Short mailing tonight due to computer hitch.

Tom sent this message:

Please remember to include details if there is a mailing on Wednesday about
a program on BBC2, Thursday, at  7.30 P.M. on FMD. I understand it will
touch on the reasons why we have not had vacination.

Reading a copy of General Aviation incidents, I came across the following
gem concerning a Bell 206 Jet Ranger Helicopter. ( Noel Edmunds flies one,
lucky ***). On 1.3.01. the aircraft infringed Foot & Mouth restricted
airspace while on survey work at 500ft in the Preston area. ATC advised the
pilot of the restricted area radius 2 nm and up to 1500ft and the pilot
confirmed his intention not to land. The aircraft was spotted at 12:44 1
mile north of the centre of the restricted area, ( in other words right on
the edge of the area ) and at between 800 - 1000 ft. The Police Air Flight
and AIS Mil were contacted and they both advised that the aircraft would
have to be disinfected on landing. The pilot's comments are not recorded.

Regards Tom

Pat from the Forest of Dean:

Dear Alan and Rosie,

Great to see you in Bristol - the conference gave me some more ammunition.
My vet was there too, bless him, and a MAFF vet I had sent away - maybe she
had been on our side after all, but I was very suspicious of them all in
that dreadful time.

I finally had a reply from Diana Organ MP.  I don't know why she bothered.
She said it was difficult for a layperson such as herself to make a clear
judgement..  What a cop-out!  She's has 7 months to do her homework
properly.  She then says "I can assure you, however, that the Government is
listening to proven experts in their field and considering all arguments,
opinion and evidence in their policy decisions."  I guess that's today's
joke.  She then tells me there will be three independent enquiries and
hopes this is helpful.  Why did I bother?  Well, she is about to get a
stronger blast and what the REAL experts think.  I told you she was

We seem to have more ticks around here than usual.  Have you any idea if
they can transmit FMD?  I just put some highly expensive pour-on
insecticide on my flock, just in case.

Finally, I do so agree with Ley - we must have out own contingency plans,
especially with the new BSE threat.  What is to stop one of us from flying
to Argentina, buying 1,000 (5,000?) vaccines and selling them here for just
enough to cover expenses?  The obvious stumbling block is that if DEFRA get
wind of this plot, they will do blood tests, detect the antibodies and
slaughter the animals.  But for heaven's sake, there are more of us than
there are of them, and they have taken no notice of our bleating in the
wind.  Maybe a little civil disobedience is in order.  The French seem to
be much better at this than we are, as well as quite a lot of other

We are still "at risk" in Gloucestershire, and the scares in Dursley and
Ross caused a few heart-stopping moments.  My sheep are still fine, despite
having been seen eating hawthorn.  Hope you're still okay, and thanks for
all the invaluable information.

Best wishes,


Our comment:   Pirbright assure us that insects are not vectors for FMD.

From Diana:

I found myself listening to the Food Program today, while doing the ironing,
as its subject was the history of MAFF (mainly from the "food" point of
view, of course). They looked back to the post-war days when farmers were
hailed as heroes, after preventing the nation from starving. The down side
to this was that they had been compelled by MAFF to plough up permament
pasture, and basically farm the way the ministers told them to, rather than
being in charge of their own farms. This sounded familiar to me - a ministry
which behaves as though it owns our farms and livestock, and we are merely
its employees. Of course the main purpose behind this drive was urgently to
step up the production of food, which was discovered at the outbreak of war
to be only 30% of our consumption - the rest mainly shipped in from the
Commonwealth. When MAFF were given their powers, the government swore that
we should never again be found to be so dependent on imported food. It's
interesting that MAFF for some time now has been using those same powers to
destroy farming and food production in this country. Does anyone out there
know what the current figures are on the amount of food we produce, compared
to what we actually consume? I wonder how they compare?
All for now  -  Diana.

From Val:

Dear Rosie and Alan,

Very timely.........I am totally swamped with the busyness of trying to stay
afloat in this 'paragaon' of capitalist countries........

So PLEASE keep the news coming..........It would be very difficult for me
not to hear...............but I, too, need the time to look after my own
lambs: Tara and Chloe.   I will be looking for your 'publications'.....but
really I am pleased that you can get on with more things.

PS I think there is AI for sheep.

PPS I'm still game to help with Bonnie's idea of refuting press lies.

PPPS I couldn't read Sunday's attachment.

PPPS  THANK YOU from all of us for all your work running your publication.
You deserve honourary degress in immunolgy, journalism, media studies,
public relations, animal husbandry, the history of epidemiology, political
science, organic farming, and politcal activism, to name a few!!!!!!!!  and
awards for bravery and integrity and tenacity........and please post this
statement in your next publication because there are lots of us out there
who endorse this heartfelt vote of thanks.  The void that would have existed
had we all been isolated and not known all that you
disseminated...........well, it would have TOUGHer for me.  Thanks you,
thank you, thank you.


Our comment:   Tara and Chloe are Val's daughters now at university.

Regarding her kind comments, this has been a two-way process and we have
ourselves been greatly strengthened by the return flow of information and
support from so many others - so thanks to all who have participated in

From Betty:

Joke for today?

HORROR stories continue surrounding the new foot and mouth-related movement
restrictions imposed on livestock by the Department for the Elimination of
and Rural Activities (Defra). Light relief was provided by the Monmouthshire
farmer's wife who, on applying for a licence to move their bull so it could
inseminate cows on another farm, was asked by a Defra official, "Is your
bull male
or female?"

from Alan & Rosie