In the same WEF/EPA Fact Sheet debunking the Zander dairy cattle deaths, the "blame the
victim" strategy was again used to explain the cause of deaths and diseases of the dairy
cows of another dairy farmer, Robert Ruane, of Rutland, Vermont, According to the Fact
Sheet, "Ruane possessed few herd records, silage quality was poor, the recommended
feeding program was largely ignored, and  feeding practice did not meet National Research
Council  recommendations for lactating dairy animals, the Vermont Department of
Agriculture found," (p. 8)

When we asked Bob Ruane to comment on the statements made about him in the WEF/EPA
Fact Sheet where he was accused of causing the death and disease of his own cattle
because he didn't follow the recommended feeding program for lactating cows, and the
silage he fed was of poor quality, he was astounded, He didn't know he was written up in a
Fact Sheet, As to the charge in the Fact Sheet that he was not following the recommended
feeding program for lactating dairy cattle, he said he fed his cows a mixed ration of silage
and grains three times a day—at 4:00 in the morning, at 8:30 in the morning and again at 4:
30 in the afternoon. He said the misunderstanding might have arisen when he told the State
agent what he fed the cattle at each feeding instead of the total amount fed each day.

As to the quality of the silage, it is no doubt that it was of poor quality since it was grown on
the sludge-amended ground, It wasn't until he started feeding silage from unsludged fields
that his cattle improved. Until his herd was damaged he was unaware that the silage was not
only of poor quality but that it contained toxic elements that caused death and disease in.
his herd.

Robert Ruane has lived on his 99 acre dairy farm outside of Rutland.- Vermont since 1947
when, his dad purchased it. He bought it from his dad in 1966. In 1986, representatives from
the City of Rutland convinced him that sewage sludge could be used beneficially as a
fertilizer for his corn crops. At the time he agreed to allow them to start spreading the sludge
on 27 acres of prise bottom land, he had a herd of 300 cows--l40 were milkers, The yield on.
the 27 acres was high as 33 tons of corn silage an acre.        

Arthritis, abortions, muscular problems started showing up in his cattle following applications
of sludge to his land.  Although Bob kept his cattle off the fields where the  sludge was
applied, the corn was chopped up for silage and fed to the cattle. He lost 119 cows before
he stopped feeding them the silage grown on the sludge-amended soil. Prior to application
of sludge to his land, he only lost at maximum 6 cows which is normal for a herd of 300.

After the fourth year of sludge application, the yield on the 27 acres dropped dramatically—
from a high of 33 tons of corn per acre to 18 tons of corn silage per acre. The corn only
produced a few ears here and there and these were damaged, A strip of land ; without
sludge produced a normal crop, No sludge has been applied since 1990 and yet the yield
on the 27 acres has not returned to what it was before the sludge application. It is now 22 to
24 tons per acre.

When Bob fed his cattle silage from a non-sludged field they began to improve. It wasn't until
he ran out of this uncontaminated silage and started feeding them the silage from the
field that the cattle again began to have health problems.

He knew then, he had made a terrible mistake in believing the City representatives that
sludge was safe and would prove beneficial to him. It cost him dearly and he is still paying
for his folly in believing a sludge promoter would tell him the truth, His herd has not
recovered completely. He has had a problem getting the older cows bred to produce
replacement calves. His herd has shrunk from 300 cows to under 200—with only about 103
milkers, His operation is carrying a debt load that required about 130 milkers to service it,

In CNN's program, "Hazardous Harvest" he warned other farmers against using
sludge on crop land.    When Ruane agreed for the city to use his land to dispose of their
sludge, they constructed a 100 x 150' bunker with a concrete floor as a storage facility for
the sludge. They also installed two monitoring wells 18-20' deep on the 27 acres. When the
City tried to renew its state permit for the site, it was refused because of the high nitrate
levels in both monitoring wells. When the City could not get the. permit renewed, it started
charging Ruane $500 a year in taxes for the bunker. When he told the City, he wanted the
bunker off his property. They told him to get a contractor to remove it and they would pay for
the removal and any damages caused by the removal. He is still forced to pay the $500 a
year because no contractor will agree to remove it. They are afraid it is so contaminated that
it will have to be put in a hazardous waste landfill,

It is obvious that the writer of the WEF/EPA report was not raised on a farm or he wouldn't
have made such asinine.-and ridiculous statements. I was reared on a farm in the midwest
where we raised beef cattle and swine as well as  grains. My dad came from a long line of
farmers. Manure was used as a  fertilizer on crops Including home gardens with no adverse
health effects ever. Of course then the manure was "exceptional quality". Cattle were not
ingesting crops grown on sludge-amended soil with its organic chemicals and heavy metals
which could, taint the manure.

I resent the implications in the report that the Zanders or any farmers , would, be so stupid
as to put manure where it could contaminate the water that not only the animals drink but
they also drink.  Farmers are not the ignorant hayseeds and country bumpkins WEF/EPA
made them/us out to be.  They are intelligent people who practice good agricultural
procedures. If your livelihood depends on the health of your animals, you will not
compromise their health by feeding them poor quality food and not complying with all
requirements such as vaccinations.  A. sick herd doesn't earn any money,  Even before
computers, farmers kept detailed and well documented records on their livestock and other
farming operations. Farmers are also subject to IRS audits where they have to produce
records. If the writer had ever seen a calf or pig or other animal born, he would have known
that only on rare occasions (breach birth) do you ever have to assist in its birth.