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Retired General Tommy Ray Franks, former Commander-in-chief of CENTCOM and present there as 9/11 unravelled.
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Last updated: 26 May 2001.
Format Errors corrected: 01 June, 2008!

A Civilian perspective & day-by-day Diary for the FMD (Foot & Mouth) epidemic of 2001.

What is FMD...??
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is an acute, highly contagious picornavirus infection of cloven hooved animals.The virus (FMDV) is sensitive to environmental influences, such as pH less than 5, sunlight and dessication, however it can survive for long period of time at freezing temperatures. FMD is present in many countries of the world, except for North and Central America (north of Panama), Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and Scandinavia. The European Union (EU) countries are generally free of FMD. FMD was last reported in 1929 in the U.S.A., 1952 in Canada, and 1954 in Mexico. The disease is highly contagious and may spread over great distances with movement of infected or contaminated animals, products, objects, and people. Pigs are mainly infected by ingesting infected food. Waste feeding has been associated with outbreaks. Cattle are mainly infected by inhalation, often from pigs, which excrete large amounts of virus by respiratory aerosols and are considered highly important in disease spread. Large amounts of virus are excreted by infected animals before clinical signs are evident, and winds may spread the virus over long distances. People can be infected through skin wounds or the oral mucosa by handling diseased stock, the virus in the laboratory, or by drinking infected milk, but not by eating meat from infected animals. The human infection is temporary and mild. FMD is not considered a public health problem. The incubation period is 2-21 days (average 3-8) although virus is shed before clinical signs develop. The rate of infection (morbity) can reach 100%, however mortality can range from 5% (adults) to 75% (suckling pigs and sheep). Recovered cattle may be carriers for 18 to 24 months; sheep for 1 to 2 months. Pigs are not carriers. Clinical signs in cattle are salivation, depression, anorexia and lameness caused by the presence or painful vesicles (blisters) in the skin of the lips, tongue, gums, nostrils, coronary bands, interdigital spaces and teats. Fever and decreased milk production usually precede the appearance of vesicles. The vesicles rupture, leaving large denuded areas which may become secondarily infected. In pigs, sheep and goats the clinical signs are similar but milder. Lameness is the predominant sign.

Because of the range of species affected, the high rate of infectivity, and the fact that virus is shed before clinical signs occur, FMD is one of the most feared reportable disease in North America. An outbreak of FMD would, (and has in the past) cost millions of dollars in lost production, loss of export markets, and loss of animals during eradication of the disease. The significance of many other reportable diseases is due to their resemblence to FMD and the importance of distinguishing between them at the earliest indications of an unusual disease outbreak.

MY DAY-TO-DAY DIARY of the FMD outbreak of 2001, from a South-West Scotland Perspective.

FMD outbreak UK. May, 2001.
Most recent items first

Out of the Pan into the Pyre...! 20:46 26/05/01
A month after the 'Virtual' End of this FMD outbreak was declared, the Chickens are coming home to roost for MAFF, The UK Govnt's Ministry for Agriculture and Food. With allegations going around that the official number of infections incurred by UK farmers may be in Reality much greater than the Ministry would like Joe Public to know in these last few days run-up to the General Election. Studies based on Farms considered to be 'Dangerous Contacts' reveal that out of 421 looked at, 127 came back as +ve for FMD. Extrapolated out, this would put the UK total up to about 3000, about double the official figure. Now MAFF are really getting in the firing line with the Governnent's Chief Scientist, Prof. David King admitting that the Pre-empive cul was 'mass overkill'

4 New outbreks in Scottish borders 20:41 23/05/01
The Borders Emergency Response Group were called back onto the front line today after nearly a month since the figurative 'all clear' was sounded. The town of Duns some 25 mls East of Edinburgh the Capital is the scene for a new round of culling after 4 neighbouring farms were found to have contracted FMD in upto 80% of their sheep flocks. 800 sheep & 1500 lambs are to die here. Derek Griffiths for BERG said that 'after some 4 weeks of no new confirmed cases of FMD, perhaps complacency had started to set in.' After a similar re-emergence of the disease at the w/e at Settle, N.Yorks some 16 mls east of Lancaster town. Here some 18 new cases have resulted in the cull of upto 16K animals of all species. 2K were culled today.

FREE AT LAST!22:39 15/05/01
Restrictions on movement for walkers, ramblers & holiday makers in general have been lifted in areas clearly free of FMD. This is true in this part of Dumfries & Galloway, although restrictions in areas where wild deer roam are still in effect. I myself ran into a wild deer at the weekend whilst out walking in the local Pine Forest. In other parts of UK strict restrictions still apply. Also good for this area today Tuesday, is that the animals at the Mossburn Animal Sanctuary at Hightae near Lockerbie have been given a last minute reprive form slaughter after a change in law from Edinburgh as concerns farms contiguous to infected areas. Another farm in Devon by Exmoor saw 900 sheep saved similarly. Claims for damages are being made as allegations of unnecessary culling are being made and solicitors are fighting to restrict MAFF powers.

For archive & full story see links

The grand total today rose to at around 1530 with a few new cases upto 19:00z. The frequency of new cases is down. Research carried out at Edinburgh University has produced the prediction that this epidemic may go on for 8 months and result in as many as 4414 cases if their statistical maths are correct. Similar calculations done by the Government's MAFF (Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) predicted an already surpassed 918 total cases over the same period. Meanwhile the Army and utilities are preparing another mass grave in the North. A cleared area of Birkshaw forest near Lockerbie (Dumfries & Galloway) will get 100+ trenches of 110*16*5m to receive 250K sheep. The latest on vaccination is that the authorities are showing complete disunity and confusion!

Many of the funeral pyres have been shut down after local public health worries about the release of Dioxins in the smoke aerosol. Estimated at a 'massive' 63gms total emission, making up 18% of the Nation's normal annual quota. SO after looking at the cost of burning the dead with NAPALM at 2 a head of cattle compared with the 1400 for conventional fires the UK may take virtually FREE NAPALM that is being disposed of at this time by the US dept of the Navy! However, the primary reason for this change is that NAPALM burns in 1 hour what it takes 3-days to burn with wood & coal and does allegedly not release any Dioxin. Also the smoke plumes rise much higher with the very high temps and thus toxins are lifted and dispersed over a greater area. DIOXINS combine: H,O2,CH4 & carbon.


So far 710,000 infected animals have been 'disposed of'. Likewise so have another 624,000 mainly healthy animals from contigious farms within the 3km firewalls.. A further 541,000 mainly healthy animals are awaiting slaughter and 408,000 carcasses are piled up around the country awating burial. Today I met a foresty worker who informed me that the quantities of timber from this area alone to fuel the funeral pyres adds up to 6-12 acres per week of Sotka Spruce &/or Larch weighing in at ~1000 tonnes. In addition to this, there is the large scale import of naturally dry Russian timber and cheap foreign coal. 300 Tonnes of coal are used to start each fire.

Daily updates Feb-March, 2001.
Most recent last!

Foot & Mouth disease in UK.
It's Official. BSE is barely out of the way and now Britain's meat production business is once again pumping out the poisons. This is the first major breakout of the virulent disease since 1980 and yet may yet prove to be more devastating than the nightmare experienced by Britain's meat farmers in 1967. At that time, the virus infected 2364 farms that were mostly localized around the Staffordshire area. However, some 440,000 animals were slaughtered at a cost to the meat industry of 1.5 Bn at present day rates. It seems that the latest outbreak went some 2-4 weeks before detection and with an incubation period for the virus of only 36 hours, this has given the disease plenty of time to be propagated through the country, or even potentially, abroad into Europe.

Jim Scudamore the Chief Vetinary Officer said today that there were no plans to cul wild animals on Dartmoor. It is important to remember the way that back in 1967 during the giant outbreak where 440K animals had to be killed, the government relaxed it's restrictions and the the rate of daily contamination went balistic. At the 12 day point in '67 ~12 new cases were reported daily. After controls were lifted this figure shot to 32. At the 12 day point now things are about the same as back then. Ben Gill of the National Farmers Union today urged that all Horse racing events be cancelled, however this has not been the case. Also the Government took a giant risk today by issueing 100 controlled licenses to farmers for shipping of animals to abattoirs.

Thurs 8th March update
Today Thursday the 8th sees a validication of what was said on the 6th. The total has risen by 24 in two days. Locally here in Dumfries & Galloway (Hereon, D&G), there was another confirmed outbreak this lunchtime. In scotland generally there have been 31 confirmed cases and 12 more are under suspicion. To-date, Nationwide the total number of animals killed by bun-bolt and then incineration has topped 61,000 with a total of 29,000 earmarked for slaughter later. Restrictions of access ot the countryside are already starting to cause some disgruntled Mountaineers and the likes to voice their complaint. With the renewed movement of uninfected livestock and the resumption of horse racing events added to the increase in average temperature, we could be looking at a major explosion!

Saturday 10th March update.
The virus characterized by it's volatility is also marked by a distinct susceptibility to destruction by UV light that could be it's undoing in an ideal situation.The great contoversy at the present is whether all these animals should be being slaughtered when it would be more prudent to use some of the 30M vaccine shots available. Doing so would mean the UK looses it's 'epidemic free' status within the EU.
Today's total for Saturday 10th March is 127 with 20 new cases confirmed in one day. A further 12 new cases were announced in the afternoon with a cluster locally. So the total so far is 139. MAFF admit that they are learning as they go along!

Sunday 11th March update
Today saw the biggest single daily increase of detected cases with 24 bringing the total to 163. Is this the real beginning of the 'exponential surge' that could follow insufficient action on vaccination? The Irish Republic's Minister for 'Marine & Natural resources' said on C4 news tonight that, "The UK Government is not getting a handle on this thing at all..at all." The republic has not yet been affected. Losses to British industry are starting to pile up with an estimated 12Bn shortfall for tourism in affected areas.

Tuesday 13th March update
Again a steep rise of 22 today & 20 yesterday bringing the total at the 3 week exact marker to 205 outbreaks confirmed. This means that today the daily rate is 2/3rd's of what it was in the '67 outbreak. Bad enough, but today the government now getting more desperate seeks to bring in the army to aid in the slaughter of animals. Already, marksmen can be heard cracking off repetitive shots in the sound track to the news broadcasts. However all this has not caused shoppers to shy away with sales of Lamb up by 65%, Beef up 45% and Pork up by 35%. A new phase of this plague that is now taking over what could be a bedraggled outdated mode of feeding people is about to start up. I shall call it...
The Killing Fields!

Wed 14th March FMD update
Today Wed 14th saw the largest daily increase of detected cases of disease, with 25 new sites bringing total to 230. It rose by 17 during the afternoon. Today, 700,000 sheep have been earmarked for culling! The present rate of slaughter is now greater than that in 1967! It includes LARGE numbers of DISEASE FREE animals that were in the infected areas! Vaccination is now being considered & 'firewall' areas to be marked isolating infected regions by 3-100 miles. Canadian computer modelling shows that only this can eradicate the disease.The outbreak now affects 27 counties. 85 cases in the Scottish borders, 55 in Cumbria and 28 (+2) in Dumfries & Galloway.

Thursday 15th March.
Total number of cases at 22:30z today is 251. So a rise of 21. This includes 32 in Scotland and 99 or more on the Scottish borders regions. The OK has been given for the mass culling. The 200K+ figure includes all animals that passed through Northhampton market on the 15 & 22nd and Welshpool market on the 14th. All animals within a 3Km(2mile) 'firewall' of any infected farm will be destroyed. MAFF gave reason for apparent indiscriminate culling of hundreds of thousands of sheep due to fact that symptoms don't show up as they do in pigs and cattle. MAFF says less than 1 in 300 farms are affected by F&M. However, this p.m some farmers who will have to otherwise stand and watch the army or marksmen kill their animals are saying they will break the law and prevent them doing so.

Sat 17th March
The daily quota was high again with the total at 281 confirmed cases by 1pm SAT 17th. The newly imposed 3km 'firewalls' set up Nationwide, are in Cumbria, Dumfries & Galloway creating a huge swath of countryside in which all infected animals and virtually any sheep will be slaughtered. However, not all farmers are happy and particularly those that are uniquely shepherds are considering blocking the marksmen that promise to enter their lands. Here in Scotland though, farms are often mixed and they reckon they will recover from such a knock-back. In Cumbria the Farmers For Action (behind the huge 7-day Fuel protests that spread across Europe in Sept 2000) are drawing up plans. The RSPCA is dissenting & the NFU being divided on Government's pre-emptive strike plans.

The Silence of The Lambs! 21:25 20/03/01
The National total is now at 394, that's 46 new today, 15 late last night, from 335. It is the lambing season here in Dumfries & Galloway. However, they don't live long. There are 141 cases of F&M disease in Cumbria & D+G that makes 40% of the total. Already the crisis is officialy more serious with 800,000 animals affected after 3 1/2 weeks than it was in 1967 after the whole 6-months, when only 400,000 total were so!!!. I drove on Sunday to Carlisle (the heartland of the outbreak, with one of cattle markets involved). On the A75 I could clearly see 8 major incinerations on farmland. The smell of burning flesh and hides carried for miles on the wind. Upto Monday p.m, over 200,000 animals have been slaughtered. This is still only the beginning...of the end!

Silence of many more Lambs! 20:16 21/03/01
Today the total continues to shoot through the roof. 27 new cases upto 19:00 and 8 more during 30 mins of the news report, brought total to 430. Neil Frane vet officer for Cumbria warned that there could be no cloven footed animals left in Cumbria soon if culling takes it's course. He confirms exactly what I was predicting ten days ago when I said FMD (Foot & Mouth disease) could start increasing exponentially. The Govn't is not able to keep up with the culling. 33K animals a day are identified for killing and only 11K can be. The army has been brought in already. Holland announced it's 1st two cases today and immediately adopted a Nationwide isolation & vaccination program. This puts pressure on UK govn't to vaccinate. See link for 'My letter to Nick Brown'

The Silence of The Lambs! 23:32 22/03/01
The National total is now at 587, that's 27 new today and effectively a 200+ increase since Tuesday. Last week I visited Balcary point on Auchencarn Bay and spent a few hours in Orchardtown Bay that is a smaller inlet on The East Stewartry Coast. One could see flames licking from a large funeral pyre up on a slope rising from the Bay that burnt for the 4 hours I was there. There were several disingfectant traps in the entrances to farms along this coastal route. Today, Sunday the first detected case of FMD on the Cumbrian High fells was confirmed. this may prefigure the spread of FMD down the backbone of UK and could signify the end for the 'Herdwick flock'. This Cumbrian flock has a 1000 yr pedigree history. The Cumbrian landscape could change forever

Silence of many more Lambs! 22:01 28/03/01
The grand total today rose to at least 714 with 41 new cases. Research carried out at Edinburgh University has produced the prediction that this epidemic may go on for 8 months and result in as many as 4414 cases if their statistical maths are correct. Similar calculations done by the Government's MAFF (Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) predict a significantly lower 918 total cases over the same period. Meanwhile the Army and utilities are preparing another mass grave in the North. A cleared area of Birkshaw forest near Lockerbie (Dumfries & Galloway) will get 100+ trenches of 110*16*5m to receive 250K sheep. The latest on vaccination is that Nick Brown is consulting scientists and it looks likely to procede!

Update for 11th April
With the statistics starting to reveal that the epidemic may be starting to see a reduction in it's propagation and/or frequency of detection it is rumoured that some unscrupulous farmers have been cashing in on the bananza of free conpensation available for loss of livestock by actually infecting their sheep/cattle herds intentionaly with FMD. I don't have more on this personally except that a friend of mine is working in disinfecting farms around here against FMD and his opinion is that farmers are revelling in the chance at a free cash payout. Last Tuesday 4th April I visited a farm that had just received it's 'D' notice ordering destruction of 200 of a rare sheep breed. the farmer didn't seem at all sad, if perhaps a little sorry.

The frequency of 240 from 1000 of those farms waiting for the slaughtermen to arrive, now intending to refuse entry to these same, shows the strength of the growing controversy regarding 'contiguous killing'. The present policy of culling stems from a paper published last year describing the effectiveness of mass slaughter during the 1967 outbreak. That event effected mostly pigs & cattle that clearly exhibit the symptoms of infection whereas this outbreak is sheep oriented and they don't. Pointless unfocused killing is then 'excused'. Example: 200 uninfected sheep were accidentally culled when officials misread a map last week! However, the killing of animals on contigous farms was changed last week when the slaughter was revised to include only sheep and pigs leaving the cattle unharmed.

FMD update for April 23rd
The frequency of 240 from 1000 of those farms waiting for the slaughtermen to arrive, now intending to refuse entry to these same, shows the strength of the growing controversy regarding 'contiguous killing'. The problem comes from the facts that the Government is sticking to it's guns for a 'quick mop-up' fix before the June General election and also that the present policy of culling stems from a paper published last year describing the effectiveness of mass slaughter during the 1967 outbreak. That event effected mostly pigs & cattle that clearly exhibit the symptoms of infection whereas this outbreak is sheep oriented and they don't. Pointless unfocused killing is then 'excused'. Example: 200 uninfected sheep were accidentally culled when officials misread a map last week!

Foot & Mouth Disease (continued)
The strain of the virus that is sowing the seeds of destruction is Pan-Asian type O that is highly active in the Far, Middle and near East thus fueling speculation that it comes from contaminated meat imports. But already there are the spreading of totally unfounded rumours of sabotage aimed at animal-activists. These rumours aren't coming as we would expect from farmers themselves apparently but from the Government's own MAFF agency. (Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food). Fred Brown, British consultant to The US dept. of Agriculture is almost convinced already that animal activists were responsible!!!Government chemists estimate that 5 yrs are needed to develop an effective antidote.

Foot & Mouth disease (continued)
This really does go to show the dangerously unprincipled line of thought that Government sponsored apparatus is inclined to wander off in at it's moment of greatest paranoia. What industry on Earth is more likely to suffer this than the BSE, CJD + BST riddled intensive cattle reariing industry. It is no coincidence either that this feeble line of questioning should show up before even a shread of evidence is available just one week after a completely revised ANTI_TERRORIST_BILL was passed through the British house of Commons that now makes it potentially possible to have animal rights activists labelled as fully fledged terrorists. But back to the matter in hand. Fortunately I have been a full vegetarian for 27 years..I only report the news.

Foot & Mouth (continued)
This outbreak seems to have started at 'Porkland' pig farm at Heddon-on-the-wall in Northumberland, then cattle from there were shipped to a market at Carlisle near the Scottish borders, then down the long trucking route to the Abattoir in the Southern county of Herefordshire, over the border into Devon (where one-third of all Britain's livestock are reared!) and then out to Essex County near London City. 25,000 animals passed through affected markets before the virus was detected, hence the scale of the search for further contamination. There were 205 confirmed outbreaks on Saturday 8th with hundreds of other farms being tested. Giant outdoor coal-fired incinerators are burning 24/24 to dispose of thousands of animals that will be sacrificed in an attempt to stamp out this disease.

Foot & mouth (Continued)
Some 7000 animals were ready to be burned today in Britain, but already many European Nations are clamping down. Germany had already killed some 350 animals this morning and France had quarantined 20,000 sheep it had imported from UK recently. In belgium all animal markets are banned and No movement of livestock is permitted. Similar restrictions in Holland are being implemented. Tradgically, for the authorities a demonstraion by meat farmers was taking place in Belgium outside govn't buildings today against the non-payment of remuneration for losses incurred during the BSE crisis. This demonstraion ahd already turned violent and water cannon were being used before the latest news of the clamp-down in the EEC on British exports had reached them.

Britain has a 65 Billion meat-processing industry and is loosing 30 Million a week during the crisis. Only 10% of UK animal farmers are insured against Foot & Mouth disease which is a half of the figure of 20 yrs ago. Major restrictions on the access to land and wildlife has been invoked with Devon's Dartmoor (a huge National Park) being affected and fell walkers or ramblers volunteering to stay away. Several major Zoos have been closed to the public. Some 61,000 animals have already been slaughtered with another 60,000 under surveillance and a further 67,000 or so have yet to be traced. The chief Vetinary Officer says that the virus can sit undetected in the throat of a sheep for upto 2 weeks. It may apparently recover from all symptoms but then go on to infect the rest of the herd!

Scotland got it's first TWO confirmed cases today, Thursday, with one of them just 26 miles from here at LOCKERBIE so well known for being the site of the fall to Earth for PAN-AM flight 103 just over 10 yrs ago. Netherplace-Farm there backs onto the Main West-coast Railway line and is at the centre of the town. Ideal location and means by which the virus may be propagated. The M74 Motorway passes close by to the site as well. At present, nationwide, the rate of contamination is one-half of what it was at the ten-day marker back during the giant outbreak (described earlier) of 1967. A WARNING sign has been put up at an entrance to a large Scottish Forestry walkway just 30 Mtrs from my front door. There is a 5K fine for breach of this decree!

Northern Ireland also got it's first case confirmed today which was close to the border of the republic. A flock of 300 sheep had been bought from the Carlisle cattle market implicated in the initial UK outbreak but only 100 animals have been traced raising fears that 200 others are perhaps roaming the hills over and around the border. The longest distance known for the virus to travel on the wind in the past has been 165 miles. F&M disease only effects cloven hooved/footed animals. Watch out you devil you! In cold weather, the virus could be 'cloaked', not becoming evident until warmer days arrive. This is a concern in the UK, where temps on night of (2nd March) fell to -22C (coldest in UK for 36 yrs)in Sutherland, Scotland.

Clearly the intensive farming techniques employed today offer no security to Britain's beleaguered farmers and Carnivores. On Channel4 News this evening, a one Colin Tudge, Biologist and writer admitted that a reduction in meat consumption is one of the few options available to permit a greater safety in future and that these sort of problems just don't occur in the vegetable growing trade...... A fourth case was detected locally in Dumfries & Galloway today. Dartmoor National Park was found to be contaminated today- Sunday. There are 45,000 wild animals running the thousands of sq.Km here. Airborne contamination is suspected but this affects pigs mostly so the wild deer may not be at danger...yet. The total number of infected farms and sites also rose by 6 today.

The Taiwanese lesson
In 1997 Taiwan of China sufferred a major F&M crisis. They too, at first took to extermination as the solution. After having killed 1/3rd of all their livestock, including 3.5M pigs they realized they had failed in erradicating the disease. They then took to a strict and huge vaccination program...and finally won over. At first it was for pigs only but when in 1999 the virus mutated & spread to other species, says Agro Minister Watsun Sung, 'vaccination was given to these too'. It continues today with farms under strict supervision.The Farmers are appealing again!Back in Scotland, sheep farmers are joining in the chorus of discontent about the manner in which 300,000 sheep are to be killed in the 'pre-emptive strike' policy but The Govn't is not ready to cope with the work cut out.

My letter to our Homosexual Agriculture Minister Nick Brown
Letter to Nick Brown MP

Dear Mr Brown, I really do wish to express my disgust at the whole matter of considering to continue with this wholesale mass slaughter of Foot & mouth infected animals solely for the purpose of maintaining The Nations fraudulent status as "epidemic or disease free". I am aware that infected animals will eventually recover and only their subsequent weakness makes them in the here and now unverifiable as a means of short term profit thus "justifying" mass slaughter. I SAY VACCINATE, VACCINATE, VACCINATE!. In particular I have just met in the street a Gentleman that knows the cattle farmer fellow up here in Dumfries and Galloway (formally Kirkcudbrightshire) who is the owner of the herd of traditional Galloway "Belties" cattle that under the present "arrangement" are going to have to be exterminated. It apparently took him and his forefathers some 200 years to bread this particular pedigree cattle herd When the disease is finally brought under control then the job that livestock farmers actually sign up to do when they undertake their trade, which is animal husbandry, can continue. I am actually a vegetarian of some 27 years standing and although I can relate to the issues here, it is also prudent of me to point out that meat production is only a 10% efficient means of protein production and in the long term the issue of movement away from meat as the Nations primary staple should be also addressed.


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