F&M probe told of cull 'barbarism'

Jun 20 2002 By Jamie Lyons

A European probe into the foot-and-mouth crisis was today told of the "barbarism" of the cull of British farm animals.

The European Parliament's inquiry into the outbreak was told of the economic devastation it caused and the "stench of death" left lingering over the British countryside.

The Parliament's temporary committee on foot-and-mouth was hearing evidence from farmers and tourism businesses on the latest stage of its visit to Britain.

In an emotional speech to the 16-strong Euro delegation meeting at the Royal Welsh showground in Mid Wales Welsh farmer Ann Morgan condemned the cull on her farm as "shambolic and barbaric".

"The stench of death was dreadful," she said.

Referring to the officials organising the slaughter, she said: "These nameless faces behind closed doors decided whether our animals lived or died."

Local accountant Ian Mitchell told the MEPs that the crisis placed an unbearable toll on the rural economy.

It had "taken away our dreams", he said.

The committee is gathering evidence from its meetings in Wales, Devon and Gloucestershire.

The Conservative leader in the European Parliament, Jonathan Evans, renewed his demands for the UK Government to launch a full public inquiry into the disease in addition to the "valuable contributions" to the Euro investigation.

The Government has launched three separate inquiries into the outbreak but has refused to conduct a full public inquiry.