20 August 2001
Poor turn-out for inquiry protest

By Isabel Davies at Downing Street

FARMERS have vowed to intensify their campaign for a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis despite a disappointing turnout at a London march.

About 600 protesters gathered at Londons Hyde Park to begin the march – well below organisers hopes of more than 3000 demonstrators.

Organised by the Farmers for Action group, protesters marched under the banner “FMD Alliance” to Downing Street on Monday (20 August).

They planned to hand over a model farm without animals for Tony Blairs children to represent livestock culled during the crisis.

Farmers For Action chairman David Handley admitted that numbers were disappointing, but added that larger demonstrations could follow.

“Its a pity that a few more thousand have not come along, but I think theyre saving themselves for the next one,” he said.

“Its going to get bigger and better if [Tony Blair] does not listen.”

The government has announced of three independent inquiries into its handling of the situation, the scientific implications and the future of farming.

But opponents say a public inquiry is the only way to ensure that the governments handling of the crisis can be properly scrutinised.

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