Diary of a first-time non-voter

'Maybe they will start a Dog-Job Club, for these latest victims of foot-and-mouth.'

Ray Crowley

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Topics Politics

I hadn’t realised just how tragic the foot-and-mouth epidemic was until this week, and the terrible tale of the border collies.

Since the epidemic began, I have heard vets overseeing the culling of farm animals too emotional during radio interviews to comment on whether vaccination was a good idea or not. Instead, they spoke about how harrowing the job was and how drained they were.

I have heard of animal-lovers worried about how humanely livestock are being made dead and have noted the unease of ramblers who are eyed suspiciously by locals, in areas where footpaths have recently been reopened.

I have heard about tourists whose holidays have been ruined and whose friends are too frightened to come into the country. I read a mother’s query to a problem page concerning her son who has hand, foot and mouth disease (caused by a completely different, and unrelated virus), who was worried about its connection to the epidemic.

I was just about coping until Monday 23 April, when I was nearly brought to tears hearing a lengthy report on Radio 4 about all the border collies who are being made redundant because they have no sheep to chase into pens anymore. Maybe they will start a Dog-Job Club for these latest victims of the disease?

In spite of the emotional pain it has caused me, I do feel quite well-informed on the subject of foot-and-mouth now. Admittedly, I have no idea about the pros and cons of vaccination v culling, how the virus can be passed on, what it actually does to animals, what disease-free status is or whether my woolly jumpers and leather shoes are safe to wear, but I feel I understand the really important aspects of this terrible time.

Those poor poor doggies.

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Topics Politics

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