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Captain Bryn Wayt Tanglewood Cross-in-Hand HEATHFIELD East Sussex TN21 0TU

I write this as a very concerned member of the public, and not a farmer, who wholeheartedly opposes this Bill and I beseech you to repel the Animal Health Bill (No 39) in toto, for the following reasons discussed below.

The Animal Health Bill (No39) has a title that in itself is an enigma, in that it has nothing much to do with an animals health, but more about how to go about slaughtering ANY animal, healthy or not, for ANY reason as the Minister sees fit and puts in place an unstoppable killing hierarchy that would deny owners any say in the matter.

Please May I borrow some of your valuable time to show you why I believe you should DEFEAT any further progress of this unprecedented invasion of basic democracy and Human Rights, not to mention Animal Welfare. I would wish that you stop this Labour government from inflicting and seeking "yet more powers" to enact any more barbarous and medieval acts of insanity under the guise of Foot and Mouth Disease.

The Lords are the last line of defence in this very serious matter, and I implore you to vote against this hideous Bill in the Lords.

Background
I find it absolutely staggering that the present government would wish to seek "more powers" to cover their jack-booted tracks by making lawful their heinous and lamentable - and often illegal - handling of the 2001 FMD crisis by trying to speed through Parliament a Bill with such indecent haste that proper debate has been stifled.

Labour now wants to make legal that which was illegal; but not only that they wish to go further and allow the State powers that are forbidden by the EU Laws of Fundamental Human Rights and Animal welfare - and that just cannot be right nor reasonable.

Mr E. Morley said he did not have a better window of opportunity, nor was there any time to discuss the matter at length. Such is the dubious and underhand intent to slip this piece of legislation through; conceived from the worst animal burial pits and funeral pyres and an orgy of indecent slaughter the world has ever had to witness.

The concepts
I know of democracy and moral values and was willing to lay down my life for them, having held Her Majesty The Queen's Commission whilst serving as an Officer in the Royal Air Force, but I see absolutely nothing of value or benefit to animals or humans in this heinous and far reaching Bill, which is overtly seeking more unprecedented intrusions into the fabric of the nation, and would without question be severely injurious to the concepts and ethos of Section 19 of the EU Human Rights Act 1998.

What is NEW in this Bill and unlawful ?

What would be your reaction if a bunch of "squaddies" without invitation nor your consent broke into your premises after dark, to inspect your animals (the bill does not stop at cows and sheep) to check if they had some disease other than FMD ? Later an "inspector" returns with those soldiers (perhaps Euro cops) and orders you to be arrested (having objected) that they may vaccinate your animals for some exotic disease.

Maybe a week later another hired "inspector" (not a vet) returns and slaughters every one of your healthy animals (or house cow, or llama, or sheep, or your herd of Rare Highland cattle) - what is your reaction to all that activity ? Remember, you have no right to stop their actions and will most probably be in a jail. The State would be allowed to do this under these new laws, and I contend such 'things' cannot be allowed to happen.

Let us examine how these 'things' could be done under new laws.

New aspects of the Bill

* for these powers to be extendable to other animal diseases by order
* The Bill will allow vaccinated animals to be slaughtered (that is ANY animal)
* Clause 1 extends the range of animals which the Minister may cause to be slaughtered

* the new power may be exercised whether or not the animals concerned are affected or suspected of being affected
* Clause 2 enables the Minister to extend to diseases other than FMD the power to cause to be slaughtered
* will not have the right of appeal to an independent person
* New section 36H makes further provision about powers of entry
* section 36G(1) or section 36H. It enables them to inspect and, if necessary seize and detain, records
* section 36A empowers the Minister by order to specify sheep genotypes which in her opinion are more susceptible than other sheep
* administering electronic identification devices to them ( all sheep)
* New section 36J creates offences relating to these powers of entry (i.e. arrest if you resist)
* Clause 6 and makes further provision for powers of entry to carry out vaccination (your consent not required !)
* Clause 7 inserts a new section 62A into the 1981 Act to provide a power of entry for the purpose of ascertaining whether any power to cause animals to be slaughtered should be exercised (i.e. no longer illegal to slaughter on suspicion)
* and for the purpose of doing anything in pursuance of the exercise of that power * it inserts a new section 66A which makes provision about refusal and obstruction
* new section 62D into the 1981 Act to provide a power of entry for the purpose of ascertaining whether animals are carrying antibodies to FMD
* Clause 9 creates a new power for inspectors to inspect vehicles
* police officers and Departmental inspectors may arrest anyone who prevents them from carrying out their functions under the Act
* assuming powers for compulsory genotyping of sheep

The EU and its subjects Convention Rights Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs made the following statement: "In my view the provisions of the Animal Health Bill are compatible with the Convention rights". Can she possibly be correct if the above scenario was played out on your premises ? I say no !

Introducing legislation designed to remove every last vestige of democracy and Human Rights from a farming community and beyond is no way to recreate the rural economy and farming communities that have been trying to recover from the 2001 FMD self induced government fiasco which has cost this nation over £20 BILLION.

The sheer audacity of this Bill is unquenchable, and expands powers that are already in place to deal with FMD to awesome proportions, that the normally placid and honourable Mr Tony Banks (Labour) was moved to say, "The idea that Ministers can order slaughter whether or not animals have been exposed to foot and mouth disease is one that I find wholly unacceptable." He did not stop there, "The powers given to DEFRA officials are so extensive that they TERRIFY ME" !!!!

May I suggest to you that this proposed Bill is,

1. Premature
Prematurity of legislation prior to the findings of the 3 planned Inquiries into FMD, particularly the Royal Society Inquiry. Lord Whitty shot himself (the government) in the foot by proclaiming in the Lords (Hansard 19 Nov 2001 : Column 866) "more detailed evidence will be produced by the department and by others; and the various committees of inquiry that will examine the outbreak will present their conclusions. That is the way to get candour and truth and recommendations as to how better to deal with such outbreaks of disease in the future".

2. Justification
The total lack of justification for the Bill. The lack of unbiased published scientific data and facts regarding the FMD outbreak - and calls upon Mrs Beckett to substantiate her claims made at the 2nd reading, which she left shortly after delivering her unwelcome intonations over the Bill. The government has proved by example it made a complete sham of the 2001 FMD crisis and to insist they have "more powers" is unthinkable.

3. Existing Powers sufficient

Existing legislation, as provided by the EU and refined for the UK gives sufficient powers to control diseases - and an astronomic extension is not necessary nor desirable. NO other EU country, having witnessed our catastrophe feels the need to rearm itself with even more draconian powers as Labour want in the UK !

In fact NO country in the world is seeking the extraordinary powers that Labour wishes to inflict upon us. Many argue, and I am one, that existing powers were far exceeded without just cause.

4. BSE in sheep
The Bill was speedily prepared  all very hush-hush during the FMD summer - when it was considered that BSE may have moved into the sheep population. This scenario has not developed even experimentally, yet this government are funding scientists to the tune of £100 million to try and find a positive excuse to slaughter out yet more animals. They do not need more powers to tell the difference between a cow's brain and a sheep's brain.

5. Proportionate
The proposed legislation is neither a rational, proportionate or a reasonable response to the risks posed of onward transmission of the FMDv nor any other disease that the Bill surreptitiously predisposes to - and the validity of this legislation is based on what a Minister 'thinks' may be infected is not a tenable or legitimate basis for legislation.

It is obscene to kill 4 million animals because a minister "thinks" it has a curable disease (FMD).

The Farming Community

The entire farming community and their sympathisers like me are aghast, outraged, and furious at these further undemocratic manoeuvres to override our Human Rights and indeed the EU Laws governing cloven hoofed animals (and all other species). The Bill intends to encompass and snare forever any vestige of democracy under its draconian powers concerning animals.

May I respectfully remind you existing EU FMD laws specifically forbid killing healthy animals - they insist animals are placed under "surveillance". However that was not good enough for the Labour government in 2001, nor is it good enough for them in the future; they insolently intend to blacken their animal health record of failures and out-of-control panache for illegitimate and treacherous actions even further, and their deepen their track record for ignoring the EU Laws, by irrevocably introducing this AHB.

I beseech you once again to stop them doing this.

They want to change the EU Law which does not allow, "slaughter on suspicion" or the "contiguous cull policy" to ones with "new powers" which will enable compulsory contiguous slaughter or other extended culling of any species, purely at the discretion of the minister, with no need whatsoever for evidence of infection. This is repulsive legislation. May I remind you of the Devon solicitor Allayne Addy who saved 200 farms and tens of thousands of animals from the controversial and illegal contiguous slaughter policy.

CONCLUSION

I firmly and passionately believe this proposed Animal Health Bill (No 39) is the worst piece of proposed legislation ever written and would forever stain the nations character with the blood it is written in.

It invades every decent corner of common sense with more serious and irreversible powers that are indecently disproportionate to the threat of the FMDv. No free western country in the world has ever been asked to rubber-stamp such an evil intention this Bill offers. The absurd title is incredulous. Labour mentions Scrapie and their intention to eradicate it from the national herd - despite their being no proven harm to humans whatsoever. They have not even asked the EU for funding for this yet Germany, Greece, Spain, France, the Netherlands and Portugal get huge handouts ranging from 15,000 Euros (Portugal) to 700,000 Euros (Netherlands) - highlight Labour's hypocrisy.

I beseech you to vote AGAINST the passage of this Bill. I beseech you do all in your power to KILL this bill "on suspicion"  something this government and DEFRA will understand only too well.

Captain Bryn Wayt

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