Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs First Report


Key issues raised by our evidence

Warnings of a new threat of foot and mouth disease

12. The first clear need is to establish what information was available to Government about the threat of a new 'wave' of foot and mouth disease. There have been reports that warnings were widely made during 2000 about the risk of the Pan Asian type O strain of the foot and mouth virus spreading to Europe,[44] even though it may have been assumed that south eastern Europe was the most likely point of entry. The Lessons to be Learned inquiry and particularly the Royal Society inquiry must establish whether such warnings were received; whether the Government monitored the international situation; who was responsible for this work, what contingency plans existed to deal with an outbreak of foot and mouth disease and how these were reviewed; and what steps were taken, or should have been taken, to adapt contingency plans to meet this new threat, since it has been reported that the Government assumed that its own contingency plan did not need to be reviewed.

Origin of the outbreak

13. From the very beginning of the outbreak there has been considerable speculation about how the disease entered the country. The then Minister of Agriculture told the Agriculture Committee on 21 March 2001 that whether or not infected meat was brought into the country "knowingly or unknowingly it is most certainly illegal. I cannot think of a way in which this could legally have happened ... because there is an absolute prohibition on bringing in meat from areas where there is the infectivity".[45] The Minister promised that there would be public consultation "both about the routes into the country and also about enforcement".[46] More recently, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told us that "we are reviewing and intending to take steps perhaps to tighten up the legislation which affects imports of meat".[47] It is disappointing that the Government has not seen fit so far formally to include measures to tighten up on aspects of import control and how this is reported. The Animal Health Bill gave such an opportunity and it is to be hoped that as it passes through Parliament this avenue is explored again. To help to understand the position it would be helpful to know if Government statements on this aspect of the foot and mouth disease outbreak have been constrained by pending legal actions against the farmer who it is thought first spread the disease. We recommend that the Lessons to be Learned inquiry urgently identify vulnerabilities and failings in the existing regime governing meat imports, or failings in the enforcement of that regime, which allowed illegal importation of infected meat, so that deficiencies can be addressed at both the domestic and the European level without delay. The role of meat importers should also be investigated and in particular the standards of quality and inspection to which they operate. We also recommend that the inquiry consider issues arising from the disposal of waste food products from, for example, airlines, schools and restaurants, and their use as pig feed.

14. We were particularly surprised to learn just how much meat is legally imported from countries in which foot and mouth disease is endemic.[48] European Union legislation allows meat imports from countries where foot and mouth disease is present but where it is restricted to specific areas: in such cases, imports from countries affected by foot and mouth are permitted "only from parts of the country that are free of disease or under strict conditions that ensure the meat does not come from any animal that may have come in contact with foot and mouth disease before, during and after slaughter".[49] It is therefore vitally important that suitable controls are in place in such countries to ensure that foot and mouth disease cannot be exported. The Agriculture Committee was told by the Meat and Livestock Commission that "it is imperative that the implementation of the [European Union importation] policy is automatically reviewed".[50] We are concerned about the efficacy of the European Union regime which permits imports of meat from 'disease-free' areas of countries where foot and mouth is endemic. We recommend that the Government initiate a review of the operation of the regime. It should specifically examine the procedures dealing with health threats abroad, for example in Zimbabwe as a result of lawlessness in that country, with a view to recommending ways to identify risks and respond to them urgently. It should satisfy itself that the European Union is able to monitor effectively what is happening on the ground in supplier countries.

Spread of the disease

15. The spread of foot and mouth disease around the country in February vividly demonstrated how extensive the transportation of livestock has become. As the then Minister of Agriculture put it in March, it resulted from the "larger scale of animal movements nowadays compared to [during the last outbreak in] 1967, aided by a much improved network of roads and motorways".[51] He told the House that as a result of the movement of animals from the suspected source of the infection, "within days, at a time when we were still unaware of the disease, infected sheep were criss-crossing the country in hundreds of separate movements, and coming into contact with other livestock".[52] According to the estimates of Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of the Government's FMD Science Group, by the time the national ban on livestock movements was imposed on 23 February, there were "already between 70 and 80 incubating foot and mouth cases spread all the way from southern Scotland to Devon".[53] The result, the Secretary of State told us, was that foot and mouth had "spread so hugely and so extensively across the country before ever it was detected".[54] The average number of animals on individual holdings has greatly increased since the 1967 outbreak, which is also likely to have contributed to the size of the outbreak in 2001 and its rapid spread.

16. The virus was already widely spread by the time foot and mouth disease was identified on 20 February. But the evidence we received from the Chief Veterinary Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser illustrated how movements between that date and 23 February, when a national livestock movement ban was imposed, dispersed the disease more widely still.[55] Professor Woolhouse told us that "if we had imposed a national movement ban on February 20, three days earlier, our estimation is the epidemic would have been between one third and one half smaller than it actually was".[56] The advice of Professor Roy Anderson, of Imperial College, was quite clear: "for foot and mouth, speed is of the essence, [so impose] draconian movement restrictions, instantaneously".[57]

17. As the then Minister of Agriculture said in March, the national ban on livestock movements involved "bringing the whole of the livestock sector to a standstill. That was a very dramatic thing to do".[58] With hindsight, however, it appears that the delay in imposing a ban on livestock movements was critical. We recommend that the inquiries explicitly address the impact a more rapid imposition of a national ban on livestock movements after 20 February would have had on the spread of the disease. We further recommend that the inquiries consider whether the immediate imposition of a national livestock movement ban should form part of the response to any further outbreak of the disease.

Twenty-day standstill and restrictions on livestock markets

18. During the outbreak of the disease there has been a general prohibition on movements of sheep and cattle for twenty days after they have been brought onto a premises. The Government announced in March that at that time it was minded to continue with the prohibition even after the threat of foot and mouth disease had receded: such a general restriction already applies to the movement of pigs.[59] Delaying onward movements in this way would give time for animals incubating disease to begin to show symptoms: the current strain of foot and mouth disease, for example, has an incubation period of up to fourteen days.[60] The then Minister of Agriculture told the House in March that "if a similar requirement had been in place, and observed, in relation to sheep in particular, it is likely that the spread of the foot and mouth virus would have been significantly slowed down, making tracing and control of the infection easier".[61] Professor Mark Woolhouse told us that "the scientific case for disease control being assisted by a twenty-day standstill policy is great",[62] and that "what of course it [a twenty-day standstill] would prevent is that early dissemination of the disease".[63]

19. In addition, during the foot and mouth outbreak livestock markets in England and Wales were closed, and continued to be so into 2002. Their role, and that of dealers at such markets, in spreading the disease has been of great concern. In England's Rural Future the Government observes that "the gathering and dispersal of large numbers of animals undoubtedly provides the opportunity for infectious diseases to spread widely and quickly".[64] The then Minister of Agriculture told the Agriculture Committee that "the major problem ... has been a substantial spread of the virus through markets by dealers in sheep".[65] He pointed out that "by 23 February ... infected animals had already spread through markets and dealers to Cumbria, Dumfries and Galloway, Devon, Cheshire, Herefordshire and Northamptonshire".[66] However, the Secretary of State told us in October 2001 that "the recording and the tracing facility that they [markets] offer has some value".[67] Indeed trading in livestock unofficially, or 'outside the ring', at markets inhibited efforts to trace livestock which might be infected.[68]

20. Many farmers are opposed to the twenty-day standstill rule and to the lengthy closure of markets, measures which are clearly intrinsically linked. If farmers cannot establish a true price for their animals through an auction at a market they may become "vulnerable to price manipulation and extra charges from processors ... Without auction markets, livestock farmers have had little choice but take the price offered".[69] Farmers therefore see markets as a crucial feature of livestock farming, particularly for the sale of stock reared in the uplands. It is also important to recognise the social role played by markets as a place of congregation for farmers who can lead isolated and stressful lives on upland holdings. The Government has itself concluded that "the auction mart system plays an important role in the livestock industry and the meat supply chain".[70] On 18 December 2001 it announced that from mid-February 2002 markets would be allowed to re-open, subject to new biosecurity rules, and, notwithstanding its earlier view that it might continue the restriction indefinitely, that the twenty-day standstill restriction would be ended unless "other management and control options do not provide sufficient protection".[71]

21. Whatever view is taken of the desirability of a standstill restriction, it is surprising that the Government has concluded that a general twenty-day standstill restriction on livestock movements and restrictions on the operation of livestock markets have no role to play in preventing future outbreaks of foot and mouth without advice from the inquiries it has commissioned into the disease. Nevertheless we recommend that the Lessons to be Learned and the Royal Society inquiries consider what impact a standstill restriction put in place for sheep and cattle would have had on the spread of foot and mouth disease if it had been in place when the outbreak began, and also the role played by livestock markets, and by livestock dealers, in the early spread of the disease, both in terms of sales inside and outside the ring. They should also consider what effect a twenty-day standstill rule and associated changes to the regulations governing livestock markets would have on the activities of the livestock farming industry, and particularly what impact they would have on the ability of farmers to carry on normal commercial practice, which benefits farmers in the uplands in particular.

Availability of information

22. From the evidence we have taken, and from reports in the media, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was largely out of touch with the modern structures and practices of the agricultural and allied industries, such as the scale of livestock movements, often directly from one market to another. Even simple information such as the names of farmers and the location of farms was apparently not accurately recorded. One vet employed by MAFF during the outbreak reported being sent to "a pub, a garden centre and several barn conversions ... They had no idea on the number of farms or where they were".[72] Data apparently placed other holdings in the middle of the North Sea. Professor Roy Anderson told us that when he was invited to carry out epidemiological modelling of the disease, he faced considerable problems "to do with data, and one of the real needs, as a lesson for this in the future, is that we need for agriculture in this country an integrated database which records a variety of information".[73]

23. There is evidently a need in all aspects of its operations for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to have as realistic, accurate and up-to-date a picture of the agricultural sector as possible. Such information is obviously of particularly critical importance in planning for future outbreaks of diseases like foot and mouth. The repeated failure of the computer systems at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to handle the volume of inquiries resulting from the various livestock movement licensing regimes,[74] and the consequential confusion and disruption caused both to farmers and those authorities responsible for authorising movements, illustrates the need for data not merely to be available but to be retrievable via fully tested and operational information systems. We recommend that the Department urgently construct a single database about the farming industry, based, inter alia, on the most modern mapping techniques, and that landowners be obliged to provide data to keep it up to date. Topographical and stocking information gathered for the purpose of obtained European Union subsidies will be directly relevant in this regard.

Contiguous cull

24. The policy initially adopted for dealing with cases of foot and mouth disease reflected existing European Union guidance: following the identification of disease on a farm its livestock would be destroyed, and the area within a three kilometre radius be kept under close veterinary observation,[75] though nothing was said about culling them, or the effects of topography, and there were differences of view over 'miles' and 'kilometres', and the distances involved. The policy was partially amended in response to the spread of the disease in Cumbria during March, such that on a precautionary basis all livestock within three kilometres of infected premises was destroyed.[76] In due course it became clear that MAFF's total inability to ensure rapid slaughter, disposal and monitoring was failing to halt the outbreak: on 24 March, after scientific advice from outside MAFF was finally sought, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser formally warned that the disease was "out of control".[77]

25. Thereafter the policy was changed fundamentally. Scientists advised that there was a 17 per cent chance of infection on farms adjacent to an infected premises. The Chief Scientific Adviser told us that it was necessary to cull out all contiguous premises, rather than wait to see which would fall within the 17 per cent and develop foot and mouth disease. Delay might allow another farm to become a 'virus factory' and risk infecting its neighbours in turn. He told us that "the only way you are going to get ahead of an outbreak is to stop the next virus factory before it becomes one".[78] Epidemiological modelling carried out by a team headed by Professor Roy Anderson at Imperial College concluded that a policy of rapid slaughter on infected premises and on contiguous farms would rapidly restrict the spread of the disease.[79] As a result, on 27 March 2001, the then Minister of Agriculture announced that "all animals - cattle, sheep and pigs - on infected farms are to be culled within 24 hours of the infection report. All animals - cattle, sheep and pigs - on contiguous farms are then to be culled within 48 hours".[80]

26. Those involved in the decision to adopt a policy of rapid contiguous culling were adamant that it had been the only way to bring the disease under control. The disease quite simply had too much of a head start because of the rapid dispersal of animals just before and just after the first case was discovered, and the utter failure to contain outbreaks mainly in Devon and Cumbria without contiguous culling. The Chief Scientific Adviser told us in November that "there is a mountain of evidence to show that the cull policy we were following and pursuing ... was the policy that was bringing it under control".[81] Professor Anderson said that "it is poorly understood that the contiguous cull saved animal lives".[82] Professor Woolhouse was insistent that "the contiguous cull was required to bring the epidemic under control, so to stop this exponential spread that could have taken in goodness knows how many more thousands of farms in the long run".[83]

27. The relentless slaughter of animals as a result of the contiguous cull policy, and the consequential burning pyres of carcasses, or their burial in huge pits, caused vast and understandable anguish. Many of the animals were, inevitably, healthy. As the Chief Veterinary Officer told us, although the full picture may never become clear,[84] recent information has suggested that foot and mouth disease was only actually identified on a tiny minority of premises culled out under the policy:[85] indeed this itself can be seen as evidence that the contiguous cull was finally getting ahead of the disease. The policy took little account of local circumstances: the inquiry instigated by Devon County Council into the handling of the disease concluded that "the contiguous cull appears to have been implemented by officials poring over maps in remote offices so that only holdings were considered, not the topography, the disposition of animals upon it nor the distances between them. One witness described the process as 'carnage by computer'. In many cases according to farmers and vets the risk of transmission was nil".[86] However, it was in the nature of the contiguous cull to be comprehensive and indiscriminate within its stated parameters. The contiguous cull was a response to a desperate situation, not a pre-meditated response to a known, assessed risk. It must also be understood that the handling of the disease did differ between outbreak areas.

28. The original policy to cope with the outbreak apparently failed partly because there were not enough vets available. The Chief Veterinary Officer has admitted that "we simply ran out of vets".[87] As a result it was not possible to keep the livestock on farms within three kilometres under veterinary surveillance.

29. In any event, throughout the course of the outbreak achievement of the targets set for culling animals proved difficult. Given that the objective was to carry out slaughter and disposal of livestock on infected premises within 24 hours of the disease being confirmed, and within 48 hours on contiguous farms, the length of time actually taken was extremely disappointing. The Secretary of State recently confirmed that the average time between a report of foot and mouth disease and the disposal of livestock over the course of the outbreak was 105 hours,[88] a figure which rose to 130 hours at the height of the outbreak, between February and May. There was considerable variation in the time taken between slaughter and disposal in the different outbreak areas. As a result, particularly in the first few weeks after 20 February, considerable backlogs of animals awaiting slaughter, and of carcasses awaiting proper disposal, built up: for example, by 21 March 390,000 animals had been authorised for slaughter, but only 262,000 had been killed.[89] By 8 April the backlog of animals awaiting slaughter had risen to 478,000,[90] and on that date 329,000 carcasses awaited disposal.[91] On 21 April there were 100,000 carcasses awaiting disposal in Devon alone.[92] Delays in slaughter cannot but have contributed to the spread of the disease.

30. The logistical task of marshalling resources for inspection, testing, slaughter and disposal would appear to have been beyond the capacity and perhaps capability of MAFF from an early stage in the outbreak. It nevertheless took until the middle of March for the Army to be engaged to assist.[93] The Lessons to be Learned inquiry should examine the reasons for this apparent delay and recommend future practice. Brigadier Alex Birtwistle should be asked to produce a report on all the logistical aspects of dealing with a major foot and mouth outbreak.

31. In late April the Government decided to "refine" its policy, moving away from such largescale slaughter and disposal. At the time it was widely reported that this major change in policy resulted from publicity given to the fate of a calf, named Phoenix, on a farm in Membury, Devon.[94] Given the intense media campaign to save Phoenix and the fact that the policy change was announced from the Prime Minister's office, to the reported surprise and fury of the then Minister of Agriculture, at the very least the calf appears to have been the beneficiary of a very happy coincidence. From the end of April onwards cattle on contiguous premises were allowed to be spared the cull if, in the view of local vets, there was adequate biosecurity.[95] The then Minister of Agriculture argued that "this development is not, as some have reported, a relaxation; its purpose is to improve the achievement of the policy".[96]

32. The part played by culling out premises, and particularly of the contiguous cull, in restricting the foot and mouth disease outbreak will obviously be of central interest to the inquiries. The Lessons to be Learned and the Royal Society inquiries must look closely at the role in controlling the disease played by culling animals, and establish the reasons why this central part of the Government's policy changed twice. In particular, it should consider whether greater discretion should have been given to local vets in deciding whether a contiguous cull was necessary, what effect the delays in carrying out culls on both infected and contiguous premises and in disposing of carcasses had on the spread of the disease, and whether or not a more prompt cull of livestock on infected premises would have been enough to limit the disease without further slaughter on contiguous premises. Equally, it must assess what problems would arise if it appeared that different policies were being pursued in different parts of the country, and how that would impact on farmers' co-operation and the likelihood of a legal challenge, even allowing for the draconian powers contained in the Animal Health Bill. Attention should also be given to the way in which policy to respond to the outbreak was developed given the shifts of responsibilities between Downing Street and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (and MAFF). Looking forward we recommend that the Lessons to be Learned and the Royal Society inquiries assess closely what role culling livestock should play in any future efforts to restrict foot and mouth, or any comparable, disease. In making their judgements the inquiries should have regard to our comments about vaccination below.

Availability of vets

33. We have already commented on the impact that a shortage of vets had on determining policy in relation to culling animals, and on the delays and backlogs in killing and disposing of animals which related from a shortage of manpower. Concern has been widely expressed about cuts in the resources available to the State Veterinary Service: between 1979 and 2001 the number of field veterinary officers were reduced from 597 to 286,[97] and between 1969 and 2001 the number of the Service's divisional offices are reported to have been cut from 70 to 23.[98] We recommend that the Lessons to be Learned and the Royal Society inquiries look closely at the impact that the availability of vets had on efforts to contain the disease. The Government should commit itself to finding the resources necessary either to fund an expansion of the State Veterinary Service if it is recommended by the inquiries or to identify and train a 'territorial reserve' of private vets able to be mobilised rapidly. It should also examine the availability of trained people able to carry out tasks which do not necessarily require fully qualified vets.

Scientific advice

34. Critical to examining the progress of the outbreak and recommending strategies for dealing with it was scientific advice from various disciplines. We heard evidence that the Chief Scientific Adviser was only called upon, and then by the Prime Minister, on 22 March, and the modelling teams assembled after that date.[99] The Lessons to be Learned inquiry should consider why there was this apparent delay, whether it was material, and recommend future practice.


35. During the outbreak the possibility of vaccinating livestock against foot and mouth disease was increasingly considered.[100] Mass vaccination of all animals susceptible to foot and mouth disease, or prophylactic vaccination, is not being seriously considered by any European Union country. The vaccination does not completely eliminate the virus, and therefore trade with countries following a different policy is likely to be severely undermined: as the Chief Scientific Adviser put it, "foot and mouth disease-free countries such as New Zealand and the USA will ask why they should take even the slightest risk [by] importing vaccinated animals".[101]

36. A more realistic prospect is to use vaccination on a local basis to combat foot and mouth disease, by creating a 'fire-break' to control its spread. The response of the Government in the Netherlands to an outbreak of the disease there in late March 2001[102] was to slaughter all animals within one kilometre of infected premises, and to vaccinate animals in a wider zone in order to control the spread of the disease.[103] That did not mean that the livestock was saved from slaughter: once the disease had been brought under control it was understood that all vaccinated animals would also be culled,[104] so that the Netherlands would continue to enjoy a 'disease-free' status. In total the Dutch responded to 26 outbreaks of the disease by culling out no fewer than 2,900 farms, compared to approximately 10,000 farms culled out in response to around 2,000 outbreaks in the United Kingdom. In the Netherlands milk from vaccinated animals was not permitted for human consumption.

37. Use of vaccination on a localised basis was seriously considered in the United Kingdom during April. On 17 April the Government sought to reassure consumers about the safety of eating meat from cattle vaccinated against foot and mouth disease, a development interpreted by many as "a clear sign that the Government intends to implement an inoculation programme imminently".[105] The then Minister for Agriculture told the then Agriculture Committee on 23 April that "the Government is considering a cattle vaccination strategy in North Cumbria, and possibly Devon".[106] The Chief Scientific Adviser recommended vaccination in Cumbria in April because of concerns that cattle then being over-wintered in sheds were due to be turned out and might be exposed to the disease.[107] There was, however, opposition to vaccination.[108] As the then Minister of Agriculture put it, "any vaccination programme would need to be supported by a substantial majority of the farming community, by the veterinary profession, by the wider food industry and by consumers. Discussions are continuing, but I have to tell the Committee that the necessary support for this policy is not yet there and the case for vaccination recedes as the number of daily cases declines".[109] In the event vaccination was not used.

38. Debate about ring vaccination has in the past been based on the understanding that it was a measure intended only to prevent the further spread of the disease, and to gain time during which arrangements could be made for the slaughter and disposal of the vaccinated livestock. However, there is now pressure in countries such as the Netherlands and Argentina to permit the export of vaccinated animals rather than their slaughter.[110] At the heart of this debate is the issue of an internationally-recognised test to distinguish between vaccinated and infected animals. Such a test may in future be possible: the Chief Scientific Adviser has raised the possibility of 'smart vaccines', which use labelled molecules.[111] This would permit vaccination around an outbreak not merely to 'buy time' to organise slaughter and disposal, which is permitted now, and was the method used in 2001 by the Dutch, but to permit vaccinated but non-infected animals to live and pass in due course into the food chain. Animals vaccinated would have to be subject to severe movement restrictions pending the outcome of the test since at present there is no field test on offer likely to command international confidence. In addition, the development of more effective vaccines, not requiring repeat doses, and offering more general protection to different strains of virus, would improve still further the scientific case for vaccination.

39. It is crucial for the Royal Society inquiry to come to as authoritative a conclusion as possible on vaccination as a response to foot and mouth disease, because policy cannot move forward in this area until there are not only scientifically-validated products available but also international agreement on the circumstances and methodology of their use. All aspects of the Dutch response to foot and mouth disease, including its impact on exports, should be examined by the Lessons to be Learned and Royal Society inquiries. The nature of consultations between the Dutch Government and the European Commission, and the rulings and advice given by the Commission, should be obtained by the inquiries and published by them.

Those indirectly affected

40. One of the unintended consequences of the Government's policies for dealing with foot and mouth disease is the disparity in the compensation available to those directly and those indirectly affected by the disease. Farmers whose premises have become infected, or whose land lies contiguous to infected land, and whose livestock has been culled out, have been compensated for the loss of their animals, as well as for "other items seized and destroyed such as fodder and hay".[112] They have also been paid for the cost of disinfecting their premises.[113] However, those whose premises have not become infected, but who have been affected by movement restrictions, and so have been unable to sell livestock or meat, and at the same time have incurred additional costs, such as for veterinary inspections and through feeding animals inside, have received no compensation.[114] Lord Haskins, in his report on the effect of foot and mouth disease on Cumbria, found that "economically, those farmers who have not lost their stock, but are unable to move them for sale or to other grassland, have probably suffered more [than those directly affected]".[115]

41. The Secretary of State has said that she is "very mindful indeed of the people who are affected ... There is a limit to what we can do to help them but we do continually try to think whether there are things that can be done that will ease their position at all".[116] The Government has said that "businesses or individuals may suffer indirect or consequential losses in a wide range of circumstances where the Government takes action in the public interest ... the Government does not pay compensation for indirect or consequential losses".[117] We are entirely sympathetic to the difficulties faced by those farmers not directly affected by the disease, but who have nevertheless experienced considerable hardship as a result of the outbreak. We accept, however, that there are limits to what the Government can do to help. Therefore we do not recommend specific compensation for those indirectly affected, but we do recommend that the Government continue to review their situation, and offer whatever further financial or practical support it can, such as continuing help with rates relief and a sympathetic tax regime. In particular the newly-agreed reform of the sheepmeat regime enables the Government specifically to promote programmes to help this sector. We urge the Government to table as soon as possible proposals to do so for consultation. We will wish to address this issue in future meetings with Ministers. We also urge the Government to continue to investigate the provision of insurance for farmers and others affected by diseases such as foot and mouth.

Administrative response

42. As well as those matters set out separately above, the Lessons to be Learned inquiry in particular should examine the way in which MAFF responded to the outbreak in terms of mobilising staff. For example, it should consider what rules governed the recruitment of officials into the emergency regional teams; whether the depth of administrative and scientific expertise of the Ministry was adequate for dealing with the outbreak; whether all parts of the Ministry were called upon to contribute resources; whether staff brought in, especially Regional Operations Directors, had received any training as part of contingency planning. It should also examine how effectively the Ministry assembled multi-functional teams engaging the resources of other Ministries, and how effectively the chain of command worked, and, in particular, whether the administration and organisation of the State Veterinary Service lent itself to the integrated command structure necessary to implement policy in the regions. The inquiry should also consider why there were such delays between the announcement of policy in London, such as the various movement schemes, and their implementation locally, including whether the ability to implement schemes was undermined by a lack of detailed instructions. Trading standards departments of local authorities had the responsibility to implement many movement regimes, and their evidence will be vital to the inquiry. The inquiry should consider whether the complex authorisation processes both for some movement schemes and for payments, often involving the transfer of documents between several different MAFF locations, both damaged stakeholder confidence and slowed responses.

44   Foot and mouth: the blunders, Sunday Times, 23 December 2001, p.7. Back

45   Evidence taken on 21 March 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-i, QQ.94 and 95; see also HC Deb, 27 March 2001, col.831. Back

46   Evidence taken on 21 March 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-i, Q.94. Back

47   Evidence taken on 14 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 366-i, Q.127. Back

48   For full details, see HC Deb, 24 October 2001, col.267W, and HC Deb, 4 December 2001, col.261W ff. Back

49   HC Deb, 24 October 2001, col.267W. Back

50   Evidence taken on 2 May 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-v, p.84. Back

51   HC Deb, 21 March 2001, col.830. Back

52   HC Deb, 21 March 2001, col.829. Back

53   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.211. Back

54   Evidence taken on 17 October 2001, HC (2001-02) 274-i, Q.57. Back

55   See evidence taken on 31 October 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-i, pp.33 and 41. Back

56   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.211. Back

57   See evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.261. Back

58   See evidence taken on 21 March 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-i, Q.14. Back

59   See Proposal to introduce a 20 day standstill period following movements of sheep and cattle, MAFF, 27 March 2001, para.7 ff; see Back

60   See evidence taken on 21 March 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-i, Q.35. Back

61   HC Deb, 27 March 2001, col.830. Back

62   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.214. Back

63   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.220. Back

64   England's Rural Future, DEFRA, December 2001, p.18. Back

65   Evidence taken on 21 March 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-i, Q.16. Back

66   HC Deb, 27 March 2001, col.830. Back

67   Evidence taken on 17 October 2001, HC (2001-02) 274-i, Q.21. Back

68   See MAFF asks farmers for help in tracing sheep movements from Longtown market, MAFF, 8 March 2001, Press Notice 90/01. Back

69   Strong reaction to our markets campaign but more backing needed, Farmers' Weekly, 7 December 2001, p.5. Back

70   England's Rural Future, DEFRA, December 2001, p.18. Back

71   Relaxations to the livestock movements regime expected for Spring 2002, DEFRA News Release 299/01, 18 December 2001; see Back

72   Foot and mouth: the blunders, Sunday Times, 23 December 2001, taken from Back

73   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.260. Back

74   Evidence taken on the Establishment of DEFRA and other matters on 14 November 2001, Q.4, available in uncorrected form at Back

75   See HC Deb, 15 March 2001, col.1200. Back

76   See HC Deb, 15 March 2001, col.1200. Back

77   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, p.45. Back

78   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.171. Back

79   See evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, p.45. Back

80   HC Deb, 27 March 2001, col.827. Back

81   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.179. Back

82   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.232. Back

83   Evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.197. Back

84   The Chief Veterinary Officer told us that slaughtered animals from every contiguous premises were removed but not all were sampled; see evidence taken on 31 October 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-i, Q.23. Back

85   See HC Deb, 6 November 2001, col.146W. Back

86   Devon Foot and Mouth Inquiry 2001, Preliminary Findings, para 1.19. Back

87   Vet shortage 'made slaughter worse', The Times, 27 December 2001. Back

88   See HC Deb, 26 November 2001, col.691W. Back

89   See HC Deb, 21 March 2001, col.357. Back

90   See HC Deb, 9 April 2001, col.705. Back

91   See HC Deb, 9 April 2001, col.705. Back

92   See evidence taken on 21 April 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-i, Q.268. Back

93   See How the brigadier has mopped up chaos and won farmers' support, Guardian Unlimited, 30 March 2001. Back

94   See Phoenix is a 'ray of light' for farming industry, Guardian Unlimited, 26 April 2001. Back

95   See HC Deb, 26 April 2001, col.457. Back

96   HC Deb, 26 April 2001, col.457. Back

97   HC Deb, 30 March 2001, col.812W. Back

98   Reported in Foot and mouth: the blunders, The Sunday Times, 23 December 2001. Back

99   Evidence taken on 25 April 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-iv, Q.399. Back

100   It was reported that those in favour of vaccination included the Soil Association, the National Trust, the RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts; see Vaccination, Guardian Unlimited, 18 April 2001. Back

101   The use of vaccination in the current FMD outbreak, Chief Scientific Adviser, 21 September 2001; see Back

102   Dutch struggle to accept reality of the unthinkable, Guardian Unlimited, 22 March 2001. Back

103   See UK under pressure over foot and mouth tactics, Guardian Unlimited, 22 March 2001, and Foot and mouth in Europe, Guardian Unlimited, 11 April 2001. Back

104   See evidence taken on 25 April 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-iv, Q.449. Back

105   Safety code paves way for vaccine, Guardian Unlimited, 17 April 2001. Back

106   Evidence taken on 23 April 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-iii, Q.217. Back

107   See The use of vaccination in the current FMD outbreak, Chief Scientific Adviser, 21 September 2001, and evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.207. Back

108   Expressed, for example, in a letter to members of the National Farmers' Union from the President, Ben Gill CBE, sent in April 2001. Back

109   Evidence taken on 23 April 2001, HC (2000-01) 363-iii, Q.217. Back

110   See Argentina and Netherlands use jabs to control disease, Guardian Unlimited, 8 September 2001. Back

111   See evidence taken on 7 November 2001, HC (2001-02) 323-ii, Q.176. Back

112   HC Deb, 19 November 2001, col.74W. Back

113   See HC Deb, 17 July 2001, col.165W. Back

114   See Devastation in the wake of foot and mouth, Guardian Unlimited, 1 December 2001. Back

115   Rural recovery after foot and mouth disease, Lord Haskins, October 2001, p.6. Back

116   Evidence taken on 17 October 2001, HC (2001-02) 274-i, Q.34. Back

117   England's rural future, DEFRA, December 2001, pp.16 and 17. Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 23 January 2002