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Thursday, 29 March, 2001, 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK
Farmer's diary: An anxious wait
The cows are trapped on the farm
None of the cows can be moved from farm buildings
In his third diary entry for BBC News Online, Warwickshire farmer Adam Quinney waits to hear if his livestock will have to be destroyed.

Mixed emotions would be the most accurate description this week, living within 1km of two confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth.

Last week it was the sickening feeling that our animals might contract foot-and-mouth disease, then as that fear passed, how would we manage to feed the animals we could not move either back to the home farms or to fresh pasture.

Then last Friday the news came that all sheep would be destroyed within 3km of an outbreak throughout the UK.

My daughter who was at home heard this news on the radio and was terribly upset, then came the news later that day that this was not the case, but that Maff were thinking about it.

So now we have cows that are in a building with no land around them due to calve in late April.

Our dreams have turned into a nightmare from which we cannot wake up

Adam Quinney, farmer
Normally these would be brought home to calve outside.

We have D-notice on us, which means we cannot move any stock even across the road, so we having to consider having the cows destroyed on welfare grounds.

The buildings they are in are fine for cows without calves at foot, but they would need almost double the space they have to make enough room for cow and calf.

This is so sad. Some of the cows were reared from young calves by my family, the rest are lovely South Devon cows bought from a friend who retired last year.

The announcement by Maff that farms close to confirmed cases would have all animals on the farm destroyed came at the weekend.

Waiting game

We now wait with baited breath to see if we are going to be one of these farms.

With luck we should get the news this week and hopefully the news will be that we are in the clear.

When I watch the news, marooned on the farm, and see these great mounds of dead animals that represent many generations of work and toil it makes me want to weep.

Adam Quinney walks around his farm
Adam Quinney: Trapped in a no-go zone
Cumbria is going to be a different place for many years to come.

Now we seem to be getting increasing numbers both in Worcestershire and Warwickshire. I hope to God that we do not go the same way as Devon and Cumbria.

One of the bitterest blows is to have your dreams and hopes shattered overnight. We as farmers have struggled the last few years, but our dreams and hopes for our farms have kept us going.

Now our dreams have turned into a nightmare from which we cannot wake up.

For some people this is going to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Many of my friends who were committed farmers say there has to be more to life than living through one crisis after another.

If their stock is destroyed because of contact with foot-and-mouth they will give up farming and do something without the emotional stress on their families.

Read previous diaries from Adam Quinney:

  • 22 March: Staring ruin in the face

  • 12 March: A farmer's fears
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