Bonnie has been filming in Cumbria and from there she sends this chilling
The next day, however, I spent with Tom Lowther in Cumbria. Words fail.
He'd just been among the delegation visiting Dr. King. They asked him
categorically, Would there be vaccination, and, as you've read, he said No. Why? He said Because that would mean defeat. (The battle, you remember...)
What you haven't read is that when Tom asked him was he willing to kill every hefted sheep in all of Cumbria, he said...Yes. He would.
Something from Tom in Ilfracombe:
You want jokes? O.K. Try this one.
Two cows looking over a fence. One says to the other, "What do you think
about this Mad Cow business? The other replied, "It doesnt bother me, I'm a tractor.
Not content with bankrupting many farming families, Tony Blair comes out with another madcap"off the top of my head" idea and bans private flights due to the happenings in the US. This applies also to Flying Schools with small single engined aeroplanes, hardly likely to cause damage on the scale we have seen unfold with disbelief on our TV screens. If this goes on for long then Private Flying will go the way of the farming industry and Flying Instructors and people who used to run Flying Schools will be in the dole queues along with farmers. Already, with the introduction of a new European licensing directive known as JAR-FCL, clubs have closed due the higher costs this has brought about. There is currently much talk about freedom but there seems to be less and less of it in our "democratic" country.
Governments which claim to be acting in the best interests of the people seem to inflict ever greater evils upon them.
Mary at the Warmwell site posts this item:
Sept 13 ~ Dr Susan Haywood Ph D, BVSc, MRCVS, Senior Fellow in Veterinary
Pathology, University of Liverpool, one of the signatories of the Harrogate
Declaration, has written to warmwell.com
to ask " Please stress to everyone that they must write to the PM mentioning their support for the Harrogate Declaration" It is difficult sometimes to believe that our letters, so carefully written and so time-consuming to write -(and so lightly dismissed it seems!) - can actually make any impact at all. However, several letters that say the same thing DO have an effect and every single one of us that gets a letter to Mr Blair into the post today or tomorrow will be making an important gesture. It WILL be noted.
From The Times:
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 14 2001
Government defends hard line on culls
BY VALERIE ELLIOTT, COUNTRYSIDE EDITOR
THE Government defended the slaughter of nearly eight million animals to
control the foot-and-mouth epidemic yesterday and ruled out any
circumstances when vaccination would now be used in this outbreak.
David King, the Government's chief scientific adviser, even made clear that
he believed vaccination could never have been used to control the spread
He also revealed that the proposal for a limited vaccination of cattle in
Cumbria was largely to buy time for officials coping with the massive
problem of slaughter and disposal of carcasses.
He accepted, however, that vaccination might have protected about 100,000 of
the 250,000 cattle in Cumbria.
There have been 887 confirmed cases in Cumbria and it is the county hardest
hit by the disease because of the large number of sheep movements that took
place at markets in Longtown and Carlisle.
It is understood that the economic impact on tourism and other rural
businesses was never assessed by the Government when it agreed the cull
strategy. A Countryside Agency report believes the epidemic has cost the
national economy more than #4billion.
Professor King and Jim Scudamore, the chief veterinary officer, spoke about
vaccination yesterday after calls for it to be used to stamp out new
flare-ups. Even Ewen Cameron, the chairman of the Countryside Agency and the
Government's Rural Advocate, has suggested a trial ring vaccination scheme.
Senior advisers' believe, however, there is no possible scenario for the use
of vaccination to eradicate the diseaseor bring the epidemic under control.
Mr Scudamore said the cull strategy had been effective. Even if there were
an outbreak in a previously unaffected part of the country, the response
would be the same - slaughter at the infected farm and a contiguous cull of
The mood in Whitehall is now optimistic, especially because the disease
appears to be confined to two hotspot areas in Cumbria between Penrith and
Tebay, and around Hexham in Northumberland. There were no new cases reported
The recent outbreak around Hexham was caused by old disease in sheep,
although it is unclear how the disease arrived in the area. Epidemiologists
are also unclear why there is still so much infection in south Cumbria.
Blood-testing of animals throughout the country shows the disease is not
endemic in the sheep population and senior officials are hopeful that the
country will regain its foot-and mouth disease-free status.
The Government believes the European Union needs to re-examine its response
to foot-and-mouth disease in the light of the recent epidemic. An EU
conference on the subject is to be held in Brussels in December.
Mr Scudamore feels vaccination will be a useful tool only when a test is
fully validated to distinguish between animals vaccinated against
foot-and-mouth disease and those harbouring the virus.
Our comment: You didn't think we would let this pass without comment, did
Remember those oft-repeated phrases about vaccination - "under constant
review", "remains under consideration" etc etc? But David King now admits
that these have all been lies, all along. He has never wanted to vaccinate
and refuses to believe that it would have been effective - and he should
know; after all he is a chemist and so considers himself qualified to brush
aside the views of those who have spent a lifetime specialising in FMD.
"Mr Scudamore said the cull strategy had been effective" - and so it has,
if by effective he means that the biggest mass slaughter of livestock in
world history, allied to the biggest animal welfare atrocity in UK history,
allied to the biggest crisis in the rural economy this century, begins to
look as if it may, possibly, extinquish the epidemic after seven long
months. But we venture to suggest that "effective" is not really the most
appropriate word to describe these achievements. We would say that the
slaughter policy has proved to be the most lengthy, damaging, cruel,
heartless, immoral and expensive method that could possibly be devised for
eliminating FMD, always assuming (as he clearly hopes) that it does
eventually work. That any strategy finally arrives at the desired end
result provides no evidence whatever of its efficiency en-route, as all
these scientists know perfectly well.
But they will never risk admitting that they were wrong.
From the Farmers Weekly:
14 September 2001
MAFF 'ignored virus diagnosis kit'
By Mike Stones
MILLIONS of stock could have been saved from the foot-and-mouth cull if MAFF
had taken up a rapid diagnostic kit in March.
The Cepheid Smart Cycler, which confirms the presence of the foot-and-mouth
virus within two hours, was offered to MAFF on 9 March, a London conference
organised by Compassion in World Farming was told on Friday morning (14
No bigger than a suitcase, the machine, developed in the USA as a weapon
against bio-terrorism, uses nasal or throat swabs to rapidly confirm or deny
the presence of the foot-and-mouth virus.
Professor Fred Brown, who has been researching the foot-and-mouth virus for
46 years, said the kit could have helped to spare the lives of millions of
If it had been used seven months ago to identify precisely which animals
were infected, they could have been spared from the contiguous cull.
"The great advantage of the Smart Cycler is that it can detect the presence
of the disease 24-48 hours before clinical symptoms appear," said Mr Brown.
The government's failure neither to use the rapid diagnostic kit nor to
vaccinate could cost the lives of 7.9m animals if the disease continues
until next April, said CIWF political director, Peter Stevenson.
"Up to 2.5 million possibly healthy animals could have been spared if the
test was introduced at an early stage," he warned.
Preventing the further spread of the disease now depended on using the rapid
diagnosis machine to identify and slaughter only infected stock in new and
That should be used with a policy of vaccinating all stock within 10km of
infected cases to create a firewall, he added.
Actor, CIWF patron and self-styled housewife Joanna Lumley expressed outrage
at the government's opposition to vaccination.
"Foot-and-mouth is the only disease, either animal or human, against which
the government refuses to vaccinate.
"I am furious at the government's cover-up on a scale we have not seen
Ken Tyrell, former senior vet during the 1967/68 outbreak said he was
"ashamed, frustrated and horrified, " at the basic errors MAFF had made in
its handling of the outbreak.
One of its chief errors, he said, was "refusing to consider vaccination
policy when it became obvious from day seven that not to vaccinate and to
give way to the NFU's dogged opposition to vaccination would contribute to
the destruction of the rural economy."
CIWF is organising a meeting in Bristol on Saturday (15 September) to
promote the benefits of foot-and-mouth vaccination.
14 September 2001
Light lamb push is working - FUW
By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent
EFFORTS to find customers for light lambs are succedding, according to a
Farmers' Union of Wales survey.
When the union contacted Welsh abattoirs and national retailers, sales of
light lamb were described as "extraordinarily good".
Owen Owen, managing director of the meat company Cwmni Cig Mon said good
promotion meant that small lambs were "selling like hot cakes".
This allowed him to pay farmers #1.50/kg for a 12kg lamb, or almost twice
what it would realise on the welfare disposal scheme.
FARMERS WEEKLY and Farmers First are running a joint campaign to sell the
Farmers First chairman Terry Bayliss reported that 1000 boxed lambs had been
sold in three weeks, and 70 orders a day were being received.
FUW president Bob Parry said sales were especially good in southern England,
and it was clear that UK consumers had a taste for hill lamb when it was
made available and promoted vigorously.
Please note there will be no message tomorrow night (Saturday) as we are
attending the Bristol forum - full report on Sunday.
from Alan & Rosie