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Secret State 14: incriminating sheep dip poisoning HSE report – officially destroyed – has now been revealed

Yet another scandalous instance of official bodies ‘losing’ important documents

On occasion, even contemporary documents have been lost by health service and police when charged with misconduct. Solihull Council said trust deeds proving gift of land to public were ‘lost or destroyed’ though they’d had no fire or flood – the valid causes for loss. That parkland was given to a developer to make an Asda-centred development ‘commercially viable’ – their own expression.

Johann Tasker recently reported in the Farmers Weekly that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has admitted that a 1990 report detailing concerns about farmers being poisoned by organophosphate (OP) sheep dip has been destroyed.

Tom - smallerLancashire farmer Tom Rigby, Sheep Dip Sufferers Support Group (read about this on another site) submitted a Freedom of Information (FoI) request asking for the HSE document to be released. “There is no legitimate reason for keeping it confidential this long,” he explained. “We must have recognition for all those who have been bravely battling against the effects of these chemicals for decades. These insecticides had a devastating impact and it is important those affected finally start to get the help and support they urgently need.”

HSE internal review

hse header

Mr Rigby said: “The information I want is HSE advice given to the government minister just before he decided to abandon compulsory dipping and the science behind and date of a government order that Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food inspectors must not go within 14ft of a sheep dip.”

But the HSE responded to the FoI request by telling Mr Rigby: “The information you requested is no longer held by the Health & Safety Executive, having been destroyed in accordance with HSE’s corporate retention policy.” One consequence of the FoI Act was that information was regularly catalogued and “weeded out” – other than older papers relating to high-profile incidents, significant policy changes or long latency risks.  The HSE has  agreed to conduct an internal review.

A well-wisher has now sent Mr Rigby a copy

He has removed the names of 18 HSE staff but the rest is as he received it. The comments in boxes are obviously not part of the original report and seem to have been written at least ten years ago.

Read this deeply significant document on the Sheep Dip Sufferers website here. We hope that another significant document (below), released recently, will be preserved and acted on.

op report cover

Milk, fruit and vegetables will eventually be imported, unless British food producers are fairly paid

milk farmers leaveThough 80% of all milk produced in the UK is consumed domestically, the NFU attributes the fall in price to the sanctions on Russia and weakening demand in Asia.

The FT reports that Asda also justified the low prices paid to farmers saying they were set by global supply and demand.


First Milk, the farmer-owned group, one of the UK’s biggest dairy co-operatives, has suspended payments to around 1,200 farmers for two weeks. The company said that returns had fallen 50% in the past year and yet – the FT reports – farm costs are 36% higher than they were in 2007 and the single largest cost component of a dairy farm, animal feed, is more than 50% higher.

milk price fall                      Sources: Defra, DARD & DairyCo

A table from an 2007 overview: Snapshot of farming in the UK, on the BBC website (below), will be of interest to readers news to the subject. Recent price cuts mean that farmers are facing milk prices of just 20p a litre, the lowest since 2007 according to the NFU said, but the following graph indicates an earlier date.

milk prices graphmilk prices graph addendumMilk is now cheaper than bottled water, according to research by The Grocer, which recorded four-pint bottles of milk being sold for 89p by supermarkets Asda, Aldi, Lidl and Iceland.

‘Fiddling while Rome burns’, DEFRA promotes involvement with the volatile global casino: “It is important to remember that the long-term prospects are bright with exports at record levels.”


Is there any future for those who produce perishable food and are currently held to ransom – unless they join forces and demand prices covering production costs?

Government: are share prices, lucrative consultancies and directorships more important than justice & food security?

Farmers’ lives are being shortened to give company shareholders, high flying consultants and industry leaders a substantial income and maximise corporate profits

andrew hemming on protest 2


A dairy farmer writes about the death of Andrew Hemming, vice-chairman of Farmers for Action:

This is so sad, I heard him speak at a few protests and meetings he attended in our area and he came over as caring, dedicated to our cause, and inspirational. I am truly sorry that his life has been cut short at such an early age and send his family my heartfelt sympathy.

I fear the same for members of other equally dedicated and caring farming families who are also fighting desperately for survival. They also may be shortening their lives by working far harder than is reasonable, or safe for their health, just in order to feed animals, meet bills and survive in a ruthlessly competitive target driven industry where maximising profit is considered by some as more important than people or animals, and for what?

To give company shareholders, high flying consultants and industry leaders a substantial income and maximise corporate profits?

All we ask is control of our own destiny by earning a fair and honest living from the land we are responsible for, with income derived from producing a good source of staple food that people need, and to leave a realistic and sustainable future for our families and communities, which is what Andrew was working so hard to achieve.

We do not want this continual conflict, and I am certain that Andrew didn’t

It is 2 years since Asda wielded their massive financial power to intimidate Andrew, David Handley and the other FFA regional coordinators by taking them to court.

Their crime was to help secure a fair price for our milk, which we are still seeking.