|STOP THE SLAUGHTER: STOP THE SCARE
Alistair McConnachie spoke at Morpeth Town Hall, Northumberland, on the 12 April 2001.
Picture: the utter waste of healthy animals slaughtered (The Scottish Farmer 17 March 2001).
Without putting too fine a point on it, the present slaughter policy is unnecessary, illogical, unscientific, uneconomic and inhumane.
We are looking at a medieval and horrifying policy which is destroying our farming industry, leaving the countryside desolate, paralysing our rural communities and damaging the tourist businesses, and which is leaving behind itself a massive, man-made human welfare tragedy.
And for what? Well, to try to understand this policy, let us look at the "justification", inverted commas, for the slaughter.
The slaughter attempts to eradicate Foot and Mouth disease by killing animals faster than the disease can spread. The aim is to achieve "disease free" status, in order that the export markets can be reopened.
OK, that's the justification. Now, I said the slaughter was: UNNECESSARY
For example, if we use emergency vaccination we will regain "disease free" status one year after the last emergency vaccination, or one year after the last outbreak, whichever is the later. Since vaccination will lead to outbreaks finishing sooner, then export markets will return quicker if we use emergency vaccination.
And logically speaking also, it doesn't make economic sense to base policy entirely upon achieving disease-free status for the export markets, because disease-free status is a highly vulnerable condition, and can be lost at any time.
And there's no telling when the export markets may fall or disappear. Are all the Europeans really going to rush out and buy British meat again? We may find that nobody wants to buy our meat, disease-free or not.
As far as the export markets are concerned, we also need alternative polices which will enable us to maintain a successful farming industry, whether or not we have disease-free status.
An alternative to relying upon the export trade is to develop new home grown markets right here. We import more beef, lamb and pork than we export. This means there is an untapped home market for national produce. However, many British farmers remain dependent on export markets because supermarkets buy cheaper meat from countries with low wages, and low health and environmental standards.
Farmers Markets, however, have been growing successfully throughout Britain. These Markets are able to provide quality food below supermarket prices. These Markets also boost the local rural and tourist industries. We should have one in every town in Britain.
and it's INHUMANE
So, whatever way you look at it, it's wrong and we need to
NOW, WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THIS?
- They do not
know the facts. The "gruesome" details of the "horrific" disease are
being played up to scare the farmer into going along.
HOWEVER, IF THE SLAUGHTER IS TO STOP THEN FARMERS NEED TO SPEAK
OUT AGAINST IT
VETS ALSO NEED TO SPEAK OUT. IF VETS BREAK RANKS THEN THE
SLAUGHTER POLICY COULD BE IN DISARRAY.
As farmers, we've all seen vets affect amazing cures for animals with horrific diseases or atrocious wounds. Therefore, I can't understand why so many vets, at the moment, are allowing themselves to be used in this manner.
I think many vets do feel very uncomfortable with this policy. I know my local vet has voiced her opposition to it, but she needs to go public. Some are starting to speak out. In yesterday's Daily Telegraph, a vet wrote in, "I used to be proud to be a vet. I took comfort from the oath 'to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care'. Now I feel ashamed ..."
Vets, please, break ranks and say, "This slaughter policy contradicts our professional oath and we've had enough."
SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?
So long as the mass slaughter remains, then the mass scare will remain. The countryside, and the rural and tourist industries will remain closed for business.
If we stop the slaughter, we stop the scare and allow the countryside to return to normality.