Letters – We need to back the farmers.

Mr Howard’s outburst against the farming community (letters, page 11, 12 April) deserves more than a reply.

He expresses opinions that can only come from someone so ignorant or overtly misinformed as to totally misunderstand the real situation in the countryside or the foot-and-mouth epidemic.

He would be better advised to educate his sweeping comments by taking his nose out of an audit manual and visiting a few farms once the current crisis is over.

Everybody knows that investment in the farming industry has been suffering for the past five years from low commodity prices and rapidly increasing costs.

But let us make one point clear: the reason why the vast majority of farmers in this country are falling victim to foot-and-mouth is not because of their own cost-cutting of farm practices and lack of supervisory control as suggested by Mr Howard.

Do not let us forget that British livestock is reared under the guidance of one of a number of government vets, but the government itself has said that illegal meat imports could be to blame for the crisis, currently being supervised ineffectively by a number of different bodies.

Effective controls over all food imports needs to be funded and put in place as a mater of urgency.

Cost-cutting such as demonstrating against the huge increases in the price of fuel would seem to be a very sensible and democratic thing to do – a measure which the vast majority of the public supported but didn’t have the courage to initiate.

I think most other readers will share my views that what the British farming community needs more than anything is wholehearted support of the population at large.

Penelope Lang, Berkshire.

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