Friday, March 23, 2007

Carnival of the Batshit #4

There are so many abysmal and pathetic stories surrounding DEFRA (or MAFF, as it once was) that it is difficult to pick the biggest and most appalling fuck-ups. Undoubtedly, the Foot & Mouth Disease debacle was one of the very worst handled and completely stupid incidents in the whole of British farming history, comprising the unnecessary and illegal slaughter of millions of animals.

The real revelation was the callousness and cruelty of the officials casually ordering the slaughter of entire herds of uninfected animals, and the further viciousness of the vets and other officials carrying out the actual killings.

Lest you thought that this petty unpleasantness and bloodlust had been weeded out of cuddly Batshit's department, here is a story—which I highlighted on 18DoughtyStreet the other night—which was written about both by Private Eye and Christopher Booker in The Telegraph. Here's the background...
Of all the stories I have covered about what is now called the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, few have been more remarkable than the disaster that has just befallen David Dobbin, a 43-year-old Cheshire farmer, who derived his entire livelihood from a large dairy herd. His 567 cows, including pedigree Ayrshires and Holsteins, had won prizes, and were worth upwards of £500,0000.

Whilst I would implore you to read Booker's piece in full, Tim Worstall sums the story up in a particularly concise way.
To recap, you have a herd of cows. Each cow has a passport. Officials take the passports away and then the cows. Then, to stop them being slaughtered, they ask you to prove the identity of all the cows. But they have the passports and the cows. Then, in their application to the judge, they insist that they must slaughter them because they can't take care of the cows.

Oh, and no compensation is paid.

That's right, the entire herd has been slaughtered for absolutely no material reason, as Booker concludes.
All Mr Dobbin can now hope for is that the judicial review may confirm that Defra acted outside the law.

This is, of course, nothing new as far as DEFRA is concerned. During the FMD crisis, the government realised that their contiguous cull was illegal (Not The Foot & Mouth Report, Section 5 (print edition, p24)).
[I]t seemed highly questionable that the government had any legally authorised power to kill healthy animals without proof that they had been directly exposed to infection. By the end of April a respected west country law firm, Clarke Wilmott Clarke , was preparing a test case against MAFF, claiming that the"contiguous cull" scheme, under which nearly two million animals had already been slaughtered, was illegal in EU law. Directive 85/511 was unequivocal that only infected animals could be killed. A separate opinion by London barrister Stephen Tromans argued that it was"highly dubious" whether MAFF had the power under the Animal Health Act 1981 to slaughter uninfected animals without proof that they had come into contact with the disease; and in June this point was confirmed in a ruling by Harrison J in the 'Grunty' case.

Their response? Using a statutory instrument, they slipped through a Bill that made their actions retrospectively legal. But back to Mr Dobbin's woes...
The officials agreed in court that they had never used these powers on anything like such a scale before. It has not been claimed that Mr Dobbin's animals posed any health risk (BSE this year is down to a single case). His only alleged offence was "non-compliance" with complex bureaucratic procedures, to an extent which Defra still cannot specify. For this he has seen his livelihood go up in smoke, without a penny in compensation.

A shocking, dreadful story, I think that you will agree. And where is the statement from our cuddly Secretary of State for DEFRA? David? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

No, neither animals nor people's livelihoods bother Batshit one iota: he's too busy flying around—spending taxpayers' money to "offset" his carbon footprint—and devising fresh excuses to raise more taxes and attempting to put binding constraints on the following government.

So where your statement on this fucking appalling story, Batshit? What have you got to say for yourself and your department? I hope that David Dobbin does get the judge to rule the slaughter illegal and I hope that he sues DEFRA for the value of the herd, for distress and trauma and that the judge awards on all points and then fines Batshit at least 50% of his big, fat, fucking salary.

I want Batshit to suffer like Mr Dobbin has suffered, to lose his entire livelihood as Mr Dobbin has lost his. Let's confiscate Batshit's salary, slaughter all of his pets and throw him and his entire family out onto the street.

What have you got to say about the Dobbin affair, you ugly little shit?

1 comment:

james higham said...

This is jaw-droppingly dismaying, DK and I might question it happened, has I not read the litany of other haughty disdain from this group. The total disdain - that is the most galling thing.