Cheshire, England BRITAIN has suffered the worst epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease in its history. England's Financial Times describes it as "the worst disaster of any kind to have befallen the farming community in living memory." "It's just like the war," commented one farmer recently on a TV program. "We don't know what is going to happen next."
Living in a State of Siege
Many hundreds of farmers and their families are living today in a state of siege, hoping to stop the spread of the dreaded disease to their animals. Others, because the disease has already been confirmed on their farms, live in complete isolation. All deliveries are left at the farm entrance. No one on these farms is allowed out, no outsider in. Their only contact with the outside world is by telephone. Children stay away from school. Local functions are cancelled. Farm markets are empty. Village life in the areas affected has virtually come to a standstill. One farmer said to us, "It's almost a relief when it is confirmed on your own farm — there is no more uncertainty."
Travelling through some of the areas affected, one is struck by the "quietness" in the air. A red, stark, notice catches the eye: "Foot-and-Mouth Disease. You are now entering an infected area." Across the road lay a "pad" of heavily disinfected straw. All cars, entering or leaving, cross this "front line" in the battle against the disease. You pass a farm. Another red sign on the gate. This seemed to stand out more — here is a personal loss. "Foot-and-Mouth Disease. No Admittance." The only movements were from a few sparrows flying around. No lowing of cattle. No bleating of sheep. Not even the bark of a dog. Only a deathly hush prevailed. The whole farm seemed deserted, but the family was around somewhere. Here were some acres which a few days previously had been full of life — now everything was different! Barn and stall doors stood open; some slightly creaking in the wind, as if moaning the loss. The drying-out process begins — and the long wait before restocking — a wait of six months, or more, in some cases. At another farm a lone horse raises his head and walks towards the road as one drives by — almost as though he too feels lonely and wants some companionship. Two fields away from the horse (unaffected by the disease) was a great mound of earth about six feet high and 50 yards long. This was a telltale sign without looking for any notice! Another mass burial. Stopping the car by the roadside you see three huge lorries full of solid fuel pass by. "There's someone who likes to save by buying in quantity," you think? About a mile along the road they stop. In front of the lorries a bulldozer was being unloaded. No questions had to be asked! A policeman stood by the gate. Men were dressing themselves with waterproof clothing. All was quiet, except for the movement of humans. Another man's herd had been slaughtered! Soon' the blades of the bulldozer would rip into the earth — the ground over which the animals probably less than twelve hours earlier were walking. Next, the fuel tumbled into the huge gaping trench carved by the bulldozer. The dead beasts then burnt as the fuel was fired. The funeral pyre completed, the bulldozer would cover the remains with the soil previously removed. A sight for the farmer to look at for a long time to come! Some of these herds have taken twelve, fifteen, or more years to build. A quarter of a life-time's work gone overnight. Animals, known by name, have almost been "one of the family." But what is foot-and-mouth disease? And why does it strike "advanced" agricultural countries?
The Story behind Foot-and-Mouth Disease
Going out one morning a farmer finds a ten-month-old animal lying down with sweat oozing from its body. The beast is making a "ghastly sucking sound" with its tongue hanging out. Another farmer sees a badly limping animal. Both have foot-and-mouth disease. Ironically this is not a killer disease! It is a crippling disease. Any animals recovering give a much decreased milk yield. They are very unlikely to produce healthy young again. Foot-and-mouth disease is spread by seven major types of viruses. These viruses are so different that an animal with immunity against one would not necessarily be immune against another. The one causing the present problems is type 0-1. It is particularly virulent. This virus has had no set pattern. It has been known to jump to farms 50 miles from any known infected area. Other times it suddenly doubles back on non-affected farms in areas previously hit. It has been described like the fall-out from a nuclear bomb, or as snowflakes dropping around the countryside. The first outbreak occurred in Llanyblodwell, Shropshire, on October 25th — in less than four weeks the slaughter toll passed any known previous yearly record. This has been the MOST "EXPLOSIVE" OUTBREAK since the introduction of the stamping-out policy in 1892. The previous record was in 1960 when 42,100 animals were slaughtered in five weeks. In the first five weeks of this epidemic over FIVE TIMES AS MANY had been killed. In the House of Commons on Monday, 4th December, the Minister of Agriculture said, "it has taken on the character of an explosion." Earlier he stated, "the epidemic is one of the gravest this century."
British Battle Tactics
A Control Centre has been set up in the new police station at Oswestry, Shropshire. A map on the wall tells the grim toll with black dots marking the outbreaks. Daily the dots grow thicker as each stricken farm is noted. Telephones seem to constantly jangle with fresh reports. There is a strong smell of disinfectant in the air, particularly when the workers return from their jobs of killing, burning, burying, disinfecting. Three hundred veterinary surgeons have been drafted in from unaffected areas to help combat the disease. Much sick livestock, even with notifiable diseases, are going unattended due to the strain on the veterinary service. As the disease has spread so have the restrictions on moving livestock. Judges have been severe on those found breaking any restrictions. Roads three or four hundred miles away from the outbreak have disinfectant "baths" through which every car must drive. Farm vehicles are sprayed daily, or whenever on the road. Milk churns are scrubbed and disinfected outside as well as inside. Over 300,000 animals had to be slaughtered in eight weeks. Hardest hit have been certain breeds of expensive pedigree livestock, including the prized herds of some of the greatest agricultural colleges. One private pedigree herd that was slaughtered had taken 40 years to build! It has also struck the heart of the dairy industry! And dairy cattle are harder to replace than stock cattle for slaughter. Three quarters of the outbreaks have been on dairy farms. The Milk Marketing Board has started a major operation to make up lost gallonage. One reason Englishmen have not generally felt it on their doorstep is that there was a surplus of milk at the start of the outbreak. But manufacturing industries are affected. Out of the 78 farms (in Southeast Cheshire) which were producing cheese before the epidemic, there are only 14 left. The county of Flintshire has launched a £10,000 "stay away" plea. The county clerk said, "This is an emergency. We are all in it. This applies to people inside and outside it, farmers and towns-folk. It is the FOOD SUPPLY OF ALL OF US THAT IS IN DANGER." Many slaughterhouses in the north of England are desperately short of meat because of the foot-and-mouth restrictions. A general appeal has gone out for farmers to keep their workers. But, this is hard to do when your own income is cut off. Some farmers will go out of business as they feel the government compensation paid for slaughtered stock is not enough to restock the farms. The disease has cost the country, directly and indirectly, about £40 million a month.
Now Look at International Trade
The £124,600 contract for the export of British pedigree beef cattle to the USSR, signed by the Soviet government in October, has been cancelled because of the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Ironically enough, the Soviets will now purchase from French breeders. Upwards of 20 countries have had their exports of meat to Britain banned. One of these, Argentina, as a reprisal, stopped the purchase of about £1 million worth of horse bloodstock at the Newmarket December sales. It is illegal at the time of writing to visit Irish farms for 21 days after arrival in the country from Britain. A big campaign has been launched to discourage people from travelling to Ireland. The number allowed in has been severely restricted. All visitors are disinfected on arrival. Parcels containing used clothing, etc., are immediately returned to the sender. "THIS IS A NATIONAL EMERGENCY" say the advertisements — and it hasn't even reached there!! The Isle of Man has banned the imports of fruit and vegetables, as well as meat to the island because of the disease. West Germany has banned imports from Britain as a disease precaution.
In spite of a nationwide avalanche of publicity no one, it seems, wants to admit the real cause of the disaster! Isn't that typical of human nature? Farmers respond to a disease outbreak in their animals as you respond to a pain in the head or a common cold. They treat the symptom. So do you when you take a pill and lie down until the worst of the pain or discomfort passes! Migrating birds, imported hay, straw and animal products have all been labeled as the cause of the present outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease!! They are no more the CAUSE of the disease than the rubber boots on the foot of a farmer who carries the infection from one property to another! Banning meat imports and voluntary mass-destruction of valuable livestock may be necessary, but it is NOT tackling the real CAUSE of foot-and-mouth disease! If one reason stands out above all the other physical causes, it is the plunging level of SOIL FERTILITY! Poor soil produces poor plants. Poor plants produce poor animals. Poor animals and plants produce poor humans. It makes no difference whether we are considering plants, animals, or humans; deficient soils will induce sickness and disease in all three. Unlike cows, we human beings do not have the built-in instinct to select QUALITY in our diet. Cows do have this natural ability. It's just that men deny them the chance to exercise it! Far too many people have the idea cows survive because men take care of them. On the contrary! They have managed to survive (so far) IN SPITE of men taking care of them! Man will one day be forced to wake up and realize that the further animals are removed from their natural environment, the more husbandry problems increase. Because men are trying to suspend the laws established by the Creator and replace them by whatever seems expedient. If our agricultural practices were in harmony with God's laws, foot-and-mouth disease would not be rampaging across the nation.
Healthy Animals Immune
TRULY HEALTHY ANIMALS DON'T CONTRACT DISEASE! That's a basic concept most men refuse to accept today. Sir Albert Howard — a man who dared to examine the facts — cites his example in India of grazing organically managed pastures (no drugs and chemical fertilizers). "As my small farmyard at Pusa was only separated by a low hedge from one of the large cattle-sheds on the Pusa estate, in which outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease often occurred, I have several times seen my oxen rubbing noses with foot-and-mouth cases. Nothing happened... no infection took place" (An Agricultural Testment, by Sir Albert Howard, p. 162) Bad management and dietary deffiencies are contributing causes of sickness and disease. Consider these facts: "All orthodox treatment," says Newman Turner in Fertility Farming, pp. 212, 213, "is based on the assumption that disease is caused by bacteria;... In my experience these assumptions have been shown to be wildly wide of the mark." He continues: "Bacteria which are found to be active in diseased animals are secondary to the unhealthy condition in the animal body, and not themselves the cause. "I came to the conclusion that abortion, mastitis, sterility and tuberculosis, as well as most other diseases of cattle, had their real foundation in the toxic condition of the animal body, brought about by unnatural methods of management." Attention has recently been drawn to the work of Dr. Hans Muller in Switzerland. He is supervising 600 men farming organically (some of them up to 30 years). Foot-and-mouth disease is endemic on the European Continent and some two years ago Switzerland had its worst outbreak ever, but not one animal was lost by any of these men! The Swiss, German, and French approach to crop and animal production is the same upside-down attitude that is followed throughout the English-speaking world. Nevertheless a member of the Swiss House of Commons has been so struck by this unusual animal health record he has pressed the Swiss Parliament to enquire into it — just in case there is something in this idea. Now one can understand why the journal of the British Veterinary Association admits: "The strain of foot-and-mouth disease virus responsible for the current series of outbreaks has created a situation with which many of us are unfamiliar. It is extremely difficult, therefore, to be as knowledgeable about this subject of the control of the disease under the present circumstances as our professional status would lead anyone to expect" (The Veterinary Record, 2nd December, 1967).
Foretold in the Bible
Britain has been the unfortunate nation under public scrutiny this time, but the people of ALL countries are by nature hostile to God's laws. They are likewise paying some terrible penalties. God, knowing what is in the heart of man, inspired His Prophets to record today's tragedies — and the blessings of the world tomorrow — for us to read with our own eyes in this 20th Century! God gave ancient Israel the promise of physical blessings for obedience. One of these included blessings on livestock. Read it in Deuteronomy 28: "Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep" (verse 4). God's promises stand sure! Then, why are we, the modern descendants of the ancient House of Israel, having a curse like this come upon our animals today? Because we are REBELLING AGAINST our CREATOR! (If you want proof of where the House of Israel is today, write for the free book United States and British Commonwealth in Prophecy) Our people are not only rebelling in our morals, but in our farming methods as well. Read it in your own Bible: "But it shall come to pass, if you wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God... Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy trine (cattle), and the flocks of thy sheep" (Deuteronomy 28:15, 18). Here God plainly tells us a curse such as this foot-and-mouth epidemic results from disobedience to His laws. God gave us the land to use (Jeremiah 27:5). We have misused it, and now we are paying the penalty. The present outbreak is only a warning. If we continue to break God's laws we will have epidemics until we learn our lesson. In Jeremiah 9 the prophet is lamenting the sins of the people. "And they bend their tongues like the bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord" (verse 3). Coming on down to verse 9, we read: "Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle..." (vs. 9 and 10). Many farmers today cannot hear the voice of their cattle, just as God said! "I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man AND BEAST..." (Zephaniah 1:2-3). "Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it" (Ezekiel 14:13). Not only has our land not rested every seventh year as God commanded (Lev. 25:1-4), it has been forced with artificial fertilizers instead of using God's organic methods. Notice the Moffat translation of Isaiah 17:10-11: "... though you plant gardens... forcing the growth, the very day you plant them, till they bloom for you the next morning, all that you get from them shall vanish on your day of dole and desperate pain." Forcing growth only produces inferior quality, though in some cases it may temporarily produce more quantity. Poor quality food leads to poor quality animals — more susceptible to disease! We are seeing the result of this today! As the quality of the food decreases, the quality of the animals decreases; resistance is lowered, and diseases increase. "How long is the land to lie woebegone, and the green growth all to wither? Birds and beasts are perishing by the wickedness of the natives, who say, 'God never sees what we do!' " (Jeremiah 12:4 — Moffat translation) But God does see! And what He sees — man's sins — He doesn't like! That's why God declares: "The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He have consumed thee from off the land... all these curses shall... overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkened not unto the voice of the 'Lord thy God to keep His Commandments and His statutes..." (Deut. 28:21, 45). But there is a way of escape, if you will only take it! You don't have to go on stumbling along in confusion with the rest of the world. These warnings are not just for farmers — but for everyone. The food that farmers produce feeds YOU. God says: "But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil" (Prov. 1:33). God help you to see — and repent — and begin to keep His Commandments and His laws for your own good.