To:        Jean Kennedy

Area 611,

1a Page Street

London

SW1P 4PQ.

 

 

I have pleasure in submitting my "Comments" on the, 

 

CONSULTATION ON PROPOSED EU DIRECTIVE ON COMMUNITY MEASURES FOR THE CONTROL OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE

“on Community measures for the control of foot-and-mouth disease and amending

Directive 92/46/EEC”.

 

Dated : Friday, 7th March 2003

Presented by : Captain Bryn Wayt.    East Sussex. England. 

Email : bryn@wayt.greatxscape.net

Stakeholder Status : Private Citizen

Vested Interests : Nil

 

Text in BLUE highlights items from official DEFRA/EU documents.

Text in RED emphasizes points within these documents.

 

Quick Summary

 

1.      The fallout from the UK 2001 FMD outbreak has been an avalanche of track-covering, face-saving red-tape which now lawfully allows for the widespread slaughter of healthy animals – this cannot be acceptable.

2.      The EU proposals for fighting FMD are reasonably fair, but the UK makes it clear they are willing to go beyond what is proportionate by invoking the AHB (AHA 2002) – this cannot be acceptable.

3.      The main theme of the UK’s reaction to another FMD outbreak is wholesale slaughter; very little effort has been devoted in anchoring vaccination as a tool of first resort – this is not acceptable.

4.      The UK is woefully behind in utilising FMD science and teaching.

5.      The politics of FMD have overtaken monetary logic of this limited UK market.

6.      This EU and related UK Plan is convoluted and confusing, which will give rise to misinterpretation of Annex X.     

7.      Never again should it be so costly in money, resources, animals, animal welfare or human misery” (Dr Keith Sumption) – the UK is ready to ignore these wise words.

 

Preamble

I have generated 16 pages only because I am “commenting” on the EU’s 125 pages, so please do not be put off.

The DEFRA introductory letter mentions experience gained in eradicating the disease, when it really ought to have just said, “experience gained in eradicating animals”.

Nothing the UK government did during 2001 gave them any experience in disease eradication; it was too busy blindly and unscientifically killing healthy animals. There is much talk of taking account of the most recent scientific developments in the field but regrettably that talk wilfully fails to mention the experience and knowledge that should have been gained from Uruguay in 2001. The UK government ‘blinkers’ are still on. The first two opening paragraphs from DEFRA indicate the limited radius of thought, which is not a promising start if they are to transfer any or all this ill begotten ‘expertise’ to the EU.

2.         The proposal consolidates and updates the existing measures to control foot-and-mouth disease (Council Directive 85/511/EEC), taking into account the most recent scientific developments in the field and experience gained in eradicating the disease, including the outbreaks in the UK and elsewhere in the EU in 2001.

 

Those who care will already know about EU Directive 85/511/EEC but DEFRA have omitted to mention EU Directive 82/894/EEC (2) which demanded that those animals suspected of having FMD should have been, “placed under surveillance” and not slaughtered as happened in the UK.  DEFRA are ominously silent about the EU’s para 2.1 where it states how important VACCINE had been in the past, “The Community supplied vaccine and vaccination equipment to these countries to quickly eradicate the disease.” 

The DEFRA introductory Para 3 fails to acknowledge or mention the robust report made by the EU Temporary Committee FMD Inquiry, dated Dec 2002 where this body, critical of the UK’s handling of the 2001 FMD fiasco said in their preamble,

(12) The resolution of the European Parliament on the foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in 2001 in the European Union15, and the conclusions of the Temporary  Committee on Foot-and-Mouth Disease of the European Parliament should be taken into account in this Directive.”

 

The EU brought up an important ethical consideration, precipitated by the horrors of UK 2001.

4.5. The classical swine fever epidemic and the recent foot-and-mouth epidemic also revealed that a disease control policy based entirely on stamping out of infected and contaminated animals is questionable from an ethical and environmental point of view and is publicly less and less accepted.”

I believe DEFRA should have made readers aware that the EU welcomed and encouraged Emergency vaccination, and DEFRA should have brought to light such observations in their own introductory paperwork viz, “move emergency vaccination from a measure of last resort more to the forefront of control strategies.

I am very disappointed to see that DEFRA has not woven that EU instruction into their present Contingency Plan (Ver 2.5) yet they crave comment for their Disease Control (Slaughter) Protocol. It appears to me they are quiet content to live with the mind-set that the AHB will allow the slaughter of vaccinated animals in any scenario !

AHB - SECTION 5 - GENERAL NOTE

This section introduces new provisions (s.16A of the 1981 Act) allowing the Secretary of State to slaughter animals which have been vaccinated for the purpose of preventing the spread of FMD or any other diseases specified by order.

 

The Lessons that should have been learned two years before the UK animal holocaust of 2001 remained “buried” in the March 1999 Report of the EU Scientific Committee, where they made the case for emergency vaccination quite clear:

Report of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare Adopted   10 March 1999

This report is available via http://europa.eu.int/comm/dg24/health/sc/scah/index_en.html

3.1 Rationale

The rationale for using emergency vaccination for foot and mouth disease is:

1. Fear that after the introduction of FMDV into a free region, it may spread out of control;

In particular, outbreaks in areas containing high densities of susceptible animals and inadequate resources of manpower or rendering plants for the slaughter and disposal of animals or outbreaks involving a predicted risk of airborne virus spread beyond the protection2 zone;

2. Availability of high potency vaccines. It has been demonstrated (Salt et al., 1994 and 1996) that a high level of immunity can be induced by potent vaccines within a few days in both cattle and pigs. These experimental data were confirmed on several occasions under field conditions.

3. Availability of new tests that will differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals The availability of these tests allows the vaccine to be used in a similar fashion to a marker vaccine.

4. Responding to public opposition to the implementation of total stamping out and the demand for an alternative approach or the impossibility of carcass disposal because of concerns about water (carcass burial) or urban air pollution by smoke of carcass burning.

5. The successful implementation of emergency vaccination will limit the number of animals  experiencing the symptoms and poor welfare associated with FMD infection.

 

Note 2 The protection zone is a zone defined by the competent authority with a minimum radius of 3km around the infected holding, itself contained in a surveillance zone of minimum radius 10km. Zones should take account of geographical, administrative, ecological and epizootiological factors e.g. Council Directive 92/119/EC.

 

It is particularly galling to read these five paragraphs because they all gravitate to the wretched FMD 2001 failures of the UK government so clearly, even down the cruel irony of what Note 2 says - it was meant to be a 3km “Protection Zone” which turned into nothing but a killing zone.

 

Para 4  raises the same old chestnut regarding products from vaccinated animals. Those making these new Directives should be old enough to remember that we were ALL consuming products from FMD vaccinated animals less than 15 years ago. There was nothing back then of all this hullabaloo about vaccination and heat treatment of milk and scare stories about “concerns” about the safety of the products of vaccinated animals. ALL Europe was content eating such produce and not a murmur of a complaint. Vaccination against FMD across Europe UK had been so successful that from the 100,000 cases in 1952, vaccination had those numbers down to zero by 1989. In those halcyon years billions of animals had been vaccinated and there were no problems over their meat or milk going into the belly of Europe and no repercussions to this day. These facts seem to have been conveniently forgotten and brushed under the carpet by politicians.

Then the EU banned routine prophylactic vaccination under Directive 90/423.

DEFRA are still content to pedal thin and negligent excuses of lingering “concerns”,

We are aware that, when emergency vaccination was considered in the UK during the 2001 outbreak, a number of concerns were raised about post-vaccination treatments and we would like to hear from you about this.” 

Perhaps a reminder of what Nick Brown (UK Minister of Agriculture) told the UK Parliament, on the 26th February 2001 might help,

The Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency have confirmed that Foot and Mouth Disease has no implications for human health or food.”

Why was there no mention made of the past and current  IMPORTS from South America of meat from vaccinated animals ?  www.oie.int/eng/info/hebdo/a_current.htm  

See also HM Customs and Excise:  http://194223.26.21/eng/main.asp

 

If  the UK can IMPORT  9,161 tonnes of vaccinated meat from Uruguay (period Jan 2001 to Dec 2001) without the suggestion of a UK/EU consultation process, why is energy being wasted in “consultations” whilst our competitors sell us some of their stock ?  What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Presumably all that tonnage reached EU standards (including the 104 tonnes of “bone-in” meat) so why have we to go through this weird ‘third degree’ politically correct war-dance, when we are happy consuming the said products. It all seems hypocritical political nonsense to me. Let us not forget the 74,103 tonnes from Brazil (where Vaccination is practised) that the UK consumed in 2001.  Ref : www.bsereview.org.uk/data/uk_imports-3.htm

 

If the UK is to defend its parsimonious £310 million/year export[1] position in this meat/products market, then a vaccinate-to-live policy will curtail those piffling amounts for only six  months should FMD strike and we use vaccination to stop the spread and control it further.

There simply cannot be another UK minister like Mr E. Morley pronouncing, “vaccination was considered 10 times” when FMD hits the UK again. Please let there be no more monumental government dithering, it is a recipe for another disaster which will cost £billions.

 

Para 5  talks of, “We will be producing a Regulatory Impact Assessment which will evaluate the costs and benefits emanating from the measures proposed in the Directive.”

In my view there is a very simple cost/benefit equation for the UK to consider which goes something like this - the total meat/products exports being defended by slaughter only during 2001 were in the order of £550 million. That may be seen as the “benefit”.

The “cost” on the other hand, because inter alia we were out of the export market for a year, has been put at between £10 - £20 BILLION  (the Institute of Directors projected an overall loss to the economy of £20 BILLION) in less than a year. The maths are not that difficult. A chap from the lower 6th at a “bog standard” school, scratching at economics, could tell you emergency ring vaccination is the way to go if you want the optimum cost/benefit outcome. There is no way an Emergency Ring Vaccination plan will ever equate even to £10 BILLION, even if it costs 6 months in the export sin-bin.

How often has the Uruguay lesson have to be force-fed to incompetents ? Uruguay had it all sewn up in 4 months, at a cost around £10 million. Not twice as long, and £10 BILLION.

 

Main Articles

 

Article 1

It is heartening to know, “The initial case of FMD has to be confirmed by laboratory tests….”

That being the case why then under Article 8 is a Slaughter on Suspicion policy still patently in vogue along with the infamous, deranged, and unscientific Contiguous Cull ?

Article 8

PREVENTIVE ERADICATION PROGRAMME

The competent authority may, where epidemiological information or other evidence indicates, implement a preventive eradication programme, including preventive depopulation of holdings of animals of susceptible species likely to be contaminated and, if considered necessary, of  epidemiologically linked production units or adjoining holdings.

 

Article 8 looks as if it contradicts another part of the same Directive, in that Article 4 (2) instructs the vet to take samples when he has a, “suspicion of an outbreak” of FMD.

SECTION 2

MEASURES IN CASE OF SUSPICION OF AN OUTBREAK OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE

Article 4

MEASURES IN CASE OF SUSPICION OF AN OUTBREAK OF FOOT-AND-MOUTH DISEASE

2. The official veterinarian shall immediately activate official investigation arrangements under his supervision to confirm or rule out the presence of the foot-and-mouth disease and, in particular, take the necessary samples, or have them taken, for laboratory examination in  accordance with Annex III.

So here we have apparently conflicting operational procedures. One minute the vet is busy taking samples and waiting for results, the next minute DEFRA will be saying there is sufficient epidemiological information (quoting Article 8) to start a, “preventative depopulation” slaughter programme. This is totally uncalled for, and was proven beyond reasonable doubt in the UK to be scientifically and morally unjustified, and goes against all proportionality in dealing with a curable disease. There is not much point taking samples after “depopulation” and 21 days have elapsed; to prove what ? That the animals never had FMD ? These are unscientific and ignorant responses when so much has been (should have been) learned from 2001.

2.1.2. Where sampling is carried out in the framework of disease surveillance after an outbreak, actions shall not commence before at least 21 days have elapsed since the elimination of susceptible animals on the infected holding(s) and the carrying out of preliminary cleansing and disinfection. The insertion of “infected holdings” is confusing as they have NOT yet been proven to be so.

On the 26th March 2002, Dr Keith Sumption addressed the Temporary Committee on FMD in the EU Parliament and part of his submission read, “Never again should we slaughter millions of animals on over 7000 farms on suspicion of ‘exposure to foot-and-mouth disease’ without sampling (even though this is expected under European legislation) to identify if virus was present”.   Let us carve that statement into stone, and make it one of the FMD Laws.

 

I deplore Article 8 because it gives illogical and irrational authority to Slaughter on Suspicion and even allows for a “fire-break cull” despite the UK teaching the world in 2001 that these two vile policies were blindingly stupid and irresponsible things to do, and ultra vires.

Modern and available FMDv test-kits are not being overtly advertised.

The NAO Inquiry team discovered that a positive result could be known within 3-4 hours, a confirmed negative could be known within 48 hours, though on occasions confirmation took 96 hours. A response to a UK Parliamentary question (PQ 5478 24/04/02) reveals that only 5% of contiguous farms were culled within 48 hours and 50% were still alive 96 hours after disease was first reported on the 'infected' negative farm. Where negative blood tests were known - it made no difference. Contiguous culling or 3 km culling was still going on after negative blood tests had been received. One such example was Blackfordby Hall when, according to information later leaked to the owner by someone at MAFF who did not like what was going on, it had been known by the second day of the owner's almost month long fight for his pigs, that the blood tests causing him to be targeted were negative. It wasn't until May 15th 2001 that his Form A notice was withdrawn. Another example was Matthew Knight in Devon, who resisted the cull when DEFRA continued to press for his animals to be slaughtered even when the IP was known to be clear by means of a negative blood test.

In addition, 25% of the cases after the 23 March were misdiagnosed (Keeling et al. 2001). The problem with misdiagnosis was twofold:
• Misdiagnosis added cases to the daily totals of IPs, giving the impression that the disease was spreading when it was not.
• A misdiagnosed case "mimicked" the local spread mentioned in the models because it generally occurred near other IPs suggesting "local spread".
Misdiagnosis almost certainly aided justification of the contiguous cull. In fact there was a fever of misdiagnosis among vets, and most inexperienced vets were not able to ask more experienced vets for advice - nor were they given laboratory results of their own clinical diagnoses.

Ref : www.warmwell.com


One must rem
ember FMD is a curable animal disease that does not harm humans; if it did so then the world’s largest outbreak (UK 2001) would have produced a catastrophic rise in human causalities acquiring a sickness in some form or another - as the world knows it did not.

Not one animal died from FMD in the UK though around 11 million were slaughtered by the hand of man, blindly carrying out illiterate government orders. This must never happen again in a civilised western society.

A sobering reminder that FMD can be cured by reasonable men takes us back to the 1920’s.

The place was the Duke of Westminster's Eaton Hall estate in Cheshire during the 1922-24 FMD epidemic.

"When the disease was diagnosed on Nov 2, 1923, the duke, who was opposed to the slaughter policy, told the ministry that his farms were almost isolated because so many of the surrounding farms had had their stock slaughtered. ...Hamilton and his staff fell back on simple remedies recommended by old men who remembered what was done before the slaughter policy was introduced. These consisted of syringing the feet and mouth with a solution of salt and water. When the blisters burst the feet were dressed with Stockholm tar and the tongue recovered without further treatment. To prevent the cattle standing in manure or urine which could re-infect them, a round-the-clock watch was kept and their droppings removed.
Hamilton said: "That was the answer. Keep the cow's feet clean for two to five days after the blisters burst until the sores healed up and all our troubles were over."  

He wrote: "Among the milking cows we did come up against blisters forming on the teats. They sealed the end of the teats over and when we did have to draw any milk from the udder we had to break the blisters every time to get the milk out of the end of the teat."

Nature provided an answer to this problem, as the animals were so ill for the days the fever lasted that they produced almost no milk, and they did not return to their previous yield until the following lactation.
The cows were off their food for a few days until the blisters on their tongues burst, but recovered swiftly and within two to three weeks were back to normal, except for the few that got septic feet. Two cows did die during this period, but neither death could be put down to foot and mouth. An indication of the success of the cure was that several animals that had had the disease in November and December were exhibited at the Royal Show on July 1 and won several prizes.
When Hamilton wrote up his recollections 44 years later, during the 1967 outbreak, he said: "The treatment of the disease is quite an easy matter if good accommodation is available for the animals being treated, and sufficient experienced labour is available during the first week of the outbreak, during which time keeping the feet clean is most essential
."---Charles Clover

 

Whilst things have changed since that era, for the sake of six months abatement in limited exports, emergency vaccination-to-live is not too much to ask of a humane modern society is it ?

These animals when cured can enter the food chain as they were destined for. Uruguay did it in 2001, why can’t the EU in 2003 or 2010 ?

 

Another deeply worrying feature which I fear will allow unfettered slaughter, is the dreadfully woolly definition of an animal described as a case of FMD. Clinical symptoms were misconstrued on many holdings during 2001 and the barn door is swinging open again. There were many instances in the UK during 2001 where veterinary errors and false Forms A’s led to the unnecessary slaughter of millions of healthy animals. So another “case of foot and mouth” could easily be declared through an inexperienced foreign vet making a dreadful ‘mistake’ maybe hundreds of miles away from the INITIAL case, and through this ‘mistake’ the probability exists that a Form A will be slapped on the farm/s and all hell will break loose as in 2001. The point I am making here is, a case of FMD is not a case of FMD unless it has been proven by competent laboratory examination as in Article 4.

Article 2 – Definitions

(k) “case of foot-and-mouth disease  or  animal infected with foot-and-mouth disease

means any animal of a susceptible species or carcass of such animal in which – clinical symptoms   or  post-mortem lesions consistent with foot-and-mouth disease have been officially confirmed,  or  – the presence of the foot-and-mouth disease has been officially confirmed as the result of a laboratory examination carried out in accordance with Annexes XIII and XIV.

Given that 10,219 UK farms were tested[2] within the 3km “protection zone” and the serologically +ve ones amounted to only 0.05% (404 out of 771,308) and the percentage of flocks +ve was only 0.03% then reliance on a quick clinical symptoms diagnosis is subscribing to another animal holocaust. Article 8 is an untidy deception.

One epic example of healthy animals (non commercial) being slaughtered and being by-passed by even a cursory clinical examination, was the heartbreaking case of Mrs. Didi Phillips, Higher Fonstone Farm, Warbstow. Cornwall. That hellish and unnecessary slaughter happened through the application of irresponsible unvalidated science, lack of humanity and common sense, coupled to the illegal Contiguous Cull and DVM’s acting illogically. Since a FULL and proper Veterinary Inspection had not been carried out, the owners of the slaughtered out animals approached the RCVS with a formal complaint and were subsequently told,

“…a full clinical examination of all the stock would have been extremely time consuming and stressful for both the family and most importantly, the stock. To examine a sheep effectively for lesions of FMD requires handling and restraint, taking of the temperature, casting of the individual, cleaning of the feet of all mud and debris, thorough examination of all feet and the mouth. This is a procedure that could not be accomplished without stress and disturbance to the individuals concerned and could have caused actual harm to the heavily pregnant ewes present….”  

So to avoid all that "Best Practise" and give those sentient beings a fair trial before being destroyed, hypocrisy steps in and all the animals (pet cows, sheep in lamb, and day old lambs) were slaughtered to save time, distress, and actual harm !  That was the kind of senseless barbarism that was spreading as well as FMD. In the Phillip’s case (upwind) 11 other Contiguous premises were left unculled ; yet a pig unit was slaughtered out (well almost) 3,800 killed, but 200 pigs were allowed to survive because the, “farmer was being difficult” said the DVM.  That is the sort of outrageous policy that is still being advocated by these new proposals. Operating under such a illegitimate regimes of “belief” and “suspected" cases qualifying them for slaughter.  It is totally UNACCEPTABLE and cannot be allowed to happen.

 

The minimum extent of a Veterinary Inspection (VI) should be along the lines of,

(a)    There was a plausible route of entry of the virus into the cattle or sheep.

(b)   There is DIRECT contiguity of the land which might have reasonably allowed, during the risk period, animal-animal contact between a previously “clean” farm and a proven IP.

(c)    Evidence must be available to show that a series of events had occurred which might have reasonably resulted in the transmission of contaminated personnel, materials, vehicles, or other known risk vectors crossing from the proximate IP to the previously  “clean” premises.

(d)   There shall be a defence against culling, or arbitrary notification of a Form A, if it can be shown a lack of contiguity exists, e.g. by a geographical feature (such as a 37 acre mature woodland fenced from each owners land, and susceptible animals have been housed during the risk period).

(e)    The threat of “airborne transmission” should be scientifically examined. In this formulation, the density and composition of the infected herd/flock on the IP and that of the suspect proximate herd/flock must be taken into account, since the number of cattle required to give rise to sufficient volumes of infected exhalent that might travel by wind alone during the risk period, must be sufficiently large enough to cause the recipients downwind to be infected. Donaldson et al (2001) reported that the maximum predicted distance of spread of the Type O virus strain from cattle, would travel downwind, and cause risk to other cattle would be 200 meters, or < 100 meters for sheep.

 

Dr David Shannon, ex-Chief Scientist at MAFF and later DEFRA admitted the 2001 slaughter was based on,  flawed, biased and poorly thought through scientific advice.  That confession was on the 19th Feb 2002.  www.warmwell.com/shannonfeb19.html

 

Taking another honest submission by UK vet Roger Windsor, copied from www.warmwell.com

Quote

We recall Roger Windsor's words during the crisis:

"the College (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) should have led the way in condemning what I call "postcode slaughter" - the indiscriminate and unnecessary slaughter of animals because of where they are, - and I have tried to prod the College to action, but the response, particularly from the Registrar has been that we must not offend MAFF......

The sorry story of vets examining herds and flocks of animals and when finding them free from disease signing the Form A declaring the farm to be an infected place, will forever be a blot on the reputation of MAFF.....

Vets were told by senior members of our profession that if they did not sign a Form A, then the livestock would be killed and the farmer would receive no compensation. Farmers were told that if they did not co-operate in the slaughter of their sheep then their cattle would be taken as well. Doors were broken down by police to tear away pet goats from young girls. A retired vet in Dumfries who lived in the wrong place had his goats killed although there was a large housing estate between him and the infected farm. He had been involved with the '67 outbreak, knew the disease and volunteered to keep his animals under close observation. The animals were killed..."

Unquote

 

I see this EU Directive leaves ample room for all that happened in the UK during 2001 to be lawfully re-enacted with the full blown authority of the AHB/AHA 2002 behind it the next time.

 

Section 2  of the proposal deals with measures to be taken in case of suspicion of an outbreak of FMD

Whilst positively identifying FMD in sheep is difficult, the inference made in EU Para 5.7 is not entirely true, in that the main thing that overwhelmed the UK government was the millions of animals it had to dispose of, having taken no time to verify if they even had FMD or not.

It should not have been unexpected, for the fact remained, there was no plan with what to do with 11 million dead animals – 75% of which were slaughtered without proof of disease.

5.7. Although the silent form of foot-and-mouth disease in sheep has been well documented for a long time, the extent to which this species was involved in and contributed to the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 was unexpected and overwhelmed those in charge of controlling the disease.

Para 5.7 is a perpetuated nonsense.

The perception given by enforcement agencies is that FMD is a killer disease and we have to throw £billions at it to keep it from ruining our economy. As stated, the UK had been defending a pitiful meat/products market that accounted for only £550 million/year TOTAL. 

We have entirely lost sight of the fact this disease does NOT have any measurable health implications to human beings. Not one person caught anything linked to FMD during 2001 or thereafter. As one senior DEFRA official[3] said in the SVJ (Feb 2003) “Infected animals all ultimately eliminate the virus and become recovered.  So why do we kill them so readily ?

Section 3 of the proposal deals with measures to be taken in the case of confirmation of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease

The EU specify in para 5.12 that Contingency Plans must include provisions on the use of Emergency Vaccination. The UK plan might mention such a move but it fails miserably to show how, when, where, an emergency vaccination will be carried out in reality. One can only imagine the panic in Cornwall and elsewhere if DVM’s do not know exactly what to do; as conveniently highlighted in Sep 2002 by Ms Jan Kelly (Cornwall DVM) ringing Elliot Morley asking him what do I do now boss, when there was a suspect case of FMD on her patch. She was not too sure about the Contingency Plan back then, so what hope is there right now with its sections unfinished, unverified and not validated ? We can’t have DVM’s checking in with Mr Morley and saying, "The telephone conferencing with Elliott Morley was to decide what the process should be in terms of communications, because that was one thing we were heavily criticised for, (last year) for not allowing people to know as soon as possible." Nor can we sanction ‘riders’ as Ms Kelly did like, "It did mean an awful lot of people in the area didn't know what was happening. A lot found out unfortunately from the press and radio this morning.” That was on the 25th Sep 2002. The Contingency Plan (Version 2.5) remains under discussion so nothing has changed in six months.

 

5.12 ……..Such contingency plans, when reviewed in the light of this Directive, must however include provisions on the use of emergency vaccination.

(20) It is necessary to prevent any spread of the disease as soon as an outbreak occurs by carefully monitoring movements of animals and the use of products liable to be contaminated, and where appropriate, in particular in densely populated livestock areas, by emergency vaccination.

 

Section 3. Article 10. Para 1 (b)

The competent authority may decide that Article 4 (2) shall not apply in cases of appearance of a secondary source which is epidemiologically linked with a primary source for which samples have already been taken in accordance that Article, provided that appropriate and sufficient numbers of samples needed for the epidemiological inquiry referred to in Article 13 have been taken.

The above appears to make lawful slaughtering-out premises that may be within 3 km without even giving those premises a reasonable chance to PROVE they do not have FMD. 

If that is the case, this is BAD law and requires para 1(b) be removed in toto.

Animal owners have a Human Right under EU Law to protect their private and material things; making a law that refutes this fundamental right is abhorrent in relation to a curable disease such as FMD. There must always be scope where doubt exists that an owner is allowed to prove, on a veterinary epidemiological/laboratory basis, the FMDv cannot have invaded his stock.

The appalling experiences of thousands of farms in the UK being slaughtered out for no good reason - and later having proved not to have had FMD - must never be written into the law as acceptable.  Mention was made of dealing with FMD in a proportionate manner, SOS and Contiguous Culling is not proportionate in a civilised society.

Article 13 deals with the requirements for epidemiological inquiries to determine the extent of the disease and its likely spread.

Whilst not an expert in FMD, I have never the less acquainted myself with most scientific ‘papers’ and articles about the subject and I have never come across any validated scientific literature which advocates applying “control” measures (presumably this means slaughter) to,contaminated animals of species not susceptible to the disease, notably poultry”.

My questions would be;

1.      How are you going to prove these animals are “contaminated” ?

2.      What scientific proof have you that shows such animals have been “mechanical vectors” and further allows you to slaughter say 5,000 free-range hens ?

3.      Please indicate the scientific peer-revues that substantiate this crazy idea in para 23.

 

(23) In the event of an outbreak it may be necessary to apply control measures not only to infected animals of susceptible species, but also contaminated animals of species not susceptible to the disease, notably poultry, which may be mechanical vectors for the virus.

So we have the possibility of sheep dogs being slaughtered as well now !

 

Was it not sufficient that FMD experts proved that having FMD was not enough, and that it must be present in sufficient virus concentrations to be viable enough to spread further afield on the wind, sufficient to infect downwind.

www.warmwell.com

In addition, experts in UK, Dr Alex Donaldson, Head of Laboratory at Pirbright, and his colleague Dr Paul Kitching, repeatedly criticised the cull policies based on biomathematical modelling by the team at Imperial College which were seriously flawed. The slaughter of animals on infected premises within 24 hours of reporting was supported, but the 48-hour contiguous cull policy had no scientific justification (Donaldson et al, 2001). The airborne transmission of the virus was very low and "the results of computer simulations showed that airborne spread of the UK/2001 strain of the FMD virus between pig herds over a distance  greater than 0.1 km would require more than 100 pigs to be affected on the source farm". In addition "the simulations predict that it would require 100 cattle or sheep to be infected at source for an infectious dose to travel a distance of 0.2km and be sufficient to infect cattle. In the FMD situation in the UK, the level of clinical surveillance is such that it is unlikely that the number of infected cases in a cattle herd would be as high as 100. Furthermore, the emerging serological evidence suggests that infection has progressed slowly through sheep flocks during the UK epidemic and so there is a low probability that 100 sheep would be in the early acute phase of infection or clinical disease simultaneously." (Donaldson & Alexandersen, 2001).

It is difficult to reconcile the Government's application of a 3 km dangerous contact zone for 'O' type FMD (a disease with poor airborne transmission), with its rejection of the possibility of contamination of maize (a wind-pollinated plant) by GM maize beyond a 50-yard (0.046 km) radius.

 

Further, as has been proven (Sellers, 1971) mere exposure of cattle or sheep from a local or distant potential source is not by itself important. Such exposure must be sufficient to infect.

(Sellers, RF 1971 Quantative aspects of the spread of FMD. The Vet Bulletin, 41,6, 431-439)

 

Article14  provides for the culling of “dangerous contacts” and also requires that, immediately on confirmation of the first case of FMD, all necessary arrangements are made for emergency vaccination in an area at least the size of the Surveillance Zone, should it be deemed necessary.   Should it be deemed necessary is NOT what Article 14 says !  It is not up to the UK to arrive at the point where Emergency Vaccination is made available, the EU makes it a law to do just that !

It actually says,

  1. The competent authority shall immediately upon the confirmation of the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease prepare all arrangements deemed necessary for emergency vaccination in an area of at least the size of the surveillance zone established in accordance with Article 21.

Readers can see the “spin” DEFRA wish to place on this particular Article.

Article 14 makes it clear vaccination is to be prepared for, with all the arrangements the UK deem necessary for the successful application of that policy. DEFRA are putting the cart before the horse by misinterpreting and misinforming the public by a slick rearrangements of words.

 

I cannot help but feel aggrieved that DEFRA invent the law as they trundle through this proposed legislation. Article 14 does NOT even mention the words “dangerous contacts” but here we are in the UK using this nebulous term and twisting Article 14 words to suit DEFRA.

2. The competent authority may apply the measures provided for in Article 10 (1) (a) on epidemiologically linked production units or adjoining holdings, where epidemiological information or other evidence give reason to suspect a possible contamination of those holdings.

The use of the word “possible” indicates to me a very low confidence level that FMDv is around, and in that case nothing should be done in haste, and I shall tell you why.

In the UK military area of maritime operations when hunting for enemy submarines, there are three levels of confidence in the identification of a ‘contact’ the aviator or the naval tactical commander can attach to a ‘contact’ he thinks is a submarine.

1.      CERT sub

2.      PROB sub

3.      POSS sub

I will not bore the reader with the first two classifications but linger on the third, the POSS sub which means a possible submarine. It also means it could have been a whale or a dolphin. It is the lowest and least likely to evolve into a real submarine capable of firing a torpedo.

The point I am making here is that “possible” contamination by FMDv of holdings/animals does  not amount to reasonable and lawful evidence to base any slaughter on, or to use the chilling words of Article 10(1)(a)

(a)    All animals of susceptible species on the holding shall be killed on-the-spot.

That is equivalent of throwing a Nuclear Depth Charge at a POSSIBLE submarine when all you saw was a swirl of water – it is a dangerous and illogical response to one solitary event.

Article 14 (2) is a travesty of justice to sentient beings. It is NOT required and is too far fetching without just cause.

 

Section 5  Where a holding consists of two or more separate production units, Section 5 allows a derogation against culling to be granted providing the animals can be proved to be healthy. This Section also defines the requirements for surveillance of contact holdings.

A modicum of common sense prevails – the chance to prove the animals are healthy.

 

Section 6  deals with the establishment of a protection zone based on a minimum radius of 3km and a surveillance zone based on a minimum radius of 10km centred on an outbreak of FMD. The requirements for the treatment of meat and milk produced in the protection and surveillance zones are detailed in the Annexes

 

It is lamentable that taxpayers have paid good money for more than 10 years to find that existing laws and EU Regulations covering FMD are not robust enough and it takes an animal holocaust and economic catastrophe to awaken those meant to be doing their job properly and dare I say professionally. I refer to para 26.

(26) Council Directive 92/46/EEC of 16 June 1992 laying down the health rules for the production and placing on the market of raw milk, heat-treated milk and milk based products32 provides for the treatment of milk from animals kept within the perimeters of surveillance zones established in accordance with Community control measures for foot-and-mouth disease……….

In addition, the treatment for milk for human consumption provided for in that Directive exceeds the requirements of the code of the OIE on destruction of foot-and- mouth disease virus in milk and results in logistic problems in disposal of substantial quantities of milk refused by dairy plants. 

So we have been sitting on an EU Directive for more than 10 years which is patently in error, and nobody in MAFF/DEFRA/NFU/MLC/SVS/FSA has challenged it ! That is just disgraceful.

May I ask the new experts what is wrong with the conclusion of the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare, Adopted 10th March 1999 ?

Quote

7.3.2 Beef and beef products (also mutton)

Beef from the above animals may be commercialised within and out of the vaccination zone provided that one of the following treatment has been applied and certified by the competent veterinary authorities:

  • maturation of carcasses at a temperature of more than +20C for at least 24 hours and then the pH value in the middle of longissimus dorsi muscle has been recorded as less than 6.0, and deboning and removal of the main lymph nodes. Offal and heads should be destroyed or heat treated (Savi et al., 1962b).

Unquote

 

On passing, with the expansion of the EU there does not seem to be any mention of defining the “regionalisation” when taken in context of para 29 and defining “regions”.

(29) Council Directive 64/432/EEC of 26 June 1964 on animal health problems affecting intra-Community trade in bovine animals and swine35 provides for the definition of regions.

 

Given that overnight approval has been forthcoming allowing 10 “new” members into the EU, (previous Soviet Block countries) what actions have been taken by the EU or indeed these 10 “new” members to place in the Public Domain their FMD Contingency Plans ?

Para 39. Such contingency plans should be reviewed regularly, among other things, in the light of the results of real time alert exercises carried out in the Member States, the experience of the 2001 epidemic and in order to include measures to protect the environment.

 

Section 7 of the proposal deals with regionalisation, movement control and identification….

The EU para which applies “regionalisation” is sound and sensible.

5.6. Applying the principles of regionalisation with regard to the control measures allows the implementation of strict control measures in a certain part of the Community without endangering general Community interests.

 

Article 47  allows FMD susceptible animals to be moved from their holding only if they are identified in such a way that their movements can be rapidly traced.

Perfectly reasonable instruction.

 

Section 8  of the proposal deals with the issue of emergency vaccination. A decision to introduce emergency vaccination may be made when outbreaks threaten to become widespread, or when other Member States are at risk. Such a decision would normally be made by Standing Committee procedure, either at the request of the Member State directly affected, a Member State at risk, or the Commission itself could also initiate discussion on the use of emergency vaccination. There is also provision for a Member State to introduce emergency vaccination itself and have its decision reviewed and ratified later by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

Again DEFRA are misquoting Section 8, Article 50(3) !  The Commission need not start a discussion on the subject of vaccination, they could just order the UK to vaccinate !

I am very pleased to see this particular Section and Article, for it means decisive EU action on the vaccination front.

 

Article 50 (3) makes it plain the EU could sensibly intervene if the UK dithered in the future.

The decision to introduce emergency vaccination shall be adopted………. on the Commission's own initiative.

 

Annex X  Criteria for the decision to apply protective vaccination and guidelines for emergency vaccination programmes are set out in Annex X to the proposal.

Criteria to be considered include:

inability to carry out culling within the 24/48 hour targets;

if the density of livestock population is high in the area concerned;

if pigs are involved;

if airborne spread is predicted;

where the origin of the outbreak is unknown;

if the incidence is rising steeply;

and if “regionalisation” after vaccination is acceptable.

 

Your views are sought on whether you think the list of criteria is comprehensive or whether any additional factors should be taken into account.

 

There is a mixed message about when vaccination is to be used. Article 49 appears to give the green light in simple terms, by specifying the authority to proceed in para 1(a) namely;

DECISION ON INTRODUCING EMERGENCY VACCINATION

1. It may be decided to introduce emergency vaccination where at least one of the following conditions applies:

(a) outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease have been confirmed and threaten to become widespread in the Member State where such outbreaks have been confirmed;

Using that criteria, the UK should have vaccinated straight away in 2001 !

Which leads to the present day and what DEFRA would have to look at now - which is the conflict under Annex X. DEFRA have missed out some important points in their invitation for comment, e.g. Annex X (1) (b)

(b)   the pre-emptive killing of animals likely to be infected or contaminated cannot be safely carried out within less than 48 hours.

So we have this debate of pre-emptive killing all over again and the misplaced confidence of the UK government saying it can slaughter-out all those “likely” to be infected or “contaminated” (whatever ‘contaminated’ means in scientific and epidemiological terms) and on the other, protestors remembering the holocaust of healthy animals in 2001.  To my mind para 1(b) is an absolute nonsense practically, politically, scientifically and ethically. Since when has “safely” entered the equation in political slaughter ?

The barbs of the ifs, buts and legalese surrounding the Emergency Vaccination is an invitation for the weak-willed to pontificate and do nothing while Rome burns. I say that because the decision flow-charts and cross-references to be checked and approved are a kaleidoscope of cumbersome, lengthy, knotty verbiage. Taking Annex X itself, it has 10 items to be considered under the banner,

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA FOR THE DECISION TO APPLY PROTECTIVE VACCINATION 

Without entering into a debate for every one I have picked out 5 examples where indecision would flourish and prove the concept, ‘he who hesitates is lost’.

(1) Predicted airborne spread. The UK FMD ‘models’ used to predict such spread and effects have been condemned more than once by peer-revue after the event.

Dr David Shannon, ex-Chief Scientist at MAFF (later DEFRA) admitted the 2001 slaughter was based on,  flawed, biased and poorly thought through scientific advice. The thought of “bird table” meetings discussing airborne spread next week or next month is thoroughly depressing as these ‘models’ have NOT been brought up to any acceptable and validated standard.

(2) Incidence Slope. So we dither and wait till this “slope” shows a trend of “rising rapidly”. Once again, there is no definition of the “x” and “y” which may encapsulate this graph and hence show a “slope” – so more government dithering goes on. Uruguay did not wait to evaluate such nonsense and little needed “incidence slopes”.

(3) Distribution. Do we really have to wait until it can be said, it is “widespread”. By then vaccination should have been in full swing.

(4) Public Reaction to total stamping out policy - Strong . It is black humour even to have this inserted as “Additional Criteria”. The entire world was sickened and appalled by the UK government’s barbaric actions in 2001 so there is no need to claim this must be a measured quantity in the future. For the politically correct movement it is a little face-saving box-ticking exercise and nothing more.

(5) Acceptance of Regionalisation after vaccination. Ask Uruguay if this is really a factor in coming to a decision to vaccinate. As Dr Keith Sumption said on the 26th March 2002, “Never again should it be so costly in money, resources, animals, animal welfare or human misery”.

I would suggest within those Additional Criteria there is a deep reservoir of lame excuses and irrelevant detail not to vaccinate threaded into this Annex X and other Articles which seriously need weeding out. VACCINATION  is the modern and scientific method which adequately assists in the control of FMD and it must be used from the outset without incomprehensible political delays. Let there be no question about it.

 

Articles 54, 55 and 58  Detailed conditions applicable in the vaccination zone are set out in Art 54, 55 and 58

As these article cover post-vaccination, I believe they will be adequate to cover the affairs to which they relate.

 

Annexes VII, VIII and IX.  post vaccination treatments of meat and meat products and milk and milk products are detailed ……….. Some measures will be required until infection free status is recovered and, in some instances, the meat and meat products will have to carry a special mark……………. The treatments include heat treatment, deboning and maturing of meat and meat products and pasteurisation of milk from vaccinated animals. Views are sought on the practicality of these proposals.

There was no mention or perceived need for any special marking of such products pre 1992, and as a consumer I see no need now to go down that expensive path. The NCC takes the same stance, “….we take the view that food from vaccinated beasts does not need to be labelled.

I have attached a link to our website which explains our position in full.”

So said, Kathryn Williams (Press Officer) National Consumer Council (NCC)
Tel: 020 7881 3019
Fax: 020 7730 5851
e-mail: k.williams@ncc.org.uk

The UK Minister of Agriculture, Nick Brown, assured the nation – if not the world - on the 26th February 2001 that, “The Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency have confirmed that Foot and Mouth Disease has no implications for human health or food.”

So some irrelevant little “special mark” is surplus to existing food laws and common sense. Delete that silly illogical idea.

 

The 1999 proposals looked very robust indeed.

7.3.4 Milk and dairy products

In accordance with the OIE Sanitary Code 1997, Appendix 4.3.2.3, page 541, milk produced within the vaccination zone in the period from the beginning of vaccination until the removal of all restrictions may be commercialised within or out of the vaccination zone provided that one of the following treatments has been applied in a plant preferably located in the vaccination zone and certified by the competent veterinary authorities:

* if for animal consumption, (a) double HTST pasteurisation (720C for 15-17 sec), or (b) single HTST combined with another physical treatment, such as lowering the pH < 6 for at least one hour or additional heating to 720C or more, combined with desiccation, or (c) single UHT pasteurisation (1300C for 2-3 sec) combined with another physical treatment referred to in (b) (Sellers 1969, Cunliffe et al, 1979; Scientific Veterinary Committee,1994; OIE International Zoo-Sanitary Code 1997).

* if for human consumption only , check the pH and (a) if 7.0 or over (abnormal), treat by double HTST or single UHT; or (b) if less than 7.0 then treat by HTST or UHT. (Scientific Veterinary Committee,1994; OIE International Zoo-Sanitary Code 1997).

No special ban should be enforced on dairy products produced during the period from the beginning of vaccination until the removal of all restrictions, provided that the raw milk has been previously treated as above.

 

Section 9   Detailed provisions on the recovery of foot-and-mouth disease and infection free status are dealt with ……….. Where a policy of stamping out and “protective” emergency vaccination-to-live is used, disease free status can be recovered after six months.

If the penalty for using vaccination is no export status for six months, so be it.

I repeat the wise words of Dr Keith Sumption, Never again should it be so costly in money, resources, animals, animal welfare or human misery”.

 

Section 12 and Annex XVII of the draft proposal set out the requirement for detailed contingency plans which have to cover a “worst case scenario” and must give precise indications of how emergency vaccination would be handled, notably in regions containing the most livestock-dense areas. Environmental concerns about carcase disposal are given prominence.

Now that the stable door has been bolted shut, due attention is being given to areas where the nation was let down very badly by those who were meant to be doing a professional job of work.

I trust we can rely on them this time to “get it right” after two odd years of confinement .

As I write, the UK does not have such plans “up to speed”, e.g. worst case scenario as referred to in point 12 of Annex XVII and shall give precise indications of:

(a) the vaccine requirements considered necessary in the event of emergency vaccination, and

(b) the regions containing densely populated livestock areas.

New EU Regulations forbid on-farm burial of fallen stock or even the return of ones pet animal’s ashes, so how that squares up with, “bury or burn the carcasses of dead or killed animals on site.”

I do not know. Perhaps the blind Nelson eye is the way to deal with that signal.

 

Section 13  as is the requirement for Member States to create a permanently operational expert group to maintain expertise in ensuring preparedness against an outbreak of FMD.

Stage Manager - Loud noise of stable door being slammed shut and bolted.

Given there is scope in para 39 to impose “penalties”, how does the EU reconcile the fact the French government FAILED to honour EU Law and overtly refused to pay the massive EU fines imposed for refusing to import beef from Britain ?

(39) The Member States should lay down rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Directive and ensure that they are implemented. Those penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.

 

Article 75 (2) (e) states, “a shared daily journal which shall be maintained to record in chronological order all the events associated with an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and allowing different activities to be linked and co-ordinated”.

With whom is this journal being “shared” with ?

 

EU Para 40 says, “This Directive does not go beyond what is necessary in order to achieve the objectives…….”.  I beg to differ.

If as para 23 suggests, “control measures” are to be extended to animals that are not even susceptible, then slaughtering everything in the countryside is on the cards – wild deer, foxes, badgers, cats and dogs and of course the new number one target, POULTRY.

This is not proportionate, nor is required in an FMD scenario. Thus para 23 is seriously deficient and does exceed the requirements to bring FMD under control in a timely fashion.

Uruguay did so in 2001 without recourse to further improper steps as para 23 would have.

(23) In the event of an outbreak it may be necessary to apply control measures not only to infected animals of susceptible species, but also contaminated animals of species not susceptible to the disease, notably poultry, which may be mechanical vectors for the virus.

Para 23 cannot be held as good law, in that the definition of a “contaminated animal” can only be one that is “susceptible” to the FMDv – so please explain the death wish on poultry or sheep dogs, viz:

(j) “animal suspected of being contaminated” means any animal of a susceptible species which, according to the epidemiological information collected, may have been directly or indirectly exposed to the foot-and-mouth disease virus;

 

Conclusion

The simplicity and speed in which Uruguay initiated a very successful vaccination strategy to save their animals and people from the catastrophe which engulfed the UK is in stark contrast to the lengthy and convoluted EU Directive proposed to do the same job in the future.

 

Any good plan must be simple, easy to interpret, and easy to execute. This Directive does not qualify. There are far too many intertwining related threads that get tangled trying to verify and justify each other.

 

That Uruguay had the tools and the ‘will’ was enough for them. Their vaccination strategy was not even written into their Contingency Plan when they started vaccinating ! That is how easy, effective and efficient their plan was; no rocket science nor 125 pages of convoluted, complicated red-tape, nor 200 pages of instructions, 70 Annexes and 10 Appendices the UK had to produce to train vets how to deal with the UK “Stamping Out” policy and outbreak (done in a day).

“Sink the Bismarck” was the epitome in issuing a wartime order.

“Vaccinate susceptible animals” could be another in an FMD war.



[1] Professor Midmore (Prof of Applied Economics at the School of Management and Business; University of Wales) 2.3. The overall value of these exports at farm gate prices can be estimated, from the values provided by MAFF, as £550 million in the year 2000 (705 million in 1999). However, the exports affected would be only in the top three categories, valued in 2000 at £310 million (£430 million in 1999).

 

[2] DEFRA Jan 2002. SVJ Special FMD Report. Table 1, page 21.

[3]David Mackay, Epidemiology, Page Street. SVJ Special FMD Report. Page 22.