Hello, everybody, Quick summary of "Countryfile" programme on vaccination in Argentina

Basically, the programme said that they used to vaccinate routinely all cattle/sheep and pigs in Argentina. They remained free of FMD so, in 1999, stopped vaccinating. They now have FMD back and are vaccinating again and said that they will continue to do so.

A woman rancher said that they never kill animals if they have the disease - she said they just treat those with mouth sores and foot sores with medicine and they recover. If calves have it very badly, they pen them up and nurse them until they get better. She said it was not viable to slaughter.

Dr. Bernardo Care (I think that was his name!), the chief vet, said, when asked about slaughter, that if, after two weeks, foot and mouth disease is still spreading, forget it and vaccinate! He said they have been vaccinating for 30 years, the vaccine is perfectly safe for animals and consumers, and they export between 50-60% of their meat - to Germany, Spain, United Kingdon, Canada (not Japan, Korea or Mexico). They hope to keep up with the virus as it mutates and they are currently producing 20 million doses of vaccine every month (which protects against the 4 most common FMD strains).

Animals apparently need vaccinating twice a year and the cost of vaccination for one animal is one American dollar a year (including costs of administering it).

The Argentinian Secretary of Agriculture said that countries that don't vaccinate are always taking a risk, now that people travel all over the world, etc - and he commented that UK must have a lot of money - "too much money!" - to be able to keep killing so many animals to stop the spread of a disease.

In Holland, Professor Osterhaus said that present policy was to kill infected animals, cull directly around the infected farms and then ring vaccinate. Another speaker suggested that, in future, people would like to see the legislation changed, so that there was vaccination without culling afterwards. It was said that people should postpone mixing vaccinated animals at first with unvaccinated animals, but there was hope that there would soon be tests to show the difference between sick animals and vaccinated animals (I thought there were already such tests - can anyone help me here?).

The speaker finally said that there was an ethical dimension to this - and nothing would change in UK as long as the NFU continued to believe in a non-vaccination policy.

It ended with Elliot Morley saying that we still had to consider the effects on markets and the impact on exports (which included all the food industries and not only meat). Lord Haskins also commented again on the problems with vaccinating sheep (what are those problems, please???).

The two farmers who were sent to Holland for the programme to talk about vaccination came back with their views unchanged. The woman, Paula Wootton, still firmly believed in vaccination, while the man, John Raine (an NFU person as well, I believe) said he still wasn't entirely convinced - and wouldn't be, until he was convinced that vaccinated animals wouldn't be culled afterwards, and that there was a definite market for vaccinated meat.

And that's all I can remember! Please correct or add to this, anyone else who saw it. My overriding impression was that all the Argentinian people thought that we were absolutely mad, irresponsible idiots, following the policy that we are following!

Lots of love, Quita