14 November 2001
Minister admits virus ‘mistakes’

By FWi staff

A GOVERNMENT minister has admitted that “great mistakes” were made in ministers handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Tourism minister Kim Howells told MPs that tourism had been plunged into crisis when tracts of the countryside were closed to prevent the spread of the disease.

“It was an extraordinarily steep learning curve and great mistakes were made. It had a very, very serious effect on the industry,” said Mr Howells.

However, the minister, who was addressing a debate at Westminster Hall in London, said farmers should shoulder some of the “blame”.

He pointed out that producers had demanded the closure of footpaths, reports the Financial Times.