6 September 2001
Tories want European virus inquiry

By Philip Clarke, Europe Editor

CONSERVATIVE MEPs in Strasbourg are demanding a full inquiry by the European Parliament into the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The politicians want an inquiry to cover issues such as imports of meat from Third countries, alternative methods of control and compensation for farmers.

Tory agriculture spokesman and MEP Robert Sturdy made the plea ahead of a debate in Strasbourg on Thursday (6 September).

The re-emergence of the disease in Northumberland and cooler weather increased the risk of foot-and-mouth crossing to mainland Europe again, he said.

“The EU must ensure it takes the most effective preventative action and the best way to determine what this should be is a full-scale inquiry,” he said.

“The European Parliament, which has already conducted a BSE inquiry, is the right place to examine the financial, animal health and farming implications.”

The European Commission is organising an international conference for 12-13 December to see what lessons can be learned from foot-and-mouth.

Meanwhile, an alliance of British foot-and-mouth groups calling for a piublic inquiry is planning another protest march in London for Saturday 20 October.

A previous protest last month attracted only about 6000 campaigners, despite predictions from organisers who hoped for more than 3000 protestors.

March organiser David Handley said: “Last time we had less than a week to organise it and people were busy with silage and corn harvest.

He added: That should all be over by October 20 and we are confident there will be a much bigger turnout.

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