Email received 9th January 2008
The ASU's case of Maladministration against DEFRA, brought about by the 2001 ban on Swill Feeding.
I feel that I must write and let you know that after 5 long years the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's (PHSO) investigation of DEFRA for maladministration brought by the ASU, has finally come to an end. Ann Abraham, The PHSO, has issued her findings in a 73 page document which is now out in the public domain. She has found that DEFRA were guilty, as charged, of maladministration in not realising the implications the ban on swill feeding would have on the livelihoods of those farmers involved in the swill feeding industry. Jim Dring, the vet in charge of inspecting the farm where the 2001 FMD was said to have begun, was also found guilty of maladministration because of his inspection procedures and lack of record keeping.
I now call upon all members of the ASU to go to their MPs with the document in hand pointing out that the Ombudsman has found in their favour, and that DEFRA must revisit the decision not to pay compensation. In the light of the Ombudsman's findings, each and every MP must write to Hilary Benn imploring him to do the right and proper thing, because if he does not, then what is the point of having an Ombudsman?
For the last 5 years DEFRA Ministers and DEFRA officials have refused to discuss our case for compensation. Whenever the point was raised they said they could not comment because our case is the subject of and PHSO enquiry.
Well it isn't now. 5 years of hiding behind the Ombudsman enquiry is over.
It is now up to ALL MPs to see that the institution of the Parliamentary Ombudsman is not brought into disrepute by DEFRA and its continual refusal to pay compensation when it has clearly been found guilty of maladministration.