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http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200304/cmhansrd/cm041115/text/41115w24.htm

 

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps she is taking to establish the original source of the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic; [196521]

(2) if she will hold a further public inquiry into the sources and cause of the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic. [196587]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra considers that the origin of the FMD outbreaks in 2001 was the unprocessed waste food fed to pigs on Burnside Farm run by Robert Waugh and he was convicted of this offence. The Lessons to be Learned Inquiry carried out by Dr. Iain Anderson supported this conclusion, which was based on a thorough epidemiological investigation. The Origins of FMD report submitted by Defra to the inquiry was based on wide-ranging evidence and rigorous investigation and was published by Dr. Anderson. There is no new evidence that indicates that the disease was present anywhere else earlier than at Burnside Farm.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the reports from James Dring that some of the evidence of foot and mouth disease discovered on Burnside Farm constituted old lesions. [196531]

Mr. Bradshaw: Mr. Dring, accompanied by an Animal Health Officer, visited the farm on 22 February 2001, as part of the investigation into the cause of the outbreak in Essex and saw the presence of FMD, clearly well established with old lesions in many pigs. Disease was confirmed on these premises on 23 February 2001. On 24 February the experts' opinion was that some pigs had 12 day-old lesions. This implies that disease was probably present on 12 February 2001 and with an incubation period of two-14 days it could have been present from as early as 29 January 2001.

Jim Dring's previous visit before 22 February was on 24 January, on which date he closely inspected the herd and found no visible signs of FMD.

This is all set out in the report on the Origins of FMD submitted to and published by Dr. Anderson.
 
15 Nov 2004 : Column 1016W
 

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what tests were made on the dead sheep shown in the Burnside Farm video taken by trading standards officials on 24 February 2001 to determine their cause of death; and what the results were of those tests. [196532]

Mr. Bradshaw: Defra found no dead sheep on Burnside Farm either on 24 February or on any other date in 2001.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what criteria were used by (a) the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and (b) her Department when deciding which documents and evidence should be made available to Dr. Iain Anderson for the inquiry he chaired into the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak. [196681]

Mr. Bradshaw: The Department's approach was that Dr. Anderson's inquiry should be granted access to all relevant papers.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers have been asked to sign the Official Secrets Act 1989 in respect of matters connected with the 2001 foot and mouth disease outbreak. [197500]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 11 November 2004]: To the best of our knowledge no farmers were asked to sign the Official Secrets Act in connection with the 2001 foot and mouth outbreak.

However, farmers undertaking a range of services on behalf of the Department, such as the provision of secondary cleansing and disinfection (C&D), may have been asked to sign a contract based on the Department's standard terms and conditions at the time, which included reference to the Official Secrets Act.

Due to concerns over the applicability of such clauses, contracts for farmers undertaking C&D on their own premises were subsequently amended to remove any reference to the Official Secrets Act.

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the foot and mouth disease virus was in the national sheep flock prior to 20 February 2001. [197638]

Mr. Bradshaw [holding answer 11 November 2004]: A group of 26 sheep at Prestwick Hall Farm, Pontiland, Northumberland are believed to be the first sheep in the national flock to have become infected with foot and mouth disease in the 2001 epidemic. They most likely became infected sometime between the 2 and 14 February 2001 as a result of windborne spread from diseased pigs at Burnside Farm. There is no evidence of FMD predating the outbreak at Burnside Farm in the vicinity of the farm or on the premises that supplied it with pigs, or for that matter, anywhere in the UK.