BECAUSE foot-and-mouth disease has broken out in Brazil, beef farmers here in Britain are seeking a total ban on the imports of Brazilian beef until that country is disease free. The strain of this disease is the same as the United Kingdom had in 2001. There is little or no traceability in Brazil and we can't be risking another outbreak..

A three-hour demonstration against the import of Brazilian beef was held at Tilbury docks with beef farmers attending from all over the country.

It is a good job somebody made the point because it seems like the politicians have no life in them at all. Not that I expected MPs to go down to the docks and demonstrate, but I do expect them to ban the import of Brazilian beef and any other from countries with foot-and-mouth.

Edward Leigh, the Tory chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, admitted that the Government's handling of the crisis had not been perfect but was quick to assure the nation that Defra had made "good progress" in learning from those mistakes. He must be pulling our leg; farmers would soon tell him the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs has learned nowt'.

But now we know what those MPs were agreed on, they agreed that if ever there were a repeat of the 2001 epidemic taxpayers must never again be asked to pay the entire cost of the bill, which is now estimated at £3 billion. As I understand it, in future, as recommended by Defra, farmers must stump up all the cost themselves.

So, does that mean farmers will be able to get in on the act so that they have a say in how a future epidemic is handled? Not on you life. We will just be expected to pay the bill; forgetting, of course, that the reason the bill was so large was that the Government's response was such an unholy shambles. If the idea is that farmers pay for whatever Defra decides, let the Government take heed, we wouldn't pay them with washers, not even with washers without a hole in.

You will recall, I told you that the difference between foot-and-mouth in 1967 and in 2001 was that in 1967 most of the animals slaughtered were confirmed as having the disease whereas in 2001 MOST of those killed did NOT have the disease, but they shot them just the same.

The contiguous cull was illegal. A European foot-and-mouth committee said it was. Even the Government's own chief vet believed it was. Then, to cap it all, Defra's Elliot Morley laid a bill before Parliament to the effect that in any future outbreak, Defra or anyone ordered by Defra must be allowed entry onto farms without let or hindrance in order to carry out whatever it decreed and woe betide whoever got in the way.

Now you know and I know that if the cull was legal there would be no need for further legislation. The Government insisted the cull was legal, so they got away with it.

Whether an animal has foot-and-mouth or not is verified by a blood test in the laboratory.

I bet you thought they would await the results of the blood tests before proceeding. Don't you believe it, in our case they took samples from 500 sheep and, as soon as they'd got the blood, they shot the whole flock. What a shower.

Let's be clear about compensation, it is payment for compulsory acquirement of your stock so they can be shot.

Dialect word: Reach tull - is an invitation to help yourself at the table.

Thought for the day: Bacon and eggs hens are involved, but pigs are committed.