The National Audit Office tells us that foot and mouth cost the tax paying citizens of these Isles some 8 billion plus.  Some three billion to farmers and the wages to people caught up in the fiasco - some five billion to the private sector - tourism etc through lost income.
 
They go on to explain  the  reason being was that this Government was simply not prepared for such a large scale outbreak.  This, even thought they were warned in 1999 and again in 2000 by the Chief Vet J Scudamore (who kept his questions and reservations private) but was told that nothing had altered.
 
Is it any wonder then, that when in 2001 this Country was rocketed by foot and mouth - the Government was left running around like headless chickens.
 
Well might newspapers and journalists alike quote time and time again that huge compensations packages were given to farmers - perhaps they should look to the reasons why!  Tony Blair had been given ample warning to put safeguards into action.  All this advice went unheeded.  None of the farmers would have been receiving any compensation - if this Government had not messed up big time.  That foot and mouth cost us dearly is NO one's fault but their own.  Surely if for no other reason - a public inquiry should be called to answer why this Government ignored advice, and cost thousands of people misery and heartache - and eight billion pounds.  How more incompetent do you have to get for heavens sake?
 
So what if anything have they learned - well it would seem nothing. 
Illegal meats still pour into this Country from overseas, the State Veterinary Service is still woefully undermanned.  Animals still travel the length and breadth of the country to abattoirs... and on it all goes.
 
We are at the moment awaiting the results of a sow that was sent from North Yorkshire the Midlands for slaughter.  We can only hope and pray that it is a false alarm.
 
Foot and mouth although considered serious - is not one of the World's deadly plagues.  When handled correctly it can soon be brought under control.  How come it took us a developed Country some nine months and eight billion pounds to achieve this? 
 
Brigadier Bertwhistle when interviewed this morning said that 'the army should never have needed to be called in.  It should have all been run from Whitehall and ALL the 'resources' that they have at their fingertips'.  What did they do thought instead - call on the army with a man power of some hundred thousand men which is severely overstretched already, to sort it out.  The Brigadier is right - but I also seem to recall that the Conservatives wanted the army  to come in and sort it out - this even earlier then Labour called them in.   So in truth NO party has any resources to tackle foot and mouth head on.
 
We should be both appalled and scared by this finding.  If such a god almighty mess can be made in treating a minor virus - what the hell is going to happen if we are treated to a all out chemical terrorist attack.  We already know that there are NO vaccines to treat us all with!
 
Eight billions pounds to slaughter in the main perfectly healthy animals. How many hospitals, roads, etc would that have bought us? 
 
What a pathetic state of affairs when the 'lunatics are left running the asylum
Disgust comes no where near to how this all make me feel.
 
Coleen