I read your remarks today with interest. Here are some points you may like to take into consideration.

1. First Insurance Fraud.

"Alan Williams, the Labour deputy committee chairman, loudly and pointedly asked DEFRA's Brian Bender last week whether he knew how many of the 59 farmers who received more than 1 million each in compensation from the Government had also taken out insurance for the disease. The implication here - which came across loud and clear as intended - was that these were fat cat farmers who had cheated the government and the taxpayer by being "insured" and yet compensated by the Government at the same time too."

Yes, the implication was clearly there, I agree with you. Although, you notice he was talking about very large farmers, most of these would actually be limited liability companies. I've never made a suggestion of insurance fraud, but it has also been made by a highly respected insurance professional who is also a columnist for Lloyds. I reported that suggestion word for word.

2. Should there have been FMD insurance?

This question was asked over a year ago by, if I recall correctly, Nick Brown in the House. A few days before I had asked exactly the same question publicly. We do know that the NFU did not offer it. Merely asking the question provoked a storm of abuse. It struck me at the time that I had stood on a nerve.

You will note that if insurance was not available, farmers could not have insured. They are blameless.

There was no suggestion that they are to blame. But it is perfectly proper for the question of FMD insurance to be raised.

3. Vast sums of taxpayers' money was paid to compensate people owning animals that were culled. The largest of these sums were paid to public limited companies listed on the stock exchange. They could not by any stretch of the imagination be called farmers in any true sense of the word.

Plcs are not normally compensated for business risks. They take it through to the bottom line if insurance is not available.

The last point is the crucial one. It may be to their advantage if insurance is not available.

Why should the taxpayer be picking up the tab for Plcs? (that privately may well have caused the problem in the first place.) Britain's NFU has been resolutely pro slaughter for yonks. They may well have financial imperatives that encourage this stance. The big players seem to benefit from a pro-slaughter/ anti-insurance policy.

Now the NFU's position needs examination. Especially since they react so strongly. Their position on insurance may well have influenced their stance on vaccination.

I'm told reliably, I think, that the NFU burocracy is not really financed by membership fees but by insurance sales. The big organisations pay the big premiums and call the tune.