Is there another Report to the OIE superseding and perhaps amending any of this?
It looks as though DEFRA is claiming to the OIE that it had sampled all the Confirmed Cases. What do you think?Presumably this would have links with claiming for EU compensation re verification?
warmwell comment: If this report is very recent - and we will try to find out if it is - it may well be a desperate damage limitation exercise to avoid being left with a huge...really unbelievably huge...bill for the compensation the EU may well refuse to pay.
If the EU knows that premises were culled where no blood test was taken and no epidemiological link can be proved with a premises that was positively blood tested - then it is likely to refuse to authorise compensation from EU coffers.
The EU Temporary Committee will have been asking some very awkward questions indeed - in spite of all the best efforts of those trying to distract attention from the handling of the crisis.
It seems very likely that this report is intended to give an impression that all was done correctly. We know of course that it was not.Just to give you a flavour in the first few pages:Page 11While the first outbreak of disease was formally confirmed by the CVO on the basis of laboratory examination of samples from affected animals, local veterinary staff were subsequently authorised to diagnose disease on the basis of clinical signs alone and before receiving the results of the laboratory examinations, following consultation with a veterinarian at the NDCC who officially confirmed the presence of disease. (NB Defra states that lab tests were done to confirm disease where vet has clinically diagnosed the disease, albeit after slaughter.
warmwell comment: This is not our understanding of what happened.
It sounds like an attempt to hide and obscure the real situation.
Of the 2026 infected premises, 1324 have positive laboratory tests, leaving 401 negative premises and 301 untested premises.
EU law (directive 85/511/EEC- the minimum community control measures) requires the testing of animals clinicallyl 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 clinically 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)).Page 12The VO was responsible for determining the order of slaughter and for supervising the slaughter team during the killing process to ensure they were despatched humanely. . (This obviously did not happen throughout the whole outbreak)
(warmwell comment: Indeed it didn't. One has only to read Helen O'Hare on the subject.)Page 13 (this supports Page 11)When the extent of disease became apparent, SVS veterinary officers were allowed to confirm disease on the basis of clinical signs. Where disease was confirmed on clinical grounds alone, fluid and tissue samples were still taken from clinically affected animals and examined at IAH Pirbright using prescribed OIE tests. Where laboratory examination of samples failed to detect the presence of virus, the case remained confirmed, as did the consequent arrangements for the establishment of 3 km and 10 km protection and surveillance zones and slaughter of animals on contiguous premises. (As I read this it again claims that samples were taken in all clinically diagnosed cases)
Warmwell comment: It may appear to be claiming this - but nothing at all that we have read supports such a claim. The so-called IPs that returned negative results (401 of them) and the 301 where we understand no test was carried out may well prove to be a stumbling block in the government's claim for compensation from the EU. Pirbright were adamant that their testing was accurate. Pre-emptive culls took place around so-called IPs that had negative lab tests returned. The inescapable inference of this is that those IPs were not in fact infected at all and that pre-emptive culling around them was illegal under both domestic and EU law. The pre-emptive killing round the untested IPs may well prove to be equally illegal once the precise locations are known.Pages 14 and 15Preventive slaughter of animals on holdings at risk of FMDFMD susceptible species on holdings identified as being at risk of disease (dangerous contacts) as a result of the epidemiological enquiry carried out in connection with each outbreak, were compulsorily destroyed as were FMD susceptible species on all holdings contiguous to an infected premises without waiting for the presence of disease to be confirmed. A target time of 48 hours was set for the animals on contiguous holdings to be destroyed, starting from the time suspect FMD was reported to the Local Disease Control Centre. Where there was clinical evidence of disease on such holdings the presence of disease was confirmed on clinical grounds and samples were sent to IAH for laboratory examination for virological and/or serological examination.Where there was no clinical evidence of disease, blood samples were taken for serological examination and if FMD antibodies were detected, disease was confirmed on the holding...... (Two points here: blood samples were certainly not taken in all of these cases? If disease can be confirmed on the basis of antibodies, why was this criterion not used to confirm disease after Sept 30th? There is an explanation for this later, but I am not convinced - it seems to me that the criteria were changed to suit the situation. It seems that they are exploiting a very loose definition of the term "disease").
warmwell comment: Agreed. The wording of that paragraph and much else here is very odd and unclear. Anyone with any familiarity with what happened would be immediately suspicious of the way DEFRA is trying - without blatant bare-faced lying - to imply that everything it did was rational and reasonable.
It sounds as though a great deal more testing was done than is actually the case.
Saying that "a target time was set" implies that it was adhered to. We now know that between 19 February and 25 March for example, only 53% of actual IPs were slaughtered within 48 hours let alone the contiguous premises where delays in slaughter times were often so great that if the animals had really been diseased enough time would have elapsed for this to be self-evident at slaughter since incubation times had been exceeded.
It does not state that samples from all holdings were sent for test. It only implies this.Page 15 (Movement controls)Once FMD had been confirmed on 20 February and as soon as it became apparent that disease had probably been spread through the movement of sheep across a sizeable part of the country, the whole of Great Britain was designated a Controlled Area for the purposes of the FMD Order 1983. (No indication of the fatal delay in imposing movement restrictions - instead a "reassuring" statement).