Foot and Mouth Disease in Cumbria – 2001
From February 2001 through to September 2001 hundreds of farms throughout Cumbria were struck with foot and mouth disease. The exact numbers of animals affected will never be publicly admitted, but informed guesses suggest some 20,000,000 animals were killed throughout the UK, many of them healthy, in an attempt to stop the spread of disease.
This website devoted much effort to trying to bring information from all sources to the public’s attention, since tourism in the area was discouraged and in many areas – forbidden. This had a devastating effect on many rural businesses, who depended on visitors for their income. It included diaries and pictures from people affected by the crisis, and hundreds of links.
These webpages have now closed, but four examples and a picture are left for those who are interested:
- ‘Foot and Mouth – Silent Spring, Silent Summer, Silent Autumn?’ – Nick Green.
- Foot and Mouth – An Open Letter To The People Of Cumbria – Annie Mawson.
- Foot and Mouth – ‘Into the Valleys of Death’ – Peter Frost-Pennington.
- ‘Great Orton Foot and Mouth Visit April 2002’ – Peter Greenhill.
Children were encouraged to send us their pictures and thoughts on the crisis. Many children based on farms were not allowed to leave to go to school.
Great Orton Airfield – the resting place of countless farm animals from the foot and mouth episode, despatched and buried in large rectangular pits, carried out under the efficient auspices of the British Army. The place is permanently monitored for seepage.
In total 466,312 carcasses, comprising 448,508 sheep, 12,085 cattle and 5,719 pigs were buried between late March and the 7th of May 2001 in 26 trenches.
A hidden wall reaching 12 metres deep surrounds the graves to act as a barrier to any seepage of fluid from the carcasses. Up to three tanker loads of fluid are still (2006) being removed from the site to a waste treatment works every day – 240 cubic metres a week.
DEFRA are now trying to promote the site as a tourist attraction – called ‘Watchtree’.
Some FMD Links :
- Wikipedia – 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis
- Wikipedia – Foot and mouth
- Open Directory – Foot and Mouth Disease
- Open Directory – FMD government enquiries
- BBC News Foot and Mouth Special Report – including photos of the crisis
- The UK Foot and Mouth Epidemic of 2001: A Research Resource – includes an archive of links to press articles.
- Report on the Cumbria Foot and Mouth Enquiry, Wednesday 8th May 2002 – featuring Nick Green’s evidence.
- Warmwell.com – A site for foot and mouth comment, helpful advice for and requests for help from those threatened with ‘cull’, and links to many press items.
- Private Eye – ‘Not the Foot and Mouth report’
- ‘Fields of Fire’ – Quita’s book gives a chronological collection of the main events, commentary, views and feelings arising from the 2001 crisis.
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