From Northumberland Gazette May 25th 2001

Letter to the Prime Minister Tony Blair

Sir.

I do not suppose this letter will reach your eyes as one of your aides will
"deal" with it, nevertheless I feel compelled to express my total horror and
incredulity at the catastrophic slaughtering of sheep, pigs and cattle.

The senseless brutality with particular reference to the Cumbrian lady
Carolyn Hoffe whose pet sheep were barricaded in her house which was then
broken into in order to kill the sheep, which did not have foot and mouth,
makes me think we are living in a police state - a dictatorship!  These five
sheep were an example of using sledge hammers to crack nuts.

With regard to the rest of the "situation" if large flock contagious
contacts waited for confirmation of foot and mouth, as is current Scottish
policy, there would not be the disgusting backlog of rotting corpses waiting
for disposal.

Your combination of foot and mouth with tourism would be laughable if it was
not so pathetic, also, the transparent vested interests involved in allowing
horse and dog racing, huge crowd events like football etc. fools no one as
it has become patently obvious the countryside is only important in that the
fields and hedges be kept tidy for the public.

All you are interested in is your abysmal urban based election in June, a
whole year ahead of necessity, preferably without images of dead cattle all
over the place, but the countryside is not smelling of roses Mr. Blair but
of rotting corpses.  The cost to the countryside and rural businesses has
been and will be financially and socially disastrous.

I accuse you of massaging the daily foot and mouth figures as the published
daily cases in single figures do not agree with the recent double figures in
this area and Cumbria alone!

Finally, a question which someone may deign to answer:  If healthy flocks
are killed why is the meat not made available to the food chain or offered
abroad where people are desperate for food?  Why are we importing meat from
countries where foot and mouth is endemic?

If a reply is to be forthcoming, please do not insult me with platitudes.

Mrs. Margaret Turner
Black Chirnells
Thropton
Morpeth
Northumberland.