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Minister attacks calls for public inquiry

Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael has hit out at the Newcastle Journal and its readers who are backing a campaign for a public inquiry into foot-and-mouth.

So far 22,330 Journal readers have signed its petition calling for a full and open investigation into the outbreak.

But on a recent visit to Newcastle Mr Michael defended the Government’s three internal inquiries and said they would provide a short, sharp look at what needs to be done about the whole future of farming.

He said: “I can’t understand the obsession and the continued promotion of a misunderstanding about the nature of the inquiries being undertaken.

“If you had a straightforward full public inquiry you would have a comprehensive but perhaps quite confused look at the range of issues that arise from foot-and-mouth.

“Having been involved myself in trying to draw lessons out of public inquiries, I know that they are not necessarily a straightforward mechanism for getting the information and the learning process out so we can actually act upon them.”

Of the Government’s internal inquiries, one will focus on the lessons to be learned from the Government’s handling of the outbreak, one on the scientific implications, and the third on the future of farming.

  • The Journal’s petition is part of a joint campaign by the Western Morning News, Western Mail and Gloucester Citizen along with magazines Horse & Hound and Farmers’ Weekly.

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