Where the Contiguous Cull is illegal under European Law

Domestic law

does not require laboratory testing to confirm disease ( ie a clinical diagnosis will suffice) nor does it require the testing of pre-emptively culled premises.

EU law (directive 85/511/EEC- the minimum community control measures)

requires the testing of animals clinical infected, suspected of being infected or exposed to disease.
A negative test rules out the presence of disease; a positive test confirms disease (Articles 4 (1) and 5(1))

The only exemption to testing is for clinical infected animals found on a holding, where that holding can be epidemiologically linked to another holding where disease has already been confirmed at laboratory test (Article 5(3)).

Therefore, under :-

Domestic law

  • where a veterinary surgeon confirms that animals are clinically infected with FMD he will declare that the premises on which they reside is an infected place, a pre-emptive cull around this infected place can occur if, there are reasonable grounds to suggest that, contact or exposure has occurred and this contact or exposure occurred at a time when the infected animals were likely to have been infectious. Such a cull is legal and necessary.

  • any farms which were pre-emptively culled due to their contact or exposure to farms where FMD had been ruled out, by virtue of a negative laboratory test result, were culled illegally and unnecessarily ( 1700-3000 farns).
  • any farms which were pre-emptively culled due to their contact or exposure to farms which had FMD but where contact or exposure did not occur were culled illegally and unnecessarily ( up to 5000 farms).

    EU law

  • all 8226 pre-emptively culled premises should have been tested to see if contact or exposure had occurred. The timing of this test, relative to the time of slaughter, is not stipulated and could occur at slaughter: obviously if taken at slaughter the main benefit is to show whether the pre-emptive culling policy is being accurately targeted.