SEPTEMBER 2007 Archive
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Anyone who keeps cloven-hoofed animals (pigs, sheep, cattle, deer etc.) should ensure that no unauthorised persons enter land near the animals and that animals are kept clear of public footpaths if possible.
All members of the public visiting the countryside should be careful not to create a risk to animals.
Foot and Mouth has been confirmed today, near Egham in Surrey. This is about 10 miles from the previous centre and long after the expiry of the expected incubation period (the surveillance zone in Surrey was lifted at midday on Saturday 8 September). A 10 km Surveillance Zone and a 3 km Control Zone are now in place and slaughter has been ordered.Investigations as to source are going to be very rigorous, no doubt but now all we can do is wait to see what transpires. Certainly, a simple explanation is not going to be forthcoming. We have wild reservoir (e.g. deer), abject carelessness, criminality/sabotage or a completely different source, unconnected to the previous incident, to consider. The ‘flood' theory for spread of the virus will no longer ‘hold water', unless the virus is able to live in the environment for much longer than expected, despite the current weather conditions not being favourable for maximum virus survival and spread.
Ah, it's probably a pipeline connecting the two laboratories that could have leaked the virus. That neatly avoids pointing the finger at anyone in particular, unless we ask what the virus was doing in the pipe in the first place. Was the flow from the Merial facility to a treatment plant run by the government facility?Will Merial be asked to pay anything towards the horrendous costs? Just think of the millions they were expecting to flow into their bank, from sale of the products emanating from their research.
However, the report seems to hit at the government facility there, putting the ball pretty firmly back with HM Government. I don't suppose we'll hear an apology or have a refund on our tax bill! I suppose the answer will be the usual round of lateral promotions and OBEs.
With all the other lethal viruses that are being researched at Pirbright and elsewhere, how do we know that we won't be seeing more bio-security leaks in the future?
Might any of this suggest to anyone that maybe we shouldn't be playing with fire, with this sort of research?
Jolly good – more research telling us what we already knew – that artificial food colourants are related to hyperactivity, attention deficit and unruly behaviour in children (not to mention adults!).
Why did we ever need such dangerous stuff in our food? The Soil Association banned them years ago.
Why do we need more research? Because no one will act without such ‘evidence' being published in a scientific journal (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6634071.stm & http://www.foodcomm.org.uk/parentsjury/add_2.htm)
Well now it has been, so let's act!
Of course, the industry will re-act to oppose this.
While we're at it, no one's saying that here, at last, is valid research in human health, using HUMANS!
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has finally bowed to sense by allowing the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for use in scientific research. It marks a victory for science after an almost year-long battle, which began in December last year with the proposal to outlaw the creation of hybrids in a government white paper on fertility.
Yet another Pandora's Box is to be opened, all on the ‘promise' by scientists that this will help find a cure for such diseases as Diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. How can they promise that? Why does anyone believe them? So many promises made and so little delivered, over the decades. Not long ago, those scientists were avidly telling us that using primates in animal experiments would help them – what help has all that suffering been? The cancer researching community is forever telling us that they are making progress, yet still cancer is on the increase after the billions spent and the terrible toll in useless animal experimentation.
Human-animal hybrid embryos are supposed to be able to produce stem cells that are 98% human. Is that so impressive? The 2004 release of the chimpanzee draft genome sequence showed that human and chimp DNA are roughly 99% identical! Chimps don't look like us, they don't have the same diseases and they do not develop AIDS, yet they were used in AIDS experiments for years, totally without benefit. What am I missing, here?
Perhaps I should have headed this blog: “Science gone bananas”?
When it doesn't work, what will be the next suggestion? Where is this slippery slope taking us?
Just because it happened in a laboratory does not make it science!
Let's not even ask the moral questions this decision raises.
Also in the news, this weekend, is the fact that sales of ‘free range' eggs have overtaken battery cage eggs, in the UK. So they should and why on earth are we still keeping hens in cages?I am heartened by the trend, especially as it shows that the great British public is becoming aware of animal welfare and is prepared to do something about it.
However, as The Daily Telegraph (David Derbyshire) wrote last November: “The image of free range hens wandering through woods and farmyards is a little way from the truth. In being free range, hens can still spend most of their time in hen houses or large barns as long as they have continuous access to runs “mainly covered with vegetation”. Up to 2,500 birds are allowed in one hectare (just over two acres).” Furthermore, dominant hens may prevent the majority from using the legal ‘popholes' to the outside. The tag ‘Free Range' is just not sufficient safeguard and is being exploited by the industry. You only have to look at the welfare leaflet produced by DEFRA:http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/welfare/farmed/layers/booklets/pb6490.pdf to see the incredible housing conditions to which many ‘free range' hens are subjected.
RSPCA Freedom Food may not be all it seems, either. There have been prosecutions against Freedom Food farms: http://www.hillside.org.uk
This passage was lifted from: http://www.airflow.net/chukkies/freerang.htm “The UK free-range flock numbers around 3 million birds, 10% of the national egg-laying flock. Commercial free-range systems involve massive flocks, often around 15,000 birds, which are housed in huge sheds. Legally, the birds must have continuous access to open-air runs which means the sheds have a number of pop-holes. Stocking densities must not be more than 1,000 birds per hectare of ground to which the birds have access. This is about 200 times more space than battery hens have. However, inadequate numbers of pop-holes in large sheds may mean that many birds never leave the sheds. Pop-holes may also be protected by more aggressive birds discouraging other hens from using them freely. Overcrowding inside the sheds can lead to similar welfare problems as percheries with aggression, feather-pecking and cannibalism all occurring. Debeaking is more common in free-range hens than battery hens! Disease is also a problem, especially where high stocking densities result in the ground outside becoming heavily fouled. Traditional free-range involves smaller flocks which are housed in moveable houses.”
As far as I can tell, Soil Association Organic standard is the best welfare option and the best policed, unless someone can tell me otherwise.
If you really want to help the hapless chicken, ask restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars etc. where they source their eggs. If they cannot satisfy your enquiries properly, it's best not to buy food containing eggs! If enough do this, there will be a major policy shift among buyers for the catering industry. The same applies to supermarkets or wherever else you shop.
Make keeping hens in cages obsolete and that would be a feather in your cap (pun intended)!
Organic food sales rocketed last year, according to the latest Soil Association report. Congratulations to the organic movement, for spreading the message successfully. Congratulations to the buying public, who are clearly getting the message.
Organic food production looks after the environment and ecology better. Buying organic supports this. Buying ‘non-organic' merely pumps money into the pockets of those who do the opposite – the multi-national agrochemical industry.
The problem that now faces the organic movement is how to keep up with demand, to prevent loss of customer loyalty. Converting to organic is hard work and costly. World supplies of wheat are low, forcing up the prices of non-organic wheat on the world market and reducing or abolishing the incentive for farmers to convert.
The message to government is clear: The voters want organic food. Set about providing adequate incentive to farmers to convert to organic, to safeguard supplies for the current demand and to allow for the next inevitable growth spurt in demand. This is not just a market forces issue. Current government support or other hidden support still favors the chemical sector.