13 March 2001
Dont bash the officials

“DOESNT the farmer matter?” (FWi Open Forum).

Perhaps the author should stop and think a bit about what he is saying, before joining the bandwagon of official-bashing – which after all is easy, as they cannot answer back.

He is absolutely right when he says that officials have better things to do, particularly by acting responsibly and not sending blanket mail to every farmer, resulting in postmen having to tramp from farm to farm and possibly spreading infection.

Just about every farmer has a TV; MAFF have a teletext information page, a comprehensive website, a hotline number and have made regular announcements on the news.

In the current ever changing circumstances, TV is a far more up to date way of transmitting information than by post.

I have read a number of comments recently, as is often the way with farming, having a pop at officials for delay etc.

Before doing that, I would urge farmers to think long and hard – I see Mr Cleave in Devon has also not missed the opportunity to slate officials for delay; surely he cannot be serious given the fact that he sent his own animals many miles to slaughter, potentially spreading the disease further – the words pot, kettle and black appear in a well-known phrase that sums it up well.

Next time any farmer thinks they have cause to complain about MAFF, I urge them to look at last years accounts and see what percentage of their income comes from subsidies before biting the hand that feeds them.
Chris Woolley (who does not work for MAFF)
chris.woolley@ntlworld.com