"I look to "Farming Today" to provide informed comment not to spell out the DEFRA official version of events in simple terms"

Mark Holdstock reported on the trial of Bobby Waugh this morning (Farming today) and we have received a copy of this email sent to the BBC by a worried listener..

Dear Editor,
"His report was disappointing because it seemed to retail simplified highlights of the case for the prosecution, without informed critical analysis.. Having listened to his contribution, I was puzzling over the fact that the farm which the prosecution alleges [with video evidence for emphasis] was so far from complying with the requirements of good practice and animal welfare on 24th February could have been inspected by a MAFF vet and deemed satisfactory on 24th January, ONE MONTH earlier. He picked out as particularly significant, a statement made by James Dring, the Ministry vet responsible for the regular inspections of the Waugh farm. "The reason that we had foot and mouth in this country is that I did not know enough about what the Waughs were doing on their farm. I know now."

Your reporter did not point out that this vet is the official who was responsible for finding out what the Waughs were doing on their farm. The credibility given to his statements must be set against his need to protect himself against questions of negligence or incompetence. His competence to speculate about "the reason that we had foot and mouth in this country" must be measured against his performance as a farm inspector.

I have been surprised to read subsequently in a report of the proceedings that "Mr Dring also confirmed that he had authorised Mr Waugh to feed his pigs on unprocessed swill on Friday 23rd of February, as the pigs were subsequently due to be slaughtered over the weekend." and that "The video of the pigs and the cutlery within the pig pens was taken on the following day, Saturday 24th February."

It seems that the case is not as simple as DEFRA and the public prosecutor wish us to believe. Surely your report should make us aware of this?

The farming community need to be properly informed. I look to "Farming Today" to provide informed comment not to spell out the DEFRA official version of events in simple terms"

Lawrence Wright
Middle Campscott Farm
Ilfracombe Devon