A thought-provoking message from Bonnie in San Francisco:

I'm trying to find my way, like most people
here, in the new landscape of "America no longer free." This morning an
e-mail from a friend reported downloading a street map from Yahoo and
getting this message:  "When using any driving directions or map, it's a
good idea to do a reality check and make sure the road still exists. . ."
Pretty much sums it up.

Although the disease of foot and mouth and the impact of the British
government's handling of the disease are obviously not the same as
terrorism and a mighty army's retaliation, every now and then, when
considering one or the other situation, I hear a twang of similar chords.

For example, a pervasive sense you have here, underneath the shock of
attack, is the blinking disbelief that someone should actually be operating
on a value system that holds killing as many as possible innocent people to
be a good and holy thing.   Tell me if I'm over-reaching, but it feels
similar, in the sense of shock of disbelief, to what the farmer must feel
who begins to perceive that his government, rather than helping him save his
animals (a traditional value) actually has created a program to eliminate
them. This violates values of personal property, caring for creatures,
outlawing cruelty.  These are such deep values, how could it be that they
are no longer guiding principles of those in charge?  The story you reported
of the heifer who hid out for five weeks and then was killed just because
just because, and also the slaughterman who'll not be prosecuted for cruelty
are perfect illustrations of expected values turned upside down.  What is
the result, in the individual heart, of that realization?

Disbelief and shock are natural responses, like a feeling you'd get if your
car overturns and you have to figure out which end is up.   Here, in the
case of terrorism, the obvious problem is from outside, so in a way, it's
easier.  Everybody rallies around the President and shouts God Bless America
and missiles fly. But it seems to me that this solution (equating for the
sake of argument terrorism and FMD) is like the slaughter method. If you
catch it soon enough, slaughter makes a big impact and stops the baddies.
But once the cells of disease have spread, like FMD throughout UK in spring,
the slaughter required becomes as horrific as the disease. So too, it seems
to me, with bombing.   Even if it alleges to aim only at specific targets,
the terrorist cells are so widespread now that I can't imagine them being
"eradicated" and I expect a huge toll in collateral damage.

In the end, there will be a backlash.  Here, we will be ever awaiting the
next even-more-horrific retaliation.  For the farmers, the disease has
petered out, but will there be a backlash in terms of skepticism,
depression, alienation?  That's a question.  I don't know.  But that's what
I was getting at.

It's important to me to rummage around in this area because the film has to
resonate now within the context of this (to us...to you too?) changed world.
It seems to me not so much politics or even science that needs to be argued,
but a mind-set that needs to be exposed. The consequences of the policies of
that mind set are what the film's about.  In simplest terms, I feel it (in
both arenas) as a loss of innocence.  Resulting skepticism is just a foil
for grief.


From Lawrence:

The news of 1,700 sheep being killed at Parracombe doesn't seem quite so
sinister now.  I am told that the farmer involved had another flock which
tested positive at Friendship Farm nearby.  He had been instructed to keep
the two flocks separate until the results came back; so that if one tested
positive the other could be spared: but had mixed them up.  The friend who
told me about this keeps sheep not far away and had been told the same - and
has been following instructions, impatient because he can't put his rams in
with the appropriate groups of ewes.  The surmise is that the other saw an
opportunity to get some money for his sheep and get rid of them all.  My
friend did not approve and expanded on this at some length!

Earlier in the day, three of us had been discussing the situation, lamenting
how the strains are putting neighbour against neighbour - and village
busybodies have reported illegal sheep movements when sheep have broken
out -
as they always do.  Fines of #3,000 are being imposed.  We all agreed that
this would be the final blow.  But who cares?

I know that some do, but there are too many that don't.


From Bryn:

You are not wrong Alan and Rosie........I have some comments to make on the
GILWERN farce.
Bryn's comments on the GILWERN outrage.

Latest Headlines - Press Release

The Times, The Sun, The Telegraph, The Scotsman.

Drinkers welcome GILWERN slaughter verdict.

Drinkers throughout the UK who would normally be prosecuted for "drunk
driving" welcomed the outrageous, and stupefying verdict that the GILWERN
slaughterman has escaped prosecution, "because he was operating in difficult

Drunk drivers will be able to slur the excuse to the boys in blue, "but
orifice, I remind you of the recent GILWERN precedent in law, namely it is
difficult in the circumstances to operate my vehicle whilst intoxicated and
keep within the speed limit and without erratic movements when I can't judge
these difficult things in these terribly extenuating circumstances. I put it
to you orifice, I was unfairly forced by the publican in yonder drinking
establishment, in exchange for my Euros, to lubricate my throat with an evil
liquid. So please orifice, be on your way my good man and watch out for
breaches in FMD biosecurity in this region, and stop wasting good public
money on drunks like me."

Police in such difficult circumstances will have no option under the Human
Rights Act but to wish the drunks bon voyage and a safe journey home; in
fact some observers think the police will be obliged under their "duty of
care" obligations to escort the inebriated safely to their destination, in
case the law is reversed and they are found guilty of exercising common
sense in difficult circumstances.

Captain Bryn Wayt - Duty Press Liaison Officer and Difficult Circumstances


Slaughter of the Law

To be serious for just a passing moment (for the law is now a complete joke)
I am appalled, disgusted, and outraged that the RSPCA have taken this mealy
mouthed, "difficult circumstances" excuse from their lawyers and have
capitulated to hypocritical nonsense from the legal profession - God help us

What jury in their right mind would fail to deliver a guilty verdict given
the GILWERN evidence on video and just these few words, from the now
prostituted, Law base;

Statutory Instrument 1990 No. 1242 The Slaughter of Animals (Humane
Conditions) Regulations 1990.

Offences and penalties,

36.-(1) If any person contravenes any of the provisions of these Regulations
he shall be guilty of an offence.

Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, as amended.

"It is an absolute offence to cause or permit an animal avoidable
excitement, pain or suffering".

Forgive me dear respected RSPCA lawyers, but even an imbecile could deduce
from the solid, sordid evidence and as permitted and outlined above by the
two references, that the law was clearly and demonstrably broken.

"Difficult circumstances" - what absolute balderdash, piffle and tripe. This
cruel event took place in broad daylight, in fine weather, with no time
restraints, and back-up support available on request. The operation was a
complete bloody disgrace from start to finish and those related to it - all
down the line - must be shamed to their boots.

That the RSPCA gets on average #23 MILLION a year in legacies from old
ladies etc and they cannot proceed with a case like GILWERN makes a complete
and lasting mockery of their name - which should be changed to the Royal
Society for the Protection of Contemptible Acts.

I am so disgusted and sickened by this dereliction of duty by those in a
authority to retaliate on behalf of sentient beings and caring humans, that
I must stop writing.

Captain Bryn Wayt


From Theresa:

I do not know whether you saw the programme 'week in week out' at 10.35 pm
yesterday (it may have been Wales only)    Caerwynn Jones was interviewed
together with Ruth Watkins and another who said virtually nothing.  C.J.
repeated that there was no alternative to slaughter so that we could get
back our export status, and that 'farmers were against vaccination!'   Also
that all vaccinated animals had to be killed so it came to the same thing.
He also said that all animals taken to the Epynt for burial were
non-infectious and so no problem.   One wonders why they were killed!   I
thought that the argument was that they may be in early stage of infection
and carrying the virus.  He said that farmers could not sell their lambs
because of the lack of export market and no market in this country, but the
question of imports of lamb were not raised.   Ruth spoke well and
convincingly and patiently, but C.J. kept talking about the great risk of
infection from sheep, and Ruth really did not have the opportunity to refute
his ignorant statements.
A recent advertisement in our local paper ' Urgently required daily prime
butchers lamb also light lambs required.   Desperately wanted #10 cull lambs
for intervention scheme'   tel 01597 810623 or 07971 092935.   The wife was
very friendly on the phone, but I could not get clear whether these lambs
were for disposal in pits (some definitely were) or for the food chain.
Odd.   We have sold some ewes (2-3 years) for breeding #19, and ewe and ram
lambs mostly 15 kg + at #10 for keeping.!

A poem from a Sidcot old Scholar near Winscombe which I thought you might

The animals stand heavy in the fields
Men in clinical sanitised white
Descend from the city
They bring death

One by one,wide eyed, they are brought
To slaughter
Innocent, standing in line:
While all around them the earth is opened up,
Bleeding black, with needless waste.

Sometimes they lie for days,
Until a mechanical digger
Can scoop them up,
(Stiff limbs pointing skyward)
To feed a burning pyre.

The land reeks of it.
Great clouds of filth
Billow in the mist,
Carrying the souls of many thousands
Into the heavens,
And disinfectant lingers,
Hanging in the air.

Far away,
Around city buildings,
Paper money flutters in the wind,
Swirling in the vortex, exposing spaces
Where the vaults are empty                (Paul Aitken March 2001)



From the Farmers Weekly website:

11 October 2001
TV journalist defends pyre pictures

By Adrienne Francis

A SENIOR journalist at one of Britain's biggest TV stations has defended
images of burning pyres shown at the height of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Chris Foreman, Senior Output Editor for Carlton TV, gave evidence on the
fourth day of proceedings at the Devon foot-and-mouth inquiry.

"TV is in the business of pictures. Burning pyres were a legitimate news
event and became the single most vivid image of foot-and-mouth," he said.

"It would be naove to think these images would not get shown."

Mr Foreman was one of several witnesses who criticised the information
vacuum created by inadequate communications by civil servants.

"Most of the time we couldn't carry the stories we wanted to because the
information, media facilities or people were simply not available.

"I am very surprised that there wasn't a game plan in place."

The criticism of official communications was backed up by Graham Gilbert,
managing director of the Great Western Radio Group.

Mr Gilbert accused Whitehall civil servants of being "Unresponsive, curt,
unwilling and evasive."

He added: "I couldn't believe how poor communication was. Information was
haphazard, often vague or contradictory, or simply just refused."

Mr Gilbert also criticised the Regional Development Agency and South West
Tourism for not co-funding radio adverts with the message "Devon is Open".

He said: "I got the impression [they] felt the more damage the industry was
seen to suffer this year, the more funds may be available in the future."

After lunch, Mr. Lancaster, of Kennerleigh Parish Council expressed concern
over the lack of government consultation with farmers.

He claimed that lessons were not learned from the 1967 outbreak, and that
communication was poor in the recent outbreak.

Sue Bizley, of the Citizens Advice Bureau, described the advice and
information role undertaken by her staff.

She highlighted the 'unhelpfulness' of the now disbanded Ministry of
Agriculture (MAFF) and other government departments.

William Norman, of Knowstone Parish Council, described bullying by MAFF
officials, and the use of police to illegally enforce administrative


11 October 2001
Virus warning against illegal moves

By Alistair Driver

THE government's chief scientist has warned that the foot-and-mouth epidemic
could flare up again if farmers illegally move livestock.

David King was addressing a National Farmers' Union Council meeting in
London on Thursday (11 October).

He welcomed news that there have been no new outbreaks for 10 days, but gave
a stark warning that farmers must not become complacent.

"I will not say that the epidemic is finished until there have been no cases
for three months," said Prof King.

A resurgence of the disease earlier this year almost certainly happened
because the public and farmers relaxed their guard, he added.

Prof King said he was urging farmers to maintain cautious and not move
livestock illegally, rather than trying to blame them.

But NFU Livestock Committee chairman Les Armstrong said many farmers were at
breaking point because of livestock movement restrictions.

In many cases, breeding stock could not be moved. This would have enormous
consequences, leaving farmers without animals to sell, he said.

Nottinghamshire council delegate Richard Gadd said the movement licensing
system was in chaos.

Many farmers had been unable to get movement licenses, he said.

Prof King responded by indicating that movement restrictions may be eased in
the future, but not if doing so risked further spread of foot-and-mouth.

"If there are illegal movements, we will be back to square one," he said.


Our comment:  Now if we had vaccinated back in early March . . . . . . .
maybe, just maybe, farmers will eventually get the message as the movement
restrictions bite ever harder.


Tonight's joke comes from Sara:

Here's a shortened version of a joke I recently heard.
Jethro was offered #1,000,000 by a rich Arab if he would go to Saudi and
put out the fire in his oil well. Jethro accepted and promptly flew himself
and a
few mates in his land rover over to Saudi. The Arab was stood on the hill
watching as the plane landed, out of the back came Jethro and his mates. The
rover shot across the desert, straight into the inferno. They all jumped out
the car and started stamping out the flames. Amazed by what he had
witnessed the Arab handed over the money and said "What are you going to do
with the money?" Jethro replied "Get the bloody brakes fixed on the car!"

from Alan & Rosie