ATKINS MEETS NFU LEADER IN STRASBOURG OVER FOOT & MOUTH DISEASE

The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins, MEP for the North West, met Tim Bennett, Senior Vice President of the NFU, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, to discuss the crisis in the NW Region caused by Foot & Mouth Disease.

"This is a terrible time for farmers, whether affected or threatened by this virulent disease, and I am in constant touch with the NFU to ascertain what may be done in the European Parliament and by Commissioner Fischler", commented Sir Robert.

"I am concerned by four problems:-

*The time-lag between notification and slaughter.

*The time-lag between slaughter and removal.

*The hygienic transport to Widnes of contaminated carcases for rendering.

*The speed and efficiency of compensation payments for those with a cash flow problem".

He continued, "These are matters which must be addressed very urgently and I will continue to do whatever possible, in conjunction with all my Colleagues, to assuage the distressing circumstances of our Constituents and to press the Government and the Commission to act quickly and effectively."

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