Reaction to foot and mouth reports

Industry groups have reacted angrily to the findings of two independent reports into the foot and mouth disease outbreak, each cataloguing a series of biosecurity breaches at the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) in Surrey.

The NFU president, Peter Kendall, has described the breaches of basic biosecurity safeguards as indefensible.

“I find it well-nigh incredible and quite indefensible that standards should have been as lax as these reports appear to reveal, given those concerned were handling some of the most dangerous viruses on the planet.”

Speaking of the economic loss caused by the foot and mouth outbreak, David Fursden, president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said: “The efforts of farmers and other rural businesses to adhere to strict biosecurity measures makes this news hard to swallow.” 

Conservative shadow environment secretary, Peter Ainsworth believed the government’s response to be shameful.

“It is staggering that farmers will not find the slightest shred of an apology from DEFRA, despite the fact that the outbreak has cost the industry tens of millions of pounds.”

‘Heads must roll’

The Lib Dem shadow secretary went on to call for “heads to roll” over the failure of DEFRA to protect British farming.

“It is extraordinarily complacent that an effluent that an effluent pipe was left unrepaired for three years. DEFRA was warned, but completely failed to act. Heads must roll.”

In response to the reports, the IAH, alongside DEFRA and animal health company Merial, have already begun to address the findings, and the Institute has said it will implement all other outstanding recommendations as soon as possible.

For more extensive coverage of the outbreak, see FWi’s special report.