This was left on chairs at the public meetings at Sennybridge/Builth Wells, written, we understand, on EU headed paper....

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Email: Gadam@europarl.eu.int

MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

FOOT AND MOUTH TEMPORARY COMMITTEE VISIT TO WALES AND SOUTH WEST ENGLAND

ISSUES FOR DISCUSSION

The committee has two broad tasks to consider. 'What needs to be done at worldwide level to reduce or eliminate the incidence of foot and mouth disease and at European level to prevent the disease from entering Europe? Further, we have to ensure that the European Union arrangements can be carried out effectively by Member States.
1 All the evidence so far is that a future outbreak will occur. Therefore, the committee must consider what government and farmers should do: a) on a suspected outbreak and b) on a confirmed outbreak. We must ascertain what measures are needed to bring it quickly under control and limit the economic impact on the rural community.

As the farm where the outbreak almost certainly began is only a few miles from my home, 1 have already had much insight into the impact of foot and mouth disease and 1 have found that the question most frequently asked by my constituents is "what can be done to prevent bad farming practice?" The committee would benefit from answers to this question. Further questions are what can be done to improve recognition of the disease by farmers and livestock handlers'? How was the disease transmitted and whether countrvside access can lead to accidental spread?

Then there is the contentious topic of culling and vaccination. So far, there has been no convincing evidence presented to the committee that a vaccination policy would have brought the disease under control more quickly and reduced the number of animals slaughtered. It would be helpful to have detailed evidence of how a vaccination policy could be employed after an outbreak and in what circumstances slaughter would subsequently take place. It should be remembered that the Standing Veterinary Committee of the European Union was unanimous in approving the control measures employed and therefore, any major policy change must convince fourteen other Member States.

The influence of the European Parliament in determining future policy towards foot and mouth disease will be strengthened by a unanimous report. Political self-indulgence in government bashing carries little weight in European councils. Our concerns have to be control of the disease and support for rural communities.

Your comments on these or related issues would be welcome so please contact me using the details above.

Dr. Gordon Adam
MEP North East Region
Labour European Spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Affairs