Normality will return to the stricken countryside when we accept that healthy farm animals should never be killed, sick animals should always be healed, and the disease, wherever it is, should just be left to run its natural course.
So long as Slaughter remains the response to FMD then the fear of the disease, and the fear of spreading the disease, will remain.
That means the rural shops will stay empty, the countryside will remain closed, and people will be afraid to move.
IF WE STOP THE SLAUGHTER, WE STOP THE SCARE
Everyone depends on getting the Slaughter stopped now and letting nature take its course. That means farmers, rural businesses, and all their supporters must unite to STOP THE SLAUGHTER.
It should be possible to mobilise large numbers of people towards this simple aim: STOP THE SLAUGHTER, save the healthy animals, and heal the sick ones.
Once we allow the disease to take its natural course then we can return the countryside to normality.
Passive Resistance by Rural Defenders against the Slaughter Brigades will inspire others to defend their lives, livelihoods and life's work. It will make the present State policy unworkable, It will create media events which change the terms of debate. It will ensure we succeed in our aim.
SOME FARMERS ARE WELL PLACED TO RESIST
Some farmers are most suited to being able to utilise effective Passive Resistance techniques, within the law.
Many have tractors, trailers, fork loaders, large machines, and heavy objects in abundance. They have chains, padlocks, tools, digging equipment, barrels, wire, fence posts, wood, rocks, and trees.
PUBLICISE, PUBLICISE, PUBLICISE
Farmers, you need to contact local and national papers, local and national radio and TV. Don't resist all on your own. Ensure maximum media publicity.
You need to let the cameras onto your property, and you need to lose any fear of letting supporters onto your property. Remember, at a technical meeting for journalists, presented by MAFF on Friday 23 March: "There was no evidence from anywhere, it was admitted, that walkers passed on the disease, despite the closure of footpaths: indeed, the risk that even the vets who tended the sick animals would pass it on, was 'remote'." (Geoffrey Lean, "Now the truth is out, it's time for a revolution", Independent on Sunday, 25-3-01, p. 14)
The country needs to see what is happening on your farm. Let the cameras in!
In the face of the all-mighty State, what are some of the Passive Resistance options available to farmers and their supporters, within the law? We need ideas and we need to spread them.
You need to consider your own circumstances carefully. The following ideas have been circulating on the Internet, and you will appreciate, for legal reasons, this is comment, not advice!
Therefore, some comment: If you are a Farmer in appropriate circumstances, then start to organise and mobilise for serious Passive Resistance, within the law. Draw up your plans NOW before the crisis hits you.
Call your contacts and friends. Make lists of all your potential supporters. Are you a member of a Chamber of Commerce, Round Table, a business group? Your colleagues may be suffering financially from the Slaughter and its related panic. Tell them, if we Stop the Slaughter, we Stop the Scare and we return the countryside to normality.
Tell them of your plan to Passively Resist, within the law, and ask if you can count on their support. Record their telephone, mobile phone and fax numbers. Perhaps you can appoint a member of the family or a friend to co-ordinate the mobilisation. Set up a telephone tree where each person calls another 5 people. Tell them of your intention. Boldness inspires. You need to stand together.
Make large signs with the essential message on them for the journalists and cameras. Have your personal list of important contacts, including media contacts, on you at all time. Have access to a mobile phone.
The official farming "leaders" will contact you and try to talk you out of it. Forget them. Their policies, however unwittingly, are destroying the countryside. They will remind you of the "horrific" illness, where a cow gets blisters on its tongue. Ask them if this is worse than a high velocity bolt through its forehead! They will accuse you of selfishness, and of allowing the disease to spread to the neighbouring farms. Remind them that it is their policies which are killing the local animals, and it is your policy to save the healthy animals and heal the sick ones. They will ask you to examine your conscience. Ask them how they feel about wiping out local farming?
MORE COMMENT CIRCULATING ON THE INTERNET
- Make sure you have the phone numbers of sympathetic people in the area who could come and visit you, causing a terrible traffic jam. This is NOT obstruction if they are actively trying to get somewhere.
- A large tractor and trailer stuck in a ditch is NOT obstruction if it got there by accident!
- A puncture on a lorry is NOT a criminal action even if it is blocking a driveway.
- Ensure you are NEVER alone without a witness.
- Demand written proof that they BY NAME have authority to cross a quarantine line legally imposed.
- Make sure you have a camera and plenty of film.
- Record ALL conversations. [Hand held recorder about £25]
- Ask for ID.
- Insist on writing out ALL details from their ID telling them it may well be used for prosecution. If you have a photocopier, take their ID inside to get a photocopy of it.
- Demand they sign the copied data as a true and accurate Copy of their ID.
- Insist the signature is EXACTLY as on the ID.
- Point out that breaking the law is a criminal offence and the defence that you were "acting on orders", or "only doing my job" is no personal protection.
- Take your time.
- Demand to look up every word they speak, or have written on a form, which has more than six letters or two syllables, in a dictionary -- you are but a humble farmer and this is legal language!
- If you are a Welsh speaker demand under The Welsh Language Act that they conduct ALL interviews in Welsh and ALL forms and ID are written in Welsh.
- If their ID is unsigned or has no photo, then insist on them providing two utility bills addressed to themselves.
SHOULD BE DARK BY NOW!
- Insist on a separate piece of paper relative to EACH animal.
- Insist on ID -- and full data, signed on each animal.
- Keep photographing.
- Write out your objections to the cull and ensure you have EACH person, whether from MAFF, Police, Vet etc sign a SEPARATE copy.
- If possible put your animals in a LOCKED shed.
- If they break in then photograph and film it. Hopefully TV cameras will record this event.
If they try to insist on slaughter:
- Demand to see the slaughterman's license.
- Demand a vet is present. Record anything you are denied.
- Demand to see the vet's qualification/degree certificate.
- Demand to see the license for the bolt gun.
- Demand to see a certificate from safety standards that the bolt gun has been checked as A1 in the last 12 months. If that is not granted, then ensure you record this in some way, by having the offending person sign a piece of paper which records that he has refused to show you the certificate. If he doesnít sign anything, then ensure you have recorded his objections on audio or video tape.
- Demand a blood test before they can act. Demand a blood test from a private laboratory of your own choosing, not a State approved laboratory.
- Demand they give you blood samples from animals alleged to be infected.
For legal reasons you will appreciate the above is NOT advice, merely comment!
SOME MORE IDEAS TO CONSIDER IN YOUR GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES
Publicly renounce your membership of the official farming union
The present "leadership" is leading you, quite literally, and however unwittingly, to the slaughter. Renounce your membership and your reasons for it in your local and national press. Get others to join your action. Put pressure on these people whose policies are destroying your life, your livelihoods and your life's work.
Investigate all possible legal action
There are penalties in law for people who are unnecessarily cruel to animals. Why have these laws been, apparently, suspended while a mass cull of both healthy and curable animals, even sheepdogs, spreads throughout the land?
Video, photograph and tape the behaviour of MAFF, vets and others on your farm with the intention of bringing prosecutions at a later date
This ensures they feel awkward. It forces them to justify themselves for the record. It ensures they understand that their behaviour today will live on, and be seen by others. It puts them on their best behaviour, and it forces them to confront their own consciences.
Moreover, vets are now being allowed "slaughter on suspicion". If the results from the slaughtered animals come back negative then what is to stop you prosecuting that particular vet?
In the coming months and years, reports and books will be written about the mass slaughter policy and will prove conclusively that the policy was wrong. That will leave the people who are presently executing the present Slaughter, however unwittingly, open to prosecution and massive compensation demands. You need to collect evidence now.
Persuade vets to speak out against the slaughter
Ask them the "10 Questions for Conscientious Vets" posted here
Remind them that they depend on you for their business and that if they come on your land with the intention of killing, rather than healing, then you have no intention of dealing with them, or their business, ever again.
Remind them also that after they, and their colleagues, have killed everything in their area, then they will, effectively, have put themselves out of business anyway!
Vets should refuse to be complicit with a State sanctioned economic agenda rather than an animal health policy and until such time as they return to their job of healing sick animals then they are abusing their professional position and betraying their professional motivations.
Do not co-operate in gathering the animals
You do not have to gather the animals, and you do not have to make the job of rounding them up easy. You have no obligation to stand by while they are slaughtered. You can walk among them thereby preventing the person from doing the dirty work. You can stand as close to the animal as possible in order to prevent it being killed. Itís not possible to chain yourself to the animal, but you get the idea!
Spread alternative information and understanding
For example, print this out 20 times and send it to 20 farmers, or vets, in your Yellow Pages.
Our aim is to STOP THE SLAUGHTER, save the healthy animals, and heal the sick.
If we let nature take its course then the countryside will return to normality.
Passive Resistance, within the law, will spread and inspire others to defend their lives, livelihoods and life's work.
It will make the present State policy unworkable and it will create media events which change the terms of debate. It will ensure we succeed in our aim.