MP favours use of napalm to burn carcasses

April 25, 2001 The Straits Times (Singapore) by Fordyce Maxwell

LONDON -- Terrifying napalm-based "firebombs" of the kind used in Vietnam could be used to incinerate the carcasses of animals stricken by foot-and-mouth disease.

That possibility has opened up as health fears mounted over dioxin chemicals given off by animal funeral pyres, according to reports here.

A Labour party MP, Mr Tam Dalyell, on Monday suggested using napalm to burn the carcasses, saying that this would cut air pollution.

He said: "Napalm will dispose of carcasses in 60 minutes, where pyres take three days."

There was little smoke from napalm -- used by the US in Vietnam to raze expanses of jungle -- so pollution would be reduced, he added.

Reacting to the suggestion, Environment Minister Michael Meacher said he had "no inhibitions in regard to Vietnam about the whole question of napalm".

If it cut fires in the fields, he said he would be "happy to take it on board".

A report by the Independent on Sunday said that animal pyres had so far released 63 grams of dioxins into the atmosphere -- 18 per cent of Britain's average annual emissions.

The toxic chemicals are said to be carcinogens, 1,000 times more lethal than arsenic.

They are also suspected of causing birth defects.

Health experts say the average-sized person should not be exposed to more than about 30-billionth of a gram of a dioxin each year.

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