How Farmer Focus men feel
NINE out of 10 FW Farmer Focus livestock contributors want to see a full public inquiry into the handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis, writes Marianne Curtis.
But, unlike the Phillips inquiry after BSE, any investigation into F&M should not be too prolonged or expensive, they agree. All Farmer Focus contributors feel the outbreak has posed many questions, which have not, so far, been answered.
Questions that the inquiry should address include: Origins of the outbreak; causes of the disease spread; the accuracy of F&M tests and why MAFF was slow to stop livestock movements and tackle the problem at an early stage. Farmer Focus writers also wanted to know whether MAFF panicked and culled too many herds and flocks, why so many mistakes were made and why MAFF appeared to be so out of touch.
"We need to learn lessons from the outbreak not only for farmers but also for consumers," commented one producer.
Several, including the farmer who disagreed with the suggestion of a full public inquiry, felt little had been learned from the inquiry following the 1967 outbreak. He believed a public inquiry would be a waste of time and money. *