2 April 2001
Police quiz foot-and-mouth protestor
by Robert Davies, Wales correspondent
POLICE are continuing to question a man suspected of the attempted murder of a policeman at a foot-and-mouth protest in Wales.
Protests over the choice of disposal sites for animals culled in Powys and Anglesey intensified over the weekend.
The unnamed man was arrested and three others questioned after a bulldozer smashed through Army and police vehicles.
The incident took place on an approach road to the Eppynt military ranges near Sennybridge, south Powys.
The policeman was injured when bulldozer crushed his vehicle. His legs were severely crushed in the incident and he was taken to hospital.
Demonstrators, who included farmers and local residents dispersed for a while after the incidence, which occurred at 0145hts on Sunday (1 April).
They promised to return to block lorries carrying the first of 50,000 cattle sheep and pigs due to be slaughtered on 80 farms near confirmed outbreaks.
Farmers Union of Wales deputy president Glyn Powell, one of the protest leaders, insisted that the bulldozer was not driven by a farmer or local resident.
Later on Sunday, almost 100 farmers turned up at what were supposed to be private meetings between farming and tourism representatives and politicians.
Welsh first minister Rhodri Morgan, Welsh rural affairs minister Carwyn Jones, and Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy agreed to hold an open debate.
During angry exchanges they were accused of unnecessarily killing healthy animals, and gross incompetence in the way they were handling the epidemic.
Dave Judson, a local veterinary surgeon, told the politicians they had only days to license livestock movements and emergency slaughter schemes.
Otherwise, a welfare disaster beckoned, he said.
Farmers and local residents at Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, agreed to blockade entrances to the Dowlais landfill site to prevent the burial of animal carcasses.