Foot and Mouth in Lake District National Park
March 26, 2001 4:29 AM   Subscribe

the arrival of foot and mouth in the centre of the lake district national park is horrific. One thing is clear; the Lake District will never be the same again.
posted by quarsan (11 comments total)
One could reasonably argue that nothing will ever be the same again regardless of the cause. Life is fleeting, change happens, it's really just a matter of degree.
posted by revbrian at 5:17 AM on March 26, 2001

well, when it's a drastic pernament change to one of the worlds outstanding national park, and one that has drastic consequences to the livlihood of thousands of people, the situation desreves a less patronising response.
posted by quarsan at 5:51 AM on March 26, 2001

It's time for vaccination.
The arguments that Britain (and now Europe) would lose it's disease free status and not be able to export are looking increasingly flimsy now. We can't export anyway, we're not disease free and killing animals hasn't stopped the spread because those animals are not being disposed of quickly enough. EC law dictates that burying the animals after slaughter is now illegal which means the farmers have to wait for funeral pyres to be built or the animals to be taken to rendering plants for disposal. Plus, the government has to assess the losses of each farmer in order to pay compensation, which basically means a government official coming to the farm to perform a body-count. All this takes time, in some cases up to a week, during which time the carcasses are lying around being eaten by the local wildlife.
Carrion birds and rodents are feeding on diseased carcasses and spreading the disease across the countryside.
Wholesale slaughter would wipe out bloodlines and mean importing new bloodlines from other countries, the adaptations to the British climate and vegetation would be lost in one go. We should be vaccinating. I fail to see why we're not doing this.
posted by Markb at 6:00 AM on March 26, 2001

indeed it is time for vaccination and the national trust are pushing very hard for it. Here's an item on the lake district outbreak and it's implications for us. and here's an item on the economic aspects btw i live in ambleside.
posted by quarsan at 6:10 AM on March 26, 2001

Stop by the USDA's Animal Disease Center for a discussion on treating the disease. It seems that current vaccines are a tad unreliable.

Hopefully they'll get some of these new ones out before we have to shoot half the cloven-hoofed animals on the planet.
posted by CRS at 6:44 AM on March 26, 2001

Thanks for the follow-up links, quarsan; I was a little perplexed by your doom-and-gloom opening, now I see it is somewhat justified. The disease would affect the sheep, and the sheep are unique to the area, and give it its character.
posted by dhartung at 7:00 AM on March 26, 2001

a friend of mine is a postman in the valleys and he takes a camera on his rounds every day and put's them on his site. it's a beautiful place.
posted by quarsan at 7:31 AM on March 26, 2001

To paraphrase Alfred North Whitehead, it was never the same before.
posted by nobodyknowsimadog at 7:41 AM on March 26, 2001

quarsan: it's awful. Particularly because the farmers who graze their sheep on the high fells have always been among the closest to subsistance in England, the absolute opposite of the glutted agribusinesses of East Anglia. As dhartung said, the sheep and the land are bound together: it's a delicate balance that won't cope with this.

(My sister lives in Ulverston; I'm at the edge of the North York Moors.)

I've heard it said that the Lakes haven't been so quiet in decades. Which you might think is a blessing, given the hordes that descend upon Windermere during the holiday season. But for all the wrong reasons.

What do we learn? That the to-and-froing of animals to market (with Carlisle a nexus of this) needs to be curtailed, somehow. That local abbatoirs need to be preserved. That something has to replace the system of subsidy that has sheep "borrowed" by farmers to up the quota.

There's precious little of a silver lining to all this, but it might just remind British consumers of the price they're about to pay (£500 per person in compensation and treatment costs) isn't worth a few pennies off the cost of sausages. Time to reacquaint ourselves with values, not prices.
posted by holgate at 8:37 AM on March 26, 2001

[..., the situation desreves a less patronising response.]

It wasn't meant to be patronizing. It was meant to counter the impression that the sky was falling. These things happen, far worse things have happened and far more horrible things will happen.

So it goes...
posted by revbrian at 9:52 AM on March 26, 2001

revbrian, i was suggesting that when faced with the slaughter of 700,000 animals, the loss of billions of pounds, thousands having their life turned upside down and an environmental disaster in such an important area, your response basically amounts to 'shit happens'.

revbrian: are you on drugs?
posted by quarsan at 4:06 AM on March 27, 2001

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