This was handed in to Maff Exeter in a demonstration
organised by the Green Party.
Having noted that
thousands of MAFF staff have worked hard to make the best of a very bad job,
but also noting that hundreds of farmers, smallholders and pet owners have been
bullied into accepting MAFFs disastrous policies in recent months since Foot
and Mouth Disease broke out, and that the Westcountrys tourist industry is in
tatters, we demand of MAFF and the government the following:
- That it swallows its pride and admits that the
culling policy, as adopted by Europe following Britains example, was
disastrous and needs to be changed straightaway.
- That it ends enforced culling of uninfected
animals now and allows for vaccination wherever the owners of animals
request it, be they farmers, keepers of rare breeds or pet owners.
- That it will start a complete review of FMD
treatment, and considers alternative treatment options that allow for
quarantine instead of slaughter of infected animals.
- That it recognises that the financial losses to
meat exporters if losing Foot and Mouth free status are tiny compared with
the misery caused by the culling policy and the damage done to Britains
tourist industry and image abroad.
- That it recognises that animals are not just a
commodity, that can be destroyed at will to protect some peoples profit
- That it apologises to the hundreds of thousands
of people who have suffered (and continue to suffer) needlessly because of
MAFFs policies, rather than because of foot and mouth disease iself.
- That the government will order a full public
enquiry into this shambles.
- That the ministry will start to see our family
farms as our greatest assets in running a healthy farm economy, and will
encourage new entrants into farming, rather than overseeing bankruptcy of
many rural businesses.
- That it will stop supporting worldwide free
trade in food crops as the only available option, and open a debate on
regionalisation of food production of which we can be proud.
- That it will recognise that producing food is
about more than making a profit, and is also a way of life that is
intrinsically valuable, with strong ethical and social merits besides
making a living.
We, farmers and concerned people of the South West, urge the
government to start the needed overhaul of agricultural policies now without