MORE MPs and senior figures in the veterinary industry have requested showings of the video taken on the farm at the centre of the 2001 foot-and-mouth crisis.
The state of the farm in Feb 2001, just four weeks after it had been approved in a government inspection, was made clear in a showing of the video organised by farmers weekly (News, Oct 29).
It left vets and MPs shocked and appalled and has prompted a barrage of parliamentary questions, nearly 20 to date, to be asked of the government.
One of the questions asked by Jim Paice, Tory shadow agriculture spokesman, has cast doubt on the government’s stance on the video. DEFRA has consistently maintained that it was aware of the video, that it was nothing new and had been in the public domain for some time.
But, in response to Mr Paice’s question, it admitted that it had only recently obtained a copy.
Answering Mr Paice’s question, junior DEFRA minister Ben Bradshaw said his department had first obtained a copy of the video on Sept 30, 2004, as FW’s investigations were under way.
Key questions by Owen Paterson (Cons, North Shropshire), Angela Browning (Cons, Tiverton and Honiton), Boris Johnson (Cons, Henley) and Lib Dem shadow DEFRA secretary Andrew George have all been tabled and are now awaiting the government’s response.
Mr Paterson said: “The video lifted the lid on F&M and revealed a huge scandal appallingly badly handled.”
Meanwhile, as FW went to press, further viewings of the tape were being arranged across the country.
A cross-party group of MPs was due to see the video Thursday morning (Nov 11) in London, and Michael Jack MP, chairman of the EFRA select committee, told FW that he would hold a viewing of the tape in the coming days.
A group of senior vets has also requested a copy of the tape to hold a behind-closed-doors viewing. And the Welsh Assembly’s plans to show the tape next Tuesday (Nov 16) are well advanced. The Association of Swill Users has planned its showing for Sat, Nov 13.