8 November 2001
Second county to hold virus inquiry

By FWi staff

NORTHUMBERLAND has become the second county to announce its own public inquiry into the handling of the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

Details of the inquiry have yet to be finalised but a chairperson and an inquiry committee are expected to be appointed over the coming weeks.

We will be looking at how the key agencies performed during the crisis, said a spokesman for Northumberland County Council.

We will be consulting a wide range of people in the industry, asking them to submit evidence over the handling of the crisis.

The findings of the report will be made public and submitted to the government in an effort to prevent the recurrence of a similar outbreak.

MPs renewed calls for a full-scale national public inquiry into foot-and- mouth after Devon County Council held a five-day inquiry last month.

A preliminary report from the Devon inquiry said the governments handling of the crisis was lamentable.

The report, which was submitted to the governments commission on the future of farming, criticised the slaughter of thousands of healthy animals.

It also concludes that local vets were not properly used, even though state veterinary services were over-stretched.