THE NATIONAL FOOT & MOUTH GROUP

Co-ordinating Office:   3 The Common, Siddington, Cirencester, Glos  GL7 6EY
Tel: 01285 644319 / 01285 656812

PRESS RELEASE: 18 February 2002

ONLY PUBLIC INQUIRY WILL REVEAL TRUTH OF FMD CATASTROPHE



NEW FIGURES ONLY NOW BEGIN TO SHOW FULL EXTENT OF THE TRAGEDY



Until Government Ministers and their advisers can be rigorously questioned
and cross examined about the F&M disaster we will never establish why so much
went wrong and who was accountable.

The true scale of the tragedy is only now emerging.

In Gloucestershire, Hereford & Worcestershire and Shropshire, in total 871
farms were culled - but only 33 tested positive on laboratory testing,  ie,
26 farms were culled for every one farm that was positively identified in the
lab. 

It has taken 8 months for the Government to admit it only tested 1728 of the
2030 so called Infected Premises - and that of these only 1327 were positive
on laboratory testing.

Why did the Government wait nearly 4 days before imposing national movement
restrictions?  Holland did so on 20 February  - the day the disease was
confirmed - so why not the UK?

Why was the EU Contingency Plan for FMD of 1993 not acted upon?

Why did the Government ignore the EU Emergency Strategy for Vaccination of
1999?

Why did the Government tell the EU it had 2030 Confirmed Cases when only 1327
had been confirmed in the lab, in accordance with the EU standard, as per
Directive 85/511/EC?

It is now clear that the Contiguous Cull was illegal and that it was also
illegal to forcibly gain entry and slaughter farm animals that were not
infected, against the farmer's wishes.
Those that took the decisions to pursue a control policy founded on illegal
activities must be brought to account.

The sheer cost of the disaster alone deserves the full rigour of a public
inquiry.

The Cost of 2575 Temporary Vets was £33 million
The Cost of digging up ash from pyres and its reburial has already cost £30
million so far, and is continuing, one farm alone cost £1.8 million
£1.25 Billion in compensation for slaughtered animals                  
£701 Million in disinfecting, slaughterers and hauliers, etc        
£471 Million Livestock Welfare disposal                                    
All in all the Exchequer is looking at a cost of £2.8 Billion, costs to
Tourism of between £3-5 billion and overall cost to the Nation of £20 Billion
(IOD)
Source Pre Budget statement 27.11.01, IOD and Parliamentary Questions &
Answers

But perhaps those who most deserve to know the truth are those whose
livelihoods and way of life have gone forever.  Those too traumatised to
re-stock, those who could not bear to see their healthy animals slaughtered
for no good reason, and those who saw their life's work of breeding, rearing
and animal welfare destroyed by unjustified models and mindless bureaucracy. 
These alone deserve no less than a full, thorough and open public Inquiry.

Despite the best endeavours of the Anderson Inquiry it can never determine
the truth - because it is only when those who took the decisions, and those
who advised them, are exposed to thorough scrutiny and cross-examination that
the truth will out for all to see and hear.  It is only then that we will
have learnt the lessons of this catastrophe and can at last put it to rest.

Contacts: Janet Bayley, Anne Lambourn, Paul Berkeley for further details and
figures
Contact address and tel nos above