The anti-vaccination brigade are turning their coats
 

Now - over a year later  - the experts, desperate to educate the British Government are shown to have been right all along.

"In essence, the case being made by the genuine scientific experts on FMD, like Professor Fred Brown, Dr Simon Barteling and other world-class vets, was very simple. It was backed by years of first-hand experience and the knowledge of how rapidly the science of vaccination had been advancing even in the preceding few years. What they tried to explain, as did Brown and Barteling at a press conference in London on April 24 2001, was that the proper use of modern, oil-adjuvanted, single-dose, high-payload 'killed' vaccines

 would have been enough to stop the entire British epidemic in its tracks within a few weeks.

They would have begun with 'ring-vaccination' round every infected area and worked inward until the disease was eradicated.

Seriously Infected animals might still have had to be culled. But within 48 hours of vaccination animals would have ceased to be capable of passing on infection.

 There was no scientific reason why vaccinated animals should be slaughtered, or why their meat and milk should not enter the human food chain (every supermarket in the country offers meat from animals which have been vaccinated for other purposes).

Modern vaccines are effective against a full range of FMD strains.

And by the end of March more than enough vaccine could have been made available to carry out a vaccination programme sufficient to bring the British epidemic quickly to an end"


http://www.faringdon.org.uk/warmwell/nfmdreport.htm  (Not the FMD report  Private Eye)
 
Mr Brown announced that, in light of continuing resistance from farmers and the food industry, coupled with growing evidence that the slaughter policy was containing the disease,"the case for vaccination recedes as the daily number of cases declines". Then Professor King handed out to the incredulous MPs a photocopied graph. This showed that the precise date on which Professor Anderson's computer was now predicting the epidemic curve would finally hit zero was June 7; the very day Mr Blair had chosen for his election. It was a brilliant double ambush. Vaccination had been snatched off the agenda in the nick of time. Professor Anderson and his allies had won the day. And there was nothing Mr Blair could say or do about it, except privately to resolve that, when the election was over, his agriculture minister would be demoted, as humiliatingly as possible.

http://www.faringdon.org.uk/warmwell/nfmdreport.htm
 
And right from the start of the present crisis, scorn had been poured on vaccination by senior vets, such as Keith Baker, the past president of the British Veterinary Association, who claimed it offered"no guarantee" of protection, and that"stamping out the disease by slaughtering infected animals wins every time". For the NFU the most important factor was that vaccination would cost Britain its disease-free status and an export trade in meat, meat products and livestock which MAFF said was worth #570 million a year, even though this was already far outweighed by the financial damage inflicted by the 2001 epidemic on the UK economy as a whole.

 
.............

The NFU's immediate response to the vaccination plan was one of horror. Its president Ben Gill later recalled"I was actually speechless. What's happened? Only a few days ago this wasn't an option". But the really significant opposition to this move towards vaccination was not that from the NFU and MAFF. It was that coming from the man who now occupied the most influential position of all in the government's fight against the disease, Professor Anderson. This initiative seemed to pose a direct challenge to the strategy with which he was now so firmly identified, the accelerated mass-slaughter policy, which even Professor King was now predicting could end up killing half of all Britain's 65 million farm animals.

The Anderson team had always been fervently opposed to vaccination against FMD (which was odd, considering how useful it had shown vaccination to be in its epidemiological studies of human diseases). Privately they had already made common cause with Ben Gill and the NFU, as useful allies in fronting any public battle against it. And from now on, behind the scenes, the resistance to the new policy favoured by Mr Blair was to be relentless. .............faced with what he perceived as a threat to his mass-cull strategy, Professor Anderson went into overdrive. Using his authority as the leading member of King's Chief Scientist's Group, he and his team rushed together a secret report to be sent to the prime minister, pouring scorn on vaccination and claiming that, even if all the 60 million farm animals in the UK were vaccinated, this would merely have the effect of masking the disease, leaving it to strike again within weeks or months. On Wednesday April 4, the outbreak total passed the 1000-mark, reaching 1020. The anti-vaccination campaign now recruited representatives of the food processing industry, headed by Peter Blackburn, chief executive of Nestle, which derived 75 percent of its powdered baby milk from cows around Cumbria. On April 5 the Chief Scientist's Group used Anderson's paper to brief the NFU against any use of vaccination to control the current epidemic. By Monday April 9, when outbreaks reached 1137, Nick Brown claimed that, thanks to the Anderson strategy, the rate of new outbreaks was now diminishing and warned, along the lines suggested in the Anderson paper, that any use of vaccination might mean the epidemic lasted longer. And on April 11 Anderson showed his skilful exploitation of the media when the Daily Telegraph published a full page feature by its science editor Roger Highfield, headed"Has The A-Team Defeated The Virus?". This was an adulatory profile of Anderson's team, complete with dismissive comments on vaccination and graphs from the famous computer showing how, if the accelerated slaughter-and-cull strategy had not been implemented, the epidemic would have reached 400 outbreaks a day by early May. But the graph also showed how, thanks to the cull strategy, outbreaks were now expected to drop to zero in early June, helpfully marked by the Telegraph as coinciding with Mr Blair's chosen election date.

....Mr Blair instructed Nick Brown to persuade the farmers that vaccination was now the only alternative, in advance of announcing the programme for Cumbria and Devon four days later, on Tuesday April 17.

Mr Brown set about his task without conviction. Vaccination, he limply told BBC1's Countryfile,"would only work as a strategy if everyone involved was committed to making it work". Anderson's ally Professor King was despatched to Cumbria to talk the farmers round, to predictably little effect. The NFU's anti-vaccination campaign was now in full swing, centred on the claim that vaccination would delay any restoration of export status by"at least 12 to 18 months", and echoing Anderson's point that it would only prolong the epidemic rather than eradicate it. On April 19 Anderson again made powerful use of the Daily Telegraph, when a 'leaked' copy of his paper led the front page, under the headline"Warning On Vaccination Swept Aside". A"confidential report from the government's scientific advisers" wrote agriculture editor David Brown,"warned Tony Blair two weeks ago that foot-and-mouth vaccination could do more harm than good". It could"prolong the epidemic" and could"threaten food exports worth #30 million a week".


 And yet......

Anderson lambasts "appalling" vet research
BioMedNet News

by Bea Perks, BioMedNet News

Epidemiologist Roy Anderson, widely credited with formulating the government's culling policy during the UK's 11-month foot-and-mouth (FMD) epidemic, today launched an uncompromising counter-attack on veterinary scientists. Many vets have openly criticized Anderson, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College in London, for failing to take account of their research, notably studies based on the last British FMD outbreak in 1968.
But that research is of "appalling" quality, Anderson told a group of medical physicists today at a symposium on Simulation and Modeling Applied to Medicine, organized by the Institute of Physics in London......
Anderson and his team had modelled the epidemic, officially declared over by the International Epizootic Office (OIE) in Paris on Tuesday, not on animal studies but on what is known about the transmission of human sexually transmitted diseases. "It wasn't all that difficult to transfer this to a veterinary contact," said Anderson, who rejects criticisms from vets and farmers that his models are flawed.
.......... Anderson now promotes vaccination of livestock to prevent another epidemic, but still insists that vaccinating flocks and herds once the virus had taken hold would have prolonged the epidemic.
He is not impressed by arguments that lessons learnt during the 1968 epidemic were ignored. "The quality of the quantitative data was appalling," said Anderson. "Veterinarians should be taught a little bit of mathematics and statistics."
The remark incenses one vet who actively campaigned for vaccination.
......... As for questioning her peers' grasp of statistics, she is momentarily speechless. "Oh! Excuse me!" she choked. "We think that the statisticians should learn a little bit about stock breeding and agriculture," she told BioMedNet News.
Anderson treated each animal as one piece of data, she says, regardless of wide variations in value. Breeding stock and rare breeds, for example, have a higher value.
"If a veterinarian had been doing this I don't see how it could have happened," she said. ......
Anderson is too distanced from the farming and veterinary communities, says Haywood. "He should come out here," she said. "He should get out more."
23 January 2002 - posted Jan 27

 

http://www.faringdon.org.uk/warmwell/nfmdreport.htm

On Thursday March 29, as the outbreak total reached 729, Gill and other 'farmers' leaders', briefed by Anderson, sought a meeting with Blair to launch their counter-attack. For 90 minutes they pressed their case against vaccination, claiming there were 'positive signs' that Anderson's cull policy was already working. The Scottish NFU leader Jim Walker said that vaccination would be"an admission of defeat". Faced with such an onslaught, the prime minister put off a decision on whether to implement vaccination in Cumbria and Devon until after the weekend. This would give four more days to assess whether the Anderson strategy was working.


 
From a scientific point of view, Dr (Peter) Nettleton dismissed control by vaccination at the present time. He added that if such a policy had been implemented "we would still be in the middle of the epidemic."
There were many problems in dealing with the virus, he said, not the least of which were the many strains of the disease. As the scale of the outbreak rose, a number of eminent scientists, backed by animal welfare enthusiasts, clamoured for a vaccination programme.
But Dr Nettleton stated that much of the science calling for this course of action was flawed as it was based purely on how guinea pigs had reacted in a laboratory situation some two decades earlier.  (Dundee Courier) http://www.thecourier.co.uk/febcourierrede/NewsStory.cfm?StoryID=20127&Today=151201
 
He really genuinely spoke all this garbage!

http://www.warmwell.com/vaccoct27.htm

VACCINATION FOR FOOT AND MOUTH
 

A Personal View by Dr James Irvine,
Cultybraggan Farm, Comrie, PERTHSHIRE PH6 2HX.
e-mail to: LandCareScotland@aol.com
The Scottish Farmer,
27 October 2001, pp. 18-19

................Bearing in mind that the UK foot-and-mouth epidemic is the worst the world has ever seen, Prof King's arguments against vaccination and justifying that culling had been the only way to bring the recent foot-and-mouth outbreaks under control and would remain so in the future are as follows:

- Since vaccinated animals can still carry the disease and harbour it for some considerable time, vaccination would be ineffective.
Does Prof King not understand even the fundamentals of any vaccination programme, be it for measles, smallpox, poliomyelitis etc?

You do not have to vaccinate every potential host for the virus, but a sufficient percentage to ensure that the virus does not have an adequate number of hosts left in which to replicate. That is why the Chief Medical Officer is so keen that the uptake of the triple vaccine for children does not fall below a certain percentage of the population.

It does not matter as far as epidemiological control is concerned whether children incubating the virus may remain infectious. If sufficient numbers of the total children at risk are vaccinated, the virus will die out of the population because in a relatively short time there will be nowhere for it to go. Likewise with foot-and-mouth disease in sheep and cattle.

- He states "that nation-wide mass vaccination does not necessarily stop the disease spreading from generation to generation." He argues that since mothers can pass antibodies to their offspring through their early milk, this gives temporary protection, but at the same time, interferes with the young animal's immune response.
So what? If sufficient numbers of farm livestock have been vaccinated, sooner, rather than later, there will be no infection for the young animals to pick up. How else does Prof King reckon that the devastating epidemics of viral infections in man have been controlled by vaccination? By worrying about whether an infant will have its immune response to the virus in question modified by antibodies from its mother? It sounds much more like a disingenuous justification for advising against vaccinating. Where has intellectual scientific honesty gone?

- He argued that mass vaccination was unacceptable because, in the absence of a recognised test to distinguish between antibodies caused by infection and antibodies caused by vaccination, it would have been impossible to tell the true extent of viral presence in the country's livestock.
He is quoted as saying: "If we had embarked upon such a programme, we would not have been able to free up large areas of the Scottish, English and Welsh countryside." What Prof King did not acknowledge was that the science of distinguishing antibodies produced by infection as opposed to those produced by vaccination has been available for a substantial number of years.

He also did not acknowledge that offers from abroad and indeed from within the UK to help were refused by the Government authorities. The Government agencies, although they were informed some years before the UK epidemic (and must have themselves been aware) that

the UK was a sitting duck for foot-and-mouth disease, apparently did nothing and refused all help to get such diagnostic tests (or indeed the "new" vaccines) validated for use in this country or indeed the EC.

The scientific basis for such diagnostic tests is sound. To do nothing in the face of such knowledge for so long in the presence of an obvious risk of catastrophe is inexcusable. How can the Government establishment at Pirbright, England, justify its status as a world centre for the study of foot-and-mouth disease? The "new" science (which in reality is several years old) would have predictably led to providing us with a diagnostic kit that could be applied on farm to check for evidence of infection or vaccination, with clear distinction between the two.

In other but related fields of scientific endeavour, there is plenty of evidence that this could indeed be achieved. Bureaucracy got in the way so that such important scientific advances could not be used until such time that trials in the EC had been done. The golden opportunity of doing the trials during the epidemic was missed with all help refused.

Such trials should have been done before the outbreak as part of a contingency strategy, which clearly was non-existent in spite of the obvious risk. Bureaucratic rules emanating from what appears to be an incompetent EC Veterinary Committee prevailed, while it waited to be asked.

Apparently, it does not intend considering what to do about the UK epidemic and its spread to elsewhere in the EC until later this year. Everyone must now be aware that the EC is very good at making endless directives, but is useless at business management in terms of making realistic decisions within a practical time frame.

The ongoing 20-day standstill in relation to the movement of livestock would have been unnecessary, etc, with immense economic and welfare savings. For example, livestock could be checked for the appropriate antibodies before they moved off the farm. A vaccination programme could readily be monitored for compliance etc.

Yet Prof King is quoted as saying that the same recipe of culling will apply should a further foot-and-mouth disease outbreak occur.


 
On 27 March, with over 100,000 rotting carcasses still lying in the fields and 634 outbreaks declared, Ben Gill, president of the NFU, took a hand.  He went on television denouncing vaccination saying that ' his members' wanted the killing speeded up.  Vaccinated animals were the ' walking dead' .
 
Viscerally opposed to vaccination, and in the thrall of Ben Gill, he (Nick Brown)  ' bounced' his leader, announcing to incredulous MPs attending the Commons Agriculture Committee on 23 April that, because the number of outbreaks was reducing, vaccination was no longer necessary. (Richard North http://www.warmwell.com/northprologue.htm)
 

 

Vaccination Works!

Lies that are spreading this plague

by Jonathan Dimbleby, President of the Soil Association     ......  Six weeks after the outbreak was first detected, vaccination, in the words of the Agriculture Minister Nick Brown, remains a ‘last resort’.   In the meantime, the ‘first’ resort has entailed the massacre of more than one million cattle, sheep and pigs. Almost all of these – 95 % – were healthy animals which had the misfortune to be within a danger zone.  (written six weeks into the crisis)


From Booker's Notebook Dec 30th 2001

AT the end of the year I reflect sadly on how many battles that I have reported in this column seem to wind on without resolution. One of the weirdest battles of 2001, for instance, was that over the vaccination of animals against foot and mouth disease.
On one hand a phalanx of the world's leading veterinary experts, led by Professor Fred Brown, Dr Simon Barteling and Dr Paul Sutmoller, tirelessly made the case for a vaccination policy that could have saved Britain from much of its worst ever farming disaster.
Yet on Friday's (i.e.28 December)   BBC Today programme, the Government's chief scientist, Professor David King - whose expertise is "surface chemistry" - was yet again allowed by the presenter James Naughtie to trot out all those tired objections to vaccination that are dismissed by the real experts as being based on no more than scientific ignorance.
Change, however, may be on the way. Earlier this month, at a two-day international conference in Brussels, it was clear that the British team, led by Margaret Beckett, the Secretary of State for the Environment, was now almost totally isolated in its hostility to vaccination.
It was the British who, in 1990, persuaded Brussels to drop the policy of routine vaccination which in 30 years had made the European Community disease free.
As David Byrne, the Commissioner in charge of foot and mouth policy, made clear, however, there is no way that the EU could accept any repetition of the catastrophic mass-slaughter of healthy animals which marked the 2001 epidemic in Britain.
Mrs Beckett and Professor King may soon find they are forced to accept vaccination regardless. It will be fascinating to see just how quickly their objections melt away once the policy line from the top has changed.....

 


Aug 16 ~ In Carlisle last night, a lot of Cumbrian farmers were asking questions...

Mr Ben Gill waffled and waffled - indeed, the hot air breathed out reminded one of a mushroom cloud - but he gave no answers. The roving microphone kept breaking down, so the questions could not be heard. Even the most stalwart apparently, were silenced by this trick. Everyone agrees they WILL NOT VACCINATE until this epidemic is over. Then they will. 7 cases in Cumbria yesterday. Mr Gill admitted to having received from Ruth Watkins her papers on vaccination, but he said he hadn't read them.


Mr Scudamore, promoted to Director General Animal Health at Defra, added: "Vaccination remains an option, but it could still be ruled out. We need to look at the particular controls imposed on products from vaccinated animals. If we had vaccinated in Cumbria, for example, under current rules these animals would have had to stay in the county for one year."
He will now work closely with the nation's vets to ensure that the Government has a panel of experts to call up in any emergency. ,,,,(?)
Dec 27


Even Newer Muckspreader
Private Eye

..........Bernado Cani, Argentina's chief vet, explained how his country has been successfully using vaccination for 30 years and that it is completely safe both for animals and consumers. FH Pluimers, Holland's chief vet, explained how it is now perfectly possible to distinguish between animals that have been vaccinated and those which have been diseased, and that the EU must put vaccination top of its agenda in dealing with any future epidemic.
Up to her feet then rose a strange dinosaur, Mrs Beckett, seemingly unable to grasp a single word of what all these experts were saying. Vaccination would be very difficult, she said, because consumers would not want to eat the meat from vaccinated animals (she is clearly unaware that every supermarket in the country offers meat from animals which have been vaccinated up to 20 times). We have no guarantee that vaccination is safe for the animals, intoned Beckett. There are no tests to distinguish between animals that have been vaccinated and those which have had the disease. Brothers, Big Sister was a laughing stock. It was shameful to think that this sneering, antediluvian creature represented Britain to the rest of the world.
posted Dec 26 2001

..................................................................

Mass culling doubts in virus review
Guardian

Andrew Osborn in Brussels
...........She argued, however, that a vaccination policy was fraught with problems.
Consumers were unwilling, she said, to eat meat from vaccinated animals, while the disease itself, if left unchecked, caused extreme suffering and even death to animals. Vaccination was also expensive, a massive logistical challenge, and it remained impossible, she added, to distinguish between infected and vaccinated animals.
The Dutch farm minister, Laurens Brinkhorst, called for "a fundamental change to our current policy of non-vaccination". He said infected meat should not be disposed of since "it bears no risk to human health and there is no reason Dec 13

..............................................................

Beckett warns of virus jab dangers
Farmers Weekly

By Philip Clarke in Brussels VACCINATION against foot-and-mouth disease carries many problems, Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett has warned. "There are seven major strains of foot-and-mouth," she told a conference in Brussels on Wednesday (12 December). "Vaccination against one confers no protection against all." Ring-vaccination was not a practical option when the UK outbreak was detected earlier this year, said Mrs Beckett. By then, there had already been 1.3 million sheep movements and the virus was widespread. There was also strong resistance to the idea of preventative vaccination, she said. The implications of losing export markets for 12 months outweighed the benefit of protecting against the disease. Mrs Beckett was sceptical about the use of new marker vaccines and tests to differentiate between infected and injected animals. Even if the tests were validated, there was unlikely to be demand for meat from vaccinated animals at home or abroad. "Preferring vaccination is not the same as being willing to buy and eat meat from animals vaccinated against foot-and-mouth," she said. She was concerned about the effect on tourism if vaccination was adopted as the main way of combating the disease. The cost of foot-and-mouth to the tourist industry was more than double the cost to farming, she indicated.
(See Inbox )
Dec 14


MISINFORMATION about vaccination

The constant cry that "vaccination remains an option" from those responsible for making sure that during 2001 it was an option that never really saw the lighht of day will now be often quoted. But together with this mantra came the misinformation to convince others that vaccination was not appropriate for 2001. This was malicious nonsense.

Those responsible maintained that:

1. Vaccination doesn't help as there are 7 serotypes and they are not polyvalent.

Merial has a substantial library of vaccine strains to provide cover against newoutbreak viruses as they occur and was therefore in a position within a few days of the first case in the UK to confirm that several of its vaccine strains, including O Manisa, were appropriate to protect against thedisease. Depending on the epidemiological situation, FMD vaccines may contain one or more strains and monovalent, bivalent and trivalent vaccines are commonplace where the valency refers to the numbers of serotypes in the vaccine. Since 1990 the FMD control programs of all the countries of South America have successfully used oil-adjuvant vaccines for the systematic vaccination of cattle. The vaccine is cost-effective, does not produce any undesirable side effects, and is well accepted by the farmers and livestock industry. The vaccines contained in the European Vaccine Bank, when tested with homologous strains by injection of the virus on the tongue - a quite heavy challenge - were seen to protect all animals.

2. They are too expensive because they do not last for the life of the animal - until they make a vaccine that does there is no point.

This argument is indeed all about money and nothing about the efficacy of vaccine. The inference is that the EU will put up money for such research and enterprise. Scientists (especially those at Pirbright) will fall in with this since they will leap at the chance of generous funding for "research".) Even a quarter of a dose of the vaccine contained in the European Vaccine Bank, was shown to be protective for 80 % of the animals, (a level which is in general considered as sufficient for herd protection.) Sheep can be very well protected by both aqueous and oil-adjuvant vaccine with long lasting immunity induced by the latter type of vaccine.

3. Validation and more research into tests to tell the difference between vaccinated and naturally infected animals needs looking into and financing - the EU have funds for this.

Tests to detect antibodies against non-structural proteins are not 100% sensitive in individual animals, but perform very well if used for screening on a herd basis. If required, individual animals can further be tested for presence of virus e.g. by probang tests or PCR . Tests to discriminate between carriers and vaccinated animals have been widely used and the results are internationally accepted.

4. Vaccination can only play a small part in the control of FMD because the vaccines aren't good enough - research and funds were needed to put this right for the future. ....as things stand it is clear the British Government had done the best thing possible in the actual control of the disease

The idea that vaccines need to be improved is nonsense. The current vaccines protect perfectly well and with the available concentration technology we can make them as potent as we like. Of course, vaccines can be improved further but this does not mean that the available vaccines could not have stopped the outbreaks. In fact in South Africa and in The Netherlands it was demonstrated that it did so - also for the Panasia O-type.

5. Vaccination would not have helped to control our outbreak - the spread of the disease meant they could not place any 'rings' because they did not know where to start and stop hence slaughter was a better policy.

The idea that ring vaccination is somehow impossible whereas contiguous culling is easy is utter nonsense. Ring-vaccination should be carried out including all susceptible species without delay. Preferably, the vaccination must be carried out from the outside of the "ring" towards the outbreak farm. Simultaneously, vaccination must proceed from the center towards the outside, to protect as soon as possible the most endangered farms. In the immediate vicinity of the outbreak farm, the large holdings should be vaccinated first because potentially those are the largest "aerosol samplers". Ring vaccination of the livestock in the immediate vicinity of an IP farm must be carried out before the removal of the carcasses.

6.The British Government got rid of the disease quicker and with fewer dead animals (proportionate to the size of the outbreak and the fact we had 'no warning') than Holland who used vaccination.

After vaccination was completed, the Dutch Government changed its mind about keeping the vaccinates alive and insisted on slaughtering the animals - in a bid to qualify for normal trading after three months. That was the main reason why their vaccination strategy created such a high number of animal deaths. It was not that vaccinating caused proportionately more slaughter. Yet this nonsense of the British Government getting rid of the disease quicker and with fewer dead animals is peddled every time vaccination in the Netherlands is mentioned. Many Dutch farmers attempted to fight the slaughter in the courts and there was further public outcry. Dr Frits Pluimers CVO of the Netherlands made an impassioned speech at the December conference, stating that he could not in the future ignore the will of the Dutch people and that vaccination would certainly be used should they be unfortunate enough to have another outbreak. However, they would never again follow a policy that slaughtered vaccinated animals, proved by tests to be uninfected. They would press for such tests, which he insisted do already exist, to be internationally validated, and trading rules brought up to date with the science.

7. UK consumers would reject vaccinated products

This was the silliest argument of all. British consumers have been eating vaccinated products for decades as have their European counterparts. The National Consumer Council denied that they had any intention of insisting upon separate labelling. The whole thing was a cruel piece of nonsense.


(From Alan Beats Newsletter September 19th 20001  DEFRAs arguments against vaccination)

 

 

(From Alan Beats Newsletter September 19 2001th 20001  DEFRAs arguments against vaccination)

 

 

We know that some of you do not visit the DEFRA website, so we have copied
below the latest information that is posted there about vaccination, just so
that you can see what we are up against!  We have highlighted some of the
most glaring errors - or are they deliberate lies? - with our comments in
brackets like this #(  ):


Vaccination against Foot and Mouth Disease - Key Issues:
The Government's primary objective is to eradicate Foot and Mouth Disease.

Vaccination would be used if it were clear that it was the most appropriate
measure to shorten the outbreak.

Where vaccination is used we would want to ensure that disease would not
continue to circulate.

A mass, nation-wide vaccination programme designed to end Foot and Mouth
Disease and allow remaining animals to live has never been proposed. It
would be an enormous logistical exercise, but leaving logistics aside the
underlying science does not support this approach. First vaccination does
not remove the virus.

 #(Oh yes it does!  The virus dies out completely once there are no
susceptible livestock to keep it going)

Second, nation-wide mass vaccination would make it impossible to tell how
far the virus is present in the country's livestock.

#(See above comment - no new cases, no virus, no need to look for it
anymore)

Some people want to use vaccination to protect rare flocks or herds. Others
suggest limited vaccination as an experiment. Whatever the reasons for doing
it, if isolated pockets of animals are vaccinated and allowed to live, we
have to deal with the problems this creates: vaccinated animals could
harbour and possibly transmit virus to unvaccinated animals in surrounding
areas.

#(All scientific evidence shows that this cannot happen - vaccinates do not
transmit disease)

 Vaccination would also trigger controls and restrictions for neighbours who
might not want their animals vaccinated.

# (Why? Vaccinates pose no risk so there is no need for controls)

 The arguments for vaccinating relatively small numbers of animals to live
therefore need to be overwhelming before they are deployed.


For more information, read about the science behind vaccination.



Vaccination Strategies

There are a number of different ways in which vaccination could be used. For
example, the vaccination programme might be 'suppressive', which generally
means that the vaccinated animals would be subsequently killed, or
'protective', which means that the vaccinated animals would be allowed to
live out their economic lives.

There are a number of terms used to describe vaccination strategies. The
most common expressions are 'ring vaccination', and 'firebreaks' or 'buffer'
zones.

Ring vaccination is used to describe vaccination within a boundary drawn to
circle an area of known infection.

The size of the area covered would depend on geography, available human and
vaccine resources, and assessment of the disease risk.

The Dutch carried out a programme of suppressive ring vaccination.

#(No they didn't.  It was originally protective until, one week after the
elimination of disease, the Dutch government changed its mind to betray the
trust of the vets and farmers)

A 'firebreak' or 'buffer' vaccination zone could be established between an
area with disease and a disease-free area. The aim would be to create an
area large enough to protect against spread of the virus around or through
the 'firebreak' zone.

A high proportion of the livestock within the vaccination area would need to
be vaccinated to develop enough immunity to prevent the disease taking hold
and spreading to clean areas.

Tight controls would be needed on the borders of the vaccination area to
reduce the risk of disease breaching the vaccination zones through movement
of vehicles, animals and people.

Restrictions
The movement of vaccinated animals would be restricted to within the
vaccination area, except when being moved directly to slaughter.

Vaccinated animals would have to be distinguishable from non-vaccinated
animals.

Meat from vaccinated animals would have to be deboned and matured (to pH <
6) to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, should it be present. These
deboning and maturation conditions also apply to imports from countries that
control Foot and Mouth Disease through vaccination. They can be met for beef
but are difficult to achieve for lamb and pork.

The length of time these restrictions would remain in place depends on
whether the vaccinated animals were slaughtered or allowed to live out their
economic lives.

If the vaccinated animals are allowed to live restrictions must apply for
twelve months following the last case of Foot and Mouth Disease or
completion of the vaccination programme, whichever is later. With a strategy
involving the slaughter of vaccinated animals, the restrictions would apply
for three months.

#(All the above complications are political in origin and can readily be
solved by political means)

Main considerations:

Vaccination is one strategy that is being considered in the fight against
Foot and Mouth Disease, but could not replace other measures such as
biosecurity (to prevent the spread of disease) or slaughter (if animals do
become infected). (See 'The science behind vaccination')

# (There is no need for "biosecurity" following vaccination, normal life can
be quickly resumed)

Vaccination would only be used if it helped to eradicate the disease more
effectively than slaughter and increased biosecurity alone. The use of
vaccination is continually being assessed during this current outbreak.

#(Everywhere else in the world, vaccination has been, and is, used more
effectively than slaughter alone)

Considerations that would affect the decision include:

How many farms and animals would be included in the vaccination programme?
Are there enough resources available, including vaccine?
Will there be the necessary level of support from farmers and others who
would be affected by a vaccination programme?
What is known about the disease situation in the area, and can we know where
to place the vaccination area boundary?
How would it complicate the programme of blood tests needed to prove a lack
of foot and mouth antibodies?
Which species would be vaccinated and are there any species-specific issues
such as rate of reproduction, whether the post-vaccination treatments can be
met and the way in which they are kept (e.g. in or outside, free range,
hefted or intensive)?
If a specific vaccination strategy is considered to have disease eradication
benefits, what are the wider advantages and disadvantages, for example
implications for tourism and trade, costs of implementation and border
controls?

#(Briefly, there is plenty of vaccine available, it works, everything else
is bulls##t)


Vaccination against Foot and Mouth: Facts

There has been considerable media interest on the subject of vaccination
recently - below are some facts spelling out the Government's position.

Has the Governments policy changed and are there are plans to vaccinate in
six weeks time?
Fact : Vaccination is still an option and would be employed where
appropriate, on the basis of advice from the Chief Scientific Advisor and
Chief Veterinary Officer. This has always been the Government position. They
have not identified any new circumstances in which vaccination is
appropriate.

Did the Dutch approach to eradicating their disease prove that vaccination
is a more effective strategy than culling?
Fact : All vaccinated animals in the Netherlands were killed, so this
approach would not save animals' lives. Vaccination was used so that
slaughter and disposal could be carried out slower, but it did mean that
more animals were killed. In the Netherlands they killed approximately
10,000 animals for every infected premises, compared with about 2,000 per
infected premises in the UK.

#(Hang on a minute - "more animals were killed"?  260,000 in Holland
compared to over 5 million officially in the UK?)

In other respects there is no comparison with the Dutch situation and that
in the UK. They had the advantage of prior notice of a potential problem and
knew when, where and how the disease was introduced.

Have all the objections to vaccination been overcome, ie. are the scientific
advisors in favour, are concerns about a market for vaccinated meat ill
founded because we already import it and are most farmers now in favour?
Fact : The Chief Scientific Advisor and Chief Veterinary Officer will
continue to keep the use of vaccination as a means to help eradicate the
disease under review. They are not currently advising its use.

The Government and Food Standards Agency have issued advice to dispel any
concerns about the public health implications. However, this was only one
factor concerning the demand for vaccinated animals. There are also concerns
about a two tier market developing if the meat from vaccinated animals was
distinguished from that from non-vaccinated animals. In addition, there are
special meat treatments to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, as
vaccination does not necessarily prevent infection. The meat has to be kept
separate from other meat from non-vaccinated animals, and must be deboned
and matured (to pH<6). For lamb and pork the de-boning and maturation
requirements cannot be achieved easily. Meat imports from countries that
control Foot and Mouth Disease by vaccination (e.g. Argentina) are also
treated in this way.

Did the NFU veto the Governments plans to vaccinate cattle earlier in the
outbreak?
Fact : In April, the Chief Scientific Advisor and Chief Veterinary Officer
recommended a limited vaccination programme in Cumbria, provided it had the
support of the local farming community and others that would be affected. It
became clear that this support was not forthcoming, which would make the
programme harder to achieve on the ground, and as the number of daily cases
was diminishing the case for vaccination became less compelling.

#(In other words - yes)

Is the Government embarrassed by statements that vaccination should be used
in future outbreaks and by initiatives taken by other European Member States
to arrange a conference on vaccination later this year?
Fact : On the contrary, the Government recognised very early on in this
outbreak that a debate about the future role vaccination might play was
needed and it was the then Agriculture Minister, who with the Dutch
Agriculture Minister, took the initiative to set up this conference.

#(Words fail us here . . . )




Home>Vaccination>Science

Vaccination against Foot and Mouth Disease: The Science
The following sets out the current state of knowledge on the science of Foot
and Mouth Disease vaccination.

Key points
Vaccination can be used to help contain Foot and Mouth Disease, but on its
own would not eradicate the disease.

#(Funnily enough, it does eradicate the disease everywhere else in the
world)

High strength vaccines should provide immunity from about 4 days after
vaccination. A standard strength vaccine provides immunity from about day
10, and a booster would be needed about 28 days later. Immunity declines
after about six months.
Vaccination against Foot and Mouth Disease does not necessarily protect
against infection, so vaccinated animals can still spread disease.

#(Absolute rubbish, see above)

However, vaccination does reduce the likelihood that an animal will become
infected and reduces the amount of virus excreted if infection does occur.
Vaccinated animals are therefore less likely to spread disease than
unvaccinated animals.
Vaccination will not always work. If an animal is vaccinated when it is
already infected, vaccination will not prevent disease. Likewise,
vaccination may not work if the animal is exposed to infection shortly after
vaccination and before immunity has developed.
If young animals are vaccinated while they have maternal antibodies in their
bloodstream, the vaccine may not be effective. While the maternal antibodies
are wearing off, the vaccine may still not work, but the young animal is
vulnerable to the disease if exposed to infection.

#(If all the adults are vaccinated, how can the young be exposed to
infection - there won't be any)

Ruminant animals that have been exposed to Foot and Mouth Disease virus can
become persistently infected with the virus. The 'carrier state' is where
this infection continues for more than 28 days. Vaccination may reduce the
likelihood of an animal becoming a carrier, but will not prevent it.
Although there is little evidence that carriers have ever spread disease,
their presence may be a risk. This is an issue that affects international
attitudes towards trading with countries that use vaccination.

#(There is no evidence; the risk is hypothetical, it comes down to politics
again)

Conventional serology is not able to distinguish between infected animals
(including carriers) and vaccinated animals. There are tests available which
could distinguish the two, but these are not yet internationally recognised
and are not currently practical for large-scale use. As serology is
important in lifting domestic and international restrictions and proving
absence of disease, vaccination will seriously complicate the issue.

#(Do away with the political notion of FMD-free status and serology becomes
irrelevant)

The Food Standards Agency is satisfied that the use of Foot and Mouth
Disease vaccines would not have any implications for food safety, but there
may be practical problems in carrying out the required post-vaccination
treatments of meat. This may have knock-on implications for the potential
demand for vaccinated animals.
Related Pages


|  |)DEFRA 2001 | Published 14 September 2001

ENDS


Our final comment:  It is hard to escape the conclusion that DEFRA are
deliberately misrepresenting the facts in a vain attempt to justify their
own failed policy.  Anyone who attended the Bristol Forum could pick this
text to pieces.  The established, peer-reviewed science and practical
results in the field elsewhere in the world have been almost completely
ignored here, while the same old prejudices from the 1960's are trotted out
yet again.  The UK authorities seem to be stuck in a time warp of their own
making and have fallen far behind the so-called "third world" countries that
they regard as inferior!

But we will keep trying to change that.


from Alan & Rosie

 



Anne Lambourn writes,

"In view of the very interesting article that you posted on warmwell yesterday

from the Scotsman by Fordyce Maxwell (article can also be read below)

particularly his comments from the "farmer" who was anti vaccination, it is helpful to view some of the Info Sheets/advice posted by the NFUS (National Farmers' Union of Scotland) on its website over the weeks.

General index website link below - several pages.  Separate link given by me with each article.  Several news Releases/Information Sheets copied below. 

 Interesting to note how over the weeks the NFUS presented the anti vaccination argument.  See the type of advice they gave e.g. "Vaccination not legally allowed" in article "Why slaughter?  Why not vaccinate?".  Also, see the letter below and note the signatories.  In "Vaccination - the raising of false hope" it states that "Around 50% of the vaccinated animals would become carriers potentially spreading infection to other non vaccinated animals."  There are other Info Sheets worth looking at.

Website for Index of Information Sheets

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/By%20Category?OpenView

News Release
No : 92/01
Date : 18 April 2001
Contact : Maria Limonci
Telephone : 0131 472 4018
Email : Maria.limonci@nfus.org.uk

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/c63cc7c811b3184180256a02005f715d/95457ccadbc4cb1e80256a32005501e3?OpenDocument

OPPOSITION TO VACCINATION MOUNTS

Opposition to vaccination against foot and mouth has stepped up to include a wide range of farming, food and rural interests in Scotland.

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, the heads of ten organisations have warned that, if vaccination goes ahead now, it will undermine the government's whole strategy for dealing with the disease.

The letter points out that the current policy for eradicating the disease, devastating though it is, is beginning to work, so diverting resources from the existing policy towards vaccination would make no sense. They warn that vaccination would create new risks of spreading the disease and that, if it goes ahead now, it will be seen as a betrayal of all the farmers who have already sacrificed large numbers of animals under the pre-emptive cull. It will, they predict, cause chaos for the government's whole eradication strategy.

The letter has been signed by:

Jim Walker, President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland,
Neil Kilpatrick, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland,
John Duncan, Chairman of First Milk
Alan Wiseman, Chairman of Robert Wiseman Dairies PLc,
Keith Redpath, Chairman of the Scottish Beef Council*
Loudon Hamilton CB, Chairman of Scottish Food Quality Certification Limited,
Hamish McCall, President of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers of Scotland,
Rod Mackenzie, Scottish Chairman of the National Sheep Association,
Alec Telfer, Chairman of the Scottish Organic Producers Association

*This stance is also supported by the Breed Societies representing Limousin, Belgian Blue, Simmental, Charolais and Aberdeen Angus Beef Breeders

Ends

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

 

  Information


Date : 5 March 2001

Number : 31/01

Contact : Maria Limonci
Direct dial number : 0131 472 4018
E-mail address : maria.limonci@nfus.org.uk

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/c63cc7c811b3184180256a02005f715d/eab2ef3376a37d5c80256a070042c0a8?OpenDocument

FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE – WHY SLAUGHTER? WHY NOT VACCINATE?

A lot of questions are being asked about why it is necessary to slaughter animals with foot and mouth disease rather than letting the disease run its course or vaccinating against it. This note sets out to answer some of these questions.
7 Foot and mouth disease has serious animal welfare implications, even although it presents no risk to human health.
7 It is fatal to about 50 per cent of young animals. Whilst fewer older ones die, they can suffer prolonged pain and distress. Blisters form in and around the mouth and feet. These burst causing lesions. Animals find it painful to stand or walk. Some animals stop eating and starve. Animals lose weight (or stop gaining it). Milk production falls. There is no cure. Whilst animals recover, they are never the same.
7 If the disease is allowed to become endemic, there are few countries in the world which would accept our meat exports.
7 Vaccination is not legally allowed.
7 Supplies of vaccines against most of the 80 or so strains of foot and mouth disease are held in this country for emergency use only - and only after approval from the EU. Approval could only be granted if a member state justified it to the EU Standing Veterinary Committee. Vaccine has never been used in the UK.
7 The disease is currently too spread out around Britain to make even ring vaccination around the outbreaks a consideration – even if it was allowed. And even if the decision was made to prevent further disease spread by ring vaccination, the vaccinated animals would have to be slaughtered after the outbreak had been eliminated.
7 Vaccines are not 100 per cent effective and there is risk of a vaccination breakdown actually causing the disease.
7 If the vaccine works, animals develop antibodies which will be present and detectable in their system for maybe 18 months afterwards.
7 This means that our country's disease-free status is lost. Few countries in the world would accept our meat exports.

Note: This information has been jointly compiled by the National Farmers' Union of Scotland and the National Farmers' Union.

___________________________________________________________________________________-

 

 

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/c63cc7c811b3184180256a02005f715d/1657ba9342a49abe80256a310031a6d5?OpenDocument

 



VACCINATION – THE RAISING OF FALSE HOPE
BY Jim Walker, President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland


None of us underestimates what it will take to eradicate foot and mouth disease and the distress it is causing. The policy involves the slaughter of any animal either with the virus or suspected of being exposed to it. This is a massive operation which requires further resources, but devastating though it is, there is clear evidence that it will succeed. On the other hand, there is no hard scientific knowledge on disease control using vaccination on this scale from anywhere in the world. All the scientists have is information from field observations and small-scale experiments. Nevertheless the possibility of diverting scarce resources from a proven policy to an experiment with vaccination is once again on the agenda.

The arguments against vaccination are clear:
7 Vaccination does not guarantee immunity
7 On average 2 per cent of animals vaccinated would not get immunity
7 Around 50 per cent of animals vaccinated would become carriers of the virus, potentially spreading infection to other non-vaccinated animals

The EC has only given the UK permission to vaccinate cattle in Devon and Cumbria. They have laid down stringent movement controls on cattle within the vaccinated areas, with the requirement that products from those animals are labelled separately. What will consumers do confronted with a choice on the shelf of milk or meat labelled as having come from vaccinated animals?

These controls would be in place for at least a year after either the vaccination was completed or the last outbreak of foot and mouth occurred – leading to the economic collapse of agriculture and associated industries in these areas. The rest of the country would be condemned to a nuclear winter with the loss of exports of all livestock products.

Vaccination now would be a betrayal of all those that have already sacrificed stock to try and halt the spread of the disease. It will not get the universal support it requires. And its introduction will cause the breakdown of the slaughter policy. Hundreds of farming families in Devon and Cumbria would be expected to agree to sheep and pigs being taken out while some neighbouring vaccinated cattle survived. Cattle farmers elsewhere in the country would be expected to agree to the slaughter of their animals as the best means of controlling the disease. This will lead to confusion and bewilderment amongst the farming community already failed by lack of direction from Whitehall in the early days of this outbreak.

With the disease on the retreat, this is the time for strong leadership and courage at the top. It is not the time to let politics take over from common sense.


17 April 2001

 

News Release

No : 117/01
Date : 7 June 2001
Contact : Maria Limonci
Telephone : 0131 472 4018
Email : maria.limonci@nfus.org.uk

FOOT AND MOUTH – 100 DAYS IN SCOTLAND

The hundredth day since foot and mouth was first diagnosed in Scotland falls tomorrow (Friday 8 June 2001). According to the NFU of Scotland, the day sees the disease firmly on the wane, but not beaten yet; and a newly-elected government with the responsibility of ensuring that a solid agriculture industry is re-built and that such a devastating disease is never again allowed to take hold.

Jim Walker, President of the NFU of Scotland, said: "Farmers who have had to suffer the horror of losing their animals are desperate to move on. Many want to re-stock, but don't know when they will be able to, where the animals are to come from and what sort of market will exist for them. Some cannot face livestock farming any more and want to find a way of leaving the industry altogether.

"Farmers who still have their livestock are struggling to go about their normal business. Movement restrictions are still in place across the whole country and these are particularly strict in Dumfries and Galloway. No livestock markets are able to operate and we have no access to export markets, which are crucial since 40% of Scottish farmers' produce goes abroad.

"There is a clear need for government action in the short term not only to get the disease eliminated, but to provide the answer to the simple question that many farmers are desperately asking - how are we supposed to get through this season?

"In the longer term, a change in the way the industry is treated and managed by government is required. That means addressing the fundamental problems that have persisted over the past few years and have resulted in the average farm income last year being #3,800.

"We produce high quality beef which is in demand, yet even before foot and mouth arrived, our exports were restricted. At the same time we have repeatedly seen sub-standard and illegal imports come into this country. In the UK there is strong consumer demand for the food we produce to high welfare and quality standards under strict regulation, but when it comes to buying these products, consumers are baffled by a lack of clear country of origin labelling to identify them. Government must take effective action on all these fronts.

"This industry is resilient and the foot and mouth disaster has shown what a crucial economic and social role agriculture plays. The industry will re-build, but it will never be the same again and the challenge for the new government is to work with the industry to remove unfair trading conditions and encourage agriculture to prosper."


 

While every care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is accurate, neither the Union nor its employees nor Office Bearers accept any liability for the contents or their application to any individual circumstances.
 
 

In view of the very interesting article that you posted on warmwell yesterday from the Scotsman by Fordyce Maxwell, particularly his comments from the "farmer" who was anti vaccination, it is helpful to view some of the Info Sheets/advice posted by the NFUS on its website over the weeks.

General index website link below - several pages.  Separate link given by me with each article.  Several news Releases/Information Sheets copied below. 

 Interesting to note how over the weeks the NFUS presented the anti vaccination argument.  See the type of advice they gave e.g. "Vaccination not legally allowed" in article "Why slaughter?  Why not vaccinate?".  Also, see the letter below and note the signatories.  In "Vaccination - the raising of false hope" it states that "Around 50% of the vaccinated animals would become carriers potentially spreading infection to other non vaccinated animals."  There are other Info Sheets worth looking at.

Anne

 

Website for Index of Information Sheets

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/By%20Category?OpenView

 

 

News Release
No : 92/01
Date : 18 April 2001
Contact : Maria Limonci
Telephone : 0131 472 4018
Email : Maria.limonci@nfus.org.uk

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/c63cc7c811b3184180256a02005f715d/95457ccadbc4cb1e80256a32005501e3?OpenDocument

OPPOSITION TO VACCINATION MOUNTS

Opposition to vaccination against foot and mouth has stepped up to include a wide range of farming, food and rural interests in Scotland.

In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, the heads of ten organisations have warned that, if vaccination goes ahead now, it will undermine the government's whole strategy for dealing with the disease.

The letter points out that the current policy for eradicating the disease, devastating though it is, is beginning to work, so diverting resources from the existing policy towards vaccination would make no sense. They warn that vaccination would create new risks of spreading the disease and that, if it goes ahead now, it will be seen as a betrayal of all the farmers who have already sacrificed large numbers of animals under the pre-emptive cull. It will, they predict, cause chaos for the government's whole eradication strategy.

The letter has been signed by:

Jim Walker, President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland,
Neil Kilpatrick, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland,
John Duncan, Chairman of First Milk
Alan Wiseman, Chairman of Robert Wiseman Dairies PLc,
Keith Redpath, Chairman of the Scottish Beef Council*
Loudon Hamilton CB, Chairman of Scottish Food Quality Certification Limited,
Hamish McCall, President of the Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers of Scotland,
Rod Mackenzie, Scottish Chairman of the National Sheep Association,
Alec Telfer, Chairman of the Scottish Organic Producers Association

*This stance is also supported by the Breed Societies representing Limousin, Belgian Blue, Simmental, Charolais and Aberdeen Angus Beef Breeders

Ends

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

 

  Information


Date : 5 March 2001

Number : 31/01

Contact : Maria Limonci
Direct dial number : 0131 472 4018
E-mail address : maria.limonci@nfus.org.uk

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/c63cc7c811b3184180256a02005f715d/eab2ef3376a37d5c80256a070042c0a8?OpenDocument

FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE – WHY SLAUGHTER? WHY NOT VACCINATE?

A lot of questions are being asked about why it is necessary to slaughter animals with foot and mouth disease rather than letting the disease run its course or vaccinating against it. This note sets out to answer some of these questions.
7 Foot and mouth disease has serious animal welfare implications, even although it presents no risk to human health.
7 It is fatal to about 50 per cent of young animals. Whilst fewer older ones die, they can suffer prolonged pain and distress. Blisters form in and around the mouth and feet. These burst causing lesions. Animals find it painful to stand or walk. Some animals stop eating and starve. Animals lose weight (or stop gaining it). Milk production falls. There is no cure. Whilst animals recover, they are never the same.
7 If the disease is allowed to become endemic, there are few countries in the world which would accept our meat exports.
7 Vaccination is not legally allowed.
7 Supplies of vaccines against most of the 80 or so strains of foot and mouth disease are held in this country for emergency use only - and only after approval from the EU. Approval could only be granted if a member state justified it to the EU Standing Veterinary Committee. Vaccine has never been used in the UK.
7 The disease is currently too spread out around Britain to make even ring vaccination around the outbreaks a consideration – even if it was allowed. And even if the decision was made to prevent further disease spread by ring vaccination, the vaccinated animals would have to be slaughtered after the outbreak had been eliminated.
7 Vaccines are not 100 per cent effective and there is risk of a vaccination breakdown actually causing the disease.
7 If the vaccine works, animals develop antibodies which will be present and detectable in their system for maybe 18 months afterwards.
7 This means that our country's disease-free status is lost. Few countries in the world would accept our meat exports.

Note: This information has been jointly compiled by the National Farmers' Union of Scotland and the National Farmers' Union.

___________________________________________________________________________________-

 

 

http://www.nfus.org.uk/footandmouth.nsf/c63cc7c811b3184180256a02005f715d/1657ba9342a49abe80256a310031a6d5?OpenDocument

 



VACCINATION – THE RAISING OF FALSE HOPE
BY Jim Walker, President of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland


None of us underestimates what it will take to eradicate foot and mouth disease and the distress it is causing. The policy involves the slaughter of any animal either with the virus or suspected of being exposed to it. This is a massive operation which requires further resources, but devastating though it is, there is clear evidence that it will succeed. On the other hand, there is no hard scientific knowledge on disease control using vaccination on this scale from anywhere in the world. All the scientists have is information from field observations and small-scale experiments. Nevertheless the possibility of diverting scarce resources from a proven policy to an experiment with vaccination is once again on the agenda.

The arguments against vaccination are clear:
7 Vaccination does not guarantee immunity
7 On average 2 per cent of animals vaccinated would not get immunity
7 Around 50 per cent of animals vaccinated would become carriers of the virus, potentially spreading infection to other non-vaccinated animals

The EC has only given the UK permission to vaccinate cattle in Devon and Cumbria. They have laid down stringent movement controls on cattle within the vaccinated areas, with the requirement that products from those animals are labelled separately. What will consumers do confronted with a choice on the shelf of milk or meat labelled as having come from vaccinated animals?

These controls would be in place for at least a year after either the vaccination was completed or the last outbreak of foot and mouth occurred – leading to the economic collapse of agriculture and associated industries in these areas. The rest of the country would be condemned to a nuclear winter with the loss of exports of all livestock products.

Vaccination now would be a betrayal of all those that have already sacrificed stock to try and halt the spread of the disease. It will not get the universal support it requires. And its introduction will cause the breakdown of the slaughter policy. Hundreds of farming families in Devon and Cumbria would be expected to agree to sheep and pigs being taken out while some neighbouring vaccinated cattle survived. Cattle farmers elsewhere in the country would be expected to agree to the slaughter of their animals as the best means of controlling the disease. This will lead to confusion and bewilderment amongst the farming community already failed by lack of direction from Whitehall in the early days of this outbreak.

With the disease on the retreat, this is the time for strong leadership and courage at the top. It is not the time to let politics take over from common sense.


17 April 2001

 

News Release

No : 117/01
Date : 7 June 2001
Contact : Maria Limonci
Telephone : 0131 472 4018
Email : maria.limonci@nfus.org.uk

FOOT AND MOUTH – 100 DAYS IN SCOTLAND

The hundredth day since foot and mouth was first diagnosed in Scotland falls tomorrow (Friday 8 June 2001). According to the NFU of Scotland, the day sees the disease firmly on the wane, but not beaten yet; and a newly-elected government with the responsibility of ensuring that a solid agriculture industry is re-built and that such a devastating disease is never again allowed to take hold.

Jim Walker, President of the NFU of Scotland, said: "Farmers who have had to suffer the horror of losing their animals are desperate to move on. Many want to re-stock, but don't know when they will be able to, where the animals are to come from and what sort of market will exist for them. Some cannot face livestock farming any more and want to find a way of leaving the industry altogether.

"Farmers who still have their livestock are struggling to go about their normal business. Movement restrictions are still in place across the whole country and these are particularly strict in Dumfries and Galloway. No livestock markets are able to operate and we have no access to export markets, which are crucial since 40% of Scottish farmers' produce goes abroad.

"There is a clear need for government action in the short term not only to get the disease eliminated, but to provide the answer to the simple question that many farmers are desperately asking - how are we supposed to get through this season?

"In the longer term, a change in the way the industry is treated and managed by government is required. That means addressing the fundamental problems that have persisted over the past few years and have resulted in the average farm income last year being #3,800.

"We produce high quality beef which is in demand, yet even before foot and mouth arrived, our exports were restricted. At the same time we have repeatedly seen sub-standard and illegal imports come into this country. In the UK there is strong consumer demand for the food we produce to high welfare and quality standards under strict regulation, but when it comes to buying these products, consumers are baffled by a lack of clear country of origin labelling to identify them. Government must take effective action on all these fronts.

"This industry is resilient and the foot and mouth disaster has shown what a crucial economic and social role agriculture plays. The industry will re-build, but it will never be the same again and the challenge for the new government is to work with the industry to remove unfair trading conditions and encourage agriculture to prosper."


 

While every care has been taken to ensure that the information provided is accurate, neither the Union nor its employees nor Office Bearers accept any liability for the contents or their application to any individual circumstances.
 
 
 


FMD inquiries converging on vaccination

Fordyce Maxwell Rural Affairs Editor

A SINGLE public inquiry into last years foot-and-mouth epidemic would probably not have achieved any more than the plethora of separate ones.

But it would have been simpler. On 15 July, the Royal Society of Edinburgh report will be published; on 16 July, Sir Brian Folletts scientific findings; on 22 July, Dr Iain Andersons "lessons learned" and early in August, a report from the Cumbrian inquiry chaired by Professor Phil Thomas.

What looks like orchestrated leaks from the Follett inquiry suggest that it will recommend a major role for vaccination next time while an early draft - the one finally approved is believed to have been number eight - of the Royal Society of Edinburgh inquiry indicates that it will make the same recommendation.

That likelihood, and a general approach in the report which seems to favour some of the more emotional evidence given to the committee at public meetings, has produced another casualty - it is understood that David Mitchell, NFU Scotlands representative on the inquiry, has resigned. Mitchell, on union business in Brussels this week, was unavailable for comment, but it is also understood that his colleagues on the committee took a dim view of his decision.

The only conclusion to draw is that he was increasingly unhappy with the likely recommendations of the inquiry, conducted though it was by the pragmatic and practically experienced Professor Ian Cunningham.

An early draft of the RSE report "seems to be about finding as many ways as possible to recommend vaccination"

A farmer - not Mitchell - who went through the devastation of last years epidemic and has seen an early draft of the Royal Society of Edinburgh report said: "It does seem to be about finding as many ways as possible to recommend vaccination. "But lets be clear - as farmers we never ruled out vaccination, we just said it wouldnt work in the situation we had in Dumfries and Galloway or in Cumbria where cases appeared all over the place. "It could have worked in Devon, a compact geographical area. I wouldnt have argued. But we had to act fast and efficiently and, thanks to the Army and Brigadier Hughie Munro, we did. Incidentally, I dont think youll find a single reference to the Army in the report, or the troops superb logistics when dealing with more than 60,000 sheep a day. "When the reports published, youll also find the usual references to how vaccination worked in Holland and they were clear in three months. So were we. And, no matter what the vaccinators say, far more animals were slaughtered per infection in Holland than in Scotland.

"Not only that, remember the time that foot-and-mouth was raging in Scotland - March, peak time for lambing and calving. What theyre saying now, from the comfort of 16 months on, is vaccinate cows and ewes then well come back and slaughter them in a few weeks time? It was never on. "Nor was the belief that the public would buy meat or milk products from vaccinated animals. The supermarkets made that quite clear. "Other facts are just wrong. Theres a reference to carcass pyres giving off dioxins and a Food Standards Agency warning. Pyres were all about perception, we know they were awful. But the warning about dioxins was officially withdrawn later. The report doesnt mention that. "Theres a reference to Scotland being fortunate that the epidemic wasnt worse. It wasnt fortunate at all - we worked extremely hard to get that result, and it was successful. "Im sorry to say it, but the draft report Ive seen has all the hallmarks of being written by several different members of the committee entirely with vaccination in mind and no lessons learned from the fact that Scotland dealt with the epidemic by moving fast and slaughtering. "That lesson had been learned in England when the disease flared again in Northumberland and Yorkshire in August and September - that, and the fact that Scots were in charge."

Jim Walker, president of NFU Scotland, said yesterday: "Those are interesting comments, but I and my colleagues will have to study the published report of the Royal Society of Edinburgh before I can say anything. We will make a statement when it is published on Monday."

He added: "What I can say is that we continue to see meat imports as the potential source of many animal diseases, and these must be controlled - and more effectively than the government measures announced on Monday.


"We also say, and always have done, that if an outbreak can be controlled by vaccination instead of slaughter, then go for it. But next time wont necessarily be the same strain of foot-and-mouth, or in sheep."