Saturday, 22 December 2007

A momentary glimpse....

"it was interesting that I hadn’t come close to understanding the trauma these people were experiencing...” David King

Interesting use of an interestingly neutral adjective by the departing CSA, who, this article in the Times today reveals, wept during a play about foot and mouth seven years after his influence had carried out "a cull of millions of animals to stop the outbreak". Interesting that journalists still do not - apparently - understand what did and what did not "stop the outbreak".

As Dr Alex Donaldson's submission to the Lessons Learned Inquiry pointed out:
"....The epidemic had been in decline by the time of the introduction of the contiguous cull policy on 29 March. .."

It is interesting that the massive scale of contiguous slaughter, which involved 10,400 farms and at the very least 6·5 million livestock, was largely unnecessary. Fewer than 1500 of 2030 ‘infected premises’ that were tested in the lab were actually confirmed as being infected.

These are the statistics that are fading, helped on their way by that very human wish to airbrush out the unthinkable.

All the same, the policy, so heavily influenced by Sir David King, resulted in the unnecessary involvement of over 7200 premises (69 per cent of all premises affected) and the unnecessary slaughter of at least 3·35 million animals(52 per cent of all recorded slaughters),and an excess cost of at least £1700 million(62 per cent of the declared net cost to the UK taxpayer).(See Vet Record Aug 5 2006)

But it is Christmas. We do not want to remember the scenes of utter shambles, the terror and misery resulting in the grief that Sir David allowed himself to share, so interestingly and just for a brief moment, seven years on.

How much better to dwell instead on the gentle scenes of human and animal kindness that feature still - thank God - in so many Christmas cards.

Even so, let it never be forgotten that the Slaughter of the Innocents did take place - it still does and it still will - until some deeper awareness replaces the politics at the heart of animal disease control.

The mass terror of 2001 was not - the authors' eulogy notwithstanding - imposed for any necessary reason, needing the steely determination of someone resolutely deaf to - as the the Times article by Mark Henderson and Helen Rumbelow so interestingly puts it - "... the emotional pleas of protesters".

Hmmm. "Emotional"... Unlike "interesting", here is a word packed with sub text. These days, has not such an adjective become synonymous with "hysterical" - that push-button word, much used by a propaganda machine that ought to be thoroughly ashamed of itself? But this kind of shame has become out of place and out of date among those whose actions take so little heed of those upon whom they impact. So it is "interesting" to get a glimpse into the mind of one to whom emotional pleas are wholly irrelevant and certainly not, seven years on, any reason for self doubt or humility - but to whom, just for a moment, comes the sudden pricking of tears.

(See also warmwell blogspot: "Seven Pillars of Piffle")


Sue S said...

Well said Mary, perhaps now he is out of the government the man might start having a few second thoughts about the things he was responsible for: GM crops, 'Global Warming', FMD.... . I see he is off to a lucrative job :-|

Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to all at Warmwell and beyond :-)


Quita said...

I've been reading through your blogs, Mary, and they made me think of this:

'The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of cultural life. ... We must not conceal from ourselves that no improvement in the present depressing situation is possible without a severe struggle; for the handful of those who are really determined to do something is minute in comparison with the mass of the lukewarm and the misguided.....
(Albert Einstein)

Thanks for always being our voice, darling Mary - and a very happy New Year!

As always,

Mary said...

Thank you, Sue and Quita

I have another quotation from Einstein:

"Our task must be to free ourselves
by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

And our task is not going to be easy since "all living creatures" includes such as the departing CSO, those in the heirarchy at DEFRA and the mad party politicians at the ever more frenetic Westminster tea party.