misinformation over FMD

Mark.S.Brown msbrown at cwcom.net
Mon Mar 26 21:05:30 BST 2001

This mailing includes 3 essays.




Please use, and circulate in whole, or in part, as widely as possible in
order to save our farming, rural and tourist industries. This material has
been compiled by Alistair McConnachie, admcc at admcc.freeserve.co.uk in his
capacity as a private individual, with special thanks to Steve Ransom and
his important site at www.whatareweswallowing.com

In the Glasgow Herald of 24th March, the leader of the National Farmers
Union of Scotland, Jim Walker, is quoted as saying in reference to the
present Foot and Mouth (FMD) scandal, "There are going to be more draconian
measures than are currently in place. As well as the three-kilometre
slaughter of all sheep, all livestock on farms which are contiguous to those
which have been diagnosed as positive will be taken out." ("Slaughtering
policy moves to new phase", The Herald (Glasgow), Saturday 24th March 2001,
p. 22)

The implications of those foolish words are horrendous. Ultimately, if the
disease is alleged to have broken out all over the country, then the
inevitable logic of this policy will be to kill every animal in Britain.
That will be an economic, social and humanitarian disaster for the British
agricultural, rural and tourist industries.

We must oppose this mass slaughter policy on logical, scientific,
humanitarian, moral and economic grounds.

Here are some important facts about this disease which we must lay on the
1- We do not know for sure how this disease spreads.
2- We do not even know if it is highly contagious. Evidence from the history
of FMD indicates that it doesn't even necessarily spread to animals in the
same farm. See Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease by Sir Albert
Howard C.I.E., M.A. (Honorary Fellow of the Imperial College of Science,
Formerly Director of the Institute of Plant Industry, Indore, and
Agricultural Adviser to States in Central India and Rajputana) assisted by
Louise E. Howard. Published by Faber and Faber, London, 1945, and posted at
http://www.whatareweswallowing.freeserve.co.uk/footquestions.htm  He stated:
"My animals then had to be brought in contact with diseased stock. This was
done by allowing them: (1) to use the common pastures at Pusa, on which
diseased cattle sometimes grazed, and (2) to come in direct contact with
foot-and-mouth disease. This latter was easy, as my small farmyard was only
separated from one of the large cattle sheds of the Pusa Estate by a low
hedge over which the animals could rub noses. I have often seen this occur
between my oxen and foot-and-mouth cases. Nothing happened."
3- Afflicted animals almost always recover and become immune to that strain
of the infection.
4- FMD is a relatively minor ailment which is curable through the
application of simple, basic husbandry techniques. For example, Henry
Hamilton wrote a pamphlet in 1967 recounting how, as herd manager on the
Duke of Westminster's estate in the 1922-1924 outbreak, he successfully
nursed the herd through the outbreak. Those animals afflicted were simply
isolated, kept as clean as possible, and treated with a mixture of Stockholm
tar and salt. In other words, they were cured by the application of basic
animal husbandry techniques. (See Charles Clover, "Old cowmen's cure saved
duke's pedigree herd", The Daily Telegraph 21-3-01, p. 6, and posted at
5- Death occurs in a maximum 5 percent of cases, and then only in those
animals with weak constitutions; for example, the very young and the very
6- The meat is fit to eat.
7- FMD is presumed to be a viral infection but no photograph exists anywhere
of the FMD virus.
8- ELISA, the blood test used to confirm the presence of the supposed FMD
virus, does not detect the virus but merely delivers the positive reading by
detecting proteins and antibodies in the blood which are presumed to be
there as a result of the presence of the virus ­ but which can be there for
other harmless reasons.
9- ELISA is therefore highly liable to produce a false FMD positive
10- False positive FMD diagnosis is also likely to be heightened by the
complete ignorance among farmers, vets, and MAFF officials as to what the
disease, or its symptoms even look like. They have never seen a genuine case
before. Even British farmers who remember the 1967/8 outbreak cannot
(legally) have seen a single case of the progress of the disease, since all
detected cattle were supposed to have been killed, along with all the other
cattle in their herds. Cattle, sheep and pigs are constantly afflicted with
foot irritations. How many of these, in the present hysterical atmosphere,
are being wrongly diagnosed as FMD? How many vets and MAFF officials will
pronounce a positive confirmation "just to be on the safe side"?
11- There is evidence that proper protocols for "confirming" the presence of
FMD are not being followed. There is evidence from at least one farm, that
FMD is being
"diagnosed" in a completely unscientific manner. For example, 200 Belgian
Blue Cross cattle and 1350 Beulah speckled sheep were slaughtered on Wynn
Gittens, Ucheldre Farm, near Welshpool, as the result of one unconfirmed
visual diagnosis, of one cow, by one MAFF official ­ not even by a vet. Not
even a blood test was taken, which, as above, wouldn't necessarily prove
anything anyway. How many supposed "confirmed new cases" are really
accurate? See www.whatareweswallowing.com
12- There is clear physical evidence that the proper protocols for
slaughtering animals are not being followed, thereby leaving MAFF and vets
open to possible prosecution. For example, the picture in The Times,
22-3-01, p. 6 shows cattle destroyed at Berry Farm near Shebbear, Devon,
while, contrary to guidelines, live animals look on.

It seems the only entities out of control are our own ignorance of the facts
and those official bodies conducting the mass slaughter.

We must break the consensus for mass slaughter if we are to save our
farming, rural and tourist industries, and we must promote the logical,
scientific, humanitarian, moral and economic alternative, namely:

The alternative to killing healthy animals is not to kill healthy animals,
and the alternative to killing those animals alleged to have the illness is
to help them recover.

The first step to a proper Policy is to acquire the proper Information.
Wrong information spawns chaos and madness.
That means spreading information and working to convince, for example, Vets,
that they are abusing their professional position by being complicit with an
economic agenda, rather than a humanitarian and caring animal health policy.
By their behaviour in killing both sick and healthy animals, they are also
betraying their professional motivation which is, presumably, to heal. See
10 Questions for Conscientious Vets below.
Reject those whose inevitable logic, and whose policies, will lead to the
destruction of the farming, rural and tourist industries.
If you have access to a threatened farm, then arm yourself with a video
camera now. Video the behaviour of any MAFF officials, farming leaders, vets
and other personnel on your farm. It may be possible to bring prosecutions
at a later date. Video evidence is therefore essential. For example, we have
clear evidence that animals have been slaughtered in direct contravention of
the guidelines. See the picture in The Times 22-3-01 of cattle having been
destroyed at Berry Farm near Shebbear, Devon, while, contrary to guidelines,
live animals look on. Do not be intimidated if they ask you to stop filming.
It is not illegal to film, and you are not breaking any law. If they try to
wrestle the camera off you then they are breaking the law. You have a legal
right to any material which they may confiscate. Continue filming.
Continually ask them for their justification for their behaviour. At the
very least, such people deserve to feel awkward about their destructive
If you have specialist knowledge, for example, legal, then make it

The alternative to killing healthy animals is not to kill healthy animals,
and the alternative to killing those animals alleged to have the illness is
to help them recover.

We must stop the slaughter policy by breaking the consensus for mass
slaughter. That will only require a few vets to start speaking out and
publicly disassociating themselves, and their own profession reputations,
from this policy.

Therefore, the following 10 questions are addressed to those conscientious
vets who are uncomfortable with the present slaughter policy, and who need
to speak out NOW.

Answer these questions, and then please speak out.

1- Since when has it been veterinary practice to slaughter animals which
have a perfectly curable illness?
2- How do you feel about killing animals with a curable illness when you,
presumably, became a vet in order to heal sick animals?
3- What is the point of being a vet if you regard slaughter as the
appropriate response to a curable illness in an animal?
4- Since when has it been veterinary practice to slaughter animals which do
not even have any illness at all?
5- How do you feel about killing healthy animals when you, presumably,
became a vet in order to heal sick animals, not kill healthy ones?
6- What is the point of being a vet if you regard slaughter as an
appropriate response to no illness whatsoever in an animal?
7- How can you justify killing hundreds of thousands, and potentially
millions, of healthy animals in order to prevent a curable illness
afflicting a smaller number?
8- How do you feel about participating in a slaughter policy which is being
conducted for economic reasons, and not for animal health reasons?
9- How do you feel about abusing your professional position and betraying
your professional motivations in this way?
10- Finally, when are you going to stand up and condemn this policy?

Please, if you are a vet concerned to uphold your professional reputation
and remain true to your professional motivation to heal sick animals, then
you need to speak out now against the mass slaughter policy.

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