The NFU today stressed the need for the inquiry into foot and mouth and a Royal Society scientific review to be thorough and as swift as possible.

NFU President Ben Gill said it was absolutely crucial for the inquiries to be seen as open and transparent by the farming industry and for their reports to be published in full.

He welcomed the appointment of Dr Iain Anderson and said he would be seeking an urgent meeting with him to stress the need for the inquiry to be independent and involve the farming industry during all its stages.

Ben Gill said: "Farmers will want to help protect themselves from this kind of disaster again and they will expect Government to work with them on this."

The NFU welcomed the Royal Society scientific inquiry into the transmission, prevention and control of all epidemic outbreaks of infectious diseases in livestock, which will be led by Sir Brian Follett.

Mr Gill added: "This inquiry will be critical in looking at the issues of research and development, the measures the Government needs to take to prevent and control infectious diseases entering the country, and alternative control measures, including vaccination.

"Fundamental questions like where the disease came from and how the Government can prevent further outbreaks of animal diseases brought in from abroad need to be answered."

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Updated: October 2005.