You have invited comments at the end of 'The Inquiry' posting. Something I have been meaning to comment on for some time is how little is said about the fact that the disease was known about in this country for weeks if not months before the 'discovery' at the Essex abbatoir.

So much is made of the fact that the authorities were unprepared and lacked contingency planning.

Unprepared?

Both Richard North and yourself have given several examples of preparedness and planning - checking on the availability of combustible material, ordering timber etc - and the fact that other countries, even on the other side of the world were warned of an impending outbreak in this country.

I FEEL THAT THIS IS A KEY ISSUE.

Why were our farmers, vets etc. not told? Why was no action taken to stop livestock movements? - while all the time plans were being made for the pyres.

It was known that the disease was about to 'break out'. During this time the spread of the disease could have been contained. It wasn't. Why?

Once it was 'out in the open' and increasing numbers of animals infected or suspected of being infected there was:

1. Refusal to vaccinate which would have halted the spread of the disease. Why?

2. Refusal to use expert opinion or equipment which would save animal lives. Why?

3. The contiguous cull of millions of healthy animals. Why?

Once their were no more outbreaks and the slaughtering stopped - we suddenly find that millions more sheep may have to be slaughtered because of unproven health risks. Why?

All due to mismanagement and incompetence?!

Answer to all questions above: The disease / threat of disease would be maintained until a pre determined number of British livestock had been slaughtered.

Conspiracy theory or conspiracy fact?

Best wishes,

from Delaine