Richard has been doing some more digging:
Given the pivotal role in FMD of Prof Roy Anderson FRS, formerly of the
Department of Zoology, Oxford University - and a close colleague of Sir
Robert May, also of the Department of Zoology - it is interesting to note
that Sir Brian Follett, chairman of the Royal Society's 'independent'
inquiry into the scientific aspects of foot and mouth, is a visiting
professor of - guess what - the Department of Zoology, Oxford University.
And who else is on the committee? Well, Suzi Leather, deputy chair of the
Food Standards Agency, second in command to Sir John Krebs FRS, chair of the
FSA and also head of group, in the - guess what - Department of Zoology,
Oxford University - the man who introduced Anderson to Prof. King (Fellow of
the Royal Society) and made sure he took over the FMD management. Alongside
Suzi is Dr Angela Maclean, who just happens to come from - you guessed it -
the Department of Zoology, Oxford University.
Of course, all this is a complete coincidence. There can be no question
that Follett's inquiry is going to be completely independent and come up
with all the right answers.
Our comment: Have you all signed the petition for a Public Inquiry yet?
From the Ananova website:
Hundreds of people have attended a meeting to hear foot-and-mouth experts
discuss the impact of the epidemic in Britain.
Professor Fred Brown, Britain's leading expert on the disease, was joined by
Dutch experts Dr Simon Borteling and Dr Paul Sutmoller.
Organisers of the meeting at Penrith Auction Market, Cumbria, said many
farmers and vets were among the crowd.
Cumbria was chosen as one of two venues for the talks because it has been
one of the worst-hit counties in Britain.
A similar meeting was held in Bristol on Saturday.
Prof Brown has studied the disease for the past 46 years and has condemned
the Government's handling of the epidemic as "complacent".
The trio of experts said they wanted to see the use of rapid detection
procedures and farm-gate vaccinations to eradicate the virus.
Organisers of the meetings brought along a portable rapid diagnosis device
to show members of the public.
They said the invention would allow vets to diagnosis the disease within two
hours compared to the days it takes a laboratory.
Val sends this message from the USA:
Thanks for the laughs!!!!!!!!!!!
Have you heard of Project Heifer?
It is run by the Presbyterian Church and provides ( mostly third world
country ) communities with a cow or some chickens etc, so they can earn
some of their own food, and sell some and they have to give the first
progeny ( calf..whatever ) to someone else so the good is mulitplied.
In my wildest dreams I would like to think there may be some welcome for the
animals that would other wise undergo welfare cull, in Project Heifer.
Let me know if you can't locate them on the web and I will find an address.
Our comment: Unfortunately most welfare problems result from the inability
to move stock at all, even to such a worthy cause as this one. The enforced
waste of these animals is a crime, not only against animals, but against
Sara forwarded this article:
I thought you might be interested in the following article which was in
Saturday's Western Daily Press:
"The F&M crisis and BSE have inflicted a heavy emotional toll on the West's
farming community, with hundreds suffering the long term effect. Devoted
farmer Derek Powell, aged 69 was the first human victim of F&M disease. The
hard working bachelor hill farmer hanged
himself earlier this year in a barn soon
after a D notice was served on his farm.
An inquest into his death concluded that
the 'policymakers' shouldered a large part of the responsiblity. Another
West farmer, Jeffrey Atwell, was found hanging from a rope fixed to the
same beam at his farm that his son had used to hang himself just four
months earlier. Donald Arscott, NFU south west chariman, also has first
hand knowledge of such tragedies. Late last year his son commited suicide
after working in farming since he left school."
Also health groups in the west have been
put on red alert over expected surge in farm suicides this winter. At a
major conference near Bristol around 80 reps of the Mental Health Services
Group heard there was a dreadful fear that F&Mwould return. Brian Warren of
he FarmCrisis network said "Mental health problems among those affected by
the disease were likely to worsen over the coming months"
Many farmers were suffering from depression or had family or relationship
problems and some were turning to alcohol and drugs in desperation. He said
The winter months are going to be difficult. Suicide is one of the things
we are going to be looking at more in the future. There is a great divide
between farmers who had stock and those with none. Those with no animals
have to decide between getting new stock or to deal with no work to do
while those with stock have animals they can't sell and no winter food.
There is a great
feeling of helplessness among farmers, people are going to lose their
Also note Compassion in World Farming is launching a campaign for a
vaccination policy, they predict that 8,000,000 will be slaughtered by
Spring if the disease is not brought under control.
Betty forwarded this next article:
Millions More Sheep Must Die As Farmers Use Up Winter Food
By Robert Mendick
The Independent - London
Kevin Barber's sheep are starving. Emaciated ewes stand
beneath a barn roof, hobbling in the gloom on matchstick legs. Their
is deteriorating as fast as their food supplies dwindle.
The farmer thought he had escaped the ravages of foot
and mouth, but he was wrong. For Mr Barber and thousands of farmers like
him, the mass slaughter is just beginning.
The fields around his farm in the heart of Devon are bare,
the barns have been emptied of winter feed and strict movement controls
mean that, for his sheep, there is no chance of escape.
Mr Barber's sheep are not infected. But in the coming
days, 156 ewes and lambs one-tenth of his flock at Lovaton Farm will
be taken to an abattoir and killed to prevent them suffering a lingering,
painful death by starvation.
Devon should have been declared officially foot and mouth
free tomorrow it has been three months since the county's last confirmed
outbreak at a farm in North Tawton, just down the road from Mr Barber's.
But Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for the Environment, fearing
outbreaks, ordered last week that movement controls be maintained.
So, Mr Barber, 37, his bank overdraft #20,000 higher
than last year, is facing a new foot and mouth nightmare. His sheep should
have gone to market in the spring but Mr Barber was unable to sell them
and is now unable to move them. So he is stuck with 30 per cent too many
animals. The grass is fast running out, and there is practically no silage
or hay for the winter. The grazing land, covering 193 acres of rolling
countryside, is now "bare like a billiard table".
The experience is repeated across the country. The RSPCA
predicts that 100,000 sheep will have to be slaughtered in Devon, and
2.2 million "light" lambs those too thin to be sold for meat
across the country.
"I honestly thought we would get to this stage of
the summer and the worst would be behind us," Mr Barber said. "It's
a case of survival now. I just hope we can get the sheep through the
Mr Barber approached the Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs (Defra), asking it to slaughter part of his stock under
its Livestock Welfare (Disposal) Scheme. Already, 1.6 million animals have
been culled for welfare reasons and nearly #200m paid out in compensation.
Many, including the National Farmers Union, fear this autumn and winter will
an even bloodier massacre.
Steve Donohue, an RSPCA inspector who has been working
flat out checking the condition of livestock across Devon, said: "The
situation is going to deteriorate rapidly as winter approaches. There are
a lot of farms overstocked and short of winter feed."
Peter Wastenage, 31, who has an organic cattle farm 20
minutes' drive from Exeter and 15 miles from the nearest outbreak, is
to tears as he listens to his precious herd "shouting" for food.
Cows that should have years of milking left in them will be culled to cure
the overstocking on Tidwell Farm. He currently has about 100 cows too many
out of a herd of 384.
Ordinarily, he would sell the surplus dairy cattle for
as much as #1,800 an animal in the spring sales. This year, no dealer
would take them and, in desperation, Mr Wastenage has applied to Defra
for them to be culled for as little as #300 an animal.
His problem in feeding the cattle is compounded by the
need to keep the herd's organic status. That means finding winter feed,
grass and silage from fields that have not been sprayed with herbicides,
insecticides and chemical fertilisers.
Milk yields are down by #5,000 a month while it
is costing #2,500 a month to buy in organic feed. The extra 100 cattle
means milking takes two hours longer.
Now we have a contribution from Nick and Didi in Cornwall, who have been
preparing a legal case against MAFF/DEFRA for the slaughter of their
livestock in April as "contiguous". They had originally been served with a
form A notice and their stock slaughtered, but they later realised that
other "contiguous" farms around them still retained their animals. When
they started looking into the matter, they realised the injustice of what
had happened to them and decided to take action. They have put a great deal
of time, money and energy into this and we wish them every success with
their application for a Judicial Review:
Dear Alan and Rosie,
I sent in a complaint form about the MAFF vet who culled our animals to the
RCVS several months ago, and last week, to my surprise I had a letter from
them asking me to supply more details. I have sent them the copy of the
email which you sent us re your vet, as no names were mentioned. I have
printed below the copy of the letter I sent back. We also found out from
our solicitor that if we win
the Judicial Review it will lead to a change in the contiguous culling law.
If you want to send out my RCVS letter feel free!
best wishes and many thanks for all your help, Nick and Didi.
Dear Mrs Butler,
Thank you for your letter of August 28th 2001. The main issue of our
complaint is as you have laid out in your letter.
I have enclosed some copies of various correspondence between our solicitor,
Michael Freeland, and a DEFRA solicitor, in which DEFRA have quite clearly
stated that "it was not within MAFF's powers to serve a Form A."
I have also enclosed the front page of our application for a Judicial Review
which was submitted to the London Administrative Court on June 29th 2001.
As far as I am able to understand the procedure of a Judicial Review, I
believe that our application is proceeding and we appear to have progressed
quite far down the line with it so far. However, my solicitor has told me
that certain papers, such as our detailed witness statement cannot be sent
to you as they are with the Judge, and would be sub - judicy. The witness
statement, however, is very detailed. It contains every sentence said by Mr
Fields on the phone and when he was on our farm. It also shows on detailed
building plans, where he was standing , and at what time these statements
We have not sought any publicity over our application so far as we do not
want to put any pressure on the Judge. If, however, we are granted a
Judicial Review, there will no doubt be some publicity, and we will not
hesitate to make clear that our decision to apply to the courts over the
contiguous cull is solely because of the actions of David Fields. If the
Judge finds in our favour, we will be taking further legal advice on taking
out a criminal prosecution against Mr Fields.
As requested, I have enclosed some maps which I hope will help to explain
the location of the outbreak farm, our farm and some of the other contiguous
farms which were not culled. These other farms were placed under D Forms,
their pigs, cattle and sheep were blood tested negative to F&M and were
given E Forms about two months ago. Not only were all our cows and sheep
slaughtered by Mr Fields, but we are still under an A Form. The
Administrative Court also has aerial photographs taken from a helicopter
three weeks after the culling, of sheep, cattle and outdoor pigs on the
unculled contiguous properties. We have been deeply traumatized by seeing
our five cows, who were pets and all aged 15 years and were home-bred, shot,
but the sight of seeing our sheep shot when they had only started lambing
four days before the cull, is something which we will never recover from.
The Administrative Courts have all the relevant paperwork showing evidence
from the tree planting company that there were no sheep beyond the red line
on our field map from mid January 2001 and our local vet that our 5 cows
were housed from mid October 2000, and also that our lambing ewes were
housed six weeks prior to the outbreak. I have also enclosed a copy of an
email sent to me by a farmer in Bridgerule, Devon, whose MAFF vet behaved
in the correct way on a contiguous property, during the same time period.
It is obviously very difficult to explain the field locations and boundaries
to someone in London. Five months after the outbreak at West Witheven the
only person who has been on our farm has been David Fields and his slaughter
crew. No other MAFF/DEFRA official or vet has been on our farm. Mr Fields
only walked 50 yards down to our first field gate from the buildings which
are at the top of the farm. He refused to even enter the first field, let
alone walk across the next three fields to see that there was no way any
sheep could possibly have been any closer than 37 acres from the outbreak.
No one has actually seen our fields or the 37 acres of trees which separate
us from the off-lying field which belonged to the outbreak farm. The sheep
which were in this off-lying field were not blood tested.
The farm at West Witheven belongs to Mervyn Turner who milked about 100 cows
and had sheep on various off-lying ground. The main holding is to the north
east of the road going from Canworthy Water, north west to Wainhouse Corner
on the copy of the enclosed OS map. As it was April 1st, his dairy cows
were still housed. I believe that he had a group of heifers in the
buildings and had F&M diagnosed in 3 or 4 heifers. I do not know if these
animals were blood tested as MAFF will not give us any information.
We have lived on our farm for 18 years and ran a closed flock of sheep. Our
movement books verify that the only farm animals bought by us in recent
years, were two rams, two years ago. Our cows were not kept for breeding
purposes and were only pets (we have no quotas and do not take grants or
subsidies). Our bio-security was of the highest standard prior to Mr
Fields' arrival on our farm during the F&M outbreak. Our son had been kept
away from school since mid February 2001, and we had large signs on our farm
gate etc with fresh foot bath and sprays by the gate, as can be verified by
our vet Mr N.Franklin of Penbode vets, Bude.
Finally I would like to summarize the actions of Mr Fields on placing the A
Form on our farm:
* Mr Fields phoned us at 10 am on Sunday April 1st 2001 and told us that our
animals were to be slaughtered and that this was automatic.
* At 11 am he arrived at our farm, came through the gate and standing 10
foot from the gate, issued us with the A Form. He had not seen any of our
animals at this point.
* At no point did Mr Fields provide any evidence as to why he believed that
our animals had been infected with F&M, yet he signed an A Form stating that
they had been infected with F&M.
* He did not take any blood samples of the animals before or after
slaughtering them, which he is required to do under both EU and UK Animal
* About four weeks after the culling he said in a phone call to us that he
had never seen a map of our property, and its location with the outbreak
* He has not replied to our solicitor's letters.
These are the facts which have been presented to the High Court of Justice
Administrative Court in London.
The legal team prosecuting our case are:
James Goudie Q.C.
Hugh Mercer Q.C.
Michael Warner Barrister.
Now to return to the Forum on FMD Control held in Bristol on Saturday. We
sent out our report on these proceedings yesterday but had no time left to
add our personal impressions - so here is "our comment"!
It was wonderful to meet in person so many people whom we have "known" for
so long as E-mail contacts. We won't list everyone here but it really helps
to be able to put faces to names! So the informal discussions were valuable
for this alone. The same applies to the speakers, whose names are so
familiar to us and whose work we have read avidly; to meet them and hear
them in person was to complete the experience.
We have long held the view that the risk from carrier animals, or recovered
animals showing antibodies, is zero in practical terms. Yet our own UK
scientists are constantly describing this "threat" from sheep, using such
language as "silent shedders of virus" or attributing new outbreaks to "old
disease in sheep". We have repeatedly asked for scientific evidence to
support such statements but none has been produced, while there is plenty to
discount such accusations. At the Forum, it was made very clear that the
scientific evidence all points to only one conclusion - to quote Dr Paul
Sutmoller "All experimental evidence of FMD virus transmission by carrier
sheep is negative". We discussed this with him in person afterwards and he
dismissed such statements as "silent shedders" and "old disease" as
nonsense. He confirmed that the disease is not self-sustaining in sheep and
peters out naturally if left alone.
Once again, we are left asking the same questions - why are David King, Jim
Scudamore and other UK scientists telling deliberate lies? Why are they so
determined to eliminate sheep that cannot pose any threat of re-infection?
Why do they continue to refute the proven and documented efficiency of
vaccination? Why did they refuse to trial the "Smart Cycler" device for
rapid FMD diagnosis when Fred Brown offered it on 9th March? And so on . .
. . .
We don't have the answers to these questions but we are certain, now, about
one thing - the slaughter policy has nothing whatever to do with disease
control in the current epidemic. All the science is telling us that
vaccination should have been used at a very early stage of the epidemic, and
would certainly have dramatically reduced the scale of the slaughter, the
economic and environmental costs, the human and animal suffering, and the
duration of the outbreak. Instead, the slaughter policy was imposed by a
government that repeatedly claimed to be following "the best scientific
advice"; they, too, are liars to their own electorate, just as the Dutch
government deceived its people over the slaughter of vaccinates.
No thinking person attending this forum could have returned home without a
clear grasp of the basic science behind vaccination against FMD. It was all
presented in straightforward terms that anyone could understand. The
question/discussion session revealed the problems that this was causing to
some farmers, including NFU representatives, in the audience - their
deeply-entrenched prejudices had been challenged so effectively that they
could only bluster about the political consequences for trade. This, of
course, is the real issue, and has been all along. No-one can seriously
question that vaccination works, but the economic consequences within the EU
were deliberately set against its use in 1991. That is the issue which must
be addressed, not for next time, but right now.
From the Farmers Weekly website:
17 September 2001
Second virus all-clear for Leics
By FWi staff
A SECOND suspected case of foot-and-mouth disease in Leicestershire has
proved negative, officials have confirmed.
The all-clear around the farm in the Hinckley area was granted on Monday (17
September) following final test results from blood samples.
All restrictions have been lifted, including an 8km ban on animal movements,
a 3km surveillance zone and footpath closures around the area.
About 50 cattle were culled on a farm at Sketchley, near Hinckley - an area
where there were a handful of foot-and-mouth outbreaks in the spring.
The farm is the second in the area to be given the all-clear. Tests on
livestock at a holding near Loughborough have also proved negative.
But restrictions in some other areas will be maintained. Two roads in
Cumbria are likely to stay closed for two weeks in a bid to stop the disease
Hundreds of people gathered at Penrith Auction market to hear experts
discuss the impact of the epidemic in Britain on Sunday (16 September).
Fred Brown, Britain's leading expert on the disease, was joined by Dutch
experts Dr Simon Borteling and Dr Paul Sutmoller.
Prof Brown, who has studied the disease for the past 46 years, has condemned
the Government's handling of the crisis as "complacent".
The three of experts said they wanted to see the use of rapid detection
procedures and farm-gate vaccinations to eradicate the virus.
Our comment: As if any further evidence were needed - the Leicestershire
"scare" need not have happened at all if the rapid diagnosis machine offered
by Fred Brown had been used, and those slaughtered cattle would still be
From the Warmwell website:
VACCINATION IS THE ANSWER, SAY EXPERTS
Evening News and Star
VACCINATION is the way to bring foot and mouth under control rapidly in
Cumbria, a packed forum in Penrith was told by experts last night. It was
also revealed that all three speakers, international experts Professor Fred
Brown, Dr Simon Barteling and Dr Paul Sutmoller, had been asked to meet the
Government chief scientific adviser Professor David King in London this
This was seen as indicating that vaccination might still be under
consideration, despite Prof King's assurances to a Cumbrian delegation last
week that the slaughter policy would overcome the disease. ....... Prof
Brown said the vaccine had been available to give disease protection within
four or five days and avoid the tremendous loss of uninfected animals. Maff
had been asked in March if the current outbreak could be used to validate a
test able to detect all 70 types of foot and mouth in two hours, but said it
was overwhelmed with what it had to do and "maybe later". Dr Barteling
warned that the virus ravaging Cumbria was a "guerilla" strain which often
went underground. "Restocking in an unvaccinated situation means risk," said
Dr Barteling. "To control disease rapidly, vaccination is the answer."
No vaccinated animal had been known to cause new disease, Dr Barteling
Dr Sutmoller said people in the UK had been eating meat from vaccinated
cattle for 30 years in imports from South America. Britain might have to
reconsider its "disease-free" status. In February it became a high-risk
country which exported foot and mouth to several other countries, said Dr
Sutmoller. Prof Brown is visiting scientist at the United States Department
of Agriculture's Plum Island Animal Disease Center. He has worked with foot
and mouth since 1955. Dr Barteling is an international consultant on foot
and mouth, and was head of the EU Community Co-ordinating Institute for Foot
and Mouth Disease. Dr Sutmoller is a vet who has worked for more than 35
years on the prevention, control and eradication of foot and mouth in Latin
America and the Caribbean Sept 17
From "Private Eye" via the Warmwell website:
Even Newer Muckspreader
When it turned out that Professor Roy Anderson's computer hadn't brought the
FMD epidemic to an end by July after all, and that new outbreaks were still
popping up in Northumberland, Leicestershire and heaven knows where, Defra
in panic announced it was planning to introduce all sorts of draconian new
licensing regulations to prevent farmers moving their stock around. Since
this will make it even harder for the farmers to earn a living, it was quite
important for them to know what these changes to the licensing system might
Ben Garratt, who runs a pedigree herd of Blonde D'Aquitaine cattle near
Ashford in Kent, first learned about the new restrictions when he was
reading the 32-page-long August edition of Defra's 'FMD Update' (including a
particularly exciting section on grouse-shooting). The ministry was hoping
to have its new licensing system firmly in place in September, presumably
when the Great Caravanner Mrs Beckett finally got back from her holidays.
But as yet there were no further details. Nevertheless, Mr Garratt was
pleased to note that the 'latest information' was available from Defra's FMD
helpline, which happened to be on a number up in Cumbria ('which I knew
already'). He told his partner, a doctor who needed the telephone for her
own work, that he would just make 'a quick call' and she could then have the
When, after 10 minutes, he finally got through to 'Julie' in Cumbria, she
said she couldn't advise how the new rules would affect Kent, but suggested
he should ring his divisional veterinary office in Reigate, Surrey. She gave
him the number ('which I knew already') and a switchboard operator
explained, 'very slowly', that no one in that office could help. Mr Garratt
should try Defra's FMD experts for the south-east in Chelmsford, Essex. But
since Mr Garratt is acquainted with most of the vets at Reigate, he asked to
be put through anyway. The duty vet told him that he knew nothing about any
proposals to change movement licenses, but suggested that Mr Garratt should
try Reading, Berks, who had a whole department dealing with that sort of
thing ('definitely not Chelmsford').
Mr Garratt was given the number ('which I knew already') and was eventually
put through to a man in the licensing department, who said he didn't know
anything about new proposals from HQ, but why didn't Mr Garratt speak to the
people who actually make the policy, who are up in Glasgow. A chap in
Glasgow said he knew of no new proposals for movement licenses, but probably
the best way for Mr Garratt to keep in touch was to ring the FMD helpline in
Cumbria. To arrive back where he started had taken Mr Garratt the best part
of an hour, keeping his doctor friend away from her lifesaving work.
Listening that night to the BBC News, Mr Garratt was interested to hear that
Defra was "proposing changes to the way farmers are permitted to move
animals round the countryside". But no further details were forthcoming. Mr
Garratt did briefly wonder whether it might be worth beginning the whole
exercise again the next morning. But only very briefly. No doubt if the
Great Caravanner could have been told all about this in some French trailer
park, she might have cackled her head off at how ingeniously her officials
were still managing to give those farmers the runaround, even while she
remained on the longest holiday in history.
Finally, our joke-of-the-day comes from Ron of STAMP (Stop The Ash Moor
Pit), who told us en-route to the Forum that they would only ever allow one
cow to be buried in the Ash Moor Pit facility - and that was Margaret
from Alan & Rosie