13 November 2001
Hague blasts virus ‘bungling’

By FWi staff

FORMER Tory leader William Hague has described the Governments handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis as the worst case of bureaucratic bungling he has seen.

Mr Hague was speaking at the Commons during the second reading debate of the Animal Health Bill on Monday (13 November), reports The Daily Telegraph.

He said the stoicism of farmers in his constituency at Richmond, North Yorkshire, had been tested by bungling officials during the crisis.

Mr Hague repeated his calls for a public inquiry into the crisis and tougher measures to prevent infected meat being imported.

Margaret Beckett, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, said it was important to introduce new measures to deal with any new cases.

The Bill gives powers to enter farms for testing, vaccination or culling to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth.

It would also give ministers powers to develop a scrapie-resistant flock more quickly through breeding programmes.

Conservative rural affairs spokesman Peter Ainsworth said the bill was “badly targeted, badly drafted and badly motivated”.

He said the proposals on scrapie would require close scrutiny to ensure that rare breeds were protected.