Just recently there was a post about travelling in Britain. I gave the gentleman an address to find 'local' news from the area. The person I referred him to posted the following on the Backwoods Home message board, and gave permission for me to reprint the post here:

GEN: Mountain Lady Posted By: Eric Date: 3/14/01 15:41 Hi Sue, got your email re aquantance travelling to England in April, so here's the lowdown on what's happening.

So far the foot and mouth epidemic is getting worse by the day. The general consensus is that we aren't even half way through the problems. A special task force has been set up to specifically deal with this problem and they will have wide reaching and sometimes drastic legel powers. The army looks likely to be used for the disposal of thousands of slaughtered animals. They are lying rotting in barns and cowsheds because there just aren't enough personnel to build the fires and manhandle the carcasses in the time necessary. Many farmers have had to evacuate their homes to somewhere on the edge of their property (usually into a trailer) because of the stench from the rotting carcasses.

The disease has also reached France and there are suspect cases in Italy. This thing could cripple the whole of Europe.

The latest suggestion that is being taken seriously is the compulsory slaughter of 500,000 breeding ewes. That's the entire sheep population of the country. As it is just now, thousands of unaffected sheep are dying daily because they are lambing in fields where all the grass has been eaten. They cannot be moved from the field they are in because of movement restrictions and the farmers cannot leave their farmyards to feed them and nobody can go to help them if they are having difficulty with giving birth. It's a catch 22 situation and there are no winners.

The task force will have the power to impose travel restrictions on the general public - which means you could be stopped or turned back from travelling through an infected area, even if you have business elswhere.

The tourist industry has been crippled. People were originally asked to stay away from the countryside and most have. Hotels are sacking staff by the thousand because there are no guests, ammusement parks are all closed, all zoos are closed, the National Trust properties (old houses, castles, palaces, grand gardens etc bequethed (sp?) to the nation) are all closed. The Camping and Caravanning camp sites are all closed and most other places are suffering severe financial hardship.

At the moment travel in the UK is freely possible so long as you stick to public highways. Walking along public footpaths has been outlawed with statutary fines of 5000 for offenders (that's about $8000) Anyway, if a farmer say you walking across his land he'd probably go get his shotgun.

Afraid there's nothing much positive to tell, we need visitors to come and spend their money but whether they'd enjoy themselves is another matter with so much being closed. To summarise, all forests closed, all footpaths closed, all mountains and moorland closed, all national parks closed. You can still drive to towns and villages and walk around the streets and shops, (and you'd be made most welcome) but venturing out into the great outdoors is a definite No No.

With Easter only a couple of weeks away, there will be complete financial devastation in what we presently know as the English countryside. Easter is the financial kick start holiday period the countryside depends upon. It's the weekend most people choose for their first camping trip of the year. It really looks like it won't be allowed to happen this year. So many businesses will fail because of the ramifications of foot and mouth that the English countryside could well become the English weed strewn wilderness.

Now then, If you think this is all doom and gloom and want to back it up with factual evidence, just check out some of the English newspaper websites and get their take on what's happening.

I'm not trying to put anyone off from coming over here for a visit, on the contrary, but I tell it the way I see it, and it don't look too rosy.

Wish I could be more positive.


As well as the above stuff I posted the general consensus is also that we'll see the complete demize of agriculture in Britain. We will become a nation totally dependent on imported food. Think about it, all our meat, all our cheese and UHT milk - yuk! That's one reason I grow all my own vegies and a main reason for starting the rabbit breeding programme. Another reason is GM contamination, I mean, we just don't know what shit they're putting into processed foods these days. They must be putting some rubbish in to make the stuff so cheap. I don't trust any of them.

It's frightening to see what's happening all around me. Once the competition from home grown food is removed the other European suppliers will just hike the price up as far as they like. There are going to be a lot of starving people in this country before long. My God, we're like a third world country - or certainly heading that way. All we need now to completely demoralise us is to recieve food packages from Africa.

Thank heavens for self sufficiency - now all I gotta do is figure a way of protecting it from hungry people.


This comes straight from England, folks.... Not such good news for them or for Europe... If you can, take a minute, please, and pray for everyone over there - especially Eric and his family... really fine folks....

-- Sue Diederich (, March 15, 2001



So Sue, when it comes to F&MD, is your attitude still "Don't worry, be happy, let it run its course"?

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 15, 2001.


The evening news in Houston showed how easy a direct route of hoof and mouth to Mexico into Brownsville Texas, was. They simply said it isn't if we get hoof and mouth it will be when. They said it is just a matter of time. According to information on the Goat forums and info in Goat Medicine, folks can carry this in their lungs for 24 hours also. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, March 15, 2001.


K... sent personal responses to both of you, now I will print my questions here... If ANYBODY has any answers for them, PLEASE POST THEM!!! As I said in my emails. I am ONLY LOOKING FOR THE TRUTH. Please respond...

1) Vaccinations. The first reason they give is that the animals will become carriers anyway, making this financially unfeasable. Since they only test for the anti-bodies and not the virus itself, this is not wholly accurate. If it is, then we Americans are carriers of: chicken pox, whooping cough, measles, scarlet fever, polio, and everything else we have been vaccinated for. BUT we don't pass on the disease. That right is strictly for British cattle, sheep and swine. Hmmm... Why?

2) The Brits have stated in so many words that the second reason for not using vaccinations is that they will lose their "Disease Free Status" with the EU. Now to my mind, that went with the advent of BSE. Guess that doesn't count. Of course, America would be guilty as well, then, because of CJ disease in our elk and deer herds. It kills only one in a million and never makes the news, but it is here.

3) My Mother-in-law is a nurse, and in her 70's. She remembers treating children for hoof and mouth when she first started. Experts say people can't get this. Another hmmmmmmm.....

4) We don't have to look for a route to this country. #3 suggests that, and so does the outbreak in California in 1927. Gee... no reports of it ever getting out of the state, much less spreading like wildfire!! Where did it go?? Hmmmmmm yet again....

5) Old time farmers (some now in their 90's) recall this as being a mainly cosmetic disease. The gentlemen I have talked to say that it usually went away in a matter of a couple of weeks. Interesting that it now costs the life of the animal.

6) In the very beginning of this, even Great Britain acknowledged that meat and dairy products were not affected by this disease. Now, all meat and live animal shipping is banned. Why? If the products are not affected? AND, now they say that they have banned all NON pasturized dairy products just in case.... Well, most dairy is pasturized anyway, unless sold direct from farmer to consumer... Yet another attack on the little guy.

Now... Unless this is some mutant form of hoof and mouth, why all the secrecy and lies? In case no one noticed - it has been extremely effective in ruining economies all over the world.

Latest has it that EU is talking about closing member country's borders completely. Hmmmm.... No more tourists. No imports. No exports. What about people visiting other countries? Will they get to go home? What about our people visiting over there? What a way to completely and totally destroy the entire world's economies.

Hey... by the way.... what is the only known solution to get out of economic depression????? Its a common syndrome in our government these days, symbolized by three innocuous little words....

We Are Right....

-- Sue Diederich (, March 15, 2001.


Vicki - thank you.... You are the only person I have seen on any of the forums I visit that understands that humans can at least carry this disease. Unfortunately, not enough people realize that children, older people and those with immune deficiancies can actually GET this disease....

It IS NOT FATAL - unless somebody shoots you.....

-- Sue Diederich (, March 15, 2001.


Sue,i have also heard that children can get it,for some reason I can not find the info. I am looking for.My doctor has often mentioned watching the kids lips and soles of their feet since they play in dirt.I also remebering hearing somewhere that schools would close because of it.

-- renee oneill{md.} (, March 15, 2001.


Thank you Renee.... I emailed you. And, Vicki, you too -

Guys.... I'm not trying to start a riot... I'm not trying to pass bad information either. I do want to avoid panic - which seems to be rampant, not just here, but everywhere in the world. I have serious questions. I am trying to find answers.

I got an email which was rather to the point about my being wrong on most counts, but offered no answers to any of my questions. And, I was told that because my opinion was sooo vastly different, that it should be dropped. I wish this person would at least tell me why they feel as they do - I am really NOT trying to hurt anyone.

If I am wrong I need to know, and so does everyone else. But, to let an unwarranted panick spread without doing something to stop is is just as much of a crime!!!!! I can only pray that I'm right... I really want to be - but if I am not, PLEASE TELL ME!!!!!!! It doesn't help anyone to keep ANY information about this quiet. Now, does it???

I may not personally have the animals to be worried about, but friends and family do. None of them are worried in the least. I need the truth as much as each and every one of us. Please, if you DO have information, pass it along!!!!

And, thank you to those who have emailed and tried to help me thus far - all of your input is VERY VERY much appreciated!!!


-- Sue Diederich (, March 15, 2001.


Sue, over on I think Nubian Talk a gal had this as a little girl, was in the hospital for a couple of weeks, she got this from drinking unpasturised cows milk, overseas. I will forward the post when I find it. We are having the normal commercials during this evenings programing, and it is saying that it will more than likely be brought over from folks visiting overseas.

Goat Medicine: Written in 1994, says "Human infection rarely occurs. However the virus can survive in the upper respiratory tract of people for 24 hours after exposure and be transmitted subsequently to animals. In the age of jet travel, this has serious implications for effective disease control."

And for the goat folks if it comes to vaccination, according to Goat Medicine you will want to "use one-third the dose volume applied to cattle, with immunity usually lasting from 5 to 6 months." We will also want to use the "killed vaccine rather than inactivated types. Optimal responses are obtained when two primary vaccinations are given followed by boosters at 6 month intervals." "You can give this along with other vaccines."

Goats will play an important role in the diagnosis, since it is rarely fatal, only if starved by lameness. Which sounds like some of the first things in goats that we will see, severe ulcers around the coronary band, even a speration of the meat from the hoof with weeping ulcers, also between the toes, and some sores in the mouth.

This is actually the first time I have even read about this other than the blurbs folks are sending into forums, since we should be well versed on the subject at our goat meeting this Saturday. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, March 15, 2001.


Vicki... Please keep us posted on your goat meeting....I only have four goats, but each one is so special to me...and one is pregnant.

What vaccine would you use? Someone wrote about it...but never said what it was.

-- Cher (, March 15, 2001.

l. Vaccinations. There are apparently seven different strains of F&MD. Until it occurs in an area, health officials don't know which vaccination to use. However, vaccination will cause animals to test positive for F&MD, so U.S. protocol is to vaccinate neighboring herds to buy time, destroy the infected herd and then destroy the vaccinated animals. Plus, in an extremely small percentage, a vaccine can cause the full-blown illness. Remember the Swine Fever Vaccination Program, which actually gave some people Swine Fever?

2. A F&MD-free status is important since we are now a world economy. Since they don't want F&MD coming into the U.S. in meat or dairy products, imports from countries which are not certified as F&LMD free are severly limited. It is thought the outbreak in Britian started by F&MD infested meat or dairy products slipping through the border, and then eventually finding its way into hog swill which wasn't properly cooked.

3. I have never seen it said humans cannot get F&MD; however, we are resistent to it. As such, when it occurs and runs its course, there are no long-term effects. Not so with cloven livestock. The biggest impacts are a permanent drop in milk production, abortions and being just poor-doing animals from then on. I don't make money on my beef cows now. Abortions and runty calves will probably be the straw. Maybe the calves I supply to feedlots is a small drop in the bucket, but run enough producers out of business, the supply drop, and beef prices go up.

4. An outbreak of F&MD in CA in 1927 cannot be compared to the situation today. Then travel was very limited and herds were small. It probably didn't get out of the state since control would have been far easier.

5. Yes, the outward symptoms go away in a couple of weeks, but the long-term impacts remain. Again, back in 1927 a cow giving a gallon or so of milk a day may have been a high milker. Plus, farms were diversified so a drop in milk production wasn't as critical as it would be to today's factory farms. Germany has quarantined a 3,000 head hog farm for testing since some animals were imported from Britian. If found, that owner will lose all 3,000 head. Rather different than have a boar and a couple of sows killed.

6. Apparently F&MD can be spread through contaminated meat and dairy products. It mostly wash-posts through humans unless it is fed directly to livestock. Say you buy some soft cheese from Europe which was made with unpasturized milk from a F&MD infected cow. You forget about it in the frig. and eventually find it past its prime so drop it in the swill bucket. Guess what, you have probably started a F&MD epidemic in the U.S. Not all products, such as cheese, need to be made from pasturized milk as some will say pasturization changes the natural flavor. Another scenerio. Your family milk cow develops F&MD and you don't say anything about it. It recovers, even with a lower milk production. You give the unpasturized milk to one of your kids. They have to go potty outside and do so where you are growing a couple of market hogs. Those market hogs, now infected, pass through a livestock auction infecting pigs headed for points unknown. One unreported cow and you may become known as "Mrs. Murphy" (the Great Chicago Fire).

I really don't understand why you are looking for some ulterior, sinister, political motive in this. Rather sounds like you think the Tri-lateral Commission in its quest for a one-world government is behind all this. As you can see in Britian, F&MD has devasating economic and social (and probably political) consequences. So Britian says, 'well, let's let it run its course without intervention'. They then find they cannot export any agricultural commodity to its major trading partners and sales to minor ones not concerned with F&MD, since it is already endemic in their countries, are small. Tourist or business people from Britian cannot enter another country without being throughly disinfected and tourism to Britian is extremely discouraged. "I'm sorry Sir, but we are going to have to conficate your camera since it cannot be disinfected."

Years ago I traveled in a circle around the U.S. and Canada. When I arrived at the Arizona border I was stopped and my vehicle searched for prohibited fruit. Is that any different than Germany reopening border checkpoints with France to try to insure prohibited livestock or their products do not enter Germany? And, yes, if F&MD breaks out in the U.S. I would full expect checkpoints between states. And I think they would be damn well justified.

So I lose my herd to F&MD. I can still grow row crops - right? My land is only suitable for corn or soybeans, most of which would go to animal feed. However, with significantly less livestock in the U.S., the market here would be severely depressed, and exports probably wouldn't be allowed from a F&MD-infested country.

Sue, I think you are trying to apply a 1927 model to a 2001 world and it just doesn't work. I also don't understand your reasoning war is the only way out of a severe recession or depression.

MCD is now really a minor concern to me as I think the appropriate steps are being taken to keep it out of the U.S. However, F&MD coming to the U.S. is an entirely different matter. As some have noted, perhaps it is not a case of if, but when.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 16, 2001.

Ken, thanks for your specific answers. I had heard about the multiple strains that needed vacinations so I knew that was one of the reasons that vacination was not an easy answer. But the other info was helpful to understand as well. I have to admit that this certainly is a serious problem for the world. I think a lot of people think it is just a "poor farmer" issue that only affects the farmer. They don't realize the impact to us as consumers. A mass slaughter of livestock will definitely change the need for feed, and guess what, since most European and Asian countries are already against GMO corn/soybeans, I'll be willing to bet that the U.S. market will be the first one that people quit buying from. Just think if all of our corn and soybean exports dried up because no one wanted to buy them. I think all of these events converging at the same time in the agriculture arena are going to have a major, major impact on the world and its economy. All that we can do is wait and get as prepared as we can. We'll all survive, but how well is another matter.

-- Colleen (, March 16, 2001.


This article includes information of the F&MD outbreaks in CA in the 1920s. Note on one it wasn't either reported or recognized and over 100,000 head were slaughtered. On the other it was found right away and only a couple of thousand head were slaughtered.

I love my cattle. Wouldn't be in the business otherwise since it certainly isn't profitable for the investment involved. Some have names and some come up to get scratched where they can't reach. However, if I saw signs of F&MD, I would report it immediately. I'll lose my herd, as will those in the general area, but perhaps it can be kept from spreading further.

As noted in the article, even a small outbreak could cause enormous economic damages as the U.S. would lose its F&MD free status for world trading.

On the other hand, I don't like what the USDA is doing in Vermont. Two herds are involved. In one four tested positive for scrapies; however, the testing methods are disputable. The other has been certified as scrapies free for five years. These aren't ordinary sheep, but dairy sheep. The U.S. imports some 40,000 tons of dairy sheep cheese a year from Europe and has basically no production of its own. They are killing sheep which might have birthed a U.S. dairy sheep product industry.

March 17, 2001

Cowboys Ride the Range, Thoughts an Ocean Away


REUSTER, Neb., March 16 Two anxious cowboys watched over a herd of pregnant heifers grazing on these snow-covered hills against a gray sky.

It was the beginning of calving season in cattle country, and the cowboys, Justin Bradley and Lon Larsen, like other ranchers here, had a lot on their minds.

The cowboys were convinced that at least one coyote lurked somewhere on the 10,000-acre spread they work because a newborn calf had been missing for two days. They were concerned about the icy weather that can kill a weak calf, and the fluctuating price of beef that can put them out of business.

And if that were not enough to worry about, there was one more thing: foot-and-mouth disease.

Although it has not surfaced on the Nebraska plains or anywhere else in the United States since 1929, the virus that is devastating cattle herds in England and has spread to France has started to stir worries here.

"It's another stone in the sack," said Alan Janzen, owner of the Circle Five Ranch, where Mr. Bradley and Mr. Larsen care for about 3,000 head of cattle. "It makes business tougher. When we get together as cattlemen or producers, a common comment is, `I just wanted to raise a few cattle. Now we've got all these issues that we have to solve.' "

Similar concerns were echoed across the state in bars, stores, just about everywhere cowboys gather. The concerns have taken on an urgency now that the United States has banned the import of fresh meat from cloven-hoofed animals from all European Union countries.

"There are not that many people in the county, and they're all having the same conversation," said Dana Larsen, Mr. Larsen's wife, who also works on the Circle Five. On Thursday afternoon, she had gone to the grocery store, to the courthouse in rural Blaine County and to a gas station. Everywhere, the story was the same. "It's a major topic around here now," Mrs. Larsen said.

That is no surprise in a state where beef is still the No. 1 industry.

For John Schroder, 29, a cowboy with a thick mustache who ranches near Taylor, about 30 miles east of Brewster, the worry, at least for now, is not that the disease itself will reach United States shores.

"If they keep the product out of this country that's diseased or could be, that should mean that we should get a higher price for our product," said Mr. Schroder, parked in front of a bottle of beer at a local bar.

Still, he fretted that consumers might begin to worry about the safety of all beef, domestic and foreign.

"All they're going to know is that's a piece of beef that could have hoof- and-mouth disease," Mr. Schroder said. " `We're going to eat chicken tonight.' "

Foot-and-mouth disease rarely affects people. But it is highly contagious and has debilitating effects on cloven-hoofed animals. In Britain alone, nearly 200,000 animals have been slaughtered and incinerated as the authorities there try to contain the virus. Severe measures here in addition to the federal ban include the Agriculture Department's placing airports on alert to inspect travelers and their belongings in hopes of keeping the disease out.

Until now, ranchers have been concerned mostly with mad cow disease, which has plagued cows in Britain and can cause fatal Creutzfeldt- Jakob disease in humans.

That may be changing.

"Now that it has become an issue, it has caused in us a fear," Mr. Janzen said. "If we all of a sudden decide cattle aren't worth anything because, `Man, if we get hoof-and- mouth next week, they'll be worth half as much,' we can drive our own market down," he explained.

The last reported case of foot-and- mouth disease in the United States was in 1929 in California. A swift response by state authorities limited the spread of the disease to 3,600 animals. Five years earlier, though, in 1924, an outbreak of foot-and- mouth disease that began in Berkeley, Calif., went undetected in a herd of pigs. When the authorities declared a state of emergency 90 days after the pigs were believed to have been infected, they were too late, according to Dr. Richard Breitmeyer, the California state veterinarian and an expert on the disease. The outbreak ultimately spread to most counties in the state, affecting some 950 herds and causing the destruction of 110,000 farm animals.

Should the disease surface here, early detection, quick eradication and containment will be critical, experts say. Even a small outbreak "would mean millions," if not billions, of dollars, Dr. Breitmeyer said.

For cattle dealers like Mike Pitzel of Taylor, the stakes are high.

"We're very concerned," he said, sipping a whiskey with friends at Cattleman's, a bar in Taylor where worries were as thick as the sounds of country music. "Why wouldn't we be? It's everybody's life."

Another rancher chimed in. "In 1929 we were talking about it today we had it here," said Ron Worm, speaking of foot-and-mouth disease. "It's a serious deal."

"We don't need a scare in this country," Mr. Pitzel added.

While worries swarmed, out on the range there are still cattle to raise and calves to be born. The Circle Five cowboys knelt in a stable, helping a mother having trouble with her delivery. The calf finally plopped out, its eyes closed, lethargic and wet. But it livened up with Mr. Bradley's brisk rubbing. Within minutes, the calf and its mother were united. Moments later, Mr. Larsen saddled up.

"Where you going, Lon?" Mr. Bradley asked.

"Just going up to take a look at that black heifer," he replied. "I see a lot of legs for no head." He headed for a snowy hill under a gray sky.

Vermont Sheep to be Seized

WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) The Agriculture Department said today that it would seize flocks of Vermont sheep suspected of carrying an ailment related to mad cow disease.

The department and the farmers have fought in court for months over whether the government has the right to destroy the sheep because four of the animals had tested positive for scrapie, a brain disease distantly related to mad cow disease.

The sheep were imported from Belgium in 1996, the year before the United States closed its borders to all European meat to prevent the spread of mad cow disease.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 17, 2001.

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