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Monday, 21 January, 2002, 08:21 GMT
Farm union's critical disease report
A sheep f
The farmers' union worked closely with government officials
The government's handling of the foot-and-mouth crisis is expected to come under fire in a report by the National Farmers Union(NFU) on Monday morning.

The highly critical document will be presented as evidence to one of the three inquiries into the epidemic.

In a separate report to be published next week, NFU Cymru is submitting its view on the Welsh Assembly's role during the crisis.

Testing sheep for the foot-and-mouth virus
Testing time: The NFU has called for changes

The NFU report is expected to criticise the ease with which illegal meat was able to be imported into Britain and the speed with which the disease was able to spread.

The union is also expected to call for fines for airlines passengers caught smuggling meat from overseas.

Hugh Richards, President of the National Farmers' Union in Wales said: "We started looking at the fact that the disease or the cause of the disease - imported illegal meats - is still happening in this country and nothing has happened there.

"There were no contingency arrangements in place and the fact that (animal) movements were allowed to continue even days after the outbreak took place."

A Ewe on a Welsh farm
Sheep and cattle farmers faced ruin

The NFU is perhaps the union which worked most closely with government officials during the course of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Its report will be submitted to the independent inquiry into the crisis, led by Professor Iain Anderson.

In total, the crisis in Wales is estimated to have cost nearly 500m.

See also:

03 Jan 02 | Wales
Farm crisis costs reach 500m
23 Feb 01 | Business
Counting the cost of the disease
01 Apr 01 | Wales
Foot-and-mouth factfile
27 Feb 01 | Wales
Farmer 'devastated' by outbreak
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