A brief statement from http://www.warmwell.com - an independent website about the foot and mouth crisis in Britain
The government is hoping to sweep under the carpet the questions that must be asked about the catastrophic last seven months.
We want answers to such questions as:
- Why were restrictions not imposed on the whole country as soon as the disease was discovered in Essex? Was this incompetence or did the government know perfectly well that the disease was already in the country?
- Why were the animals suspected of harbouring the infection kept alive in the slaughterhouses, generating more and more virus, while Maff and the government dithered? Was this incompetence or could the unthinkable answer be that this was perfectly deliberate?
- Why were animals not buried quickly on the farms but instead on hideous bonfires, which probably helped to spread, the disease and most certainly caused great distress to residents of surrounding dwellings? If this was not crass ignorance, what could have been a motive for allowing the pyres to rage throughout the country?
- Why were those animals who showed clinical symptoms kept alive and in contact with healthy animals of the herds and flocks on farms? They should have been destroyed within hours of the initial veterinary inspection. If this really did not occur to vets, one must seriously question their professional ability. If it did occur to them, on whose authority did they fail to do this?
- Why were there so few staff trained in foot and mouth detection carrying out inspection controls? If the answer to this is that the government was ignorant of the threat of foot and mouth disease, why do we have well documented reports of 'routine' checks being made to check on adequate supplies of timber for disposal of carcasses in the months before the outbreak?
- Why were the diktats of Brussels so slavishly followed? Why was the dreadful contiguous limit referred to as 3 kilometres instead of 2 miles? This small point is greatly indicative of political assumptions made about what the EU Commission wanted rather than a British solution to a British problem.
- Why were the recommendations of the Northumberland Report ignored? Why were the lessons of the past not learned? Had those recommendations been followed it is likely that 80% of both the number of outbreaks and of the financial losses could have been avoided.
- Why were administrators who were completely ignorant of FMD put in charge of Regional Centres? Far from admitting their need for advice, they imposed rules as if they were engraved on tablets of stone and were sacrosanct.
- How was it that paranoia from Page Street and from the president of the NFU was permitted to destroy the rural economy? The secrecy and bullying tactics towards any dissent that have emanated from both quarters raises many questions.
- Why was animal welfare completely ignored? For example and there are many how were ewes allowed to exist in mud while they lambed and all requests for their necessary and humane movement under supervision refused?
- Why were the few welfare movements that were eventually allowed to take place so beset with such complicated forms of bureaucracy? They continue to leave farmers bewildered and in exhausted despair and one would be forgiven for assuming that this is their intention.
- Why isnt the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons taking disciplinary action against those of their profession who countenanced, either actively or passively, such appalling cruelty as the cases reported to the RSPCA and recorded elsewhere? What place has the RSPCA in all this? Why have we heard of no cases of disciplinary action and no court cases?
- Why was misinformation allowed to be spread by the ignorance of those in charge? Farmers and others trying to get information were passed from one department to another and often back again. Information, if received at all, was confusing and often contradictory.
- The Northumberland Committee said that farms should be allowed to restock 28 days after completion of cleaning and disinfection or 42 days after completion of slaughter whichever is the earlier. The virus, as far as we have been told, has not changed since 1967 so why do farmers have to labour under the present regime?
- Why was a vaccination policy not begun as soon as it became obvious to the experienced - round about day 7 - that the outbreak could not be controlled as easily as in the past? Why did the government appear to give way to the NFU, whose motives must be questioned. They have, by their stubborn obstruction to vaccination, not only seriously postponed exports in the future but have also contributed to the destruction of the rural economy.
Maff had always sent a set of instructions to be followed in case vaccination became the policy of choice. It included such items as lists of cold stores to be rented for the storage of vaccine, vaccinators to be recruited, transport etc. Why was this contingency plan not put into force? Why subsequently was not ring-vaccination within ten miles of outbreaks immediately imposed to stop the spread of the disease?