November 12 - November 19 2004 ~ "V" tag worries are reviving ancient arguments against vaccination
On 30th March 2001, directive 2001/257/EC (pdf file new window) approved limited protective vaccination for cattle in Cumbria and Devon, yet for reasons that are still not entirely clear, vaccination was turned down. The Guardian, in a most powerful article about "the power and influence of big business on government policy", blamed Nestlé UK ; Nick Brown blamed "large retailers and in particular Cadburys"; while David Hill of the NFU assumed the union had stopped the proposed use of vaccination after an "eye-ball to eye-ball confrontation" with the Prime Minister. (In September 2001, NFU officials were heard to say that had the government informed them that compensation for losses owing to vaccination was available under Directive 90/424/EEC they would have supported vaccination in April 2001. )
Even today, those who think animals with a "V" tag stuck to their ears will bring them less profit are worriedly remembering and reviving arguments against vaccination from that muddled time. One of the longest surviving is that "consumers won't want vaccinated meat" yet the Food Standards Agency was quite clear on this even in 2001: "we are confident that there is no human health risk from vaccinated milk or meat from vaccinated animals. " The National Consumer Council made it clear that "vaccinates would not need to be labelled" and a PQ on food safety in Jan 2003 should have put the matter finally to rest.
As for the deboning and heat treatment that would have had to follow vaccination had it taken place in April 2001, the EU derogation has removed that obstacle for the home market. OIE trading rules have changed to make vaccination easier and the EU Directive itself favours vaccination to live. Export losses because of vaccination should still be covered by EU Directive 90/424/EEC - amounts of money that could never approach the massive waste of public money caused by the still unfathomable decision not to vaccinate in April 2001.