FMD 2007 – uncomfortable reading?


11th Aug update:

Why were 362 healthy animals killed?

Now we know that the 362 animals (mostly pigs) at Hunts Hill Farm killed as a slaughter on suspicion case did not have FMD. Why are we killing and incinerating first and testing later? What a terrible waste of life. How can we justify this?


Vaccination is used for lots of different diseases in humans and animals – so why not FMD? Take as an example, Blackleg – a truly horrific disease that affects many types of farm animals. It’s everywhere, and it’s deadly. So what does everyone do to control it? VACCINATE.

Did you know the EU adopted a strategy for emergency FMD vaccination in 1999? And in 2001 the Royal Society recommended (read here) that the government SHOULD HAVE VACCINATED back in 2001 as part of their control measures. Mass culling was not good enough. Have we moved on? Read archived BBC news stories on 1) Lessons Learned and 2) Beckett accepts errors.

Would you like to see a Defra slideshow (apparently by deputy chief vet Fred Landeg) about the first few days? Of course you would. Find it here or here >>> Defra’s FMD summary at 6 Aug 2007? 

Thanks to Warmwell for finding this!

The presentation does not mention vaccination, (no surprise there) but it did reveal that only 1 animal out of the 22 cattle culled from Site 3 (protection zone 2) had tested positive, and it states that drains from the lab facility had flooded into a field. Subsquently the first HSE report dismissed water-borne release of the virus, while at the same time saying that they had to investigate the drain systems!

To read the 1st HSE report, click here.

Today a suspected 4th outbreak was announced, but is being played down as unlikely. The Soil Association issued this statement: Following news of a suspected fourth case of foot and mouth, the Soil Association is calling upon Defra to urgently deploy strategic use of vaccination to create a ‘fire-break’ around the wider area should FMD be confirmed.
Patrick Holden, Soil Association director, said,
“If this suspect case is confirmed as foot and mouth, Defra must delay no further in deploying vaccination to create a fire-break around the wider area where these cases have occurred. Such strategic deployment of vaccination is now an agreed tool within the UK and EU contingency plans for controlling FMD. Indeed, the UK plan states that we should be ready and able to deploy vaccination within 5 days of an outbreak occurring, at least 7 days have now passed since the first outbreak was confirmed.  Use of vaccination in this way worked very effectively in Holland when they suffered an outbreak in 2001, 100,000 animals were vaccinated within 3 days, after 8 days the outbreak had been contained. In contrast, the UK which did not use vaccination, took months to bring the disease under control, slaughtering millions of animals with resulting medieval scenes of burning pyres of animals and a cost to the taxpayer of over £8 billion. Neither the public nor farmers can endure such scenes again.”

Today WSPA wrote a letter to Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP – the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. WSPA Letter to Hilary Benn 

Finally, yesterday’s epidemiology report has 2 hypotheses on the source of FMD: a) laboratory facilities on the Pirbright site; b) spread from other premises, itself infected from the Pirbright site.


One Response to “FMD 2007 – uncomfortable reading?”

  1. sheepdrove Says:

    “Culling infected animals is intended to soley to protect our beef export industry, while supermarkets happily continue importing beef from such countries as Brazil, where Foot and Mouth is endemic. Can anyone explain the sense in this?”

    Telegraph – a Cheshire farmer.

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