May 3.2002.



Dear Elizabeth Knapp,


















Thank you for your letter of April 18.


Defra’s difficulties, you say, were in processing correspondence last year.  Our difficulties were in coping with grief, and this necessarily opens up a wide gulf between us.  However, I will try, as far as I can, to answer your letter in the spirit in which it was sent.

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I am indeed aware of the House of Lords’ postponement, but I would like to answer your points in case they should become urgent.

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2.                            The people who carried out the killing did NOT comply with the legislation you quote in a significant and very painful number of cases.  

What you say about veterinary advice sounds good, but it is not what happened in 2001.

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3.                            My concern is based on my experience last year in Gloucestershire, N. Yorkshire and Cumbria. 

You can argue reasonably from a desk in London. 

If you had been there, you would know that reason did not enter into it. 

The policy was wrong, and it was implemented in the most barbarous and vindictive manner. 

I am concerned that this should never happen again.  I do not believe the bill complies with the criteria you list  because I do not think the eradication of FMD and the recovery of a disease free status is in the public interest.  It is in the interest of a few people who make a lot of money.  But thank you for drawing my attention to the criteria. 

It is good to know that you are committed to the aims of the European Convention on Human Rights.  No one who saw Defra in action last year would have believed that.

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  It can only improve.

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6.                            I think we need to define “proportionately” and “reasonably” here.

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7.                            The lesson to be learned is the policy was wrong.

Making the same policy easier to implement is like building more concentration camps.

The hypothetical scare of new and little known diseases and human fatalities is NOT a lesson to be learned from FMD, which is old, well understood and no danger to human life.  This is just scare-mongering in order to push through dubious legislation.

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I am glad the Bill has been halted. However large the support,  the National Scrapie Plan was based on the same wrong approach to farming.

You can get people to support anything if you intimidate, bribe and confuse them.


Yours sincerely,


Hilary Peters


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