23 June 1995

MAFFfailure calls out for public TBinquiry

LIBERAL Democrat farm spokesman Paul Tyler has called for an independent, public inquiry into MAFFs policy for tackling bovine tuberculosis.

MAFFs TB eradication policy had failed, he said.

Cant stay silent

"No responsible representative in the industry, in Parliament or in the ministry can stay silent any longer," he added. "It must be evident that the present MAFF policy and practice is failing to halt this disease."

Mr Tyler has written to farm minister William Waldegrave about a particularly worrying case in his own north Cornwall constituency.

The farmer had not bought in young stock since 1975.

There had been no incidents of strays, the farm had shared no common boundaries with other herds and very few people visited the farm.

"Most significant of all, when the first TB outbreak occurred two years ago, the testing of a large sample of badgers produced not one infected animal," said Mr Tyler.

"Since this devastating case, in which the whole future of the farm is threatened, comes at a time when TB is spreading like wildfire through southern Britain, the minister must be forced to think again."

He said he was asking the NFU to support his request to the House of Commons agriculture select committee to hold an inquiry into MAFFs TB policy. Nothing less would satisfy dairy farmers, animal welfare groups and the public.

Programme failure

"The most recent figures show that the ministry eradication programme has failed. If we are to avoid an epidemic an entirely new approach, with a new sense of urgency and appropriate resources, is essential."

Peter Bullen