Use of the word "Guilty" implied that Waugh was the culprit for the outbreak.
English farmer guilty over foot-and-mouth outbreak
Farmer kept foot and mouth a secret
Foot-and-mouth pig farmer guilty of failing to report disease outbreak
Conviction handed down in British foot-and-mouth case
Farmer guilty over foot-and-mouth outbreak
Ministry 'shares culpability for disease'
A farm at the centre of the foot-and-mouth outbreak should have been closed
after earlier complaints about its standards, the National Farmers' Union
(NFU) has claimed.
It said Bobby Waugh's farm was already known to the Ministry of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and trading standards officers, who "have a share
of the culpability" for the scale of the outbreak.
NFU spokesman Anthony Gibson told BBC News: "They had several opportunities
to close it down, to do something about it, and they failed to."
Farmer found guilty of failing to report foot-and-mouth
...Though the guilty verdicts shoulder Waugh with some responsibility for
the devastating epidemic, the trial has also shown up the former Ministry of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, whose sensitivity to accusations of poor
preparation for foot-and-mouth has led it to resist all calls for a full
public inquiry and to refuse to testify at three inquiries set up by rural
The case has revealed a depleted number of northern ministry vets were
unfamiliar with foot-and-mouth's symptoms. It has also shown how Waugh
slipped through the net of frequent veterinary inspections.
...But why his swillfeeding practices had not been spotted earlier is
baffling. The trial was told the Ministry of Agriculture had been on
tenterhooks about pigswill farms after the Pan Asiatic O-type strain of
foot-and- mouth took hold in countries such as Egypt and Mongolia in the
1990s. Ministry officials had written to Britain's 100 pigswill farmers,
including Waugh, to warn that slops could cause the disease.
Despite the 1998 letter, Waugh's offence had not been detected at
twice-yearly inspections by the local ministry vet, nor in December 2000,
three months before the foot-and-mouth epidemic took hold, when he was
visited by a vet and trading standards officer for an inspection.
A closely guarded trading standards log of this crucial meeting states that
although the pigs were "generally in a good bodily condition", two were
lame. Mick King, the head of Northumberland trading standards, has indicated
there was a "difference of emphasis" over what action to take between the
ministry vet and his own officer. The officer wanted firmer action than
Maff's preferred "quiet word in the ear" but only the vet could approve a
prosecution, so Waugh continued trading.
Yesterday, Mr King said the complex demarcation lines between trading
standards and the ministry needed to be re-examined. "It is astonishing that
Maff wrote to all farms to say foot-and-mouth was rampaging around the world
and yet did not ban outright the use of slops as feed, which carried the
threat. Things were allowed to ride," Mr King said. "Most of all, this is
about resources. You can't blame individual vets when the state veterinary
service has been cut back so much."
Cause of foot and mouth still debated
...Wynne Edwards, of lawyers Class Law, who are preparing the claim, said:
"The Waughs are a bit of a scapegoat. That's not to say they are innocent
but we do not believe the line they were the cause - and how come foot and
mouth was not picked up when Maff visited the Heddon farm a few weeks before
the disease was confirmed?"