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Juanita Wilson and the Duchess of Hamilton

Alistair McConnachie reports :
They say the sun shines on the righteous. Well, that was the feeling of the assembled throng, at the opening of a Memorial to the Foot and Mouth Crisis of 2001, at Mossburn Animal Sanctuary on the gloriously sunny day of Saturday 14 June 2003.

Over 120 people gathered at Juanita Wilson's animal sanctuary, at Hightae, just outside Lochmaben, in the South West of Scotland, to witness Her Grace the Duchess of Hamilton (right of picture) officially open the Memorial.

Supporters, many of whom had personally suffered during the crisis, had traveled from as far south as Essex to be there for the day.

We reported extensively on Mossburn's fight in our May 2001 issue of Sovereignty. It was Mossburn's successful fight which finally ended the so-called contiguous cull in Scotland.

Indeed, the Scottish Farmer magazine of 19 May 2001 stated, "The fact is that Mossburn ... has changed Government policy in Scotland over the three km cull -- and no amount of spin by any politician will convince Scottish farming otherwise."

Supporters at the Opening Ceremony

The Memorial is situated at the front of the sanctuary at the bottom of its large landscaped garden (see picture left). It has a plaque, and sits next to a small waterfall and bridge. Flower beds and seats are arranged in front of it, and at the other end of the garden is an extensive network of homes for many of the small animals which are cared for on the premises.

Mossburn hosts regular school and public visits and there is plenty of opportunity for people to be introduced to the Memorial and its message.

Scottish Television was there to cover the event for the lunchtime and evening news. Juanita opened the proceedings, and also read a message of support from campaigner John Gouriet.

The Duchess -- who is now the Patron of Mossburn Animal Sanctuary -- then spoke, emphasising that while we look back to remember, we must use this memory to inspire us to look ahead.

The following are some extracts from the Duchess's speech:

It seems to me that Mossburn is a most appropriate place for this Memorial.

Not only is Mossburn open to the public, and regularly hosting many parties of visitors who will be able to see this Memorial, and understand, and remember, its message, but as Juanita said, on the day that the battle was joined between Mossburn and MAFF:

"The killing has got to stop and its going to stop here."

Well, stop here it did!

It was Mossburn's high-profile, and successful fight for its survival, during those dark days of the Foot and Mouth crisis, which led directly to the 3km contiguous cull being over-turned in Scotland ...

... This Memorial stands in memory to all the people and all the animals who suffered, not only in this area, but throughout Scotland, and throughout Britain.

For when we remember the events of 2001 we cannot forget the suffering of both the human and animal kingdoms ... But, this Memorial does not only recall to memory the tragic events of 2001. It stands also to inspire us for the future.

For it reminds us that out of those dark days came forth, from many people throughout the country, a well-spring of compassion, came much friendship and fellowship, came many new ideas, came much positive action, and came much goodness.

Mossburn has bounced back. It now has more animals in its care than at any other time. And its public education work continues apace with more school visits than at any other time.

Another uplifting example of an inspiring initiative borne out of those days is The Heart of Galloway Rural Support Group ... several of whose members are here today ...

... While none of us may know what tomorrow may bring, this Memorial inspires each of us to do whatever we can to ensure, in future, that the shocking events of 2001 are not repeated again.

And as we are gathered here today, let us be inspired to face that future with renewed Hope, with Enthusiasm, with Determination, and with Joy.

Ladies and gentlemen, before I move to unveil the Memorial, may I end by quoting the words which appear here, in full:

Alistair McConnachie reflects

This memorial is dedicated to all the animals needlessly slaughtered in the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001.

We remember the persecution of the animal kingdom and the trauma inflicted upon our countryside.

We resolve to work towards a more respectful, harmonious and sustainable relationship between the animal and human kingdoms.

We resolve to ensure that such an outrage will never be allowed to happen again.

Left: Alistair McConnachie reflects on the wording of the Memorial

Mossburn has a website at

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