2 November 2001

Smokescreen over F&M – Devon men

DEVON farmers accused ministers of indulging in smoke-screen politics after Lord Whitty insisted the government had been prepared for foot-and-mouth.

A preliminary report from the Devon public inquiry into the epidemic has branded the governments handling of the crisis as "lamentable". Among other issues, it calls for tighter import controls against meat and livestock and the introduction of a national contingency plan to fight future outbreaks.

The report recommends that 4500 Devon farmers under Form D restrictions be given rapid financial help. "For those that remain under restriction, the prospect is worse to come as winter looms and yet they have received not a penny in compensation."

Lord Whitty admitted mistakes had been made during F&M. &#42