NEWS RELEASE  6 NOVEMBER 2002

CLA STATEMENT ON THE GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO
THE FMD INQUIRY REPORTS

Commenting on the Government response to the FMD inquiry reports, CLA
President Sir Edward Greenwell said:

"The Country Land and Business Association is pleased that the Government
has at last outlined its future strategy for dealing with animal disease
following the recommendations contained in the Lessons Learned and Royal
Society Inquiries.

"However we are deeply concerned that the Government is still looking at
transferring financial liability for animal disease control to farmers.
Farmers have accepted the financial responsibility for improved biosecurity.
However they cannot be expected to foot the bill for the Government's
disease control measures and must be paid fair compensation if their animals
are taken by the state for slaughter.

"The Government needs now to turn words into action and build on the good
intentions expressed today.  In doing so, its priorities should be as
follows:

On rural tourism:

Tourism is crucial to the viability of the rural economy, as was so vividly
demonstrated last year.  The Government is right that the countryside should
not be unnecessarily closed down in the event of another animal disease
outbreak and we welcome the proposal for a demarcated 'blue box' exclusion
system.  However the Government must be ready to respond if there is a risk
of disease spreading across open countryside, especially once the CROW Act
has come into force.

On vaccination:

The Government must clearly demonstrate its commitment to the introduction
of an effective and practicable emergency vaccination procedure, agreed
across the EU, with a reliable means of distinguishing vaccinated from
infected animals, so that we will never again face a mass livestock cull on
the scale of 2001.

On the 20-day standstill rule:

The 20-day standstill is putting an intolerable burden on livestock farming.
We urge the Government to act without delay on the veterinary and cost
benefit assessments expected at the end of this month.

On illegal meat imports:

We welcome the announcement that responsibility for stopping illegal meat
imports will now rest with one agency - HM Customs & Excise.  We also
welcome the ban on personal imports of meat.  However the real evidence of
the Government's commitment will come when spot checks of people and
vehicles become a feature at all places of entry into the UK.

On the contingency plan:

The Government's commitment to putting an effective contingency plan in
place is to be applauded.  It is vital that everyone concerned is fully
aware, well rehearsed and that the plan is continuously reviewed and
updated."