Daily Archives: August 5, 2007

Foot in Mouth (ignoring it locally)

Friday night’s news: foot-and-mouth found on a farm in Surrey. The last outbreak (in 2001) remains fresh in peoples minds, when it spread rapidly to many areas, and the government and farming industry (specifically the NFU) between them made a colossal cockup of dealing with it, and did huge damage to the country as a whole.

Saturday’s update: it appears to have come from a research institute near the farm. So whereas last time it was primarily the fault of the farming industry, this time they appear to be innocent victims and can justifiably feel aggrieved.

So they’ve imposed a ban of movement of susceptible animals, and farmers throughout the country have laid down disinfectant at access points to fields. At least, according to our national news reports.

Today I was out on the bike, and passed quite a lot of fields of cattle and sheep. No sign of any of those security measures. Instead, some strong smells, and at one point I met a tractor hauling a trailer piled high with manure (there was lots on the road, too). Evidently Devon farmers aren’t going to let it bother them too much.

Anyway, they killed all the cattle on the farm where it was found. Wonder how they’ll deal with it when a comparable leak happens at a human medical research or bio-weapons facility.