Nicola Morris sent this letter to MPs and Peers who, she hoped, would themselves contact Mrs Beckett.
4 August 2002
Letter to Margaret Beckett
Please find enclosed a copy of a letter and accompanying report which was sent to Margaret Beckett 1st August 2002.
I am writing to you to ask you to consider writing to Mrs Beckett as soon as possible ( I do appreciate that it is holiday time ) to raise the issue of the inadequacy and inaccuracy of the data in the Lessons to be Learned Inquiry report. I know that Parliamentary protocol does not allow you to take the issue up on my behalf but I am sure you have constituents who were affected by the epidemic, in one way or another.
I must stress that my own MP, Peter Luff, has done everything I have asked and more over the last 18 months, with regard to the FMD issue.
Mrs Beckett can fob off individuals but I hope that if she is contacted by several MPs and Peers she will be forced to address the issue of the errors in Lessons to be Learned Inquiry report.
I appreciate that some of the data presented in my report is complicated and does require some background knowledge. Please do not hesitate to contact me if more detail is required and/or there are points you do not agree with.
I can assure you that all the data I have collected over the last year has come from published sources. I accept that I may well have misinterpreted some of the data, though as yet no one has produced any data to disprove my conclusions regarding the 2001 UK FMD epidemic.
To summarise the published epidemic data and anecdotal evidence collated to date shows that:-
of the 10509 premises culled on 1324 (12.6%) of those premises there were animals which had foot and mouth disease or had had foot and mouth disease sometime in the previous weeks (on 171 farms the only evidence of disease was antibodies to FMD).
At best the pre-emptive cull policy resulted in the unnecessary slaughter of some 8226 farms and at worst it actually pro-longed the epidemic by taking vital resources away from the truly infected premises and high risk dangerous contact premises.
If Mrs Beckett is to continue to assert that the epidemic was unprecedented and the pre-emptive cull was justified then actual epidemic data to support her statements should be produced.
I hope you will be able to write to Mrs Beckett or to help in some other way.