July 7th 2010 ~ "One of the problems is that lessons are lost ..."
Yesterday, in the House of Lords (Hansard), Baroness Byford asked for clarification on Cost Sharing. Lord Rooker explained that no company would carry the risk of insuring farmers against disease, "which, by definition, would be too great". He disarmingly confessed that he had failed, when in the Minister's position, to get his own solution up and running. It would have been to have "the same system for animals as exists for terrorism: there would not be a commercial market were it not for the pooling system of the contributions, backed up at the end of the day by the Government" (Could any reader explain this?)
Lord Clark of Windermere: "... Will the Minister ensure that his department has in place a lesson-learning system so that, if ever we face foot and mouth again, we are prepared for it? ..."
Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA) replied:
"My Lords, the noble Lord and I are both old enough to remember the 2001 outbreak. I can just about remember the 1967 outbreak - I was in short trousers - and other Members of this House who are older than me might also remember it. The noble Lord will also remember that there was a good report from, I think, the Duke of Northumberland into that outbreak from which lessons could have been learnt, and lessons could have been learnt from the 2001 outbreak. ..."Read Hansard
July 7th 2010 ~ Lessons that could and should have been learned - and were not
Over forty years ago, the Northumberland Report following the 1967 crisis made far-sighted recommendations about vaccination and swift diagnosis - but these failed to inform the policies of 2001 - and were then ignored again in the outbreak of 2007. Yet at the very start of that outbreak (caused, it later became clear, by a leak from IAH Pirbright where vaccine for the exact leaked strain was available), so many comments seemed to pave the way for sanity:
Although the Government had secured 300,000 doses of emergency vaccine and put vaccination teams on standby, it was decided not to vaccinate. The out-of-date nature of EU discrimination against FMD vaccination underlies all this. Appreciation of rapid diagnosis, of the efficacy of NSP-free vaccines, and of DIVA tests to differentiate vaccinated from infected animals all comprise lessons still waiting to be learned.
- "Certainly as an industry we would not stand in any way to object to vaccination if the scientists deem it the right way of moving forward." (Peter Kendall, president of NFU on the Today Programme)
- "The Government deserves congratulation for learning the lessons of its shambolic response to the devastating 2001 crisis by stopping all animal movements and preparing for vaccination of surrounding herds as soon as the virus is identified. A clear lesson of the last outbreak was the need for speedy vaccination, so the isolation of the virus and a potential matching with banks of vaccine will be key."Chris Huhne ( Liberal Democrat environment spokesman)
- " The Government must consider emergency vaccination of animals in affected areas to help control the disease and prevent healthy animals being slaughtered needlessly" Philip Lymbery, Compassion In World Farming's Chief Executive
- "Everything must be done to make sure we do not see a return to the appalling mass slaughter of farm animals that occurred during the last outbreak. There was widespread public revulsion at the funeral pyres and mass killing, and animal welfare seemed to be the lowest priority for the authorities. That must not be allowed to happen again."Jackie Ballard, MP for Taunton in 2001
(Comments quoted in The Argus 4th August 2007)