Cumbria County Council Press Release:

19 April 2002

Cumbria Foot and Mouth Disease Inquiry will add to EU Report

The European Parliament Temporary Committee on Foot and Mouth Disease will take in evidence the report and conclusions of Cumbria's own Foot and Mouth Inquiry, which begins early next month. The news comes following a meeting between the County Council and the EU Temporary Committee yesterday when representatives from the Council and other agencies explained the devastating impact that the crisis had on the county. County Council Leader Rex Toft explains:

"We had an excellent meeting with the EU Temporary Committee and were able to explain in detail the devastating effects of the outbreak on agriculture and tourism as well as the ongoing economic and social costs. I spoke personally to the Head of the Delegation Redondo Jimenez about the Cumbrian Inquiry and asked that the Committee accept its report as part of the evidence it considers before drawing its own conclusions. I'm delighted that the Committee is willing to do that. There are many lessons to be learned and questions to be answered and to my mind we must establish;

  1. what caused the outbreak
  2. why and how did it spread so rapidly
  3. were the measures taken to deal with it effective
  4. was the widespread culling of livestock the right response
  5. should livestock have been vacinated
  6. what measures must now be put in place to prevent a further outbreak

The answers to these and many more questions are more likely to be found here in Cumbria than anywhere else, as were bore the brunt of the outbreak. We need to understand what happened here, the people of Cumbria demand no less. The Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001 was the worst in modern times, we had 44% of all the cases in the country. No other region experienced anything like the tragedy that occurred here.

Our own Inquiry is independent and non-political. An independent panel of experts will consider every piece of evidence submitted and produce a detailed report, which we expect to publish in July. I fully expect its conclusions to be of not just regional but of National and European significance. That's why it is so important the lessons learned here in Cumbria are considered fully in Europe and in Westminster. The acceptance by the EU temporary committee to take Cumbria's report as evidence is important in helping to ensure the experiences of the last twelve months are understood and plans put in place to prevent a repetition."