7 September 2001

Signatures pour in as whole country makes its views clear

AN UNSTOPPABLE surge of support is swelling behind two key campaigns aimed at winning a full public inquiry into the causes and handling of the worlds worst ever outbreak of foot-and-mouth.

farmers weeklys campaign, organised in association with Horse&Hound and three leading regional newspapers, has so far netted more than 50,000 signatures.

FW Editor, Stephen Howe, said the results showed the success of what could be achieved by the power of co-operation. "I am delighted that so many people throughout the country recognise that only a public inquiry can provide truly independent answers to the many questions surrounding this dreadful disease."

farmers weekly and its web-site Farmers Weekly Interactive have gathered more than 11,000 signatures already. Our intention is to press ahead this month to collect as many signatures as possible with the aim of persuading Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to grant the public inquiry that rural and urban Britain demands. We plan to present your signatures, together with the thousands of others gathered by Horse&Hound, the Western Morning News in Plymouth, The Western Mail in Cardiff, and The Journal in Newcastle, to No 10 Downing Street later this autumn.

Meanwhile, farmers weekly is also backing Conservative MP Bill Cashs Campaign for Truth about Foot-and-Mouth, which takes the form of a parliamentary petition. Its aim is to gather millions of signatures in order that the House of Commons can insist the government holds a fully independent inquiry under the Tribunal Inquiry (Evidence) Act of 1921.

"Our campaign, run in parallel with farmers weeklys initiative which sparked it, is a way of forcing government to grant a full public inquiry," said Mr Cash.

"Both campaigns are important because both have different audiences – one will be presented to the Prime Minister and the latest to parliament."

How to take part

If you would like to support our campaign for a full independent public inquiry, complete the coupon on this page and send it back to us by Freepost. Why not also persuade friends, relatives and acquaintances to join our campaign?

To add your voice to Bill Cashs Campaign for Truth about Foot-and-Mouth, aimed at persuading parliament to insist on a public inquiry, please contact your local Countryside Alliance, NFU, CLA, British Association for Shooting and Conservation regional offices. Also watch out for further details in farmers weekly.