A PUBLIC inquiry isnt what it was 10 years ago, according to Ben Gill. The NFU president, who was responding to questions on foot-and-mouth at the Three Counties Summer Show, Malvern, said: "It costs a fortune and brings us very little that we dont already know.
"What people want is the hard facts and they want to know them quickly."
Insurance wasnt the answer to dealing with future outbreaks of F& M, either, he said. What was needed was protection from imported meats carrying disease and proper border controls to ensure this, such as those operated by customs in the US and Australia. "The laws (in Britain) are there but are just not being used."
The show, held as a livestock-free replacement to the agricultural show cancelled in June, attracted mainly families on the first day.
Blessed with perfect weather, it gave a good start to the regional heat of Royal Smithfield Clubs Barbecue Chef of the Year competition. Run in conjunction with the MLC, Nuffield Scholarships Trust and supported by regional show societies, contestants are drawn from quality butchers.
The first of these at the show was from family butcher Glyn Slade Jones, of Kington, Hereford. While Glyn Slade Jones put on a display of meat cuts in the food pavilion, his mother Marjorie barbecued pork noisettes stuffed with orange and apricots, marinated lamb cutlets, lamb pinwheels with mixed nut stuffing, roulade of beef, mini kebabs and wonderful sausages for 12 judges on the MLC stand.
"Its the first time I have ever used a barbecue and I was really nervous this morning," she said. "But I decided I just had to go for it and enjoy it."
* Three-course lunch
Everything at the three course lunch, right down to chocolate-dipped cherries served with the coffee, was made by Marjorie. Her entry won the heat and her sons display was runner up to that of Chrys Titshal from Malvern Country Meals.
It is hoped the heats of the competition will provide some innovative menu ideas and not just for barbecues. "These cuts are very suitable for quick mid-week meals and we intend to serve notice on the poultry industry that they havent got the monopoly on fast, easily prepared meals," said MLCs Peter Reynolds.
Regional winners of the competition go forward to the national finals at the National Festival of Meat in London in December.
Marjorie Slade Jones barbecued a winning lunch, Ben Gill allowed himself to be grilled over foot-and-mouth and circus performers and equestrian competitors contributed to a menu of attractions for families to enjoy at the Summer Show at Malvern last weekend.