AUGUST 2007 Archive
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There have clearly been problems with food from China, which also spill over into the food from Western manufacturers who source ingredients in China. This issue of harmful and illegal ingredients is one very important aspect. There are, furthermore, a great many products without explicit labelling (e.g. ‘hide chews') and the generic labelling of pet food ingredients, that is permissible in law, can be very economical with detail and specificity. The only way for a buyer to avoid risks is not to buy manufactured food but to buy fresh ingredients of known quality.
Another issue is that of general health promotion. I firmly believe that processed food is not as good for pets as fresh food (preferably organic). Furthermore, I believe that no manufactured item replaces the essential role in tooth and gum health that is played by lumps of raw meat, that a dog has to chew, or raw joint/knuckle bones for the same purpose.
Foot and Mouth – Stand Easy?
Thankfully, it looks as though the current outbreak is at an end. The EU has eased restrictions on UK exports and DEFRA appears to be in a relaxed mood.The bio-security ‘own goal' has yet to be resolved and possibly never will be. It's a familiar story – no one is at fault and yet it happened. I don't suppose for one minute that they'll stop playing with fire, however.
1) What a surprise – UK survival rates for cancer are poor, in international terms, below the European average and even lagging behind some Eastern European countries.
We keep hearing triumphal propaganda about increasing survival rates but how does this tally? Isn't it long past the time we should cease to rely upon animal experimentation for development of treatments? These are bound to end in failure and, in reality, do so. Money should be spent on compiling data, so we might be able to sort out the causes. In the meantime, diet, lifestyle and pollution seem pretty high on the list. Why not try to sort them out, instead of squandering untold billions on useless torturing of animals?
Let's face it, cancer and cancer research are big-earning industries. Curing or preventing cancer could be bad business…….
2) Another big surprise, this one – the further a patient travels by ambulance, the more likely death becomes.
With the increased risk of MRSA and other superbugs by concentrating more and more patients into a smaller number of larger facilities, do we need this additional disadvantage of centralisation to convince us that ‘small is beautiful'. It is well-known in veterinary preventive medicine – stressing facilities by stocking density or throughput brings more disease. Stop destroying local facilities, for goodness sake.
Sufferers of this distressing condition are not without hope, in that natural medicine can often help.See https://www.alternativevet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Headshaking-WS064-07.pdf
While we're not ‘out of the wood' yet, restrictions are being further relaxed today. Logic dictates, in view of no further reports of outbreaks, that the feared spread of virus may not have occurred and this signal from DEFRA means that the powers-that-be are feeling more comfortable about the situation.
I suppose the decline of livestock in the countryside, in latter years, has its benefits, in that the denser the stock, the more likely it is that spread will occur. The converse also applies.
In these times of FMD and a further outbreak of lethal food poisoning in Scotland, it's good to have something nice to blog about!Lyme Regis held its annual event, the ‘Lyme Regatta', last week.
Here are some pictures:
Golden Cap in the afternoon light
Someone's having fun!
The Town Crier
Lyme's quaint little harbour, in the evening light
Personal experience (close family) suggests that homeopathy should be able to help those poor people in Scotland, who are suffering a renewed outbreak of E. coli food poisoning.
Food poisoning kills an enormous number of people, each year. In November-January 1996-97, in Central Scotland, 21 died of E. coli O157 food poisoning, 496 were affected and some were left permanently damaged. This time, the same strain has already killed one elderly lady and two more are seriously ill. It seems to have originated in a Morrisons supermarket, in Paisley.
With the dreadful mortality record, using conventional medicine, why has someone not asked the homeopathic medical community for help? They could do no worse than the current regime! Perhaps someone's scared that it might just work – then where would we be?
Alternatively, I suppose they could just stop eating meat?
The news of a new ‘suspect' case of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), on Romney Marsh, North of new Romney in Kent is not good. However, we can hope that, like the recent case near Dorking, this will turn out to be a false alarm. The waiting is not nice.
STOP PRESS: While writing this, news of a new Control Zone in Surrey was announced by the BBC. This is also an unconfirmed suspect case.
The Kent information has reached the DEFRA update site: http://www.defra.gov.uk/ but the new suspect outbreak in Surrey is too new at the time of writing.
What drives those who would criticise or condemn homeopathy, without having invested a significant amount of time and effort researching the topic? These are NOT scientists.Is it fear? Is it insecurity? Is it a realisation that homeopathy may overturn so many paradigms, in which they have invested their careers and their confidence?
True science first observes, later draws conclusions or theories.
In ethical medicine, any methodology that claims that it may be able to help patients should be thoroughly investigated, not vilified out of hand.
Let us have science, not doctrine. Let us have patient welfare, not vested interest.
Please don't bother me with mindless vitriol and pseudoscience. Please observe first and then try to make sense of the observations.
Does anyone need more proof of the serious dangers of manufactured food than the incident earlier this year, in which about 4,000 U.S. dogs have died, probably as a result of melamine (serves as a fake protein) inclusion in manufactured food?The incident has been blamed on unscrupulous Chinese ingredient suppliers but surely the American importers and the manufacturers doing the buying share the blame? The need for a massive supply of cheap ingredients fuels such possible iniquities. The large scale manufacturing capability and the rapid distribution system ensure widespread damage from any error.It is believed melamine may also have been included in some human foods.
This and the recent Sudan 1 carcinogen scandal, which contaminated chilli powder and which caused the recall of approaching 450 human food products (at a cost of about £100 million in the UK alone) show the power of food manufacturing to multiply any problem to a massive scale in a very short time.
These considerations are quite apart from the general health concerns associated with the feeding of processed foods.
When I found a little black dog, running precariously through rush-hour traffic on the main road near us, last month, little did I realise she'd think of adopting us!No microchip, no identity, no responses to all our notifications and about a month on, now. She's now called Tinker, because she is!
It's very difficult, under such circumstances, to know when one can say she's officially ‘arrived' but she's certainly made herself feel at home.
Website glitches I seem to lurch from one thing to another, in my attempt to have a trouble-free website.
The host has now added FrontPage extensions to the service, so I had to republish the site through FrontPage. Sadly, the host does not appear to support fully the navigation bars that I have in place. The site works fine but the navigation is not exactly as planned! We're working on it.
At least the changes now permit the interactive and feedback facilities! Let's hear from you.
Meanwhile, I apologise for the time off-air, yesterday, when I hadn't realised that the host had taken the site down, to switch me over to a FrontPage Extensions hosting package.
There is a new suspect farm, as of Thursday 9th August. The sad aspect of this is that it is situated about 10 miles to the East of the earlier outbreaks, beyond Guildford. A new Temporary Control Zone has been put in place, centring on the A25, midway between Gomshall and Westcott, near Dorking.This news comes just as the authorities were relaxing movement restrictions (for animals to go direct to slaughter). This suspected case is still within the County of Surrey but brings the prospect of a longer battle than was first hoped. It will renew calls for vaccination.
DEFRA has responded with a ‘standard letter' to my offer to help with homeopathic input. I am not hopeful, at present, that they are taking this offer seriously. This would be a shame. Why not write to DEFRA, suggesting that they should look into homeopathy as a possible means of containing the spread of the disease?
Meanwhile the hunt for the guilty party goes on, seeking out the source of the outbreak. The red herring of Legionnaires Disease has also muddied the waters.
Having missed the match at Twickenham, because of the Foot and Mouth and having devoted a lot of my mind to that unpleasant subject, I have only just started digesting the sporting results from the weekend. I'm not a great follower of sport but these two events were attention grabbers.Twickenham – how could I have missed this one, of all matches, despite having had a ticket? That's life – 62-5! – that was even with JW uncharacteristically missing a few kicks but still joins the 900 club. Nine tries (four from Easter) – there can hardly have been time for a pitstop. One can only feel for the Welsh, as it all went so badly wrong for them.
As for the Hungarian Grand Prix, what it lacked in race thrills (as usual for that beastly circuit), it made up for in politics. Lewis Hamilton and McLaren won for Britain (perhaps because of Alonso's penalty). A row between two drivers, for heaven knows what reason, really shouldn't spill over into the public domain. After all, it is the public who fund them, in the long run. Poor old Ron Dennis has a headache, now, as a result of forfeiting his team's winning points, apparently through no fault of his own and having a feuding team to cope with. It can't be good. He'd better have another glass of champers.
British Sport gets a lift, anyway.
Horses are not susceptible to the FMD virus. However, moving horses into or out of the 3km Protection Zone is only permissible by licence. Movements of those horses kept on the same premises as susceptible animals within the 3 km Protection Zone are similarly governed. Horse transport vehicles are likewise affected. This is precautionary.I take this opportunity to remind clients that, as notified in a recent article below, that I shall not visit horses that are kept in close proximity to cattle, sheep, pigs or goats, during the current crisis. This is similarly precautionary, to prevent risk to my own or my clients' cloven-hoofed animals.
Just consider – someone tips a vial of FMD-infected material down the sink, it goes down the drain, it is well-diluted but then flood water spreads drain water over a wide area – hey presto, we have infected animals on a farm.This is a plausible explanation for the current outbreak. It should set us all thinking that what we put down our drains and lavatories really matters.
What about that ghastly blue flushing chemical in your toilet? Even worse, what about all that bleach? Floor cleaners, washing-up liquid, surface cleaners, carpet treatments may all be harmful. The petro-chemical detergent and domestic product market is massive. Contraceptive pills, drugs of all sorts, car washing effluent – all of that revolting stuff ends up down our lavatories, down our sinks, runs out of our washing machines, drains off our drives and, yes, into the drainage system, a la Pirbright. It eventually ends up in rivers, ditches, waterways and even …. our drinking water!
It is only a small effort to exchange all our household stuff for eco-friendly products. These are easily obtainable now.
What we use in our homes has the power to make a huge environmental difference, positive or negative. Whatever we think, our effluent ends up in rivers, reservoirs and the poor old sea. Processing plants cannot remove it all.
Well, it was inevitable – another case has been found and slaughter is under way. The consolation is that it is only one case and that it is within the current Protection Zone.http://www.defra.gov.uk/
The word ‘Natural' In these parlous times, folk are turning to things ‘natural' in droves. The feeling is that if it is ‘of nature', then it has to be good and helps in some way to return us to a more natural state. While there's a lot in this, in many cases, there are some pitfalls.
Lots of people doing something rings bells in commercial hallways.
The inevitable result is that commercial interest swarms in that direction, hi-jacking the word ‘natural' and sticking it on the label or in the advertising of just-about-anything, in the hope of catching sales.
Some of this stuff fits in with our perception of ‘natural' and ‘good'. A lot of it is counterfeit. Caveat emptor (buyer beware) is a great motto and slogan. Examine everything carefully for its natural and wholesome credentials. Do not be taken in by the commercial leeches and have your wallet sucked dry.
Three main ways in which ‘natural' may not be wholesome are:
1) adulterated products that may contain a whiff of some natural ingredient but which have no more right to be called natural than I have to be called an Olympic athlete.
2) some things which are genuinely natural may be very unwholesome – look at arsenic, for instance, or poison ivy by way of reductio ad absurdum.
3) some products, while being natural, may be extremely damaging to the ecological niche from which they come (e.g. don't buy sandalwood products, as the groves are rapidly disappearing and are not replaceable in a predictable way).
Don't be cynical but don't be naive either. Keep those antennae waving!
The flood? It seems the experts are proposing the idea that the floods of 20th July spread the FMD virus from the Pirbright facility. As far as we know, no flood water actually passed through the buildings (what would have happened if it had?), which means that it must have been contaminated drain water entering the flood waters. Contamination of drain water would require a human breach of procedure, since no infective material should be disposed of via the sink or lavatory. One would assume that a large quantity of infective material might be needed, to retain an effective infective capability after such dilution.
I trust that the investigation will continue, in the hope of finding the who/what/when/how but it may be something that can never be ascertained at this stage. At least, if the theory is correct, the perpetrator will know he or she broke procedures.
Why do we have all these dangerous viruses about, like tigers in a zoo but more dangerous? Take a look at the earlier blog “Pandora's Box”, for a list of viruses at IAH Pirbright. We shall probably never be told what they keep at the Merial facility on the same site.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.
In the light of the recent bio-security questions about the Foot and Mouth outbreak, at Pirbright, it may not be a comfort to readers to know that, apart from FMD virus, the IAH facility researches several animal diseases, ‘exotic' to the UK:Lumpy Skin Disease and Rinderpest for cattle
African Horse Sickness and Equine Encephalosis for horses
African Swine Fever and Swine Vesicular Disease for pigs
Blue Tongue, Peste des petits Ruminants and Sheep Pox for sheep
Goat Pox for goats.
Let's hope they can keep the lid on that bunch of goodies ……..
Meanwhile, it does not encourage me to learn that the carcases of the slaughtered cattle are being shipped from Surrey to Frome in Somerset, for incineration. Please give those trucks a wide berth, as they travel their way.
Another night has passed, without further confirmations of Foot and Mouth Disease. Although it is still early days in the outbreak, it looks more and more as if the initial infection took place in only one location, albeit possibly at more than one individual site. It is not 100% clear from reports whether all affected sites are under one ownership or whether there has been further (local) spread. Nonetheless, this compact area would make subsequent spread easier to track and contain.In 2001, by way of contrast, the disease had spread to many scattered centres (multi-centric), before action was initiated.
There is no room for smugness about bio-security, at the two laboratory sites at Pirbright. For some reason, the directors of both have made it known that they believe no breach of procedures has occurred. At such times, it is best to keep mum, until the facts are known.
At least it's reassuring to know that Dr Reynolds has slapped a Protection Zone and Surveillance Zone around her old employers, at Pirbright, in case.
Especially with regard to dogs, but equally relevant to other species, the vaccination debate rolls on: https://www.alternativevet.org/vaccination.htm.I have the pleasure of having been invited to give my views in front of a camera, at the end of this week, for a new DVD presentation on the subject.
Of course, there is nothing new to discuss or to reveal but the anxiety felt by dog owners is understandably very real and very great, regarding protection of their beloved animals from the ‘killer diseases', such as Leptospirosis, Parvovirus and Distemper.
Make no mistake, these diseases are still very prevalent out there and unprotected animals can fall prey to them, with disastrous consequences.
Several key facts need to be broadcast:
The diseases are killers.
It is not good enough to do nothing.
Annual boosting of vaccination is a habit, not based on science.
Even a single dose of vaccine, at the first injection stage, can be dangerous, in susceptible individuals. There is no way of determining susceptibility in advance.
There is a significant number of obvious vaccine reactions, rarely if ever reported under the SARSS scheme (https://www.alternativevet.org/sarss.htm)
Double-boosting in dogs that have missed a year or two is not only not based in science, it is also doubly dangerous.
In many cases, a single dose of vaccine can be protective for life. However, it is not possible to determine in which cases.
Antibody testing (titre testing) does not help a great deal. Animals can be immune without the presence of circulating antibodies.
Any dog with an illness or disease should not be vaccinated, according to the manufacturers' Data Sheet.
About 80% of chronic disease, in cases in which a start date can be determined, show first signs within three months of a vaccination event. This is despite the Newmarket POOCH study's findings (https://www.alternativevet.org/Vaccination-WS024-07.pdf). This fact can be gleaned from veterinary notes up and down the country (i.e. real-life science).
Homeopathic methods (homeoprophylaxis) are without risk of side-effects.
Homeopathic methods are without clear proof of efficacy but limited clinical trial work is very indicative of a positive effect: https://www.alternativevet.org/research.htm
Thousands of dogs in the UK do not receive vaccination, rather receiving only homeoprophylaxis. This has not created a disaster.
Homeoprophylactic methods will not satisfy legal or competition requirements for vaccination.
My own dogs have never received any conventional vaccination, despite being extremely high-risk dogs as a result of their lifestyle and environment.
I cannot recommend the Pet Passport procedure for dogs, as it involves so much chemical input, further vaccination (Rabies) etc. I therefore advocate leaving dogs at home, when taking holidays and trips abroad.
What first alerted me to vaccination problems, who once was possibly the most vaccine-minded vet ever, was the sudden and dramatic relapse of homeopathically ‘cured' chronic cases, just after a booster vaccination.
I am unable to recommend re-vaccination of any chronically-diseased patient, even after apparent ‘cure', for this reason and because of the wording of the Data Sheet.
As stated at the outset, this information also applies to horses and to cats. In the case of horses and tetanus vaccination, boosting should not be necessary inside 10 – 12 years.
I am always very willing to discuss this subject responsibly and in-depth, with any concerned enquirer (vet or animal owner), knowing the legitimate concerns that attend this issue.
I had the enormous pleasure and privilege to have been invited to speak at the latest of the Prince of Wales's series of Summer Schools, held at his Cotswold farm and at Highgrove (17th – 19th July 2007). It was on the subject of ‘Farming & Food'.I felt slightly the ‘odd man out', among the speakers, as I was not an integral part of the developing farming and food culture. I was talking about the role of homeopathy in welfare and positive health on the farm. Nonetheless, I found the course most illuminating and inspiring.
A diverse group of delegates and speakers were gathered, all of whom had a great deal to contribute. Among others, they came from retail giants, retail innovators and pioneers, the organic world, DEFRA, school food buyers, caterers, the European Commission for Agriculture & Rural Development, Young Farmers, the Soil Association and the NFU.
The Wednesday evening was spent as a guest of the HRH The Prince of Wales at Highgrove, both walking his magnificent private gardens and for a splendid dinner (local and organic). The Prince of Wales characteristically gave his vision of sustainable farming and the problems besetting the world, in agriculture and in climate. His Grace The Bishop of Liverpool gave an inspiring after-dinner speech on his work with sustainability education in Liverpool.
All agreed it had been a very worthwhile and positive experience and elected to continue contact and to hold further meetings. Much deliberation took place, about possible resolutions to take forward. The series of Summer Schools convened by the Prince of Wales, of which this was only one topic, appear to be a powerful force for positive change and imaginative thinking.
The time of year for laminitis in ponies is well under way. It is comforting to know that homeopathy, along with sound (natural) feeding advice, has proved extraordinarily effective, even in some very chronic cases but especially if intervention is timely.
Mainstay remedies are: Aconitum, Belladonna, Fluoric acid, Graphites, Hypericum, Secale and Silica, used according to homeopathic principles. The experienced homeopathic vet will sometimes use others, according to signs and circumstance.
It is important to avoid feeding refined or semi-refined sugars, which are usually so much an integral part of manufactured foods and supplements.
It is important to establish a holistic regime, integrating management, diet, hoof-trimming and medical case. Chronic cases can require a great deal of close monitoring and regime adjustment, as the case proceeds, but the outcome is positive in the vast majority of cases.
Have you seen the September issue of ‘Your Dog‘ magazine. On page 98 is a feature entitled “What's on the menu?“. Dr Monica L MRCVS, employed in the PR department of IAMS, strenuously defends the ‘processed food' cause, while yours truly has a bash for natural and fresh diets. I recommend reading both.I am glad for Dr Monica that she has such faith in her employer's products (IAMS pet food manufacturer is a subsidiary of multi-national giant Procter and Gamble).
I quote from the ‘products' page of my website www.alternativevet.org/products.htm :
“As with any walk of life, it is not wise to seek the advice of those who will directly benefit from that advice.”
In her article, Dr L refers to the '24-hour Operational Ration Pack'. Guess what, this is only designed for continuous consumption over 15 days and certainly no longer than 30 days. Might the British Army have realised that such diets are not for long-term use? According to Surplus and Adventure,
” Features of the 24-Hour Operational Ration Pack are:
- An individual ration for normal use in the field
- Ration is designed to feed one person for one day
- It has been designed to provide a balanced nutritional diet
- Can be eaten hot or cold
- ORP provides an average of 4000 Kcal per ration
- Ration is 10% protein, no more than 35% fat, 55% carbohydrate
- Continuous consumption up to 15 days, ideally no longer than 30 days
- Hot meals in flexible foil pouches
- Rations packed in waterproof outer cardboard boxes
- All ORPs have a shelf life of at least 3 years “
Incidentally, this little item comes to you, from military surplus supplies, for £9.95 (for 24-hours of food) and includes 10 matches, a striker and 6 water purification tablets! It is interesting to read that the military realises that there is such a thing as ‘menu fatigue' and are introducing variety into 2007 packs. All this sounds far-removed from the petrol-pump sounding ‘super premium' dog food described. Now would that be leaded or unleaded? Anyway, I'm glad Dr L mentioned the 24-hr ORP, really.
As for the publication of my own views (page 99), shame about the photo of the steel food dish! It's a bit ‘off message' and I have made a mental note to try to remember, when writing articles, to ask for input on choice of photographs. By the way, my own incentive for writing the article? A free copy of the magazine!
The BBC have posted this:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/6931324.stm
Since the discovery of the virus strain, as being similar (or identical, depending which report one reads) to that used/kept at Pirbright research facility, the Protection Zone around the farm has been expanded today. The Pirbright facility is about 3 miles from the affected farm, so this new expanded zone includes the area around Pirbright and again has a 3km radius (interesting that the affected farm was THREE MILES from Pirbright (5km) so this area may be too small) and a new surveillance zone with a 10km radius from both sites.Readers will be comforted that the head of the IAH at Pirbright has told reporters that there have been “no breaches of our procedures”. Merial have apparently voluntarily ceased production of vaccines at the site.
Hit this link for a comment on possible homeopathic involvement in the treatment and prevention of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
The other day I chanced upon an interesting venture. It's called VETONTHEWEB.CO.UK and is “the first and only web portal veterinary website in the UK, bringing vets, pet owners, pet and vet related businesses and welfare groups under one roof, for the benefit of all” to quote from the home page: http://www.vetontheweb.co.uk/.I have posted an entry but it would take more time than I have to make the most of the ambitious and expansive idea behind the project.
If you're interested in joining (free to pet owners), you can do so
Late last night, preliminary results of virus typing were released. DEFRA said that the virus strain is not one recently found in animals. I quote from the announcement:”It is most similar to strains used in international diagnostic laboratories and in vaccine production, including at the Pirbright site shared by the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) and Merial Animal Health Ltd, a pharmaceutical company.”
This laboratory is not far from the affected farm. The suggestion is that this outbreak may be the result of a bio-security leak at the laboratory. Of course such laboratories do not just handle Foot and Mouth virus. It is time such work was out in the open and in the public domain. What other viruses do they have?
If this is indeed the source, it would not be the first time that a virus has ‘escaped' from such a facility and it highlights the dangers of playing about with such things. The notorious escape of the lethal Rabbit Calicivirus from the Wardang Island research facility off Australia was but one example. The surprise is, when you play with matches, you get fire.
This may not be the time to repeat that I believe animal experimentation, as is carried out at Pirbright and many other research facilities, is a practice that should stop. I also doubt that this incident will make those involved rethink the whole thing. That does not appear to be the way science-linked-with-commerce thinks.
Back to the current FMD challenge, this finding makes it even more pressing that we should consider homeopathic methodology, to limit the spread of this disease. The discussions on the vaccination issue centre around economic considerations, because of the production of FMD antibodies and on whether the strain of virus in the vaccine is the correct one. The homeopathic option would, if shown effective, avoid both of these problems. If the disease starts to spread rapidly, it would take a very short time to establish whether homeopathy could prove effective.
The 3km Protection Zone surrounds the village of Wanborough, between Guildford and Aldershot. The exact identity of the farm has not yet been revealed but the cattle have now all been slaughtered, according ot reports.This is clearly a very decisive action by DEFRA, this time around. It is now a matter of waiting to see whether the outbreak had spread, prior to detection. As the incubation period is about 7 days, that is the MINIMUM time we must wait before breathing a sigh of relief, if no reports of further cases come in. Traditionally, the spread of infection appears to have been faster in cold, winter weather.
During the last outbreak, nearly 7 million animals were destroyed and estimated costs reached £8.5 billion. That episode was not only tragic and devastating for the rural communities involved, it was an animal welfare disaster, with movement restrictions condemning many animals to a slow death by starvation and the scale of operation leading to many having been badly shot.
None of this staggering toll and terrible tragedy addresses the fearsome pollution issue, with the massive fires that burned for so long. We can only hope that all this can be avoided this time around.
The arguments against vaccination tend to lose their strength, when repeated outbreaks appear to be an inevitable reality. The arguments for homeopathic involvement (homeoprophylaxis) are very strong, provided we can show that we are able to be effective in control of spread. However, before that necessary information can be obtained, DEFRA needs to allow dialogue and to consider the representation that I shall be sending.
In the wake of the announcement of a new outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), many may require information and guidance.The first thing is that it is cloven-hoofed animals that are susceptible to this disease, including cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and deer. Any farmers or others who have these species under their care should do their best to prevent spread to their animals by setting up bio-security zones around the premises, disallowing access of unauthorised people or vehicles into contact with the animals. Disinfectant pads/baths may also be a useful measure (using a recommended disinfectant). Keeping animals away from footpaths and rights of way is an obvious precaution. Limiting travel to or from premises where such species are kept is also advisable. For the time being, it is wisest not to attend animal parks, zoos, rescue centres etc., where such species are kept.
Keep a regular and close inspection schedule, to check for signs of the disease. At present, we have no information on how far the virus may already have spread, so we must all be vigilant.
Signs of the disease in cattle are: slobbering and smacking lips, shivering, sore feet, reduced milk yield, blisters on feet and possibly inside mouth and raised temperature. Affected sheep are less easy to spot.
DEFRA has a comprehensive information sheet at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/.
The Soil Association was very pro-active in 2001. Their website is: www.soilassociation.org.
Of course, it's early days yet, but DEFRA really appears to have got its act together this time, under Chief Veterinary Officer Debby R's steerage. The old Jim S days appear to be a thing of the past. However, DEFRA has yet to be proven ‘under fire'. Let's hope they are not tested too hard by this outbreak and that there will not be another animal welfare catastrophe, as we had in 2001.
Number One Son Stephen and his lovely fiancée Kristen had very kindly invited me to TWICKENHAM today, to watch the Rugby match (the pre-World Cup ‘friendly', between England & Wales), which promises to be a scorcher. I'm afraid I've had to cry off, owing to the Foot & Mouth Disease outbreak. It's too early to know how big the risk is, to our own or to our clients' animals. Hells Bells.
On Saturday 28th July 2007, I proudly watched son Thomas become wedded to Joanna. They made a lovely couple and Joanna's parents Ania and Neil (and what a great couple they are), laid on a magnificent bash at Bickleigh Castle, on the River Exe. The venue was grand, homely, beautiful and many other wonderful adjectives. The lady-of-the-house may have been able to teach Basil F a thing or two but things went really well. The ceremonies were lovely and the food excellent, not to mention the Sicilian wine. The best man went a bit too far with the fancy dress, don't you think?Congratulations, Jo and Tom, and many years of wedded bliss to you both.
During June, we paddled the Thames. This needs a little explanation. We discussed the possibility earlier in the year but, for some reason, the whole concept gathered momentum and we found ourselves actually doing it, on Saturday morning, 2nd June! Somehow, we omitted to do any physical fitness training or kayak instruction.The boats were a modern, high performance thermoplastic (HTP), two-seater Prijon Capri and a ‘classic' 50 year-old plywood two-seater kayak, made by my father-in-law. We never gave it a thought but this latter boat, nicely-turned-out as it was, raised a lot of interest and folk-in-the-know would come and seek us out while lunching at pubs, having seen it moored nearby.
I can now reliably inform you that years at a computer keyboard, a consulting room desk and a car driving seat are not sufficient preparation for such an endeavour, especially at 60 years old. Nonetheless …
We walked 20 miles (12 from source to Cricklade and 8 miles from Teddington to Kew) and paddled 140 miles. We took a river taxi from Kew to Westminster and another from there to the Thames Barrier and back. We saw 64 species of birds. We saw bridges, boats and water.
From heavily-wooded, reed-choked and turbulent upper reaches to the wide, deceptively-lazy lower Thames, we had a great experience. I can't help feeling we'd have done it a lot quicker, had we waited until the floods of July! Amazingly, we had but two hours of rain one evening, while we were on the river, on a trip that occupied 13 days, in all. It did rain on our last day but we were well-protected by the river taxis, by then, the first of which was an old ‘Dunkirk' boat.
Isn't self-discovery a wonderful thing? Anyone who calls this a holiday, however, is in for a grisly demise…….
Thanks to Stephen & Kristen for looking after home and animals and for transporting us hither and thither. Thanks also to Catherine and Andrew, for putting us up during our London leg.
The BAHVS held its Annual Conference in Leeds, during the last weekend in June (or the first in July, depending upon the way you look at it). It was full of energy, wisdom, insight and conviviality. The speakers were magnificent and inspiring. The organisers did a wonderful job. Thanks!It was a poignant moment for me, as I retired as Hon. Sec., after 25 years. I thank the membership of the BAHVS for my retirement gift – I shall have fun working out how to spend the book tokens! Special thanks to Francis Hunter, who presented it to me.
On the Friday, it rained …. and rained …. and rained.
On the Saturday, we could not access the field where our cattle had been grazing, nor could we see them. Rather than leave things to chance, we took to a kayak & here are the pics.
We were able to cross fences and hedges, without let or hindrance. The cattle were fine – we need not have worried!
On the Sunday, the floods had fallen a good 12 inches but were still up to the tops of the fence posts, on the lower flood plain, the highest in my lifetime (so far). The electric fencer unit was still a good 10 inches below the surface (new one required no doubt).
Anyway, it all turned into a jolly good excuse for a long paddle – most of Saturday and Sunday ‘wasted' on the water. It disappeared all too soon, off down stream on its way to Abingdon, to contribute to the misery further down the Thames. We were the lucky ones. Our hearts go out to those who suffered so much in these floods and in those in June, further North.
I've put together a suite of small, focused websites, for the various therapies.www.veterinary-acupuncture.co.uk
These are designed for a quick visit and they're small enough not to need a sitemap, whereas www.alternativevet.org is a big read, with more pages than you can shake a stick at (see previous article).
After a long time of fiffing and faffing about, I've managed to rescue the old domain www.alternativevet.org from its ethereal meanderings and have updated, uprated and improved the old website. They've come together again in the new offering, of which I'm rather proud. However, there's always a snag – there's an issue with the navigation buttons, that's going to take a few days to sort. I've decided to leave the site ‘up', as it all works OK, as far as I can tell. The faulty buttons display their names when your cursor is held over them and they go to the required target. Sorry about it but I am rather amateur at all this.Anyway, take a look ……..