On receiving a ‘holding’ answer from a MAFF Minister today on dioxins and other toxins released by foot and mouth cremation pyres in reply to a Parliamentary Written Question tabled by Michael Fabricant before Easter, Michael Fabricant says "I was right to intervene over the siting of pyres in my constituency".
Michael Fabricant had been criticised by Lichfield Labour Party for intervening over foot and mouth. He was accused of being ‘political’ in his criticism of the siting and size of cremation pyres and over his concern over the size of the preventative cull which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of healthy animals being slaughtered. (Michael Fabricant had been arguing for some time for the selective use of vaccines as an alternative to mass culling of healthy animals). "Intervening to protect constituents is not ‘political’, it’s my job" says Michael Fabricant. Following his intervention, he was assured that no more animals would be added to the pyre at Longdon which was close to homes.
And now, on return to Parliament today after the Easter recess, Joyce Quinn has been unable to answer the Parliamentary Written Question tabled by Mr Fabricant: "What analysis has been made of dioxins and other materials emitted by slow burning wood fires with particular reference to (a) foot and mouth cremation pyres and (b) forest fires." The question was due for answer on the 23rd April. The written answer from Minister of Agriculture, Joyce Quin, simply asks for more time to reply.
"It is now obvious that the Government has not conducted sufficient research into the effects of these large culls and the gases and materials given off in the smoke from these pyres. I am grateful to constituents in Lichfield who had contacted me and also to Green Peace who also alerted me to the possible dangers. MAFF, the Environment Agency, and the Army have a tough job. But it is now even more clear than before that pyres should not be sited close to homes and should be limited in size when they are.
"In the meantime, the Government must initiate urgent research into the effects of pyres and carcass burials on the health of the nation" adds Michael Fabricant.