First a message from Diana:
Just been reading through your last 5 messages, and the last one caught my
attention - this Simon Jenkins really doesn't like farmers, does he? And to
dismiss farming as just "one small industry" - where does he think his food
Also interesting were the comments of Animal Rights people (I've
already lost the e-mail, but I know I just read it). We all wondered where
they'd got to when we needed them, and now we know - they were celebrating
the mass murder of millions of innocent creatures, in the warped belief that
they were being spared a life of suffering at the hands of cruel farmers. I
sometimes wonder if there is any hope for humanity!
Changing the subject, I had an interesting conversation with a fellow
smallholder this week, who had sold some heifers to a neighbouring farm. The
actual transport entailed making a gap in the fence between two fields and
pushing the animals through. For this they needed a long-distance movement
licence. Only after much effort did they persuade Defra that a disinfected
truck was not also necessary!
The same person told me a story about a lady she knows who has a few
pet sheep. Two ewes escaped from the field where they were trapped, into a
field belonging to the same holding but across the farm track. Instead of
just putting them back and keeping quiet, she phoned Defra for advice.
Within half an hour the police arrived and arrested her for the illegal
movement of animals! She spent the afternoon in the police station. I don't
know what the outcome was, but it leaves me asking who was the most stupid -
the owner for reporting the event, or Defra for their typical over-reaction?
All for now - Diana.
This message was forwarded by Betty in Holland:
Subject: Moredun Papers
Date: 7-9-2001 17:58:59
I must say that after reading David's views and then Lesley's note re
Reid working as a TVI on FMD killing in Dumfries and Galloway (ref.
King; 6th Sept), I went back and read it again! I didn't get the same
vibes as David. This man (who is a vet, but his main work is I believe
a virologist working on animal diseases), writes a fairly simple newsy
article about his experiences as a Temporary Vet. in a situation which
until this year was alien to all but a few vets who were around in '67.
In another life I worked with vets, medics, virologists, managers,
technicians in an effort to control a particularly nasty animal virus
which is similar to human flu (ie it can kill).
A vaccine was available. Great! Instant answer. Not so. The vaccine
was not thoroughly tested; the politics were vitriolic; the human
resources were available but untrained; the emotions were often raw; many
animals died; many survived. It all took a painfully long time to be
resolved, and I lost my job as part of the fallout. The whole
episode taught me that there are rarely any simple, rapid solutions to
complex problems (and in those days I always wanted the answer
I'm not qualified to comment on the science they do at Moredun, but I do
know we need all the advice and balanced thinking we can get in this
In the past I have been critical of the RBST during this episode. I
by what I said earlier and agree with David on this, that as a member
organisation they have been ( and still are) poor at communicating with
the members at their time of greatest need. I suspect there will be many
small flock owners who (whether or not they have lost animals), after all
this is over will seriously question whether it is all worth it. I don't
see the RBST doing much to bolster morale in this area.
good luck everyone
While on the same subject from Richard :
re: Moredun papers
There does seem to be something uniquely awful about the veterinary
profession - especially those who are employed in any official capacity. I
have been dealing with MAFF and academic vets for nigh-on 20 years and have
never met a species like it. With certain honourable exceptions, they exude
rightousness and certainty and are totally immune to argument. As a group
they seem to be primarily motivated by a massive inferiority complex -
engendered by their perceived lack of status compared with medical doctors -
and over-compensate by assuming their dogmatic approach. Over the years
have made steady encroachments into public health where they have been an
unmitigated disaster - the slaughterhouse debacle is a case in point - and
now their activities with FMD are plain for all to see. Their activities
entirely consistent. These people are dangerous.
More on globalisation of agriculture from Bryn:
More news from the world twisters !!!
With Brazil and Argentina, and of course Poland, in the game and our slack,
mealy mouthed government means ANYTHING could happen without those at the
sharp end being kept up to speed by any unions/associations they belong to
fighting their corner.
I wonder how much the NFU keep their members informed of these big plans,
and where they fit in ?
I hope the whole thing is not too depressing.
Bryn and Carol
> check this out
The Associated Press (Wed 5 Sep 2001)
Farm Export Summit Ends
PUNTA DEL ESTE, Uruguay (AP) -- The Cairns Group of 17 farm export
nations ended its three-day summit expressing confidence that new
global trade talks will feature agricultural reform on the agenda.
"The part of the process that is a little more encouraging is my
perception of a much more significant level of commitment from the
major players. I sense a much stronger commitment to achieve a positive
outcome," Australian trade minister Mark Vaile, president of the Cairns
Group, told a closing news conference Wednesday.
While highlighting the U.S. commitment to placing agriculture reform on
the global agenda, Vaile said the elimination of nearly $1 billion a
day in worldwide price-distorting agriculture subsidies still poses a
The United States is one of the worst offenders in this category, many
participants said, having spent $92 billion in 2000 on farm and export
However, a top-level U.S. delegation headed by U.S. Agriculture
Secretary Ann Veneman and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick
participated in talks with the Cairns Group of 17 agricultural
The Cairns Group, whose members' products account for more than
one-third of all world agriculture exports, seeks to reform farm trade
through the elimination of export subsidies, domestic farm support and
Unless agriculture is included on the agenda for the launch of a new
round of World Trade Organization talks, Cairns Group members agree
they see no point in starting a new round of talks.
The WTO talks are scheduled for Nov. 9-13 in Doha, Qatar.
"We agreed that the launch of a new round in Doha must be subject to a
substantive agricultural accord...that includes five main points,"
Argentina's agriculture secretary, Marcelo Regunaga, said on the
sidelines of the conference.
The statement's five main points include a call for the elimination of
export subsidies and improving global market access.
| | | | | | | | | |
A first contribution from a new member of this message group:
Just a few comments for those who may be interested
> about the Rare Breeds FMD conference at Stoneleigh
> It was an intriguing day, the highlights being a
> from farmer Peter Symonds on living with FMD and Dr
> Simon Barteling on vaccination who left no stone
> unturned on the subject, dismissing ring vaccination
> as pointless since this virus 'doesn't know about
> rings' but moves quite differently. As we know he
> supports a protective, not suppressive, vaccination
> programme. How impressed the RBST hosts were by his
> evidence is hard to gauge. They claim (cautiously)
> be pro vacc but nevertheless chose NOT to push for
> option to vaccinate rare breeds early on quote
> 'because we would have been accused by farmers of
> spreading the disease', ie they still support the
> belief that vaccinated animals can shed virus....
> Even after Barteling's talk I found people generally
> reluctant to give up all these deeply entrenched
> ideas, including the RBST officers who themselves
> seemed depressingly uninformed in many ways.
> I harangued everyone I could and must have been a
> right pain but I was struck by the fact that tho
> members were appalled by the cull they also seemed
> generally bemused and confused about the
> At the risk of sounding like a tory MP - we're
> not getting our message across!!! Rare breeders are
> mostly NOT hermits hefted to some isolated hill farm
> with no access to Jonathan Miller's articles - a lot
> of them have had expensive educations etc and should
> know better than to accept the crap that's been
> out to them. And yet they seem by and large scared
> question anything.
> Anyhow, it was lovely to meet Sarah and 'Dotty' and
> Paul - hope you guys got home safely. If anyone else
> from the list was there sorry that I missed you.
> Off-topic-ish...And now the scrapie thing. I learned
> yesterday that when Defra take the blood samples
> will test for FMD antibodes too. The scrapie plan is
> sinister beyond words because it targets the whole
> genotype of certain breeds and could literally
> these breeds as we know them. (All sheep gotta be
> white). It's one thing for breeders to build their
> database and devise their own breeding strategies,
> quite another for politicians to do the screening
> make the decisions and the policy on the back of it.
> Owners of short-legged Dexter cattle look out - you
> could be next!
Sara sent in this message:
It seems to me that at the rate that animals are being killed, there will
be nothing left to vaccinate. As noted in tonight's newsletter, we used to
sufficient, what happens when we can no longer feed ourselves? We will be
held to ransome by the rest of the world. I'm beginning to come to the
conclusion that the quicker I get some land/smallholding of my own, the
I'll be able to supply most if not all my own food and I won't have to eat
the crap that's being imported ('scuse language). It makes me desperatley
sad to read/see the reports on the TV but I cannot see what I can do (apart
British, which I already do). Do you have tony blairs's e-mail address?
Perhaps I can start pestering him to get a vaccination programme started.
If everyone sent one a day perhaps he'd listen?? (Good grief, something
pink with a curly tail just flew over my house!!!)
Sky forwarded this item:
Even Blair-guru Lord Haskins and the mighty Krebs lose sway
world's largest food company bend the PM's ear: "The
events in mid-April raise questions... over the power and
big business on government policy."
For Nestle's business ethics, particularly in the Third
Food lobby forced PM into u-turn on plan for vaccination
Nestle chief believed #8bn export market would be
John Vidal and Peter Hetherington
Saturday September 8, 2001
Nestle the world's largest food company, led a powerful
which persuaded Tony Blair to halt an advanced plan to go
vaccination against foot and mouth.
The prime minister, with the backing of the Treasury and the
scientists and ministers, believed that vaccination was the
at the height of the crisis in April, but came under extreme
from parts of the food industry which feared a meltdown of
The Guardian has seen minutes from a secret meeting at
Chequers where Mr
Blair announced that the government had decided on a limited
Cumbria and possibly Devon. The meeting was attended by
leading supermarket and food manufacturing groups,
veterinary advisers, the head of the food standards agency
Mr Blair announced that vaccination was the best option but
the industry, led by Peter Blackburn, the then chief
executive of Nestle
UK, had forced an about turn. The last minute retreat
at the meeting, including Lord Haskins, chairman of Northern
now the government's farming guru. The extraordinary events
raise questions not only about whether the right decision
was made, but
over the power and influence of big business on government
Mr Blair and his ministers were convinced of the scientific
need for vaccination as early as March 30 but were unable to
the industry and Nestle to change their minds. When their
fell apart because of opposition, the ministers chose to
farmers for not accepting vaccination and played down the
food industry had over their decision.
Mr Blair is known to have been furious with his ministers
for failing to
get industry support and this is believed to have led to the
the agriculture secretary, Nick Brown. Within days of the
dropped, the cabinet office was briefing journalists that he
to be replaced and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries
and Food would
be reformed. He was fired after the election and Maff became
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Mr Blackburn, who is also president of the Food and Drink
(FDF), was present at the Chequers meeting with the
executive, Lady Sylvia Jay, a former civil servant at the
International Development and the wife of the British
Paris, Sir Michael Jay.
Patrick Holden of the Soil Association, who was at the
meeting as one of
the leading supporters of vaccination, said yesterday: "The
on one side of the table, the government on the other. Mr
that he wanted to vaccinate but the National Farmers' Union
him that the government could not. He then said 'I want you
to hear from
the chief vet Jim Scudamore and the chief scientist David
made the case for vaccination.
"Mr Blair then asked for the views of the industry and Terry
Lee, MD of
Tesco, the king of retailers, took the lead and said he
would be happy
with it. The rest fell into line although there were
mutterings from the
food producers. Lord Haskins was passionately in favour."
This is confirmed by minutes of the meeting taken by the
Consortium, representing the big supermarket groups. The
that the government was planning a vaccination programme
culling had failed to halt the outbreak and public unease at
pyres was mounting.
"The prime minister said the government increasingly
vaccination of dairy cattle should be introduced in Cumbria,
possibly in Devon," the minutes state. "The preservation of
markets no longer seemed a consideration for the forseeable
culling of healthy animals on the scale required in these
would require a powerful justification."
Lord Haskins recalled: "I certainly went away thinking that
going to vaccinate".
The next day the government put together what it thought
were the last
pieces of its plan. The army was already in possession of up
doses and civilian volunteers had been trained to administer
Professor King went to Cumbria to try to persuade the
farmers of the
scientific case for vaccination.
Sir John Krebs, the head of the food standards agency,
Consumers' Association to accept that labelling products
herds was not necessary. It was widely expected that
start within days. The government, it is thought, was not
that the farmers were opposed.
However, Mr Blackburn and Lady Jay were fiercely lobbying
civil servants and Mr Brown to drop the plan. The FDF is the
agency" of Maff and has traditionally had close relations
department. Mr Blackburn wrote to Mr Blair spelling out
belief that British manufactured food exports, worth up to
year, would be compromised and would lead to a permanent ban
on UK meat
and dairy products in many major non-EU markets.
"Export customers naturally choose to buy milk from
countries and it should be noted that these customers could
supplied from other countries which are FMD-free. It might
to believe that loss of export business might be temporary;
but many of
these losses would be permanent," he wrote. Mr Blackburn
also met Mr
Brown on Easter Monday, April 15, where he refused to change
position or that of the FDF.
Mr Blackburn, who retired from Nestle in June, said
yesterday that he
had put the case for the industry but had been concerned
future of the Nestle factory at Dalston, Cumbria, which
people. The plant is Nestle's major producer of powdered
milk with 75%
of its output going to developing countries.
A vaccination policy, said Mr Blackburn, could have risked
of powdered milk to developing countries and even threatened
closure. "The government was more than aware that one of the
players - Nestle - had a factory in the heart of the foot
"We argued against a vaccination policy. We were very afraid
consequences on all meat and dairy exports. If you lose the
then there is a risk of it going on to confectionery."
exports more than [pounds]5m of chocolate which depends on
Yesterday Lord Haskins said that the NFU, which had also
opposed vaccination, had used Nestle's arguments to support
"They introduced the Nestle thinking, such as 'will the
buy vaccinated meat and milk?' They had no right to do it
retailers and food manufacturers had already said they would
Faced with such strong opposition, the government plan was
according to one Whitehall source, the decision was made to
farmers for not accepting vaccination. "The government knew
would not easily win over the farmers, but they encountered
opposition than they expected from the food industry," he
The number of overseas visitors fell by 9% to 2.6m in July
foot-and-mouth crisis continued to take its toll, the office
national statistics said yesterday. The amount spent fell
[pounds]1.3bn. The figures took the number of tourists in
seven months to 13.8m - a 5% drop on the January-July 2000
From the News and Star (Cumbria):
SEP 8TH, 8AM: VACCINATION BY OCTOBER SAYS HASKINS
CUMBRIA foot and mouth tsar Lord Haskins has claimed the Government should
consider vaccinating livestock as early as next month if outbreaks continue.
The Northern Foods chairman backed calls for "preventative" jabbing to stop
the disease spreading into Lakeland areas if it looked like cases would
still be emerging in the new year.
And he admitted to the News & Star there might be a "case for review" BEFORE
a suggested deadline of the end of October if the current situation grew
Lord Haskins said there was no point jabbing livestock in areas already hit
by foot and mouth.
But he said: "If the disease is still a problem in the county there is a
case for preventative vaccination around southern areas to stop it spreading
into the Lakes.
"If present arrangements are not seen to be working we will have to consider
a radical change of attitude towards the issue.
"I started like everybody else saying slaughter was the best policy.
"Many of us have changed our minds."
Lord Haskins speaking after addressing the fifth meeting of the Cumbrian
foot and mouth taskforce at the Castle Green Hotel in Kendal.
The peer took the floor to outline the recommendations he would be taking
back to Government at the end of the month.
And he gave delegates cause for cheer as he:
* ADMITTED the county needed more recovery cash
* BACKED plans for Cumbria being made a "rural action zone" - and suggested
it could become a pilot for reforms of Europe's Common Agricultural Policy
* CALLED on authorities to interpret European "unfair subsidy" rules as
widely as possible to get cash straight to the coal face
* URGED small farmers to come together to increase their power in the
There was disappointment for the task force when Lord Haskins failed to back
its continued bid for #130 million short- and medium term recovery cash.
Lord Haskins told the News & Star that figure was "very unrealistic".
But he said he would be fighting for more money as "the worst was yet to
"The treasury will tell me how fantastically generous they have been
already," he said. "The important thing is not to overstate the case and
enable them to blow any bid to bits."
The county has so far received a total of around #12 million in recovery
It is understood Lord Haskins has been privately suggesting a final outcome
of around #30 million spread across worst-hit parts the country.
Mike Ash, deputy leader of the council, said: "We believe there is still
some scope for discussion and will continue to push very hard for immediate
Council leader Rex Toft, who called on Lord Haskins "a friend of the county"
, said: "If there is one message I hope he will be able to get across it is
this - give Cumbria the funding and Cumbria will do the job."
NFU policy advisor Veronica Waller said: "This is a personal view and no
doubt it will feature in his report.
"If Government is going to come forward with contingency plans for the
autumn we want to see full details about what is proposed."
From the Northern Echo:
Disease nightmare creeps closer for Dales farmers
by Emily Flanagan
DALES farmers watched helplessly last night as the foot-and-mouth menace
advanced relentlessly from the west.
An outbreak of the disease was confirmed at Palliard, on the A66 near the
Cumbria/County Durham border yesterday - only a few miles from Teesdale and
the Yorkshire Dales.
Yesterday's outbreak comes only days after a case was discovered at nearby
Last night, farmers leaders said the disease appeared to be advancing down
the A66 corridor.
An NFU spokesman said: "This is extremely worrying because it is so far from
the hot spot in Northumberland we've been dealing with.
"Farmers in Teesdale and the Yorkshire Dales will be praying it doesn't
spread any further."
Tony Blair heard at first hand yesterday how farmers in the region are
coping with the disease. Three farmers were invited to Mr Blair's home in
Trimdon Colliery, County Durham.
Restrictions on animal movements and sales meant some farmers may soon be
unable to afford to keep their stock, the Prime Minister was told. Farmer
Andrew Thompson said: "Within three months at the most there will be a
serious animal welfare problem."
Mr Blair also met the chief executive of Northumbria Tourist Board, Peter
Sloyan, who pleaded for extra government help for hoteliers.
Meanwhile, a senior government advisor is expected to fly to Strasbourg
soon, to defend the policy of dumping carcasses at the mass burial site at
Tow Law, County Durham. The European Commission yesterday announced that the
policy had breached at least three European directives.
Urgent negotiations will now take place over the lawfulness of the site.
A coalition of local authorities and residents yesterday called for the
immediate closure of the 200 acre site and for compensation for the local
Durham County Council leader Ken Manton said: "The people of Tow Law have
suffered greatly. Enough is enough."
Further concerns were raised about waste from the site leaking into Hedley
Hope Beck, when residents in Cornsay Colliery found fish dying in the stream
Letters from the Hexham Courant:
FILL AWFUL SILENCE WITH QUESTIONS
ON Sunday's morning walk with my dog, the empty fields and silence of the
normal noises of cattle and sheep were matched by the silence of opposition
to the cruel, senseless slaughter of this disastrous Government policy to
combat foot-and-mouth disease.
After seven months and four million cattle and sheep killed, and fresh
outbreaks daily, can Mr Blair claim, as in May, this disease is beaten?
Certainly, it has succeeded in reducing livestock numbers, as I suspect is
the deliberate policy of the Government and a directive of Brussels, and in
so doing, reduce subsidy payments.
The most disturbing element of this awful saga is the deafening silence of
the opposition parties, animal rights groups, RSPCA, Church and clergy,
media and public opinion.
Are we all to watch in silence as another industry is destroyed to suit
political whims? Serious questions need to be asked, with honest and
truthful answers in reply, or is this too much to expect?
One thing is certain, life in the 'Dales will never be the same - and not
for the better.
I firmly believe that the foot-and-mouth is being exploited by this
Government, financed by Brussels, to get rid of small farmers and ruin a way
of life in these dales and other parts of the UK.
I have never seen such government -- NFU-backed carnage against defenceless
creatures - and wonder where the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups were.
The slaughter policy does not work and the only sane voice in all this
destruction is Alston vet Jim Clapp, who requested vaccination and was
refused by the Government and not backed by the NFU.
Foot-and-mouth was in these dales in 1922/24 and most animals recovered from
There was no mass hysteria and slaughter policy, whipped up by an evil,
incompetent government, then. This is now 2001. How far have we come?
An article from the same source:
FAMILIES UPSET AT
A CULL which took place behind homes in Allendale has caused disquiet among
people on the residential estate.
Cattle on Pry Hill Farm were culled as a "dangerous contact" on Tuesday,
August 28th. The beasts were killed within metres of houses on the
Allenfields Estate, which is home to many families with young children.
Some residents were upset that the cull had taken place so close to people's
Billy Robson, of Lonkley Terrace, said he was surprised that Defra had gone
ahead with the cull.
He said: "When I came down through the estate on Tuesday I could hear the
bangs as the cows were killed. Defra had set up a roadblock on the way to
the field, so that no cars could get through, but people were still using
"When I got home, my family had been very upset by the culling. I was
"I agree that foot-and-mouth has got to be controlled, but the slaughter
policy just does not work. It has been terrible for Allendale and events
like this just bring it home to you what a terrible business it all is."
Mr Robson feared for the future of the valley.
"If they take out the rest of Allendale I shudder to think what will happen
to this valley. We have had livestock farms here since time immemorial.
"I have lived in the 'Dale all my life, and have worked in the farming
community. But by taking out all the farms, they are destroying the link
which binds everyone together."
Elsie Lathan, from High Potlands, said: "I don't think that the Defra men
have been acting with consideration to the animals. I have been appalled by
"If an animal is running across a field trying to get away from a
slaughterman with a rifle then that animal is terrified.
"The slaughtering is cruel. It is not being carried out humanely.
"I heard gunshots and saw riflemen pursuing animals which were running away
in terror across farmland behind the Allenfield Estate.
"The cows were being picked off, one at a time. It was terrible. I had to go
back into my house because I couldn't look any more."
The sound of gunshots carried on throughout the afternoon, she said.
"Allendale has changed. You can see too many fields empty now. I have a pet
donkey in a field behind the house and he seems to be distressed by the
disappearance of all the animals. He is just walking round looking worried
But Wilf Frazier, of Allenfields Estate, said he witnessed the cull and was
impressed by the efficiency and speed with which it was carried out.
Wilf said: "It was all over within half an hour.
"It is nonsense to suggest that the beasts were killed as young children
looked on; the parents round here have more sense than to allow something
like that to happen.
"A Defra man went round all the houses and warned the families that a cull
was going to take place in the top field. So there was no excuse for any
kids to be out there or nearby.
"The slaughter team got all the animals corralled and did the cull."
Mr Frazier said: "It was all very clean and quick - if it had not been, I
would have been over that wall to sort the situation out.
"Some of the men in the slaughter team are lads from the village, and they
wouldn't stand for any nonsense.
"It was a shame it had to be done so close to the houses but there was
no-where else it could be done."
from Alan & Rosie