50 QUESTIONS FOR TONY BLAIR--Jonathan Miller

 

Dear Mr Blair:

 

Here 50 questions we would like answered about foot and mouth disease.

 

We are now in the ninth week of outbreaks.

 

So far more Maff has killed more than a million healthy sheep, cattle, pigs, goats, alpacas, llamas, and bison.

 

THE WELFARE OF ANIMALS AND HUMANS AND THE ECONOMY GENERALLY HAS BEEN SERIOUSLY COMPROMISED.

 

We want to know why.

 

You have prevaricated on the vaccination question for weeks. The NFU have asked you 50 questions about vaccination but why should vaccination be forced to meet the exclusive burden of proof? Why isn't the slaughter policy subject to similar question?

 

You were elected on a manifesto promising increased respect for animal welfare yet you are presiding over the biggest animal welfare crisis in modern British history.

National FMD Planning

 

1. Why is it necessary to slaughter healthy animals?

2. Is there a national FMD plan and if so will you publish it? Under what circumstances does this plan consider the use of vaccination?

3. Has the national FMD plan ever been simulated in an exercise involving all relevant authorities?

4. Has the UK ever participated in a simulation of its FMD control plan since the last major outbreak in 1967?

5. Is the government aware of any pan-European FMD simulations?

6.  Has the government participated in any such multi-national simulations either under the aegis of the EU or bilaterally?

7. Prior to the commencement of the current outbreak, did Maff take into account the conclusions and recommendations of the report on the 1967 outbreak, before embarking on the slaughter-and-destroy policy decided upon at the start of this outbreak?

8. Did the Environment Agency plan for or simulate carcass disposal environmental issues?

9. With whom has the government consulted in formulating its national FMD plan?

10. Please list all ministerial meetings in the past 8 weeks with representatives of the National Farmers Union and the Scottish National Farmers union. What proportion of farmers belong to these organisations and what proportion of them are arable farmers? Do you consider these organisations democratic?

FMD Operations

11. What information is provided on the summaries sent daily to Downing Street from the Maff operations room?

12. What is your current daily kill rate?

13. What is your current daily disposal rate? How many animals await 'welfare for slaughter'?

14. What is your response to allegations that pyres release Dioxins, PCBs and BSE prions plus FMD virus itself?

15. Please list all pyre sites situated within 3km of any rural settlement, village or town.

16. How many police officers are deployed and how many arrests have been made in the course of police FMD support operations?

17. How many incidents have been reported of violations of the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995?

18. How do you respond to allegations of disastrous ground water contamination at Epynt Mountain and numerous other sites throughout the UK?

19. How many dead carcasses do you intend to transport and for what average distance?

20. How many incidents have the environmental health operators had reported to them on local contamination from transport spillages

FMD strategy

31.  If you do not vaccinate, is there an upper limit on the number of animals you propose to kill?

32.  Who is invited to the daily stakeholders meetings at Maff?

33. Why is no representative of any organisation opposed to the slaughter invited to these meetings?

34. How many computer simulations are available and what are their current reports?

35. What does wind plume data from the Met office 'Name' data base show about the infection plume?

36. Why does Dr Wang of United Biomedical report that her efforts to assist in the FMD control efforts through the use of a test kit immediately available that can distinguish vaccinated from infected animals, have been declined?

37. Is there a policy of accepting only foreign help when it offers to kill animals and to decline any foreign support that offers ideas how to save them?

38. Will you increase the frequency and sensitivity of air and water quality monitoring around environmental impact sites

39  Will you meet personally with local delegations to hear directly of the environmental catastrophes that have been visited upon then as a result of the slaughter policy?

40   Will you investigate allegations of poor disinfection and unlawful conduct by government agents?

FMD Economics and Security

41.  What is your understanding of the current trading position with respect to live animal and meat exports and imports and the current position for the acceptance by the United Kingdom of meat from vaccinated animals and animals where FMD is endemic?

42.  Is the government aware of any cost-benefit analysis applied to the current slaughter policy concerning its impacts on other sectors such as equestrianism, hospitality, visitor attractions, sport, retailing, transportation and education?

43.  In terms of compensation, what is the number of farmers/operators who will receive more than 10m in compensation?

44.  What is the largest single compensation claim in process at this time?

45.  How many farmers/operators will receive more than 1m?

46.  What is the daily cost of current FMD operations?

47.  What are the anticipated contingent costs including environmental clean up and compensation claims?

48.  What are the recorded biosecurity incidents for FMD material in UK labs?  Has FMD material been stored at more than one location?

49.  What is the number of countries in which vaccination against FMD is routine or the disease is endemic from which the UK routinely imports meat.

50.  What is the maximum marginal cost to the UK export position in a comparison of vaccination versus slaughter?

FMD