Farmers: Don't go reaching for the tractor, cider and shotgun clichés

Or even the web's Pig Brother, for that matter...

Or even the web's Pig Brother, for that matter...

Whatever we think about them and however much sympathy they do or don't get in the face of supermarket demands and the foot and mouth crisis, one thing's for sure - farmers have entered the high-tech arena. Or at least the high-tech world has taken them under its wing. The online-only Big Brother parody, Pig Brother, has seen tech companies including Lycos, Eclipse Internet and Kingston Communications' inbusiness division mucking in to support the site that for all its silliness is raising funds for stricken farmers. This week has seen a further development in the foot and mouth online crusade. Devon County Council in association with Eclipse is streaming live coverage of its inquiry into the outbreak. Not only is this an intriguing project and a huge boost for farmers, it might well be the first ever webcast of a public inquiry in the UK. Of course, do tell us if you know otherwise. But in the meantime, it is worth remembering that Devon was the second hardest hit county in the UK. The fact that tech companies have rallied to support the cause and give it a bigger airing is a huge boost for the farmers. But beyond that, the live webcast will also be a valuable contribution to the government's overall investigations and plans for citizen-friendly e-government. And it may also give us townies a chance to find out more about modern farming. See the inquiry live at http://www.devon.gov.uk/fminquiry/incamera.shtml
Pig Brother can be found at http://www.pigbrother.co.uk/