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The Prime Minister

The Office of the Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London W1


15th June 2001


Dear Prime Minister,


We, the undersigned, come from all walks of life including farming, tourism, the research community, the media, the legal and veterinary professions, environmental and community activity. Yet we share a common bond as citizens deeply concerned by our countrys management of the current Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) epidemic.


This week marks the start of a new Government and the beginning of a new relationship between food production, environment and rural livelihood under a new Ministry.


We therefore urge you, not only to change the approaches of the past months, but also to ensure that we all learn from our mistakes and make certain that the destructive and harrowing events that have accompanied this outbreak of FMD never happen again.


It is our belief that only a full and open public enquiry will enable all parts of our society to comprehend fully and learn from this outbreak and the profound distress that has visited our countryside and rural communities in the past months.


We have all thought deeply about this epidemic and how it has been handled. We have met together and surveyed some of its economic, political, scientific, legal, animal welfare and human aspects and have concluded that there is an overwhelming case for a detailed and public examination of these issues.


Our call is not concerned with seeking to apportion blame nor highlighting mistakes to embarrass or pillory any person, institution, department or government. It is a call for transparency, a search for information that is openly presented and evaluated, so that all of us can learn and take steps to ensure that we never again find ourselves in this position.


Finally, this epidemic has been massively traumatic for many individuals, families and communities and indeed for the country as a whole. We believe that such an enquiry would help mitigate that trauma and thereby make a significant contribution to rebuilding and revitalising rural communities and economies.


We urge you to establish a full and open public enquiry into the FMD outbreak, its management and its consequences.


Yours sincerely,




Lawrence Woodward, Chairman of Foot and Mouth Disease Conference

Conference participant signatories appear on attached sheet


Signatories to the letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair arising from the

Foot and Mouth Disease Conference in London on 13th June 2001.


Alayne Addy, Stephens & Scown Solicitors

Janet Bayley, Forest of Dean F&MD Action Group

Dr Simon Barteling, Consultant on Vaccines and Control of FMD, Holland

Christopher Bielenberg, Director of Resource Evaluation Ltd

Helen Browning, Chair of the Soil Association and owner of Eastbrook Organic Farm

John Burns, Farmers Weekly magazine

Andrew Byron, organic dairy farmer

Hugo Charlton, barrister and Green Party speaker

Hector Christie, farmer

Martin Clayden, Stephens & Scown Solicitors

James Cornford, trustee of Elm Farm Research Centre,

Alicia Eykyn

Tim Finney, Eastbrook Organic Farm

Ian Gill, Rare Breeds Survival Trust

Vanessa Gray, Elm Farm Research Centre

Michael Hart, Small and Family Farms Alliance

Mark Hinds, Rowe Veterinary Group, Glos

Bernard Jarman, Biodynamic Agricultural Association

Peter and Juliet Kindersley, Sheepdrove Organic Farm

Dr Richard Lawson, Green Party

Barbara Layzelle, The Truth Fund

Jane Lewis

Thomas Lowther, hill farmer in Cumbria

Valerie Lusmore, Forest of Dean F&MD Action Group

Mary Marshall

Professor Bob Michell, University of London, RCVS council

Roy Miller, Unity

John Nelligan, Oaklands Park

William Neville, Burges Salmon Solicitors, Bristol

Martin Peck, farmer

Jo Rider, farmer

Jeremy Roe, barrister and tourist business owner

James Skinner, trustee of Elm Farm Research Centre

Sue Staunton

Christopher Stockdale

Dr Keith Sumption, lecturer in International Animal Health at Uni of Edinburgh

Dr Paul Sutmoller, Animal Health Consultant, virologist and epidemiologist, Holland

Toby and Emma Tennant, farmers

David Thompson, Agricultural Consultant

Tyll Van De Voort, Oaklands Park

Wendy Vere, vet

Pat Walters, Elm Farm Research Centre

Dr Ruth Watkins, virologist

Barry Wilson, writer and dairy industry analyst

Juanita Wilson

Abigail Woods, F&MD PhD at Manchester University

Carole Youngs, Forest of Dean F&MD Action Group