21 September 2001

SWa stronghold of campaigners

THE south-west is proving the nations stronghold of support for a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis. FARMERS WEEKLY and leading regional newspaper Western Morning News have both noted particularly strong support in the region, which has been one of the hardest-hit areas.

Western Morning News reports that signatures are flooding into its Plymouth headquarters at the rate of about 5000 a week.

Meanwhile, a total of nearly 74,000 signatures have been collected by the five titles taking part in the campaign. Western Morning News has collected 20,189 signatures, The Western Mail in Cardiff has collected 9273 signatures and The Journal in Newcastle has received 19,267 pledges of support. Horse&Hound has collected 7632 signatures.

If you would like to back our campaign, please sign the form opposite. Why not encourage your friends, neighbours and colleagues to sign too? Please feel free to photocopy the form and ask for a free campaign poster from FARMERS WEEKLYs offices (020-8652 4911 or e-mail farmers.weekly@rbi.co.uk).

You can also download copies from our website (fwi.co.uk).

&#8226 The editors of all the titles backing the campaign will deliver your signatures to No 10 Downing Street this autumn.

Meanwhile, FARMERS WEEKLY is backing Conservative MP Bill Cashs parliamentary petition Campaign for Truth about Foot-and-Mouth. It aims to gather enough signatures to persuade parliament to insist on a public inquiry. For more information please contact the regional offices of the Countryside Alliance, NFU, CLA and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation. &#42

Dear Mr Blair,

Since you have taken a personal interest in the tragedy that is foot-and-mouth and, at one point, direct control of its handling, please make a firm commitment now to hold a full public inquiry into the F&M crisis.

As you are well aware, the epidemic has caused untold anguish within farming and rural communities, taken millions of animals lives and has cost our economy billions of £s.

For the sakes of those who have lost everything, even loved ones, please give them the consolation of knowing now that you are committed to a full, robust public inquiry.

After the carnage that has unfolded in our countryside, how could you deny such a request?

We look forward to speedy confirmation of your decision.

Yours sincerely,

Name…………………………………………………………………………………

Occupation…………………………………………………………………………

Address………………………………………………………………………………

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Please return your letters to Inquiry Please, farmers weekly, FREEPOST (CN 2908), Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5BR.

Should you wish to withhold your address, please sign the letter and attach your address on a separate sheet.