Letter – FMD forced cancellation of our event.

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Letter from Peter and Juliet Kindersley – FMD
(06 August 2007)

Dear Visitor,We are so sorry that we were forced to cancel our August Open Day by the government’s vet due to the outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) in Surrey. Unfortunately we were not able to invite you to our beautiful farm because of the risk to the animals at Sheepdrove.The news of the outbreak came late Friday night and we were only able to talk to the vet on Saturday morning, so we had little time to warn you of the cancellation. We did all we could  – such as posting it on the web site and telling local radio – but we knew this was not going to avoid disappointment.

Our cancellation results from an insane policy of not allowing vaccination. If farmers were allowed to vaccinate against FMD the whole issue would just go away! Farmers regularly vaccinate for other diseases that are more serious than FMD so why not for this disease?  

It is all to do with trade rules. Originally the UK went to Brussels with the idea to create a disease-free European zone. This was to control the market in such a way that countries with FMD would not be able to export to us – mostly third world countries where the disease is endemic.

Since then these controls have largely fallen away. Brazil, for example, has to vaccinate as do many countries in Africa. But the idea of ‘stamping out’ and ‘culling’ have remained. 

The Europeans at the same time, set up rules to make it a disadvantage to vaccinate – so if you cull animals, the last culled animal means you can resume trade with the rest of Europe immediately. However if you vaccinate you have to wait 6 months from the last vaccination. Big landowners and industry want to export and don’t want any restrictions – it is all about money –  animal welfare doesn’t figure at all let alone the countryside and its reliance on tourism. 

But guess what happens when a country bordering the EU gets FMD – the EU pays for the country to vaccinate – not cull! Why? Because the virus is wiped out much faster –  when animals are vaccinated the virus has nowhere to go – and it dies. There are no animals to get it because they have been protected, as our children are, by vaccination.

It is as simple as that!

What is then dangerous about the virus? It is not a fatal disease – all animals recover and with sheep, they hardly notice it. (Pigs get it the worst.) It is not a threat to humans either. 

What is dangerous is our government (supported by big business, large landowners and the NFU)  with these stupid, pointless rules that led to a 2001 bill of £8.5 billion and 6.5 million animals culled – the vast majority completely innocent of the disease!

This time there has been a lot of talk about vaccination by government – we are afraid that is all ‘spin’ because in 2001 their actions proved so disastrous and unpopular that they now know it was important to mention the word ‘vaccination’ in every second sentence! 

Please look at the next posting (6th Aug 07) which shows an article with Peter Melchett’s thoughts – a very good friend of the farm. 

Kind regards

Peter and Juliet Kindersley  

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