Owners of Healthy Animals May Resist Their Slaughter- from Hugo Charlton, Barrister at Law

There is no legal authority to enforce a precautionary culling policy. The only basis upon which MAFF can slaughter healthy animals without the permission of the owner is if an animal "is a suspected of being affected........., or has been exposed to the infection, in the same field or otherwise in contact with affected animals, or it seems to the minister that an animal has been in anyway exposed....".

MAFF slaughter is based on the "in any way exposed" argument, and indeed MAFF vets have produced an argument that any animal within a 3 km radius has been so exposed. In my opinion the legislation does not authorise precautionary culling on this basis, and any attempt to do so would be illegal. The phrase "in anyway exposed" has not been defined at law, and in my opinion is not meant to include the remoter risk of long-distance airbourne exposure. On this basis a 3 km limit is purely arbitary.

In any event each case must be considered on an individual basis, and a specific decision in each case by an appropriately qualified official (i.e. a vet). The vet (acting on behalf of the minister if properly authorised) must satisfy himself that the animals in question have indeed been "exposed". Simple enforcement of the 3 km " zone" is not an adequate reason.

In the absence of a specific court order owners of cattle would be entitled to use such force as is necessary to remove trespassers from their land.

MAFF officials may enter property to inspect animals, but not to slaughter them unless the conditions outlined above have been met.

In the event that an owner of animals is of the opinion that they have not been "exposed" it is anticipated the police would support his refusal to allow MAFF officials on his land to carry out a slaughter until a court order had been obtained by MAFF.

Hugo Charlton
Barrister at law
Green Party Agricultural Working Group

To which Richard Lawson adds:

I would advise anyone in a "contiguous" farm to vaccinate their animals at
the same time as they Resist the Cull. Otherwise, Maff will use the media
to depict the resistance as a dangerous, unthinking, selfish act that will
help the disease to spread.

Yours for a green and pleasant land,
Dr Richard Lawson
Green Party F&MD Campaign Co-ordinator
who will pause for a minute of Silence for the Lambs at midday
each Tuesday until Maff stops slaughtering and starts vaccinating