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Transcript

Farming Today for December 16 2004

Synopsis from Farming Today website

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to launch a fresh inquiry into the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak because of a video they say may amount to new evidence.

The video, shot by trading standards officers, shows conditions on Bobby Waugh's farm in Northumberland where the outbreak's believed to have started. It was taken the day after foot and mouth was confirmed in his pigs. The video wasn't sent to the inquiry led by Dr Iain Anderson which focussed on lessons to be learnt.

The Tories' farming spokesman, James Paice, tells the programme it could help us understand how the outbreak started. But the Animal Health Minister, Ben Bradshaw, says the video contains nothing significant.

Farming Today

transcript of part of the programme

...The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are urging the Government to launch a fresh inquiry into the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak because of a video that they say may contain new evidence. Shot by Trading Standards officers, it shows conditions on Bobby Waugh's farm in Northumberland where the outbreak is believed to have started.

It was taken the day after foot and mouth was confirmed in his pigs. The video wasn't sent to the Inquiry led by Dr Iain Anderson which focussed on Lessons to be Learned.

In a moment we'll hear from the Animal Health Minister, who says it shows nothing new.

But first the Tories' farming spokesman, James Paice, believes it may well be significant.

Well the Animal Health Minister, Ben Bradshaw, issued a statement denying that there has been any cover-up over this video. The video, he says, is inconclusive, it doesn't clearly show a dog tugging at a sheep's carcass, and anyway, the video was publicly aired at Bobby Waugh's court case.

You believe this video should have been shown to the Anderson Inquiry. There isn't a single fact that we know about that has come out of the video though that would have changed the direction of the Anderson Inquiry.Well, joining us now is the Animal Health Minister, Ben Bradshaw. A significant piece of visual evidence, says James Paice, surely of great interest to anyone inquiring either into the origins of the outbreak or the lessons we should learn from it. There were only extracts seen in the media at the time. You say the video constitutes no new evidence but given the important to all of us of learning as much as we can about this outbreak and where it came from, why not ask Dr Anderson to make, to pass judgement on whether it is significant or not. The farm had been inspected and licenced only a month earlier by a government vet and the Conservatives suspect that the government's regulatory system may have been at fault here . Evidence which may or may not show that surely needs to be judged independently.

Both the Conservative and the Liberal Democrats argue that the video evidence together with the note taken form the government vet you mentioned, Jim Dring, who inspected Burnside Farm in which he wonders if he should have granted it a licence, both these things taken together justify a fresh inquiry. It is hard to argue against.

Finally and briefly, underlying this is a suspicion in some minds that infection may have been present elsewhere in the UK earlier than at Burnside Farm. Now is there any form of evidence - conclusive or not - that that was the case? Briefly if you can. ends