can?
For further info or bookings you can call me on 01805 625681
Or Ro Skelton on 01837 810326
Paul Cassidy, Global Entertainments 07855 210286
Also if anyone has any contacts with musicians, entertainers or circus
groups etc please ask them to contact me, we have a huge space to fill and
thousands of people to entertain.
We are expecting to raise enormous amounts of much needed funds for the
cause so if you think you can help in any way please do.
We also need practical help, people to man the gates, stewards, good
organisers etc. We need people to get in touch ASAP if they can offer help
or want to book a trade stand. We are keen to have a farmers market and
groups promoting organic produce on the Sunday, these stands will be only
#5. If you can help with this or want a stand call Ro.
Any well informed speakers on FMD would also be welcomed.
Please contact either Ro or me with ideas or offers of practical help.
Now for Diana's thoughts on the spread of FMD:
A comment on Matt's and Jane's thoughts on FMD spread - firstly, I plotted
the course of spread from Holsworthy with interest, as it did seem to be
following the main Holsworthy to Bideford road. It initially spread W/NW
from Shebbear to Holsworthy Beacon, but from there followed the main route
to Bideford and then on to Barnstaple, and eventually Braunton. It also
followed the main route west from Bideford to Hartland and Kilkhampton. I
noted this because our holding is itself on a main road, so I was especially
concerned about the danger of vehicle spread. I came to the conclusion that
most of the infected farms were not actually on the roadside, so perhaps the
route of a milk-tanker or feed-lorry was a more likely agent here?
As for smoke carrying the virus, I have to agree with Jane. It did seem
to carry from one high spot to another. I still think the most likely cause
of the Bridgerule outbreak was smoke from Kilkhampton's pyre - the wind was
blowing in our direction when they lit it. After all, if particles can carry
in the smoke from pyres, why can't those particles have virus attached? I do
remember that we considered we would be doomed as soon as Churchtown Farm
lit it's pyre - we were the next high point, straight across the valley. We
were immensely relieved when they decided against a pyre. Perhaps it's worth
noting that Bridgerule's outbreak stopped in its tracks. I am convinced this
would not have happened if a pyre had been lit, and that we would have been
the next victims.
|Our comment: Back in April when the Holsworthy mass-burn site was under
construction, we had a lengthy discussion on the risks of smoke from pyres
with an experienced ministry vet. He said that in the 1967 outbreak, smoke
was blamed for spreading FMD, and that circumstantial evidence supported
this view, with a scattered line of infection sometimes developing downwind
of the pyres. However, subsequent detailed analysis of data showed that in
fact the disease had spread on the air before the pyre had been lit, while
the infected animals were still alive and giving out virus. The important
factor turned out to be the wind direction at the time of infection at the
source farm, while the smoke was simply a visible indicator of the direction
already travelled by the infective virus plume during the preceeding days.
Plausible though this sounds, we went on to discuss the potential threat of
pyres and it seemed to us that the most dangerous time would be when the
fire was first lit. The virus soon dies (in a few hours) within the body
tissue of slaughtered animals, and the outer surfaces of the corpses are
disinfected to kill any virus on the skin, hair, wool etc. - but he
accepted that the virus could possibly survive within the lungs. As the
cold body warms on a newly-lit fire, air would expand within the lungs to
escape and rise in the warm updraught of smoke . . . . . . . . he agreed
that this needed looking into but was unaware of any research that
definitively proved the point one way or the other. Of course, the official
view is that "there is no evidence to suppport the spread of FMD by smoke
from pyres" but this only means that the necessary research has not been
So we have to keep asking the question, while at the moment, no-one really
knows the answer.
This was forwarded to us by Richard:
Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley says a public inquiry into the
foot-and-mouth crisis would attract "every crackpot in the country".
Mr Morley made his comments during a visit to Worcester after a local Tory
MP claimed the Government was "running scared".
Tony Blair has told the Commons there will be a "different type of inquiry"
but the results will still be published.
Mr Morley said: "If we have a public inquiry we'll get every crackpot in the
country airing their pet views."
Peter Luff, Conservative MP for Mid-Worcestershire, told the Worcester
Evening News that the Government wants to avoid proper scrutiny.
Mr Blair told MPs a full public tribunal inquiry would take too long.
See this story on the web at
And Richard comments:
Of course, there were no crazies at the BSE inquiry, which New Labour
thought so necessary.
# # #
Betty in Holland forwarded this item:
FOOT AND MOUTH EXPERTS PROBE NEW CASE
VETS were today trying to discover what caused the first confirmed outbreak
of foot and mouth disease in Greater Manchester.
As revealed in later editions of yesterday's Manchester Evening News, a
prize pedigree herd has been slaughtered in Wigan after a positive test
confirmed the disease at John Roberts' Chadwicks Farm in Abram.
Tests were carried out at Chadwicks Farm immediately symptoms of the disease
were spotted among the 46-strong herd on Tuesday.
Access to all public footpaths and rights of way have been restricted for a
three-kilometre radius around the farm and some restrictions have also been
introduced at Pennington Flash Country Park in Leigh.
A further 20 cows have now been culled from a herd kept in a rented field on
adjoining land to the east.
It is understood that all movements on or off the farm in the last three
weeks are being scrutinised by the Department of Environment, Farming and
Affairs (DEFRA) in an effort to trace the source of the outbreak.
NFU spokeswoman Gill Shearer said it could be some time before the link was
''The whole area will be swimming with DEFRA vets over the next few days
carrying out surveillance, checking all the animals, taking blood samples
trying to find out from the farmer exactly what's been going on,'' she said.
''Epidemiologists say that it's very hard to trace a link back when it's
jumped to a clean area like this and the vets will certainly be looking at
sheep in the area as a possible source.
''Sheep can have the disease and get over it very quickly but remain as
carriers for some time after.
''Even though all the tests will be fast-tracked, the whole process is very
laborious and we are just hoping that it's an isolated case.''
Meanwhile farmers in the vicinity were waiting to hear whether their stock
would have to be culled.
It is understood there are as many as 15 farms in the area, all of which
will now have regular checks.
A spokesman for DEFRA - which replaced MAFF after the general election -
said the need for further culling was still being assessed.
''The investigation is under way and we will not be drawn into speculation
as to the possible outcome,'' he said.
The Wigan case brings the regional total across Greater Manchester,
Lancashire and Cheshire to 66.
Our comment: Well you can guess what we're going to say . . . . . but so
as not to disappoint, we note that the NFU spokesperson, the aptly-named
Gill Shearer, displays the usual level of in-depth knowledge about
infected-and-recovered sheep as carriers of the virus! Do the NFU send them
all to the same brain-washing school, we ask?
From the warmwell website:
July 19 The Times:
reported that the Court of Justice of the European Communities rejected the
claim of a Dutch pet owner and two animal wefare organisations. Ms Jippe,
who owns 4 sheep and two goats, claimed that to ban her from vaccinating her
animals against FMD was invalid and contrary to Community law.
"ensuring the welfare of animals did not form part of the objectives of the
was the view of the court and it justified its rejection of Ms Jippe's plea
largely by means of the same arguments we have been hearing in this country
Our comment: There is a long report on this judgement in The Times newspaper
and informed comment upon it at the warmwell website on this link:
Meanwhile Lawrence has submitted his application for permission to vaccinate
his stock here in Devon:
To Mr John Fitzgerald
Director of Policy
Veterinary Medicines Directorate
Surrey KT15 3LS.
10th July 2001
Dear Mr Fitzgerald,
Request to use FMD vaccine for our sheep, goats, cattle and pig in North
I request permission to use vaccination to protect my sheep, goats, cattle
and sow from foot and mouth disease (FMD). I would like to carry out the
vaccination as soon as possible in view of the imminent Summer Holiday
period. Here in Devon, Devon County Council, pressed to do so by central
government, are seeking to re-open the public rights of way. We and our
neighbours wish to open our farms to visitors. Our farms are to a large
extent dependent on tourists and summer visitors for their income and we are
an important part of the attraction which brings holiday visitors to North
Devon. At the same time it is clear from the application of common sense and
from the advice issued by DEFRA (for example in the Guidance for Growers of
Crops and Grass - which is dealing with access to farmland by persons not
necessarily involved in livestock handling - see ACD/FMD 1, DEFRA 22nd
June2001) that access to our farms by visitors and members of the public who
are able to walk unsupervised from farm to farm through fields overstocked
with separate flocks and herds of susceptible grazing animals must
significantly increase the risk of the spread of FMD. The Governments and
Devon County Councils wish to open the countryside and our need to bring
visitors onto our farms is incompatible with the precautions advised to
prevent spread of FMD. The solution to this problem is to ensure that our
stock is not susceptible to FMD. Consequently, I ask permission to vaccinate
my stock and I request permission likewise for others in the same position
In making this request, I take note that the Minister has the power, under
Section 16 of the Animal Health Act 1981 to cause to be treated with serum
or vaccine, or both, any animal which has been in contact with a diseased
animal or which appears to have been in any way exposed to infection or is
in an infected area (we are in an Infected Area); and that the reproduction
factor for this outbreak, having previously fallen, has recently risen
Before making this request, I have read and understood the submission for
permission to use vaccination by Dr Ruth Watkins and to support my
application I have attached a note which she has compiled on the properties
and efficacy of the vaccine (see enclosure A). Dr Watkins has used her
knowledge as a clinical virologist to assemble information from a number of
sources expert in FMD, such as Professor Fred Brown, Dr Paul Kitching, Dr
Simon Barteling, Dr Paul Sutmoller, Dr Noel Mowat and Dr Gareth Davies. I
note that discussion with Dr John Beale has confirmed her conviction that
vaccination is the logical and effective way to control this outbreak of FMD
and eradicate the virus from our country again.
I understand that the FMD vaccine is available commercially from Merial
(Merial supply the antigen to Pirbright to manufacture their high potency
vaccine) and is licensed for use in the UK: that it appears to be a highly
efficacious vaccine and that there appears to be no veterinary reason to
slaughter vaccinated animals.
Notes on the local circumstances are summarised in enclosure B. I have nine
Years experience of livestock farming and have vaccinated my flock against
clostridial diseases. Vaccination and the administering of injectables is a
technique familiar to me and to all livestock farmers. I and my neighbouring
farmers would be able to assist our vets in administering vaccination and in
marking, tagging and numbering all vaccinated sheep. My own sheep and lambs
are all tagged and individually numbered, as are my cattle.
In the absence of any formal way to make my application to use the FMD
vaccine, I trust you will find it acceptable to consider my letter and the
enclosures sent with it. I look forward to your considered reply.
Yours sincerely ,
Lawrence Wright MA (Cantab), MA Hons (UCL), Dip TP.
Copy sent to Dr David Byrne, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer
A: information supplied by Dr Ruth Watkins about the Foot and Mouth vaccine
licensed for use in the UK
B: notes on the local circumstances in North Devon.
This item comes from the Dundee Courier:
CHILLING STATISTICS AS BATTLE AGAINST DISEASE RAGES ON
ANOTHER UNWANTED milestone was passed this week, with the one-millionth farm
animal being slaughtered in Cumbria in the continuing battle against
There have also been more cases in the past seven days than in the previous
week, the second week in July averaging three cases per day while last week
In what must be a major concern to the Government and to officials, the
expected fall in confirmed cases in the epidemic is just not happening.
There have now been more cases in the first 20 days of July than there were
in the last 20 days of June.
The rate of killing stock, which had fallen to a low of 4000 per day in the
first week of July, rose to 7000 per day last week.
The strain of the virus which has devastated the UK livestock industry is
cold-loving, and the big hope has been to kill the disease out in the summer
months otherwise the whole problem will drag on into next year as the bug
settles in to winter.
Eradication seems less and less likely as the weeks go past.
Cumbria continues to bear the brunt of the disease, with no less than 798
farms being confirmed as having infected livestock.
This is slightly less than half the 1844 cases throughout the UK.
However, the hold that the disease still has in Cumbria is shown by the fact
that 30 of the 67 cases in the UK in the first weeks of July have been in
These figures may indicate a continuing problem in the Cumbrian area but
most of this month's cases have been in the Penrith and Appleby areas.
The UK figures for confirmed cases in July also provide a number of areas in
England and Wales which are now considered hot spots.
Last week saw 10 cases in the Powys area of Wales, where the common grazings
on the Brecon hills provide the Welsh Assembly with the same type of problem
faced in the Settle area of North Yorkshire.
More than three-and-a-half million livestock have been slaughtered since the
outbreak was first confirmed in late February. Of these, 2,883,000 have been
sheep, around 7% to 8% of the national flock.
There are an estimated 200,000 farms or holdings in the UK and of that total
some 8811 have so far seen their livestock cleared out and killed.
The total statistics do not reveal any part of the individual problems or
scale of operation, but so far the largest single casualty, in numerical
terms, is the Cumbrian farmer, with some 2737 cattle destroyed.
The same area provided the biggest loser in sheep terms, with some 7000
belonging to one owner falling foul of the disease
A Gloucester-based pig breeder lost his 3000-strong pig herd, and in the
killing and chilling statistics more than 2000 goats have been slaughtered.
These figures do not provide any gauge of the quality pedigree stock that
have been and are being lost.
Again, these figures only relate to the foot-and-mouth disease eradication
Another one-and-a-quarter million head of livestock have been slaughtered in
the past three months under the Animal Welfare Disposal Scheme.
This scheme was brought in by the Government to deal with cases where
livestock were caught up in areas where they could not be moved for fear of
spreading the disease.
Welfare concerns saw almost one million sheep being slaughtered in this
The direct bill for the whole of the epidemic is now stretching into
billions of pounds and the estimates for the knock-on effects are as yet
impossible to gauge.
from Alan & Rosie