FMD 2007 u-turn


Within less than a week after the government implemented a ‘vital’ ban on taking livestock to slaughter, the devolved government of Wales revoked it, then Scotland’s parliament, and over the weekend Defra took a u-turn for England’s farmers too. As from yesterday, we were allowed to take cattle, sheep and pigs to the abattoir once again. Read more…

Weekends are traditionally a time for government to release embarassing political information, because hopefully by Monday everyone’s forgotten about it. A letter to the Guardian from Dr Harash Narang revealed some interesting points about operations at Pirbright – flushing virus into the sewer is standard practice.

 The Sunday Telegraph reported: “Animals on Stroud Farm we’re found to have lesions that were 10 days old, which means they had begun to heal and had probably harboured the diesease for up to three weeks. [… ] It is believed that Stroud Farm, where 800 pigs and 50 cows were slaughtered on Thursday, was first to be infected. The virus is then thought to have spread to animals on the neigbouring field elonging to farmer, Robert Lawrence of Hardwick Park Farm. Weeks earlier, an agricultural show was held in the field. A spokes for Defra confirmed that that they were investigating how the virus had gone unnoticed for so long.”

Another slaughter on suspicion was announced on Defra’s website on Saturday, and the Protection Zone expanded to the north-west, on the same day they announced a relaxation of the restrictions. No explanation this about-turn was offered at Defra’s FMD latest info web page. What was the scientific advice behind the decision on Monday, and the different advice behind Saturday’s decision reversal?

This morning we were interviewed about this on BBC Radio Berkshire, an opportunity to draw attention to this issue and once again promote vaccination against FMD. (You can listen again to their breakfast show.)

The Telegraph today carries a very good article by Clive Aslet, in which Suffolk farmer Caroline Cranbrook says, “Legislation now lags behind the science. There is no reason that foot and mouth should be the calamity that it has become. It is not a killer disease. The consequences are barely noticeable in sheep, cattle do not die from it, and there are vaccines which can prevent them catching it. In the old days, it was difficult to tell vaccinated cattle from cattle who were suffering from the disease itself. This is no longer the case.”

Brown’s money pipeline to the environment apppears to have cracks. Recent fiscal hits for Defra include Gordon Brown’s tremendously bad decision to force it to pay a massive fine from the EU. This blasted a whole range of environmental projects and tightens the purse for improving facilities like IAH Pirbright. Paltry salaries encourage the best Defra scientists to migrate to better-paying commercial companies.

The good news is we can reassure our customers that supplies of Sheepdrove’s organic meat will not be interrupted. Celebrate and show us your kind support by ordering today! The Mutton season has begun, late season Lamb is also delicious at this time of year (as recommended by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) and we have some great offers on Pork this month.


One Response to “FMD 2007 u-turn”

  1. Harash Narang Says:

    Could you please give me your eamil address so that I can forward copies of letters I wrote to PM: REF Foot & Mouth Disease.


    Harash Narang

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