We covered some of the many 'advantages' of TB restriction in a very early post on this site, many of which are repeated in FCN's report. The pdf.document (Note - file size 1.12 MB) is called 'Stress and Loss' and contains the results of interviews with many farmers whose herds have experienced TB restrictions.
FCN carried out research on the impact of bovine TB on farming families in three TB hotspots. The results are contained in a 39 page document, inter spaced with quotes from the many farming families interviewed.
"The worst thing was that cows very close to calving had to be shot on farm. We could see the calves kicking inside as they died....I feel there is a constant dark cloud of uncertainty over me, causing stress, anxiety and fear. I feel weary, mentally and physically which results in pain in my body.....Financially it is very stressful. Cash flow is a huge problem. Having to keep animals when I would normally sell them puts more pressure on me, on my family, animal accommodation and feed costs. I don't know how long we can keep going...."
The interviews were carried out by FCN volunteers in three areas - West Wales, the South West and Worcestershire - all longstanding bovine TB hotspots which having experienced decades of Ministerial prevarication, just like Topsy, have grown.
In fact they now link up, in a river of red annual testing parishes, from Lands End heading northwards and westwards, (as Defra's 2008 Parish Testing Map shows.)
Defra are more than happy to pile on the cattle restrictions (and pile up the carcasses) but as one farmer interviewed remarked:
"[TB] restrictions change the nature of the business - we are 'dancing to others' tune' rather than managing our own business as we would wish to."And by dancing to Defra's tunes on their non-control of environmental tuberculosis, we are all playing games with a most deadly of diseases.