March 14, 2001
2:51 AM   Subscribe

In light of the possible spread of foot and mouth disease virtually anywhere--I was wondering how restricted UK citizens are. Is travel in the countryside difficult or impossible? Isn't it interesting how quickly movement is restricted and meat taken off the table?
posted by aflakete (18 comments total)
Pretty restricted, aflakete. I usually row at a reservoir about 4 miles outside of Sheffield (about 1 mile into the Peaks District) and we're not allowed to go there at all for the next 6-8 weeks. Most non-London clubs are experiencing the same. Other sports are being curbed as well.
> Isn't it interesting how quickly movement is restricted and meat taken off the table?
Yes, they love that kind of thing here. Gives everyone summat to talk about in the common room.
posted by methylsalicylate at 4:19 AM on March 14, 2001

"Isn't it interesting how quickly movement is restricted"

The only movement restriction referred to in the article is this, "restrict movement of animals and livestock market". Is that what you're talking about? Something else? Some other article somewhere? What man, what?!?
posted by Outlawyr at 4:19 AM on March 14, 2001

I was en England last week. In the Birmingham countryside where we went looking for cat rescue shelters (my friend is looking to adopt one), we saw that everything resembling a farm was "closed". My brother told me that all the small country lanes in Leeds area were blocked out (but I didn't see it with my own eyes).

As said, it is animal movement that is restricted. For example, the local RSPCA was closed - because they also have goats and stuff, I was told.

Whilst checking in for my flight home, I was asked if I had been in contact with farm animals, or if I was carrying dairy products. And on arrival in Geneva, there was a big sign asking passengers from the UK to dispose of any food they might be importing, and to refrain from going near farm animals for the next week.

That leaves it totally to the passengers' good conscience. I could have trespassed on fields during my stay and come back with a hunk of cheese, nobody would have prevented me from doing so.

As an aside, trespassers are pointed out as responsible for a good part of the current spreading of the disease in the UK. That is, people who walk in the countryside and into fields. Farms can block out their entrances, but it is more difficult to block out all access to the fields.
posted by Tara at 4:39 AM on March 14, 2001

The Guardian has great coverage of the foot-and-mouth breakout, including a list of all the cases so far, with locations and a map, and a report on a similar outbreak in 1967.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:11 AM on March 14, 2001

Interestingly, Bush has commented on the situation:

"I propose we keep all english people in England. I mean, they are always pry to diseases. Now they have foot and mouth disease, next whateverthehell else. Don't they take shots back there? Ohh, and tell that commie Blair fuck to stay home!"
posted by tiaka at 5:27 AM on March 14, 2001

still getting my bacon every morning though...
posted by dast at 5:41 AM on March 14, 2001

We drove over to Cumbria last weekend: lots of the direct access roads from the A66 to farms are closed. The Lakes are fairly tightly locked down, once you get off the beaten track, but those areas that are inaccessible are often places that you wouldn't go unless you were on farm business. I saw sheep grazing on the Pennines, but no cows on the lower uplands.

In Middlesbrough, the main local park is also closed: it keeps deer, llamas, goats and other susceptible animals.

Tara: my guess is that "trespassers" have much less to do with the national spread of f'n'm than unscrupulous dealers who continued to ferry infected animals across the country in spite of the embargo. (One Welsh farmer just managed to have an entire abbatoir declared off-limits by trying to cash in on the restricted slaughter scheme with lame sheep.) Many rights of way are centuries older than the enclosure of farmland, and no bloody pseudo-Dutch toffs are going to stop that.
posted by holgate at 5:48 AM on March 14, 2001

I live in a particularly remote area of the country and travel 200 miles to London every couple of weeks. Having travelled down a couple of times during this crisis, I've had no problems whatsoever. Any route that could be considered minor or major is open.

That said, I live in one of the only large farming counties totally unaffected by foot and mouth so far. But I can hardly see my travels to London being impeded by this.

Foot and mouth means nothing to me. I can still buy however much meat I want at the supermarket. I can still drive my car anywhere I want to. So I'm just treating this case with pure ignorance.

I'm sick of hearing about it on the news, and keep thinking 'It doesn't affect me so what should I care?' I also said the same of fuel crisis (garage here had plenty of fuel) and the flooding (I live next to the sea and no problems).. I think I am just lucky lol!
posted by wackybrit at 6:52 AM on March 14, 2001

re: "and no bloody pseudo-Dutch toffs are going to stop that".

Just for the record, Dutch 'van' is not aristocratic. German 'von' is.
posted by prolific at 7:13 AM on March 14, 2001

another interesting point: as far as i know there is only one reason why the FaMD is "dangerous": the economic consequences.

FaMD gives sheeps, pigs and other animals for some weeks blisters in/on mouth and foot. it's not killing, and it's not dangerous for mankind.

the only problem is that the infected animals are producing after the disease less milk, weight less pounds etc...

so the whole evacuation-stuff is only to limit the disease and limit the danger that all farm-animals are all of the sudden produces 10-20% less worth.

and now the big question: how much is the fight against the disease costing us?

i'm not sure if it cost us less money than the loss of 10-20% productivity in the farm-sector.

posted by dogfood at 7:22 AM on March 14, 2001

I live on a smallholding and next door to a diary farm, in Ceredigion, west Wales. We're being very careful about where we travel. We'd hate to lose our cattle, but it'd be a disaster for our neighbours.

All the public footpaths around us are closed. All the local businesses are suffering through lack of trade (no tourists). The main employer in the village (the Urdd centre - a holiday camp for Welsh speaking schoolkids) closed for a while but was losing £35,000 a week. They've re-opened, but only to kids from certain areas.

At the moment, things look pretty grim. We're trying not to think about what will happen if the suspected case in Carmarthenshire is confirmed.

And today's Welsh lesson:
wackybrit: I think I am just lucky lol!
lol = nonsense
posted by ceiriog at 7:27 AM on March 14, 2001

People are being disinfected when returning to the U.S. from Europe. And thousands of animals are being slaughtered.
Kind of makes me wonder what would be happening if this were an outbreak of a disease that actually did affect humans. Has anyone read 'Blindness' by Jose Saramago - a nobel prizewinning fictional account of how quickly society would break down in the face of an epidemic.

posted by u.n. owen at 7:37 AM on March 14, 2001

There's an article in today's Tribune quoting a British tourism official as trying to allay the fears over here -- apparently lots of Americans are cancelling their trips. This was attributed to ignorance of its lack of direct danger to humans and confusion with BSE ... but I'm thinking that if I lived in a rural area I might not want to risk bringing economic ruin back to my county.

Of course, I've already sworn off travel to Britain (alas, I'd love to visit) because I'm a veteran blood donor, and I'd have to take myself out of the pool. If I had to go, I would, but as long as it's optional ...
posted by dhartung at 9:06 AM on March 14, 2001

I live in rural Wiltshire, my village is now a controlled area as there is a confirmed outbreak less than 5 miles from us.
We have disinfected straw across the only road still open (to disinfect vehicles entering and leaving), we're discouraged from travelling when not necessary and have been asked not to have people come into the village from elsewhere.
Ditto ceriog for local businesses, and wackybrit, think yourself lucky mate, just keep buying your cheap meat from the supermarket and driving your car, let the rest of us worry about the livelyhoods of those around us.
posted by Markb at 9:11 AM on March 14, 2001

Overheard on "This hour has 22 minutes" (CBC comedy show):

Europe: Maybe meat is just not your thing.

posted by kaefer at 9:44 AM on March 14, 2001

I live in the country and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of movement restriction. Only the local common has any movement restrictions in place and that's a more voluntary thing.
posted by davidgentle at 2:06 PM on March 14, 2001

Markb said :"wackybrit, think yourself lucky mate, just keep buying your cheap meat from the supermarket and driving your car, let the rest of us worry about the livelyhoods of those around us."

Our culture seems to have taught me that worrying about things that don't affect me and that I am not interested in is pointless.

Our government has told us barely anything about this crisis and what it means, what its about, etc. My county (Lincolnshire) has absolutely no restrictions in place, and my regular trips to London are under no threat. I can't see what the brew-ha is about.

I am extremely sympathetic to the farmers going out of business, but the reason they're in the sh!t is because they get underpaid for their wares. Why? Consumers who want their milk 3p cheaper a pint than anywhere else. Supermarkets who want to keep cutting margins.

I'd be happy to pay 20 pence more per pint of milk if it kept the farmers in business, but that's not how capitalism works. However, I'm also happy to pay 80p per litre for petrol to pay for my 'free' healthcare.. so it's all swings and roundabouts.
posted by wackybrit at 10:29 AM on March 15, 2001

Our government has told us barely anything about this crisis and what it means, what its about, etc
Don't ever rely solely on the government for your information, you'll never get all the facts that way. Lincolnshire has been lucky so far, don't you think the responsible thing to do would be to find out what the disease is all about, how it spreads and what you should do if your area becomes infected?
If you're sympathtic to farmers, why are you still buying meat in your supermarket, you identified them as one of the reasons the farming industry is in trouble but in your earlier post you tell us you can buy as much meat as you want there? Why not shop locally, support your local businesses? Or are you so enamoured with capitalism that you'd rather support supermarket owners?
Our culture seems to have taught me that worrying about things that don't affect me and that I am not interested in is pointless
It seems endemic in Britain at the moment to be insular in this way, if it doesn't affect me directly, currently, adversely, then I don't care, let someone else worry about it. It's the easy way out to blame 'culture', you're basically saying 'because other people do it, so do I'.
posted by Markb at 1:43 AM on March 16, 2001

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