Some Extracts from DEFRA's comments to Inquiries

scientific advice is that the policy of culling susceptible animals on contiguous farms is vital to get ahead of the infection by removing animals that were already potentially incubating the FMD virus. The advice was informed by four epidemiological models.

Throughout the outbreak, the Government have kept vaccination actively under review. Vaccination would be used if scientific advice were clear that it was the most appropriate measure to shorten the outbreak. But vaccination on its own could never have eradicated FMD entirely.

Ring vaccination...would have to be very large to catch all secondary cases, some of which app0eared in this outbreak more than 10 km from the source. This strategy was not used at the start of the outbreak because it was too late by the time FMD was identified in the UK ....without cooperation from the farmers it would not have been possible to implement quickly enough to be effective. There was only a very limited window of opportunity when vaccination was an option - i.e. before cattle were turned out.

The use of vaccination in the netherlands earlier this year did not save animals' lives. In fact for each case more animals were killed than would have been under the UK's contiguous cull policy (1-.000 animals per case in the Netherlands compared to 2000 per case in the UK) aLL vaccinated animals were killed and destroyed as required by the EU Decision that permitted the Dutch vaccination programme.

The Government recognised early in the outbreak that future EU and international policies for handling FMD would need to be reassessed, including the role of vaccination. The UK, with the Dutch, took the initiative to organise a conference that takes place in December 2001. Topics will include the possible future use of vaccination.

During the period of infectivity before FMD was confirmed on IP FMD 20001/04, windborne spread of virus had infected cattle and sheep on nearby farms in Northumberland

Nearly 4 million animals have been destroyed in the current outbreak....a further 2.5 million have been killed mainly in abattoirs under the Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme.

.....the Agency considers that the available results show that pyres have posed no additional risk to health through the food supply and, although a few results remain to be reported they do not expect them to change the situation

Mass burial sites were created in certain locations to cope with the needs. Such sites were established and used at Birkshaw forest, Lockerbie; Great Orton, Cumbria; Throckmorton, Worcestershire; and Tow Law, Durham. These sites are not being used at present.

FMD seriously compromises the welfare of affected animals

All premises where animals have been slaughtered for disease control purposes are required to have completed preliminary disinfection as soon as practicable after the slaughter and disposal of the carcasses. DEFRA bears the cost of this preliminary disinfection....Before premises can be restocked with animals they are required to undergo secondary cleansing and disinfection (C and D) to the satisfaction of DEFRA staff. DEFRA normally pays the costs of secondary C and D, providing farms are in a reasonable state of cleanliness and repair, there are no health and safety implications for those concerned and the costs incurred are proportionate to the individual farm situation. In the small number of cases where C and D does not take place the premises are required to remain under restrictions for twelve months.

Some concern has been expressed at the mixed message: on the one hand, maintain tight biosecurity; on the other get visitors back to the countryside. There is no inconsistency between the two.