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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Pete M at work BS: foot and mouth (118* d) RE: BS: foot and mouth 06 Mar 01

Hi all,

just a few comments, easy stuff first: Peg, if you are doing a long post "rant" or not, try writing it using your favorite WP program and then doing a "copy and paste" into the dialog box in the thread, that way (providing you save your work as you go, you can't loose it)

Here in NZ we have probably the most vulnerable economy in the developed world to F&M, and there is consequently hightened awareness of the problem now. BUT the inportant thing to remember is that F&M is endemic in about three quarters of the world, and the only way it is kept out of NZ, usually the UK, and other countries is by very stringent border control. Now this of course costs money both directly in paying the MAF officials, the disinfection programmes etc and in "inconvenience" to travellers, extra cost for importers, delays to airline schedules etc.

So like the "method of farming" debate it all comes down to whaT WE collectively are prepared to pay and as has been noted above some people are not even prepared to give up their "rights" to walk in the country to prevent the spread of this disease, let alone be inconvenienced in their travel or pay more for their food.

I understand very well Steve that choice in buying food is not an option for many, but it is true that "cheap at point of purchase" has been the policy of the UK, and most other Western governemnts for a long time. It is not this policy but how it has been achieved that is, if not the root cause, at least a major contributor. It has been unfashionable for a long time to consider the systemic outcomes of policy rather than the easily counted "outputs" and the "purely" economic argument for currently advocated farming methods whether intensive farming in Western Europe, the US, etc or the replacement of food with cash crops in developing nations ignores, as it is required to do by the rules, the external cost whether in health, social disruption or consumer costs.

Of course there are no easy answers, but anyone even attempting to quantify the problem effectively flies in the face of received wisdom. Friedman, Reagan, Thatcher and Douglas (their disciple in NZ) may all be gone and best forgotten , but their shadow is long.

Pete M

PS We lived in Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor for many years so I'm well aware of the problems in that area, and I have a small herd of goats so I also have a very personal interest in this subject.

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