We looked on the "Nature" website for our favourite Professor's latest
lies - sorry, scientific paper - but could only access this summary:
Transmission intensity and impact of control policies on the foot and mouth
epidemic in Great Britain
NEIL M. FERGUSON, CHRISTL A. DONNELLY & ROY M. ANDERSON
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial
College of Science, Technology and Medicine, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk
Place, London W2 1PG, UK
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to N.M.F.
The foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic in British livestock remains an
ongoing cause for concern, with new cases still arising in previously
unaffected areas. Epidemiological analyses have been vital in delivering
scientific advice to government on effective control measures. Using
disease, culling and census data on all livestock farms in Great Britain, we
analysed the risk factors determining the spatiotemporal evolution of the
epidemic and of the impact of control policies on FMD incidence. Here we
show that the species mix, animal numbers and the number of distinct land
parcels in a farm are central to explaining regional variation in
transmission intensity. We use the parameter estimates thus obtained in a
dynamical model of disease spread to show that extended culling programmes
were essential for controlling the epidemic to the extent achieved, but
demonstrate that the epidemic could have been substantially reduced in scale
had the most efficient control measures been rigorously applied earlier.
Our comment: Wow! How about that "spatiotemporal evolution"! A phrase to
make "spread" sound far more scientific. From the press reports we have
seen, Anderson et al state that the average distance "jump" of each new
outbreak in this epidemic works out at 4 km, so our reason for wanting to
see the full text is this - how can the contiguous or even the 3 km culls
have possibly had any effect on preventing 4 km jumps? We saw this kind of
distance effect in our own outbreak here in Bridgerule, about four miles in
a straight line from the nearest previous outbreak; this happened despite
contiguous slaughter around that previous outbreak, and does anyone doubt
that it would also have happened even if a 3 km ring-cull had been carried
out? So to our mind, the 4 km average distance is yet further evidence
against the extended slaughter policies, and furthermore completely destroys
the key assumption made in Anderson's earlier modelling that farm-to-farm
spread would be the primary source of new infections.
Does anyone out there have a copy?
Christopher Booker's Notebook in the Sunday Telegraph:
Interviewer Snow lets "experts" off the hook
CHANNEL 4 News was used last week to publicise a curious disinformation
campaign by the duo who have been running Mr Blair's foot and mouth policy
since March. Professor David King, the Government chief scientist, and
Professor Roy Anderson, whose Imperial College computer directed the
"contiguous cull", which was responsible for the slaughter of three million
healthy animals, now predict that the epidemic will last until next spring.
The news presenter, Jon Snow, did not remind them how last April the same
computer predicted that outbreaks would fall to zero on June 7, conveniently
coinciding with Mr Blair's election date.
The scientists also claimed that, had their cull policy been more
effectively enforced, "one million animals and 400 farms" could have been
saved, working out at an improbable 2,500 animals per farm. Mr Snow failed
to query any of these claims, including the most illogical that, if there
was ever another epidemic, vaccination would be at "the top of the agenda",
but that, if it had been used this time, it would only have made the
epidemic last longer. This claim produces gasps of disbelief from genuine
experts of world renown such as Professor Fred Brown and Dr Simon Barteling,
who have been saying since March that vaccination was the only effective way
to bring Britain's epidemic swiftly to an end.
It is one thing for our Government to hand over direction of the crisis to
scientists who have no real expertise in animal diseases, but when their
policies predictably fail, and they try to pre-empt criticism with such
fanciful claims, it is another for the media to be so uncritical in allowing
them to peddle what amounts to no more than propaganda.
Our comment: Hear, hear - and thank goodness he is writing this. Where on
earth is the rest of the media?
From The Observer:
Gangs 'doctor' rotten meat for the dinner table
Sunday October 7, 2001
Criminal gangs are making millions of pounds from the sale of highly
contaminated meat that is putting the lives of thousands of people at risk,
police have revealed.
Officers from at least five forces have launched joint investigations with
environmental health officials into the illicit trade of 'laundering' meat
destined for the pet food industry or destruction.
There is evidence the mass slaughter of animals due to the foot and mouth
epidemic has led to an increase in unfit meat being passed back into the
human food chain.
Authorities said rotting and diseased carcasses are bought cheaply and then
'laundered' back into the human food chain. Gangs cut off rotting sections
of meat, including cancerous growths and abscesses, and sometimes dye the
meat white again by soaking it in a bucket of salt water and a non-toxic
dose of bleach.
The Observer has learnt that police and health officials have launched
investigations in Lancashire, Hampshire, Wales, Norfolk and Derbyshire to
unmask the gangs behind the trade.
The criminals obtain false documentation that will claim the meat is
legitimate. They make deliveries at weekends or at night to avoid health
inspectors. The unfit meat can contain bacteria such as campylobacter and
salmonella, potentially lethal food poisons.
Last month police and environmental health officials raided a Norfolk farm
and found nine tons of rotting meat, including two dead foxes. The farm had
no hot water, the meat still bore traces of fur, and rat droppings littered
The meat was not fit for pet food, but inspectors believe it was destined
for the dinner table. 'I have never seen anything like it in 40 years of
food hygiene enforcement,' said Granville Smith, chief environmental health
officer for South Norfolk.
Meat scheduled for pet food can be bought for as little as 30p per pound,
but if doctored and sold back into the human food chain it can fetch as much
as #2 per pound. One Rotherham gang netted several millions in three years.
'There is a lot of money to be made,' said Yunes Teinaz, a senior
environmental health officer in Haringey, London. Teinaz's team has made 30
confiscations in the last four months and obtained 21 court orders ordering
unfit meat to be destroyed.
One target of the illegal meat traders is halal butchers, whose network of
small family-owned shops is run by owners with little formal trading.
A new campaign, spearheaded by London's Regent's Park mosque, has been
launched to help traders and consumers spot unfit meat. Leaflets will be
distributed and mosque sermons will be used to spread the message.
Public health officials believe the trade in potentially lethal meat will
become more widespread following government plans to privatise meat
Our comment: Pork pie, anyone?
From the Warmwell sebsite (with Mary's comments):
Small farmers to be given millions in aid
(warmwell note: the headline is not borne out by the subsequent article)
.....Haskins wants subsidies that promote food production to be scrapped. He
favours a system in which farms are ranked on a scale of one to 10 according
to how green they are. Large " blue" farms that use more chemicals and
pesticides would rate a three or four, while Prince Charles's farms, whose
methods are wholly organic, would score a 10. Farmers convicted of polluting
the environment would lose their accreditation and subsidy entitlement.
British farmers receive more than #3.1 billion a year in EU subsidies.
Despite this, they made only#1.9 billion net "profit" last year, pushing
their average income below #9,000. (warmwell note: many of the farmers we
support would be astonished to read this. They are without any income and
owe thousands to their voracious banks) Haskins, the millionaire chairman of
Northern Foods, who was appointed rural recovery co-ordinator in July,
recently upset the farming lobby when he predicted that the number of farms
would be halved by 2020. He said farmers needed to be more enterprising and
less dependent on subsidies and should take on work outside farming to boost
their income. His latest proposals will cause further alarm to the larger
farmers, who receive 80% of EU subsidies. They know his views are taken
seriously by the government. Haskins's blueprint for the future of British
farming is part of his plan for a shake-up of the EU's common agricultural
policy (CAP), which he is working on for the Foreign Policy Centre, a
Labour-backed think tank. There is growing support among the EU's 15 member
states for fundamental reform of the CAP, but all acknowledge it will take
years to achieve. Haskins argues that it should occur before enlargement of
the union in 2004. .....Baroness Young, chief executive of the Environment
Agency, said Britain needed to halve its 44m-strong sheep flock and enforce
strict new environmental standards on agriculture. Speaking at a fringe
meeting at the Labour party conference, she said farmers should be made to
draw up "whole farm plans" showing how they would meet environmental targets
set by the Environment Agency and the EU ( warmwell note: "should be made
to" we're hearing a lot of this sort of language lately. Control, control,
control - the death knell to Britain's food producers just as FMD has been
to so many of the Baroness' unwanted sheep) .....
Peter Riley, a Friends of the Earth food and farming campaigner, said:
"Environmentalists have called for a shift in farming subsidy from
production to care of the land for many years. If Lord Haskins can deliver
this it will be very welcome." But the National Farmers' Union will
vehemently oppose a rapid shift in subsidies. " If you take money away
quickly from commercial farms they will collapse," said Martin Haworth, the
policy director. ...............A second report by the Rural Task Force,
headed by Alun Michael, the rural affairs minister, is due out in the next
two weeks and is likely to recommend ways in which up to 20% of the money
paid through CAP - about #600m - could be legitimately diverted into
Betty forwarded this news item (source unknown):
Euro-MPs back farm disease inquiry
A CAMPAIGN to force a European inquiry into the handling of the foot-and-
crisis was almost won last night.
Tory Euro-MPs were jubilant after winning a victory that could be a blow to
Government, which has consistently rejected demands for such an inquiry.
A massive show of support among Euro-MPs from all nations means that the
request will now be considered by the presidents of the main party groups.
But the Tory members are confident of getting through this last hurdle
centre-right and Liberal leaders have signed up to the move.
It could mean Ministers and officials from the Department for Food and Rural
Affairs being asked to give evidence. And although the committee of inquiry
have the power to subpoena them, it would be deeply embarrassing to the
Government if they refused.
The inquiry will be held in public in Brussels and will scrutinise the way
Government handled the crisis, which has devastated farming in large parts
Britain and cost billions of pounds.
It will also look at how the outbreaks of the disease in Holland, France and
Republic of Ireland were handled.
Opponents claim the three official inquiries announced by Prime Minister
Blair into the outbreak in Britain will be a whitewash and do not amount to
proper public inquiry.
There is every likelihood that Britain's chief veterinary officer, Jim
be asked to give evidence, along with former minister of agriculture, Nick
if he is willing to attend.
Val sent this message from Maine, USA:
You can view the Kill or Cull programme on the net on the Devon BBC site.
Our comment: We checked and she's right - why didn't we think of that?!?!
Here's the link:
We are short of jokes, folks!
So that's all
From Alan & Rosie