Hoof And Mouth Epidemic in Animals--How to Stop It
Without Slaughtering Millions of Animals

ORGANIC NEWSLINE (Hoof and Mouth Disease--Scope of the
Epidemic and How to Stop It Without Slaughtering Millions of Animals)

Weekly International News from Organic Trade Services, www.organicts.com/,
THE organic industry portal on the Web.
Release · Vol 2 Issue 11
22 Mar 2001

Articles Included:

New Disease Scourge Wreaking Havoc on World Farm Trade

16 Mar, Reuters
Organic Farmers Group (UK) Speaks out on Hoof and Mouth Disaster
15 March
Organic Farmer & Consumer Organization in UK
Speaks Out on Hoof and Mouth Disease

19 March
UK: Organic Farmer Organises Legal Challange to Slaughter
March 20

New Disease Scourge Wreaking Havoc on World Farm Trade
16 Mar, Reuters

Like a modern day pox on all their households, the scourge of animal disease
is wreaking havoc on agricultural trade and could have a long-term effect on
the market and the farming industry, experts said. First it was the spread
of BSE from Britain to continental Europe. Then in a bizarre twist of fate,
foot-and-mouth disease was discovered in Britain in February, and this month
in France. Adding to the hysteria, another major meat exporter, Argentina,
confirmed last week that it too had an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
These outbreaks have set off a chain reaction of trade sanctions circling
the globe as countries free of the diseases desperately try to keep them
out. The U.S. Agriculture Department last week banned imports of meat from
the European Union, which it estimates will affect $278 million in trade.
"It's hard to identify any real winners (from the situation)," said Ben
Beneke, a senior analyst at World Perspectives, an agriculture analysis firm
in Washington, D.C. "The long-term effects could be weighing on the market
for quite some time."

Will World Trade Be The Loser? No one knows if at the end of the chain,
global agricultural trade will be the loser of the sanctions game. But
already there are signs that the panic is having some unintended
consequences far beyond Europe.

Some North African and central European countries indicated this week they
are restricting imports of grain from Britain and possibly other European
Union countries such as France because of foot-and-mouth fears. This
prompted a furious reaction from beleaguered European farmers, who fear the
spread of trade sanctions to the world market in grains, which is even
larger than trade in meat and livestock.

Decades Of Prying Open Markets Since the Second World War successive rounds
of global trade negotiations have gradually lowered some barriers to world
agricultural trade. Import tariffs were reduced and a start was made at
lowering export subsidies that distorted competition.

Global exports of fresh, chilled and frozen meat doubled to 20.8 million
tonnes over the decade through 1999, the latest year for which figures are
available, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said.
Leading exporters such as the European Union, United States, Canada,
Australia, Argentina and Brazil expanded agri-processing industries to take
advantage of the trend. Commodity analysts said a major question is whether
the impact of the disease outbreaks in Europe will quickly pass or have a
long-term impact.

The Case Of Taiwan: Some worrying hints of an answer might be found in the
case of Taiwan, which suffered a devastating outbreak of foot-and-mouth in
1997. A quarter of its 14 million pigs were slaughtered and a $1.55
billion-a-year pork export industry was killed. Taiwan still is not free of
foot-and-mouth. The outbreak led to trade diversion as the United States and
Denmark stepped in to fill Taiwan's exports of pork to Japan. "But no one
went without a pork chop," said Paul Drazek, a Washington-based agricultural
trade consultant.

While the European disease scourge may be a temporary boon to disease-free
exporters, those gains might be fleeting. European consumers may be spurning
beef for pork or chicken. The world's leading purveyor of hamburgers,
McDonald's Corp. said on Wednesday its sales in Europe have suffered because
of the disease scare.

Finally, as thousands of livestock are slaughtered and burned to stop the
spread of the disease, fewer animals will consume less grain, and imports of
grain, oilseeds and their products might decline, Beneke said. Chicago
futures prices for grains and soybeans have been hit this week due to such

Organic Farmers Group (UK) Speaks out on Hoof and Mouth Disaster
15 March

BioDynamic Agricultural Association - Foot and Mouth Epidemic
15 March, Bernard Jarman (Executive Director of the Biodynamic Agricultural

Outbreaks of Foot and Mouth disease have recurred at regular intervals since
the late nineteenth century. Each time, the disease strain seems to be
stronger and more virulent. Despite the success of the UK eradication
programme for many years, infection has once again spread rapidly across the
country. Modern agricultural systems are clearly extremely vulnerable to
such outbreaks of disease, a fact exacerbated by liberalised trade and the
relentless economic pressure on farmers.

As the funeral pyres of countless livestock darken Britain¹s skies, we could
do well to ponder what we as a nation have inflicted on our domestic
animals. Foot and Mouth disease and BSE are not natural disasters but come
as a direct consequence of a disregard for the intimate relationships
existing between soil, plant, animal and the whole of nature.

Sir Albert Howard working in India during the 1920's experienced how
important healthy humus-rich soil is for plant and animal health. In his
book "Farming & Gardening for Health or Disease", he showed how, through
caring for livestock in the best possible way, providing them with healthy,
natural food grown on the farm and without using any artificial fertilisers,
his animals could be resistant to many of the prevalent diseases including
Foot and Mouth. Indeed, so convinced was he of their resilience and health
that he allowed his animals to come into contact with infected animals and
contaminated pasture. This experiment was repeated 13 years running during
which time none of his animals became infected. In his own words " This
long experience of foot and mouth suggests that an important factor in the
prevention of animal disease is food from humus filled soil."

Lady Eve Balfour in her book "The Living Soil" confirms this in a reference
to an observation made to her by the government veterinary department in the
early 1950's, that outbreaks mapped across Europe indicated that the disease
did not spread into areas still being traditionally farmed.

Rudolf Steiner, (1861-1925) the founder of Bio-Dynamic agriculture and
horticulture systems, whose comments on bovine health suddenly assumed
critical relevance during the BSE crisis, describes how a cow's horns (and
hooves) fulfil a special function within the animal's organism, namely that
of redirecting the powerful forces and energies released by its metabolism
back into the digestive tract. "Anyone who wishes to understand Foot &
Mouth disease ­ that is the effect of external influences on the digestive
tract - must clearly perceive this relationship. Our remedy for Foot & Mouth
disease is founded on this perception"

During many years of extensive research on the nature and treatment of Foot
and Mouth disease, Eugen and Lilly Kolisko(1), pioneers in biodynamic (2)
and medical research, developed a comprehensive picture of it. They worked
with the above indications and went on to develop a remedy based on coffee.
Coffee seeds were found to contain the vital forces necessary to counteract
the disease. Extensive trials undertaken in Germany during the early
1920¹s, indicated a high degree of success, with a significant number of
cases treated subsequently regaining full productivity. Research however
was discontinued when widespread implementation of the slaughter policy was

Initial trials also indicated promising results for its prophylactic use
although with the necessity for repeated intravenous applications, it proved
extremely time consuming. Other preventative treatments based on herbal and
homeopathic remedies have also had some measure of success over the years,
especially homeopathic borax.

According to MAFF "The disease is rarely fatal, except in the case of very
young animals, which may die without showing any symptoms. All affected
animals lose condition and secondary bacterial infections may prolong
convalescence. The most serious effects of the disease however are seen in
dairy cattle. Loss of milk yield, abortion, sterility, chronic mastitis,
and chronic lameness are commonplace. There is no cure. It usually runs
its course in 2 or 3 weeks after which the great majority of animals recover
naturally. The justification of the slaughter policy is that widespread
disease throughout the country would be economically disastrous due to the
effects already noted above."

A vaccine specific to the current strain of virus is however available and
given a change in public policy, could provide immediate emergency

For eighty years it has been the UK government policy to eradicate Foot and
Mouth disease by slaughtering whole herds of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats
as soon as clinical symptoms appear. While the wish to keep British herds
free of disease is understandable ­ and thinkable only because we live on an
island ­ the consequences are truly tragic. It is heartbreaking for a
farmer, having devoted a lifetime breeding high quality and even pedigree
animals to see it all go up in smoke. And this when it is not even

From natures point of view Foot and Mouth is there for a reason and unless
the underlying causes are addressed the disease will continually recur. As
Brian Sewell writing recently in the London Evening Standard wrote "Applying
the late nineteenth century practice of the cordon sanitaire around
afflicted farms then made sense and so too, within it, wholesale slaughter
and the pyre, if keeping the country free of that pox was the priority that
overrode all others, but now there is no sense in this response."

Allowing Foot and Mouth disease serious as it is, to become endemic in this
country would immediately allow progress to be made and open up the
possibility for treating individual cases. Anecdotal evidence also suggests
that nursing animals through the disease builds up resistance and even makes
them immune to further infection.

While being organic and bio-dynamic offers no guarantee for immunity a
concerted effort to encourage such sustainable practices along with
recognising the efficacy of alternative treatments, would go a long way
towards rendering the current policy of wholesale slaughter unnecessary.
Background details and information on biodynamics is available from:

The Biodynamic Agricultural Association, Painswick Inn Project, Gloucester
Street, Stroud, Glos. GL5 1QG Tel / Fax: 01453 759501
E-mail - bdaa@biodynamic.freeserve.co.uk

(1) Dr Eugen & Lilly Kolisko undertook much research in the fields of
biodynamic agriculture and medicine. Their book "Agriculture of Tomorrow"
(currently out of print) contains a detailed account of their research
including a fascinating chapter on Foot & Mouth disease.
(2) Biodyamic Agriculture. Founded on a holistic and spiritual understanding
of nature and the human being, biodynamic agriculture has developed through
more than 75 years of world-wide farming experience into a leading example
of sustainable agricultural practice.
Organic Farmer & Consumer Organization in UK
Speaks Out on Hoof and Mouth Disease

19 March

UK Soil Association - Review Vaccination Strategy to Control FMD Immediately
19 March

Although the Soil Association has fully supported MAFF's approach [referred
to as Plan A] to control the outbreak of FMD in the UK until now, they
believe a review of the eradication procedures should take place immediately
as the policy is clearly failing to meet its objective.

Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association says, 'We think MAFF
should give urgent consideration to adopting a new policy, based on a
combination of selective slaughter and vaccination [referred to as Plan B].
Implementing this immediately will save further slaughter and aid the
financial recovery of dependent industries.'
Features of Plan A

Objective - to regain UK disease-free status as rapidly as possible

Slaughter of all animals in infected herds

Slaughter of all animals in nearby herds to achieve a 'firebreak' against
the disease, even if they do not show FMD symptoms
Critique of Plan A

MAFF policy isn't working ­ the number of cases continues to increase. The
disease is more virulent and has a shorter incubation period than was
initially anticipated

Due the lack of suitable manpower and resources, the long time delay between
detection, slaughter and incineration of carcasses is exacerbating the
spread of disease

It is likely that airborne spread will allow transfer of the disease to
farms further afield than the current 'firebreak' distances of 3 kms

The policy is having a devastating effect on the rural economy and is
particularly affecting the tourism industry

There is growing opposition to the policy of slaughtering potentially
healthy animals both amongst the public and within the farming community,
many of whom consider it to be morally unacceptable
The increase in nationwide livestock movements since 1967, including longer
distances travelled to abattoirs, coupled with a globalised food industry
(risk of contamination entering the country) has led to the rapid
transmission of disease throughout the UK

Features of Plan B - Selective slaughter and vaccination

Objective ­ to regain disease-free status as soon as possible whilst
simultaneously addressing most, if not all of the weaknesses of Plan A

Slaughter only livestock showing clinical symptoms of the disease or those
which have had known direct or indirect contact with the infection.

Use vaccination to 'dampen' the spread of disease in infected areas

Use vaccination instead of slaughter in 'firebreak' zones

Maintain current restrictions on livestock movement to prevent the infection
of new regions until policy is working effectively. Review how livestock
movements are regulated in the future.

Allow vaccinated animals to enter the UK food chain

Strengths of Plan B

Can be introduced immediately (500,000 vaccine stocks exist, enough for 1m
sheep) and the programme is more likely to prove effective than Plan A
within a shorter timescale

Vaccination programme far less costly to implement (most farmers are capable
of administering inoculations). 'Firebreak' zones can be extended quickly
and stock can be treated in situ

Confines need for slaughter to a much smaller number of animals thus saving
healthy animals on affected farms

Far more acceptable to public opinion and the farming community

Policy has proved effective in Albania and Macedonia in 1996 (the disease
was eliminated in 12 weeks and 3 weeks respectively)

The current UK outbreak meets criteria which has already been developed by
the EU for the introduction of a vaccine control strategy

UK: Organic Farmer Organises Legal Challange to Slaughter

March 20

Organic farmer and entrepreneur Peter Kindersley is backing a legal
challenge to the government's foot-and-mouth slaughter policy. He is also
financing a High Court bid by Cumbrian farmers for a judicial review of the
policy and mounting a technical challenge through the Berkshire-based Elm
Farm Research Centre. The organic farming trust - which is part funded by
the Agriculture Ministry and the European Union - helped produce a paper
this week arguing that the widespread cull of animals had started too late
and was scientifically mistaken.

Mr Kindersley believes the cheapest and most effective solution against the
current outbreak is vaccination. He said: "It would take the Cumbrian
farmers five days to vaccinate 100% of their cattle and in the next three to
seven days, the complete herd would have immunity. It would be over by the
end of April."

He said a judicial review would test the rationale for the extended cull.
"If the court agrees with our arguments, we will be asking it to call a halt
to the slaughter of healthy animals and to refer the matter back to
ministers for urgent reconsideration." The case is due to be heard this
week in the High Court in London.

Opponents of vaccination also argue that animals would then need boosters
every six months and would not be protected against all strains of the
disease. But Mr Kindersley said there were now tests available to
distinguish between animals which had been vaccinated and those which were
carrying the disease.

"There are five tests available in the European zone and that gives you then
the right to export."

The slaughter policy would not protect the nation against a future outbreak,
said Mr Kindersley.

"Are they going to go through the same ritualistic burning of animals again
and again and again because there is no way you can stop someone throwing a
ham sandwich over a fence or unscrupulous people bringing swill in."
Mr Kindersely and his wife Juliet own the 1,850-acre Sheepdrove Organic Farm
which carries beef, sheep, poultry and cereals.

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