New Information on the march this Saturday in Gloucester:


Important: ASDA have announced they'd have us clamped if we park in their
car park.
If you park there buy something from them or preferably B&Q and leave it on
the front seat of your car, OR arrive earlier and leave cars in one of the
many NCP car parks.

There is a pedestrian access via B&Q to The Park.

ENDS


From Jean in Northumberland:

I despair of anything changing in this country of
ours.  Reading the newsletters and various web sites one senses the
frustration
- some wringing their hands, some tearing their hair out, some beating their
chest, some navel gazing, some lying in a foetal position wishing it was all
a
bad dream - figuratively speaking of course. I over time have adopted all
those
positions and feel at the end what have we achieved?? Is there no way for
the
sake of all the lost animals we can get together and form some sort of
support
group of like-minded people.  I feel particularly where sheep are concerned,
they have become the sacrificial lambs. Not a good word to say about them
from
all sections of the media and government.  More than the horse, sheep have
carried civilisations on their woolly backs. And are still doing that today.
"Golden hoof" fertilisers, grazers, milk, cheese, wool, felt, skins, lanolin,
and meat have all come from these lovely creatures and they have a quiet
sense
of what is best and an innate sense of survival. Can we not form some sort of
group to protect the interests of this species.  The government is hell bent
on
getting rid of them one way and another. All the despair anger misery and
heartache cannot come to nothing. Getting together for demonstrations is not
working because of the distances we are all from each other. The internet is
the ideal medium for keeping in touch instantly.  No waiting for magazines
to
be posted with out of date info in them. Although there are too many
separate
sites with their own agendas - what about a support your sheep site where we
can post advice, discuss sheep matters and an exchange of stock and advice
on
buying caring for and talking about our own experiences and
farms/smallholdings
we run and the area we live.  I have become very unsettled and would like to
move to another part of the country for various reasons, what about an
input
about areas we live in and the advantages and disadvantages of living there
(with regard to keeping livestock and managing our land) ?? Sorry to ramble
on
about nothing much in particular but it sometimes is helpful just to put
thoughts down and get them out of ones head a bit of self-therapy!! Lets
hope
the FMD has finally come to and end, but it won't be
the end of our problems with trying to save our animals from the mad boffins
in
charge. Best regards. Jean


Our comment:  Anyone else out there willing and able to set up and run a
"sheep" site?  Do respond with your thoughts on this one.

****************************

Betty has forwarded this item, it's a few days old now but we hadn't seen it
before:


SATURDAY 20/10/01 15:13:55 Foot-and-mouth alert in Cork
The Irish Republic is facing its first foot-and-mouth alert in three months.
The Dublin government`s Department of Agriculture imposed movement
restrictions on a flock of sheep in County Cork after lesions were found in
the
mouth of a lamb and other animals were discovered to have higher-than-usual
temperatures.
A spokesman said the restrictions had been put in place ``as a purely
precautionary move``, and the sheep would be kept under observation while
tests
were carried out.
Only one case of the farm disease was confirmed in the Irish Republic while
the
virus raged through Britain earlier this year.
The sole outbreak was among sheep on a farm close to the border with
Northern
Ireland in Co Louth.
Severe restrictions were applied nationwide in a bid to prevent it spreading
further.


***************************

Another example of the contempt for democracy within those who govern us:


Carwyn Jones is meant to be accountable; this is how much !  Government in
full swing action. Ignorance personified; gold plated arrogance. Who coined
the phrase, "ignorant swine" ?

Best wishes,

Bryn


----- Original Message -----
From: Jones, Carwyn (AM)
To: 'bryn@wayt.greatxscape.net'
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2001 9:32 AM
Subject: RE: The RSPCA's reply as to why NO Gilwern prosecution


Your message has been deleted without being read



*************************************

A short extract from a longer article about a possible resumption of
foxhunting from the IC Wales website:


 But a coalition of the RSPCA, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the
League Against Cruel Sports is urging the Government to put hunting back on
to the parliamentary agenda as soon as possible.

It says there is a need to uphold the will of the majority of MPs who want
to see the sport banned.

A spokesman for the Campaign for the Protection of Hunted Animals (CPHA)
said: "There are clear moral and animal welfare grounds for banning hunting
with dogs and no compelling reasons for allowing it to resume.

"With the country still under the shadow of foot-and-mouth disease, hunting
poses a completely unnecessary risk to the countryside.

"Hunting with dogs has been completely banned for six months. The economic
impact of that ban has been insignificant compared to what foot-and-mouth
has cost tourism and agriculture

ENDS


Our comment:  We have no wish to become embroiled in the hunting debate but
were intrigued by the language used here.  "The need to uphold the will of
the majority of MPs" seems rather askew to us, when the MPs conveniently
forget that they exist to represent the views of the majority of their
constituents, which is how things are supposed to work in a democracy.  But
on this matter, MPs will vote according to their own personal opinion,
rather than the opinion of those whom they were elected to represent in
parliament.
"There are clear moral and animal welfare grounds for banning hunting with
dogs" - well, there were, and still are, clear moral and animal welfare
grounds against the mass slaughter policy employed during the FMD crisis,
but we didn't notice these self-righteous organisations speaking out against
government policy - did you?  They may have tinkered around at the edges,
but there was no clear expression of outrage against what was being
perpetrated.  And by comparison, the relatively few foxes killed each year
by hunting is insignificant, however caused and however cruel these
organisations feel this to be.  Seems to us they have lost all credibility.

******************************

If you missed the Farming Today programme from BBC radio 4,you can hear it
via this link:


http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/audio/ram_farmingtoday.ram


This comment on the programme was posted on the Warmwell website:

Oct 23 ~ Continuing puzzlement is expressed to us about the activities of
the FSA and Sir John Krebs with regard to British sheep.
" Sir John Krebs was quoted on the BBC's 'Farming Today' this morning,
suggesting that consumers should be able to buy meat labelled that it comes
from 'scrapie free flocks'. There was a great deal more on the programme
that seemed to almost equate scrapie in sheep with BSE in sheep and indicate
that the government is considering use of law to eradicate [I assume this
means kill] all sheep which are genetically susceptable to scrapie. But I am
aware of no research that suggests that scrapie is dangerous to humans, or
has anything to do with BSE. So why is Sir John Krebs so intent on
protecting the consumer from something which seems not to bear on food
safety. Who or what is he really working for? [If my memory serves me
correctly, salad causes far more food poisoning incidents and consequent
deaths than any other food - and I am not aware of a single injury to a
consumer being attributed to eating a scrapie infected lamb - and no BSE
infection has ever been found in sheep.]" writes Lawrence.


Our comment:  We listened to the broadcast and share Lawrence's puzzlement
over this whole issue.  Much of the time, scrapie and BSE are talked about
as if they equate to the same thing, which of course they most definitely do
not.  We also read the full statement to the House by Margaret Beckett and
note the following extracts:

(On the discredited four-year experiment into sheep/cows brains) "This
entire issue rests on the handling of
       samples and the keeping of records".  We beg to differ  - this entire
issue rests on whether or not there is the slightest real risk to human
health from eating sheepmeat.  The unbelievable truth is that the UK flock
could have been considered for slaughter by this government due to
innaccurate record-keeping!  Thus are the dangers of relying on paperwork,
instead of reality, revealed.


(On an improved testing programme) "On scrapie generally, my Department is
working
       closely with the FSA to introduce, early next year, an abattoir
       survey to test for scrapie approximately 20,000 sheep aged over 18
       months annually. This will cost the UK about #5 million and be part
       of an EU-wide programme designed to give information on the
       incidence of scrapie in the European Union. This week the
       Agriculture Council in Brussels will review that programme, which,
       for both cattle and sheep testing, will cost the UK more than #50
       million next year. Although we hope that the sheep abattoir survey
       will be useful, I must warn the House that its results may not
       prove conclusive. A similar survey commissioned by the Government
       two to three years ago on nearly 3,000 abattoir sheep brains
       identified no scrapie cases at all. I would certainly be prepared
       to examine carefully the case for doing an even larger survey.
       Around 500 to 600 scrapie cases are reported annually in Great
       Britain each year. My Department is funding a great deal of work to
       look for BSE in those cases, but it is difficult work at the
       forefront of science, and scientists do not always agree on
       particular aspects or methods. In about 180 cases, using the same
       techniques used at the Institute for Animal Health but on brains
       from the current flock, the experiments have reached the first
       point at which, if any of those scrapie cases were BSE, that might
       have become evident. It has not done so. However, it is too soon to
       draw firm conclusions from those on-going experiments that can last
       several years. I must emphasise again that all that work is at the
       very forefront of science, conducted at the leading edge of
       scientific experimentation. We are not talking about research that
       can give us simple yes and no answers."

What she seems to be saying here is that, so far, despite all the scientific
work carried out to look for it, there is no evidence whatever of BSE
equating to scrapie in sheep.

(On the elimination of scrapie) "The national scrapie plan is a long-term,
voluntary programme to breed genetic
       resistance to scrapie and to BSE into the national sheep flock."

Our question - how can you possibly breed resistance to BSE into the
national flock, when BSE is a disease of cattle that, as yet, has not been
shown to be present in the national flock?  This is a perfect example of the
confusion and double-speak being deliberately used to equate BSE with
scrapie in the public consciousness.


 (On a new parliamentary Bill)      "Over the summer, my Department has
prepared a Bill which, among
       other things, would allow the Government to take powers to ensure
       that we can remove from the flock the genotypes of sheep
       susceptible to scrapie."

From other comments made on the radio programme, this appears to mean a bill
that would empower the compulsory slaughter of sheep so classified - even
though there is still no evidence of any risk to human health.  We can think
of no parallel in history for the astonishing precautions now being proposed
for a non-existent problem.

These are certainly extraordinary times indeed.

**********************************

From the Warmwell website:

Oct 23 ~ From the comment column of today's Guardian "... The horror of the
twin towers supplanted images of burning cattle but we should not forget
them.
The big farmers refused to vaccinate because of their export market. As it
turned out, the severity of the infection destroyed that anyway. In the
meantime, more valuable rural industries were brought to their knees. It was
a lesson we didn't need again: the global food market is a disaster for the
environment, health, animal welfare and the small producers. For all its
fine words, the government's performance on the environment has been
half-hearted. Now that has to change. In an unstable world, we need
sustainable local production along with global agreements in order to secure
peace. The last thing we need to do is give uncritical support to a nation
which thinks it is its right to consume, come what may."
ENDS

From the Farmers Weekly website:


23 October 2001
MEPs delay tractor hours limit

By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

EURO-MPs have amended controversial legislation that would have restricted
farmers to just a few hours a day in their tractor cabs.

The Physical Agents (Vibrations) Directive was intended to limit workers'
exposure to vibrations from machinery to protect them from back injuries.

But it attracted widespread opposition from farmers' leaders who argued that
the plan was totally unworkable and based on dodgy science.

MEPs granted agriculture and forestry a five-year exemption to the exposure
limits in a crucial vote in Strasbourg on Tuesday (23 October).

The National Farmers' Union welcomed the news, claiming that there was no
scientific evidence linking tractor use with health problems.

"I am pleased we have persuaded the MEPs of the ridiculousness of this
proposal," said NFU vice-president Michael Paske.

Some British MEPs have also applauded the decision, with Lib-Dem Liz Lynne
describing it as a victory for common sense.

"It would have caused massive problems and expense for most farmers, many of
whom are on the verge of bankruptcy," she said.

But Tory MEP, Philip Bushill-Matthews said said he would be making a push
for further improvements as the legislation enters its final stage.

The five-year exemption would be little consolation for a farmer who had
bought a tractor expecting it to last for 20-30 years.

Mr Bushill-Matthews also expressed concern for the mining and construction
sectors which have five years to achieve the new limits.
ENDS

Our comment:  We particularly liked the title of this piece of legislation
"The Physical Agents (Vibrations) Directive" whcih sounded more like an item
from a dubious catalogue than from the bureaucrats of Brussels.  But is five
years delay a "victory"?



23 October 2001
Brussels steps in over BSE sheep


By Philip Clarke, Europe editor

BRUSSELS is considering tighter food safety measures after Britain's tests
for BSE in sheep ended in fiasco, officials said on Tuesday (23 October).

More must be done to help counter the theoretical risk that BSE is present
in UK sheep, warned European food safety commissioner David Byrne.

"To date our approach has been precautionary," he told farm ministers in
Luxembourg. "We now need to consider if further measures are necessary."

Mr Byrne said European officials had hoped research results from the UK
would shed important light on the need for extra precautions.

But British scientists mistakenly worked on cattle brains rather than sheep
brains for the past four years, rendered the research results useless.

Mr Byrne said: "This is very disappointing and the continued uncertainty
leaves us in a very difficult position."

The European Commission is already planning to introduce random tests in
sheep from January next year.

The aim is to improve the epidemiological picture of the incidence of
scrapie which could be masking the presence of BSE.

But Mr Byrne said the time had now come to consider further measures and the
commission would be making proposals shortly.

These are expected to include full traceability and an extension to the
BSE-risk material which must be removed from sheep for human consumption

ENDS


23 October 2001
Plans to cut welfare payments again

By FWi staff

THE government has unveiled proposals for another cut in compensation for
livestock slaughtered under the foot-and-mouth welfare scheme.

Proposed reductions to payments under the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme
would be the third set of cuts since its introduction.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has sent proposals to
cut compensation to industry organisations.

The proposed cuts include:

Cull/draft ewes reduced from #18 per head to #10;
All lamb reduced from up to #25 per head to #10;
Clean cattle reduced from 65p/kg lwt to 45p/kg;
Cows and heifers reduced from up to #700 to #350;
A new category of breeding ewes at #30 a head has been added
The scheme was introduced in March to help farmers unable to sell livestock
because of falling feed stocks and overcrowding.
National Farmers' Union deputy president Tim Bennett described the latest
proposals as callous and ill-conceived.

"These farmers are desperate, they need hope, not despair. They need support
from government, not further cuts.

The NFU will respond to these proposals in the strongest possible terms and
hoped that the government would reconsider, said Mr Bennett.

A final decision on the cuts is likely early next week. The NFU said legal
action against the government over previous cuts was continuing.

ENDS


Our comment:  Who now remembers Tony Blair saying that the government would
stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the farmers throughout this crisis; that
they would not be left carrying the can for the slaughter policy?  And who
now, given their time over again, would not prefer to vaccinate instead?



*******************************

Tonight's closing thoughts are from Astrid:


      IF.....

      If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
      If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
      If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
      If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
      If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to give you time,
      If you can overlook when people take things out on you when,
                        through no fault of your own, something goes wrong,
      If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
      If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
      If you can conquer tension without medical help,
      If you can relax without liquor,
      If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
      You are probably a dog.....



from Alan & Rosie