2 August 2001
Yeo slam missing ministers

By FWi staff

TORY agriculture spokesman Tim Yeo has accused the government of neglecting the countryside at a time when foot-and-mouth is escalating.

Mr Yeo said there was clearly no one in charge of the crisis because Tony Blair and Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett were both abroad.

“The governments emergency committee, COBRA, must reconvene and take proper control of the rapidly re-escalating foot-and-mouth epidemic.”

Mr Yeo said confusion reigned and the government had lost control.

“Farmers who have had the disease are unable to recover, as the clean-up of infected premises has been halted,” he said.

“Farmers who have not had the disease continue to fear its arrival, as it spreads dangerously in Yorkshire, Wales elsewhere.

“And farmers who are thankfully nowhere near it see their summers work wasted, as the lambs they have reared and cannot export are slaughtered.”

Mr Yeo said if it was true that the government was thinking of vaccinating livestock it should make sure it could explain how it had come to its decision.

Innoculating livestock after ruling out vaccination earlier in the crisis would be a major policy change for the government, he added.

“It must publish the scientific advice to justify such a move and explain exactly what it expects to achieve by it.”

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage