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FINNIE WELCOMES GOVERNMENT FOOT & MOUTH INQUIRIES

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Minister for environment and rural development Ross Finnie welcomed the announcement* by the prime minister that th...
Minister for environment and rural development Ross Finnie welcomed the announcement* by the prime minister that there would be UK-wide inquiries into the future handling, prevention and control of disease outbreaks in British livestock.

He said: 'The painful lesson is that foot and mouth is an extremely virulent disease and we need to take stock of experiences across the UK as we consider how to respond in future to major animal disease outbreaks. I want to ensure that the actions taken in Scotland are reviewed and I will await the results with interest to see what benefits we can gain from the recommendations are made.

'The same is true of Royal Society's review of the transmission, prevention and control of foot and mouth and other livestock epidemics. I will be interested to see if this can point the way to an entirely different way of controlling any future epidemic that did not involve mass slaughter.

'These reviews follow the Royal Society of Edinburgh's intention to mount an inquiry into the particular circumstances of the foot and mouth outbreak in Scotland.

'I expect that all three inquiries will inform the way in which our Forward Strategy for Agriculture will be taken forward.'

The remit of the Policy Commission on the future of farming extends only to England. A fundamental review of Scottish agriculture policy was recently completed and a forward strategy agreed.

* (see LGCnet).

BACKGROUND

POST FMD INQUIRIES

Joint UK 'Lessons Learned' Review

To be headed by Dr Iain Anderson, with support from an independent secretariat drawn from the civil contingencies committee.

Will offer recommendations to the prime minister, minister for environment and rural affairs in Scotland, secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs and the agriculture minister in Wales.

Inquiry will look into the way the UK and devolved governments should handle and future major animal disease outbreak, drawing on the lessons identified from the handling of the current foot and mouth disease outbreak in Great Britain.

Commencement of the inquiry will be a matter for the chairman.

Royal Society Inquiry

To be chaired by Ian Follett, other members to be announced in due course.

Aim of study is to review scientific questions relating to the transmission, prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks of infectious disease in livestock in GB, taking account of the Lessons Learned Review, it will not be limited to a study of foot and mouth.

Society will make recommendations by summer 2002.

Royal Society of Edinburgh

Independent committee will look into the implications for Scotland of foot and mouth disease.

Remit includes assessment of the impact of the disease on animal health and social and economic consequences on the countryside and on Scotland as a whole.

Emphasis of review will be on future methods of prevention and control and recommendations on lessons learned.

Group will report on findings early next year.

The Policy Commission

Independent commission which will focus on England, to be headed by Don Curry.

Remit is to advise the government on how a sustainable, competitive and diverse farming and food sector can be created which contributes to a thriving and sustainable rural economy, advances environmental, economic, health and animal welfare goals and is consistent with the government's aims for CAP reform, enlargement of the EU and increased trade liberalisation.

Commission will report by the end of this year.

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