23 July 2001
FWi users suspect virus cover-up
By Donald MacPhail
WHAT have you got to hide, Mr Blair? Thats the question FWi users calling for a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth crisis want answered.
More than 99% of site users who have so far responded to a FWi poll believe there should be a full-blown public investigation.
Tony Blair has effectively ruled out a public inquiry, although an alternative investigation could include some open hearings.
But anything less than a full public inquiry will suggest that there has been a government cover-up, believe many FWi users taking part in the poll.
Comments show that suspicions about Tony Blairs commitment to farming have been heightened by his handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis.
“Blairs decision not to have a public inquiry is proof that he has a lot to hide,” claims a site user in Cumbria.
“He is sticking two fingers up at farmers because he knows that he will not lose support by not having a public enquiry as he never had our support anyway.”
Only a public inquiry will bring to light the suppression of information and efforts to mislead the public, says a user from Leicestershire.
But he asks: “Would that result in most of the cabinet being prosecuted?”
Suspicion is not confined to farmers as a retired police officer from Kent admits that he shares their unease.
“I am as suspicious as many within the farming community as to the origins of this outbreak and these worries can only be satisfied by a full public inquiry.”
Despite efforts by the Prime Minister in recent years to woo farmers, many comments accuse ministers of being anti-farming.
A Kent farmer says in 40 years of farming he has “never seen a government department act so indecisively and with so little application of common sense.
“If you would rather import all food, please tell us now.”
A beef farmer who has watched animals go over-age due to restrictions and seen prices collapse says the governments handling of foot-and-mouth “defies logic”.
“We are in a desperate situation and Blair does not care. He does not even begin to understand what farming is about, and neither does Margaret Beckett.”
A farmer from Wigton in Cumbria, the most heavily infected county in the country, suggests that the Prime Minster needs first-hand experience of the crisis.
“Ton, why not spend a day on a farm where animals are being
Out of 297 votes cast by Friday (20 July) evening, only two FWi users have come down against a public inquiry.
One says it would be “too long-winded” and that “a faster inquiry is needed”.
Calls for a public inquiry are being backed by FARMERS WEEKLY, and “Yes” votes in the poll – plus readers comments – will be forwarded to Tony Blair.
- Yes or No to public inquiry? Click here to vote
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