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Tony Grist

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Again [Aug. 4th, 2007|10:12 am]
Tony Grist


March 2001


This will go down as a vile month

With sappers burying long dead sheep

And Cumbria as dark with pyres

As Mordor. But that’s agribusiness.

Feed your beasts on funny stuff,

And kill the bugs and the meadow flowers.

And what do you expect? You wanna see

Nature at her bitching best?

You’ll have to come to town for that

And walk abandoned railway lines,

Or mooch about the derelict pits

And mills where no-one’s ever sprayed.

I step outside to fetch  the bin

And the grass behind the garages

Just ticks with life that won’t make money.

So Foot and Mouth  is back- this time on a farm in Surrey, or, at least, that's where it's been first detected- but the likelihood is they'll find it here, there and everywhere,  because it's so contagious.  The footage that was used to back the story on TV last night was presumably from the last outbreak- the dead cows being stacked like kindling, the smoking pyres. 

I see (from this poem I've dug up) I was quite angry in 2001. in 2007 I'm more inclined to shrug. Yeah, this is the kind of mess human beings get themselves into. So it goes. The difference is not just that I'm older, it's that Iraq has happened in the meantime. What are a few dead cows and sheep beside the humanitarian disaster we've caused over there? Maybe anger is the more appropriate response but I'm all angered out.  Anger just doesn't seem to get us anywhere, does it?


[User Picture]From: qatsi
2007-08-04 09:56 am (UTC)
I remember some trailers for Have I Got News For You in 2001, mock-retrospective interviews with Deayton, Hislop and Merton, with one of them saying "2001 ... that was the year of Foor and Mouth ... until the return of the Black Death". Of course, that was prior to 9/11.

The farmers won't let us vaccinate their cattle. They can't sell them and they must be destroyed. And then we have to pay them compensation for their loss - caused substantially by their own practices (e.g. Welsh lamb - whyever that is good for marketing - is lamb that has been on a Welsh farm for 2 weeks, even if it's been all round the country beforehand). Thatcher was very selective in the industries she chose to reform.
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2007-08-04 09:58 am (UTC)
But on the plus side, I like the poem.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 10:15 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 10:18 am (UTC)
I remember a lot of my anger in 2001 was directed at the farmers- because of all the abuses that came to light.

It seems nothing has changed. They won't let you vaccinate their livestock? That's mad. Surely there should be a law making vaccination compulsory.
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2007-08-04 10:38 am (UTC)
I find it particularly ironic that if cattle are vaccinated against foot and mouth, they're worthless, but if chicken are vaccinated against salmonella, their eggs get the Lion mark.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 11:47 am (UTC)
Surely government can face down the farmers. Surely they should.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2007-08-04 12:33 pm (UTC)
I can't remember now who it is that opposes vaccination. It's something to do with not being able to sell our meat abroad, or something.

But if this outbreak is widespread, I think there will be a huge campaign for vaccination this time. We had no foot and mouth at all in North Wales, but due to the closure of footpaths and byways the tourist businesses lost millions. Hotels, outdoor pursuits centres, local craftspeople etc. got no compensation whatsoever for having their businesses ruined. I can't see people standing for that again.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 12:57 pm (UTC)
I've been following the story on BBC News 24 and, yes, it does seem to be about Europeans not wanting to pay full whack for vaccinated meat.

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[User Picture]From: solar_diablo
2007-08-04 02:10 pm (UTC)
Someone coined a phrase for it recently: outrage fatigue.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 02:55 pm (UTC)
It describes the condition very well.
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2007-08-04 07:00 pm (UTC)
Ooh I like that.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2007-08-04 03:11 pm (UTC)
Anger just doesn't seem to get us anywhere, does it?

It gets good poetry.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-04 03:22 pm (UTC)
Ha! thanks.

I nearly didn't post it because I can no longer identify with the anger. Perhaps that's a pity.
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[User Picture]From: red_girl_42
2007-08-04 07:05 pm (UTC)
Nice poem! Michael Pollan should have used it to open Omnivore's Dilemma.

Anger just doesn't seem to get us anywhere, does it?

I tend to see anger and other negative emotions as warning signs. They tell us that something is terribly wrong, but they don't tell us what to do about it. If you examine our anger and determine what you are willing and able to do about the problem, and then do it, then it has served a useful purpose. If you don't do anything about it and let it fester, then it eats you from the inside out.

I think the problem with issues like this (or Iraq) is that they make people angry but we have no idea what to do about that anger. We can write and call our legislators and be politely ignored. We can drive hybrids and eat grass-fed meats but if no one else makes that choice it feels like we're sacrificing for nothing. I have a friend who is pretty much devoting his life to radical politics because he's so fed up with the political situation here. I applaud him for acting on his ideals (even if I don't share all his views) but he's also a single young male with no children. I am not willing to cast aside my current life to devote myself to fighting the world's injustices, and yet sometimes it feels that nothing short of that will make a difference. And maybe not even that, anyway.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-05 11:21 am (UTC)
Occasionally the individual can make a difference.

Dickens made a difference writing about the abuses of Victorian society.

The team that created the TV drama Cathy Came Home made a difference.

It depends on things like opportunity and talent and being in the right place at the right time.

But the millions of us who objected to the invasion of Irag don't seem to have made the slightest bit of difference- so I don't know...

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[User Picture]From: le_oef
2007-08-06 02:36 pm (UTC)
yeah i really like this poem and the trekkie poem.
just read that there was a live virus "drill" in the area....WOOPS!

heres the short article in case you're still interested. yes outrage fatigue. its all entertainment to me now. world is just a stage...of good dramatic times.

"Virus leak causes FMD in southern England - newspaper"

The source of foot-and-mouth disease found in southern Britain is a U.S. pharmaceutical company, the Mail on Sunday weekly reported.

British specialists said the strain of food-and-mouth disease found in cattle on a farm in the county of Surry, was similar to the one used at a nearby laboratory.

The government-funded Institute for Animal Health's Pirbright Laboratory, which is studying the disease, is located some six kilometers from the affected farm.

A number of sources reported that it hosted an international drill last month during which live viruses of foot-and-mouth disease were used.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2007-08-06 03:04 pm (UTC)

I hadn't read about the "drill". They were saying on TV today that the floods may have contributed- that the virus got into the sewers and then the flood water caused sewage to spill into the fields.
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