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Battle over large animal cull continues on tenth anniversary

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

KOOTWIJKERBROEK In spite of all assurances, Dutch agriculture ministry officials and laboratory technicians have utterly failed to convince the Kootwijkerbroek farming community of their course of action in 2001, when the ministry ordered thousands of dairy cows and farm animals destroyed on account of one positive Foot and Mouth disease lab sample. The farmers, represented by a dedicated foundation fighting for their common cause, have swayed politicians instead to hold a hearing into the case, which left very deep emotional scars in their community. Certain there was no evidence of one diseased animal, the farmers and many in the community rose up to defend their animals against a minister who they saw as a hard-nosed uncaring bureaucrat. This resistance also caused division in the community and hurt farmers who were discounted compensation. The hearing has been scheduled for March 18 and will be followed by a television documentary less than two weeks later. Earlier investigations prompted by the group raised suspicions further among them that the animal cull may have been based on a labeling error in the laboratory. The authorities strongly dismiss that suggestion.