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Received January 14 2006

Dear Mary
 
The Parliamentary Ombudsman is presenting her draft report at the end of January into the possible maladministration by MAFF with regard to the swill feeders and events surrounding Burnside Farm, prior to the arrival of FMD on the " index case farm" at Burnside farm, Heddon on the Wall.
 
 There have been many inquiries into the 2001 FMD outbreak but this is the first one that has been privy to a large amount of information relating to Burnside Farm.
 
 If the Parliamentary Ombudsman is truly independent, then she will be obliged to conclude that MAFF had a responsibility for the disease outbreak because its officers failed to fulfill their regulatory duty with regard to Burnside Farm.
 
The swill feeding licence should have been revoked prior to the arrival of the disease because the facilites and procedures of the farm failed to meet the requirements of the regulations.
 
If the Ombudsman identifies that MAFF had a responsibility for the FMD outbreak this will be a serious issue.
 
If the Ombudsman exonerates MAFF then this will be a serious constitutional issue.
 
The Ombudsman is aware of a previous Parliamentary Ombudsman report in the mid 1990's when MAFF was forced to issue a public appology because it allowed a swill farm to continue in operation when the facilities and procedures of that farm failed to comply with the regulations.
 
 If the 1990's investigation resulted in a public apology by MAFF but the same scenario in 2001 lets MAFF off the hook  the constitutional question must be ' Is the Parliamentary Ombudsman independent of Government influence?'
 
Please place this on your site if you wish,
 
 
Robert