Greens slam Government's submission to Foot and Mouth Inquiry

The recently published government response to the "Lessons Learned" inquiry (the Anderson Inquiry) is woefully inadequate says the South West Green Party.
In the Government's contribution the most pertinent questions are not being addressed, say Green Party activists.

Bert Bruins, of Crediton Green Party, and one of the organizers of a protest at then MAFF Regional Headquarters near Exeter in May last year, commented: "More important questions remain unanswered in this response than are answered. Considering the suffering and mayhem that was caused it is simply incredible that the Government can say that it did the best they could do under the circumstances. "

"That burning pyres and closing all footpaths did more damage to the tourist industry than was suffered by the farming industry the Government is luckily willing to admit, and it promises to take a different approach next time. This is welcome. But why the Government started burning cattle at the first place, when under BSE rules cows were only allowed to be incinerated under high temperatures, remains unanswered."

"Why the Government handed control of the strategy to combat the epidemic to computer modelers who had never worked with animal diseases remains a mystery. The first known case of FMD was on 19 February. A month later the Soil Association made a well argued case for abandoning Plan A (mass culling) and resorting to Plan B (ring vaccination). This went ignored. And 3 of the world's experts in Foot and Mouth, Profs. Brown, Sutmoller and Barteling started to make the case for vaccination from March onwards the Government ignored them too. Why?"

In their response the Government refers to resistance from the farmers unions against vaccination. Bert Bruins said about this: "This is a plain untruth: The National Farmers Union, which represents only a third of farmers, was against vaccination, but all the other farming groups we spoke to were for it. They were not listened to. Why not?"

"The interests of a minority of the larger export orientated farmers and agribusinesses won the ear of the Government, and ruined the lives of farmers, smallholders and tourist businesses all over the country. This is the big scandal of the Foot and Mouth epidemic that the Government refuses to face up to."

"Because of choosing for the narrow economic interests of some big players in the farming industry the Government has lost all credibility with hundreds if thousands if not millions of people in the effected areas. By slaughtering millions of animals needlessly and sacrificing rural businesses the Government has proven to many people that it is only money that counts in the end. That is a very sad lesson learned indeed."