January 2002

[Week 4 · Jan. 21st - Feb. 27th, 2002]

A Hearty Breakfast

This week kicked off with 'Farmhouse Breakfast 2002', an initiative designed to get us eating British Food and giving a healthy twist to that famous British fried bacon and egg breakfast. A week of promotional events will take the message out to the public, and a booklet of recipes has been produced.

In Wednesday's Guardian there was an excellent article by Michael Simmons reflecting on the effect of FMD in the farming community [last week the final county - Northumberland - was given the all clear]. Simmons' talks of half of Cumbria's farms being hit by FMD, of people movement restrictions creating instances where people could not be buried, of children missed out on their education, and the despair of many farmers and other country businesses that have gone bankrupt. It is a sad episode that the faceless bureaucrats sitting behind desks in their warm offices should read.

The Telegraph's farming correspondent reported in an article that the number of animals slaughtered in the FMD outbreak could be twice as high as the government estimated, with the number possibly being as high at 10 million animals.

Ahem. Northern Ireland chicken processor Moy Park has been caught putting the RSPCA's 'freedom food' label on chickens bound for the shelves of Tesco. Apparently Moy was once accredited to use the lable but not of recent times. Tesco have cancelled business with Moy and the RSPCA appeared rather miffed that Tesco hadn't been more thorough in checking accreditation.

BBC Countryfile carried a feature on illegal hare coursing. Farmers and land owners across the south of England are finding themselves at the center of an increasing problem, and sometimes face threats of violence when they try to intervene. As it stands the police only have the minor offence of trespass which they can bring against those who course illegally, and there have been calls by some observers for changes in the law to stop the problem.

[Week 3 · Jan. 14th - 20th, 2002]

Not available

  [Week 2 · Jan. 7th - 13th, 2002]

Down In The Valleys

Warmingly, the Countryside Council for Wales issued announced the results of a survey which showed that in autum last year around half the people of Wales visit the countryside, and seem to appreciate the value of the countryside on their doorstep.

Lord Melchett, so The Guardian reports, is to take up a public relations job. Ironically the company he joins has the GM seed producer Monsanto as one of its clients. Former fellow Greenpeace anti-GM protestors must be wondering what the world is coming to, as Melchett's presence at the wrecking of genetically modified maize field trials in Norfolk, in 1999, was something of a cause celebre at the time.

Nature magazine published information on research into whether BSE has entered the national sheep flock. Commissioned by the Food Standards Agency, scientists from London's Imperial College have theorised that over 100,000 people might get variant-CJD if BSE is in the national flock. However, the FSA issued a statement to try and reassure the public with words like 'theoretical risks' and 'assumptions'.

[Week 1 · Dec. 31st - Jan. 6th, 2002]

Party Time

According to an article in The Guardian a Lincolnshire farmer's barn was taken over by New Year's Eve revellers for a rave. The farmer complained that the police did very little to help while inside the bard his property was being destroyed. This event once again highlights the inadequacy of the law in dealing with blatantly illegal trespass.

The Cumbria and North-West Tourist Boards launched websites which will hopefully bring back tourism to their corner of the UK following last year's FMD outbreak. On-site are help items for farmers thinking about diversifying into farm tourism.

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