foot and mouth crisis, Tim Yeo, shadow secretary for environment, food
and rural affairs, said:
public inquiry which would rebuild public confidence and ensure people that
the full facts of Labour's initial dithering have been uncovered and
'Had action been taken more promptly and effectively at the start of the
epidemic, the disease could have been brought under control much more
quickly saving many of the over three million animals already slaughtered, and
much of the estimated£3bn cost to the taxpayer.
'Only a full, independent, public inquiry will hold former ministers to
account and uncover the full facts about this terrible epidemic.'
Conservatives have laid out what they believe the terms of reference for a
public inquiry should be:
- To inquire into the circumstances leading to the foot and mouth disease
epidemic in the United Kingdom.
- To inquire into the evidence available to indicate the presence of the
foot and mouth virus in the United Kingdom prior to February 19, 2001, and
its introduction to the United Kingdom livestock herd and responses made to
- To inquire into the measures taken to contain and eradicate foot and mouth
disease following notification of the first case on February 19, 2001, and
- The application of lessons learned from past outbreaks;
- The effectiveness of the deployment of scientific and veterinary
- The speed and effectiveness with which containment measures were deployed,
including military and other resources.
- To inquire into the economic and agricultural impacts of the disease, the
effectiveness of resources taken to mitigate losses, and of the further
measures taken to re-establish agricultural, tourist and other affected
- To examine the roles of ministers, officials in government departments,
the ministry of defence and the armed services, agencies, and
representatives of interests affected, including the co-ordination of policy
and action, and the effectiveness and timeliness of decision-making.
- To consider such other issues relating to the outbreak of foot and mouth
disease as necessary.
- To present a report to the prime minister by March 2002, indicating if
further inquiries are necessary, and making appropriate recommendations.