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  a catastrophe that cost £10 billion and 70 suicides....


Lady Emma Tennant
Newcastleton, Roxburghshire


Letters to the Editor:
Still taking liberties with our livelihood
THE Liberty and Livelihood march was good-natured but also deeply serious  -- “No taxation without Morris dancing”  and also threats: “Next time we’ll bring our tractors”; “Just try locking this lot up”.

I do not hunt, but I am prepared to go to prison in the cause of freedom. Many banners reminded the government that hunting has been banned only once: by Adolf Hitler.

The government has learnt nothing from last year’s foot and mouth epidemic. The reports published by the National Audit Office and by Dr Iain Anderson’s Lessons Learned Inquiry are disgraceful whitewashes.

A government preaching “transparency” refuses to disclose key documents, let alone hold a public inquiry into a catastrophe that cost £10 billion and 70 suicides. A year after the epidemic ended, there is no contingency plan, nor a serious attempt to stop the illegal import of meat. Two sniffer dogs at Heathrow check the luggage of 60m passengers.

The government’s 20-day standstill rule, which is pointless and unworkable, is crippling the livestock industry.

The forthcoming Animal Health Bill, likewise based on doubtful science and opposed by many leading vets, will give officials the power to wipe out half our native sheep breeds.

Thus the government, which pays lip service to a “vibrant rural economy”, strangles us with overregulation. On our farm we produce best quality beef and lamb, raised to the highest welfare standards. But we cannot compete with countries with lower wages and regulatory standards — or even with other European Union countries more generously supported by their governments. And UK farmers’ support from Brussels is devalued by 20%-30% because of the strength of sterling against the euro. Is it any wonder we feel embattled, and are prepared to do more than march in defence of liberty and livelihood?

Lady Emma Tennant
Newcastleton, Roxburghshire

Submission to LLI

Dr Sheila Crispin & Dr Sarah Binns10th March 2002

37. There were immediate psychological effects of the slaughter policy on rural communities, veterinary surgeons, slaughter teams and Armed forces personnel.

It is known that there have been a number of suicides and at least 60 deaths amongst farmers have been directly attributed to distress arising from FMD control measures.

Many children were intensely traumatised by the events they witnessed, but in general it is difficult for those remote from affected areas to begin to grasp the abject misery and overwhelming sense of despair of many local communities. Many of the farmers directly caught up in the crisis behaved with quite extraordinary dignity and it was a privilege to meet them. There is little doubt that many of those directly affected will never recover from the experience.


QUESTION (Hutchison from Moffat).

There is no doubt we are all going to look back on this at some point in our lives with different eyes, it is something that has happened which we just have to accept and get on with it.

But the one unsavoury point that I found throughout the whole thing is towards the end of the whole episode when vets were becoming disillusioned, we had 2 or 3 on the farm over a sequence of a period of time and they were completely disillusioned about what was going on.

At the time we had Mr Morley, what did he say, farmers were an ungrateful bunch, Mr Haskins said we had never had it so good, this was at a time when there was something like in excess of 60 suicides had taken place within the industry.

(Many thanks to Bryn Wayt for collating these)