The fight against fmd was a bigger task than the gulf war, says Brown

March 27, 2002 The Scotsman
COPING with last year's foot-and-mouth epidemic was a bigger logistical exercise for the government than Britain's involvement in the Gulf War, former agriculture minister Nick Brown said yesterday.

He was outlining the scale of the crisis at a special inquiry in Brussels - and pointing out that the slaughter of more than four million animals had to be offset against more than half a million cows, pigs and sheep which were killed for human consumption every year in the UK.

He also insisted to a "temporary committee" of cross-party MEPs that the government had acted swiftly and in line with EU requirements to tackle the epidemic. The inquiry has no legal powers but will produce recommendations about how EU governments should cope with any future disease outbreaks on farms, with particular reference to whether vaccination should be used.

The ban on vaccination against foot-and-mouth is in place because its general use would cost EU farmers disease-free status.

Brown told the committee that introducing vaccination would render animals and farmers "compromised" beyond the end of the outbreak, but government did believe that the EU's policy on vaccination had to be reviewed.

In dealing with last year's epidemic he said that the approach adopted by ministers and officials from the start was "a standard one" based on veterinary advice and aimed at strict containment of the disease and rapid eradication.

State veterinary services were reinforced immediately and, when the nature of the epidemic became clear, administrative teams throughout the country were strengthened. In total, 7,000 civilian and military personnel were drafted in.

The key aim was the slaughter of all animals on infected premises within 24 hours.

Disposal of carcasses was sometimes a problem, with burial hampered in Cumbria by the rock strata and in Devon by the high water table.

The widely-shown pictures of burning pyres had been "powerful images", Brown acknowledged.

Home | News | Organics | GE Food | Health | Environment | Food Safety | Fair Trade | Peace | Farm Issues | Politics
Español | Campaigns | Buying Guide | Press | Search | Donate | About Us | Contact Us

Organic Consumers Association - 6771 South Silver Hill Drive, Finland MN 55603
E-mail: Staff · Activist or Media Inquiries: 218-226-4164 · Fax: 218-353-7652
Please support our work. Send a tax-deductible donation to the OCA

Fair Use Notice: The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of scientific, environmental, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal or technical advice.