More FMD 2007 inconclusions…


Yesterday Defra announced an imminent announcement. Apparently tomorrow they’ll have something to say. Not one, but two reports will be released, from the investigations into the source and causes of the Foot and Mouth Disease virus escape

Among the media it’s expected that investigators might blame leaky pipes. Perhaps investigators will be bold enough to blame the people responsible for the operational standards for the Pirbright and Merial labs. This morning on Radio 4’s Farming Today an expert pointed out that underground effluent pipes are difficult to monitor for leaks, and therfore should have been overground. Could this be another case of letting standards slip in the name of saving money and preferentially supporting a friendly biotech business?

This farce has been accompanied, characteristically, by hints of announcements, pre-reports, false reports, leaks, and broad conjecture. First guesses included dodgy meat imports or dodgy feed. Early on, the public were fed the idea that the cause of the Pirbright FMD release might be deliberate, as in a terrorist action! Otherwise a disgruntled employee. Perhaps flooding, or a lab worker carrying FMD to their allotment, or inexperienced employees, or simply having the builders in. (They can be a bit messy.)

Will tomorrow’s reports finally put us out of our misery? Is there a vaccine against wild, unfounded conjecture? It’s so contagious!


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