Jan 6 ~ We now have the Final Report and annex for the Brussels Conference 12-13th December.
In her opening speech, the Minister in charge of Agriculture, and President of the Agriculture Council of the European Union, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, stressed that, in a most painful way, the FMD virus did not observe national boundaries.
At any time the virus could affect a sensitive population anywhere, after either deliberate or accidental introduction.
Any evaluation of the Foot and Mouth policy had not only to include the technical veterinary aspects but also the social, economical and ethical aspects
The Minister suggested the conference should address the following questions :
Is there no choice but to destroy millions of healthy animals to bring an outbreak of FMD under control?
Are the disadvantages of emergency vaccination so strong that we prefer to fight the virus with our bare hands?
What is the outcome of the costs benefit analyses of an eradication strategy versus a vaccination strategy? Should such an analysis take account of all consequences, i.e. the social consequences as well?
Are better vaccines available nowadays than 10 years ago, are there better laboratory tests allowing making a distinction between infected and vaccinated animals?
How can we avoid a similar situation in the future?
How do we handle the possible threat of a deliberate introduction of the virus into a sensitive population?
Finally, the images of burning animals and overcrowding of animals had turned the European consumer away from meat, intra-Community consumption had decreased and we had become increasingly dependent on exports. How could we escape this vicious circle ?
International Conference on Prevention and Control of Foot and Mouth Disease 12 - 13 December 2001, Charlemagne - Bruxelles