Foot and Mouth Disease - MEPs protests against
"blank cheque" demand
The European Commission's proposed
directive on foot and mouth disease, published today, gives it a "blank cheque"
says Jeffrey Titford MEP. "It represents a complete hand-over of control
to the secretive Brussels-based Standing Veterinary Committee in the event of
another epidemic of foot and mouth".
Buried deep within the 125-page
document, and couched in obscure technical jargon, Article 88 on page 73 allows
for measures to be taken on an "ad hoc basis" to deal with foot and mouth, when
the virus appears to be spreading despite "measures taken in accordance with
Any such measures would be dictated by a "Decision"
produced by a committee of unnamed officials who sit on the Standing Veterinary
Committee in Brussels, with no public access and no records kept of
meetings. It is not even possible to find out who sits on the
committee. Any such "Decision" would be binding on the UK, and ministers
would be obliged to carry out any instructions given.
Such measures could
include a repetition of the so-called "contiguous cull" in which over six
million healthy animals were killed during the 2001 epidemic. This is
despite the UK Parliament having refused to give DEFRA this power, through
rejecting the Animal Health Bill.
"If this Article is adopted" says Mr
Titford, "it will be a complete hand-over of powers to the unelected officials
in Brussels". "Ministers will simply become messenger boys for Brussels
and any action taken will be beyond the control of Parliament and the British
public". "If Brussels orders the slaughter of millions of animals, we will
simply have to comply", he says.