17 August 2001
3000 expected at inquiry protest

By Donald MacPhail

CAMPAIGNERS for a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis estimate that more than 3000 supporters will march on Downing Street on Monday (20 August).

Producers are livid at the governments decision to hold three independent investigations into the virus rather than a full public inquiry.

They will descend on London under the banner “FMD Alliance” in a march organised by the Farmers For Action group.

Speaking to FWi on Friday (17 August), FFA chairman David Handley said that he was delighted with the support which has been pledged.

“Preparations are going very well and today alone support has come in from as far afield as Cornwall, Dumfries and Galloway, said Wales,” he said.

“We estimated that if we got 2-3000 protesters in the capital on a working day that would be a good turnout. But we think we may well exceed that now.”

Mr Handley said demonstrators would include farmers and their families who have been affected by the crisis and members of the general public.

“We will tell the government that we need a full and public inquiry. If people need to be brought to account then they must be brought to account.

“Some people say that there shouldnt be a witch-hunt, but tell that to the farmer who has lost all his stock or the widow who has lost her husband.”

Marchers will assemble at Speakers Corner, Hyde Park, between noon and 1pm and from there will march direct to the Prime Ministers residence.

They included the “Heart of Devon” group started by TV celebrity Noel Edmunds, and other groups modelled on it from Cumbria, Yorkshire and Essex.

Anyone of like mind is welcome and anyone with petitions are invited to bring them and present them to number 10 Downing Street, said Mr Handley.

FARMERS WEEKLY has joined forces a number of leading publications in the Say Yes to a Public Inquiry campaign.

Thousands have signed the petition organised by FARMERS WEEKLY, Horse&Hound, The Western Morning News, the Western Mail, The Journal and the Cumberland News.

There are now 10 inquiries looking at various aspects of the crisis.

The main investigations will focus on the governments handling of the epidemic, a scientific review and a commission on the future of farming.

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