BBC Thursday 14th March on Radio 4 Today part of the transcript by Jon Dobson

 

 

Jim Naughtie:

Can I ask you, in hindsight, do you regret your enthusiasm for the slaughter policy?

 

Ben Gill

I had no enthusiasm for the slaughter policy; there was no alternative. When I was faced with the options of vaccination they didn't stack up, and I think it is very relevant to take account of what Professor David King said to our council in October that with the benefit of hindsight if we had vaccinated when he had been suggesting we should look at it, it would have been the wrong decision.

 

Jim Naughtie:

Do you accept that this led to the disenchantment of quite a lot of your members because of what they perceived to be the way that you just went along with the official policy?

 

Ben Gill:

Well again there is a contradiction, the official policy at the time was that there should have been vaccination, we opposed that so you can't have it both ways.

 

Jim Naughtie:

Do you accept that there is a degree of unhappiness with the way that the NFU performed in the FMD epidemic?

 

Ben Gill:

There are obviously differing views about very emotional things, and the problem you have when you have to control a disease such as this, which is so virulent and so nasty and oppressive is that people have to make sacrifices and some people didn't want to make those sacrifices for the greater good. I have to take the broader responsibility and those lines of approach were born out by the Foot and Mouth conference in December in Brussels where even representatives from South America recognised that eradication of the disease is the only way ahead.

 

Jim Naughtie:

Alright, but what about the broader question raised in Tom Fielden's report about you trying to straddle diverse interests