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The power to panic: the Animal Health Act 2002The Power to Panic pdf file - ( a little slow to load, but opens eventually in this window) by Professor David Campbell and Professor Robert Lee. This paper was first published as an analysis piece in the Autumn 2003 issue of Public Law,  P.L. 382
"Executive contempt for Parliament is such common contemporary currency that one would hardly dare trouble the readers of this journal by seeking to bring another example of it to their attention. However, the Animal Health Act 2002 ("2002 Act") displays "an aura of arrogance" in the way it persists with a discredited policy that will be found striking even by this case-hardened readership. During the foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic of 2001, the government engaged in ultra vires action on a huge scale, for it had no power to slaughter perhaps the majority of the 7 million animals it nevertheless did slaughter in the course of the "contiguous cull" which became the core of its disease control policy. By passing the 2002 Act, the government has effectively acknowledged that this was so, for that Act seeks to make precisely that which was ultra vires in the past legal in the future, in complete disregard of the compelling reasons for the previous withholding of such powers....By passing the 2002 Act, the government, rather than review the flaws in its policy that led to ultra vires action on this huge scale, is avoiding any lessons to be learned by purporting to give itself the legal power to repeat its mistakes. The assumption that legislation at least aspires to implement sensible policy does not apply to the 2002 Act. It is legislation which intentionally gives a power to panic...."