Copy of letter from Classlaw to DEFRA re fmd outbreak October, 2000The Minister
Department for Environment
Food and Rural Affairs Nobel House
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE
We act, as you know, on behalf of the United Kingdom Rural Business Campaign, a group of businesses nationwide which seek compensation arising out of the governments handling of the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak said to have first been identified in February 2001.
We have carried out extensive investigations into the causes and incidence of the outbreak of FMD and have consulted various witnesses in this regard, including numerous medical and microbiolgical experts, both locally and internationally.
We advise you that on Sunday we obtained a statement from a witness, Mr XXX, a farmer of YYY, ZZZ, AAA who states that:-
1. On or about 4th October 2000 two cattle on a field owned by him died;
2. He believes that these two animals died from foot and mouth disease;
3. On or about 4th October 2000 he advised the relevant MAFF authorites and asked that an official call on him at his farm to discuss the matter and issues arising therefrom;
4. An officer of the Department of the Environment, one Mr XXX, arrived at his field for the purpose stated in paragraph 3 above. Mr XXX discussed the matter with this official who was not interested in the fact of the death of the two cattle nor the cause thereof;
5. The cattle were consequently buried by the witness in the field.
In so far as we have any obligation in terms of the Animal Health Act so to do, we notify you, (on our behalf and on behalf of the committee that represents the members of the UKRBC) and the chief constable of the Aberdare constabulary of the fact that we are in possession of the information set out above.
It is obviously highly relevant to the proper and thorough investigation of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and the actions of your Department prior to February 2001, that it be established whether the two animals did in fact die from the disease and we consequently call upon you to exhume the carcasses of the cattle and to conduct the necessary tests thereon so as to establish whether they died from FMD or not.
Given that the animals died and were buried some eighteen months ago and that evidence as to the presence of the infection will be degrading (especially with the rise in temperature of the ground) we call upon you to undertake the above as a matter of urgency. Naturally we would wish our own scientists to participate in this process.
We point out that Mr ZZZ wrote to The XXX First Minister in or about November 2001 requesting that the carcasses be exhumed and tested but this suggestion was refused.
Scientific advice that we have obtained suggests that what was conveyed to Mr XXX was not correct; it is possible that some sequences of RNA would be identifiable in the carcase material, but these tests should be conducted with the utmost haste.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Divisional Veterinary Manager
Animal Health Unit
66 XXX Road
The Chief Constable