Dear Mr Bennett,

Thank you for your e-mail of 28/7/01.

I am puzzled about the legal basis for the serological surveillance. 85/211/EEC seems to be a Council Decision of 26 March 1985 concerning the conclusion of an exchange of letters extending the arrangement relating to clause 2 of the Agreement between the European Economic Community and the Socialist Republic of Romania on trade in sheepmeat and goatmeat.

Commission Decision 2001/295/EC deals with measures necessary to be carried out before the restrictions applied in protection and surveillance zones are released: but it specifically excludes Great Britain from its scope. For example, item (6) states "The measures provided for in this Decision shall not apply to Great Britain..." and Article 1 makes it clear that it does not apply to the UK other than Northern Ireland.

I should be grateful for clarification.

I am glad to hear that the sample tubes are given unique numbers, referenced to the holding of origin and that the blood samplers are given careful training. If, however, there is no written checklist of essential requirements and the checklist is not provided to the animal keeper, I fear that procedures will not always be followed - and simple farmers like us are not qualified to know what should be done, what is essentially important and what we should and can insist on. Mistakes will happen and omissions made. In normal circumstances we can muddle through and it is not necessary to be so punctilious; but the consequence of a mistake in the present context can be irrevocable.

In view of this I find unsatisfactory your unwillingness to entertain any form of review before proceeding to the slaughter of livestock. And the confusion over the legal basis of the exercise is additionally disturbing.

Yours sincerely

Lawrence Wright Middle Campscott Farm Lee Ilfracombe Devon EX34 8LS Tel 01271 864621