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Is there a crisis in British farming?

By George Monbiot   April 2001

Dear George

7th March 2001

The reaction to this outbreak of foot and mouth disease has bordered on the hysterical. Blaming the disease on modern farming methods and freer trade is perhaps understandable from those in the front line, but it is also plain wrong.

Let me start by placing the current outbreak in perspective. At the time of writing, the number of confirmed outbreaks stands at 150, on 0.2 per cent of the 130,000 holdings with livestock in Britain. So far 100,000 animals have been destroyed. Even if this number doubles, it would represent only about one…

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