14 May 2001
NFU defends eco-terrorist claim
By FWi staff
THE National Farmers Union has defended claims by its president Ben Gill that eco-terrorists may have deliberately brought foot-and-mouth to Britain.
Mr Gill caused uproar among environmental groups when he urged Australian farmers to maintain tough quarantine measures in order to deter militant greens.
“Theres no doubt foot-and-mouth spread to the UK illegally and, unfortunately, we cannot rule out eco-terrorism,” he told a Canberra conference.
Friends of the Earth executive director Charles Secrett dismissed Mr Gills statement as an unsubstantiated “mad hatter” comment.
But an NFU spokeswoman said Mr Gill had simply been responding to a specific question and outlining a possible scenario.
“He was asked a specific question and said that this was one of many possibilities as we cant rule anything out at this stage,” she explained.
Mr Gill warned that said Australia would have to contend with militant green groups intent on undermining existing agricultural practices.
“The pressures of the green groups are intense in Europe, and what I understand, building here in Australia,” he said.
Mr Gill said he would campaign to have Australias tough quarantine laws put in place in Europe.
Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage