A letter to the Lessons Learned Inquiry
Welshpool Market, The Contiguous cull, Diagnosis and some lessons learnedDear Matthew,
Further to our conversation last week I will present some very brief comments whilst stating that I have a wealth of supporting documentation in the form of copy faxes and letters.
!. WELSHPOOL MARKET.
Case No. 19 Thomas on the 28th February was reported as having been caused by sheep bought at this market on February 19th. I very soon discovered that there was absolutely no evidence to support this claim.
The sheep were described as having been bought at Longtown - totally wrong.They had been purchased locally, ( this breed unobtainable in Longtown ), been kept for three weeks, and sold with others. The owner did never contract the disease, the haulier, the other buyers etc. I informed the top people in Cardiff and got no response.
We then had the second case - No 142- also reported as a Welshpool problem and the farmer insists to this day that he didn't go anywhere near the sheep pens. The third case was reported - No 178 - with the same claim from Cardiff and they did not go to the market that day.
I faxed Cardiff after every case ( telephoning to ensure the fax had arrived)and told them their information was wrong but got no response.
This went on and on and Cardiff eventually made it known that all the farms who had stock that day would be culled. My appeals went unheeded and I decided to seek an Injunction to be followed by a Judicial Review. I informed the Welsh Minister through two reliable channels that, in the absence of progress, I would press the "Big red Button"- the next morning they backed down and NONE of the estimated 70 farms concerned ever contracted the disease.
2. The CONTIGUOUS CULL.
Once Cardiff announced a regime that was unique to Montgomeryshire I contacted the Chairmen of the NFU, CLA and FUW , who I knew very well, and suggested a joint letter asking for direct consultation.
This was agreed to and some valuable commonsense was injected into the decisions being made in the Churchstoke area. At that time MAFF wanted to take out between 12 and 15 farms - as a result only three farms were taken. NONE of the others ever got the disease.
As soon as the people involved got away from our scrutiny they went back to their previous illogical policy and wiped out many farms unnecessarily and we failed to get Cardiff to intervene.
There is ample evidence to demonstrate beyond doubt that well over half of the cases in Wales were falsely diagnosed. Let alone those contiguously culled as a consequence of this incompetence.
4. LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
The people in charge of this unnecessary disaster had every opportunity to "LEARN" as things proceeded. They were being provided with extremely good information and were able to see that the Churchstoke decisions were correct. They refused to LISTEN let alone LEARN when it really mattered as opposed to now when we can't bring back the poor animals that were brutally put to death or remove the deep psychological damage that has been done to so many people - particularly those who knew all along that these actions were not necessary.