Dear Warmwell

National Foot and Mouth Group: Despair at Lessons Learned Inquiry Report

So the catalogue of catastrophic decisions which resulted in the worst peace time experience of this Country will forever be without responsibility or accountability.

Neither the Royal Society Inquiry nor the Lessons Learned Inquiry have complied with the recommendation of the EFRA Select Committee that "they conduct themselves transparently, taking evidence from as many sources as possible in public, unless there are clear reasons not to do so." Principal Recommendation 1 - Para 43(a)

Furthermore they have not been open and straightforward in publishing evidence.

The whole process has fallen well short of normal public inquiry procedure - and has been virtually secret.

The Royal Society London somehow 'forgot' or 'overlooked' the publication of the NFMG Vaccination Programme. Today the Lessons Learned Inquiry has not posted the Notes of the Meeting with the Group - although a Web Page link is provided - it goes nowhere - perhaps both made uncomfortable reading.

We have just heard the Secretary of State, Margaret Beckett, on Channel 4 News, admit that no records of key meetings were kept - and that no one knows, or can remember, who took the decision to proceed with the Contiguous Cull. This is unforgiveable.

We are left with the clear impression that our evidence and the points we raised were too damning to publish - and thank Warmwell for doing what the Government Inquiries have manifestly failed to do, in publishing it on your site.

NFMG evidence put to the Lessons Learned Inquiry meeting "It was not clear who had taken the decision to proceed with the Contiguous Cull, 3km and Firebreak Cull and on the basis of what information". We thought the Lessons Learned Inquiry would find out - but even Dr Anderson in private has not had this fundamental question answered.

So right at the heart of Government there is to be no accountability - for such key decisions to have been taken without record, without minute or report, calls into question the very basis on which democracy must be founded.

That these monumental, far reaching decisions were taken and acted upon without accountability, justification or responsibility, precisely demonstrates why only a full and open Public Inquiry will seal this affair.

We must know by whom, when and why these decisions were taken - they caused so much distress, misery - and barbaric inhumanity - can we really be expected to accept that this report provides closure and an end to the catastrophe.

It only serves to deepen the despair and sorrow which is the legacy of FMD UK 2001.

NFMG - July 22 2002

PS we have just had a thought - if no one can remember agreeing or taking the decision to proceed with the Contiguous cull, etc - it must have been unlawful.