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Longlease and Foot & Mouth Disease in the UK '01 & '02

Source: The Daily Telegraph, 12 Jul 2002 [edited]

Labour's foot and mouth disease mistakes - --------------------------------

The official scientific inquiry into the foot and mouth crisis will recommend a three-pronged attack to tackle future outbreaks -- vaccination in the first instance; safeguards to ensure that disease control tactics are not influenced by party political considerations; and better livestock disease surveillance. The Telegraph has learned that the report from the Government-appointed inquiry, headed by Sir Brian Follett for the Royal Society, will say that the slaughter policy that cost 8 billion BP and led to the deaths of more than 10 million animals would be "untenable" in future as animal exports are worth only about 100 million BP a year.
Potentially the most damning tacit criticism of the handling of last year's epidemic contained in the 136-page report, which is due to be published on Tuesday, is that the contingency plan for dealing with an outbreak should be debated before Parliament to ensure ministers do not avoid implementing measures for political reasons. The recommendation is believed to have been drawn up in response to suggestions that the Government delayed calling in the military in the run-up to the election last year because it would have signalled that the outbreak had become a crisis.
One of the key recommendations of the Northumberland Report into the 1967-68 foot and mouth outbreak was to involve the military at the outset, but this recommendation was ignored when the contingency plan, designed to deal with just 10 outbreaks, was implemented last year. Although the military was consulted from the outset, it was not brought in until day 25 of the epidemic.
To ensure that accusations of political meddling cannot be made in the future, the Royal Society report says that "planning of a high order" and "an executive empowered by wide acceptance of the strategies being adopted" are needed to handle outbreaks of infectious diseases. The report says its authors have become "convinced" during the course of the 11-month inquiry that "no longer is it sufficient for plans to be issued by the executive alone, largely because some policies are viewed as controversial by one stakeholder or another and this weakens the ability to combat the disease invasion". A source close to the inquiry said yesterday: "A key finding is that to beat the disease one must act fast and decisively.
"The recommendation to debate contingency plans in front of Parliament is to stop any obstruction - - whether for politically sensitive or any other reasons -- from impeding the tactics needed to stop disease spreading." Evidence seen by the Royal Society inquiry also showed that vaccination would be expected to stop the disease in its tracks within 30 days. Last year, it took seven months to bring foot and mouth under control using slaughter in Britain. Vaccination brought the disease under control within eight days in Holland.
The report outlines a principle of vaccination using marker vaccines and tests to combat future outbreaks and also concerns about the difficulty of distinguishing between animals carrying antibodies because of infection and those carrying antibodies because of vaccination. The report will also point out that, following a change in rules by the Paris-based international animal health bureau, the Office International Epizooties [OIE], vaccination would not delay the resumption of exports much longer than a slaughter control policy.
The Royal Society report is expected to recommend a policy of vaccination within a 10km radius around any future outbreak, using marker tests after vaccination to weed out infected animals. As a double precaution, if any animal within a herd or flock tests positive for infection, then the report is expected to advocate culling of that entire herd. The report will say that further research is needed to ensure Britain is protected against future outbreaks of foot and mouth, and other exotic animal diseases.
It will recommend that a Centre of Exotic Animal Diseases, independent of the Government's Institute of Animal Disease at Pirbright in Surrey, is set up. The estimated cost of this centre is understood to be 220 to 250 million pounds. But Defra is not entirely supportive. It has told Sir Brian that it favours an animal health overbody, which it estimates would cost around 100 million pounds to oversee the various Government agencies responsible for animal health. [Byline: Robert Uhlig]

[Although the Telegraph's early report on expected recommendations of the Royal Society's Inquiry seem to be reliable, we prefer to wait with comments until the official publication of the full document. The Royal Society, founded in 1660, has 3 roles, as the UK academy of science, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. By virtue of its independent status and its body of some 1300 Fellows and Foreign Members covering all scientific disciplines, the Society is uniquely placed to represent the interests of top quality science and technology in its interactions with government, the public and the media. One of its activities throughout its existence has been "the production of authoritative statements and reports which provide incisive advice to government and the public on key issues in science and technology".
The Royal Society launched the "Inquiry into Infectious Diseases in Livestock" (IDL) on 9 Aug 2001, to focus on scientific issues relating to the transmission, prevention and control of infectious diseases in livestock. The Inquiry published 3 progress reports - on 8 Oct 2001, 21 Nov 2001 and 24 Jan 2002.
The Inquiry was chaired by Professor Sir Brian Follett FRS, University of Oxford and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick. Sir Brian's academic career was in research, with a particular interest in reproductive physiology and endocrinology. The other members of the Inquiry are: - -Mr Peter Allen, farmer and chairman of the National Farmers' Union Less Favoured Areas Committee; - -Professor Patrick Bateson FRS, Provost of King's College, University of Cambridge, biological secretary of the Royal Society; - -Mr David Black, practicing Veterinarian; - -Professor Fred Brown FRS, US Department of Agriculture, Plum Island Animal Disease Center; - -Mr Roger Eddy, senior vice president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and practicing veterinarian; - -Ms Suzi Leather, deputy chair, Food Standards Agency; - -Professor Simon Levin, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University; - -Professor Karl Linklater, Principal, Scottish Agricultural College; - -Ms Jeanette Longfield, Coordinator of Sustain (The Alliance for Better Food and Farming); - -Professor Ian McConnell, Dept of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge; - -Dr Angela Maclean, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford; - -Professor Andrew McMichael FRS, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford; - -Dr Jenny Mumford, Animal Health Trust, Newmarket; - -Professor Robin Weiss FRS, Windeyer Institute of Medical Science, University College London. The final report and evidence will be published on Tuesday 16 July 2002 and will be available to download from 11am from the web-site:

Source: The Times, Sat 29 Jun 2002 [edited]
[ProMED thanks Alejandro Rivera for bringing this item to our attention]
An end to mass slaughter: ministers to back foot & mouth vaccine ----------------------------------------------------------------------
The vaccination of cows, pigs and sheep against foot & mouth disease is set to be sanctioned by ministers after the mass slaughter and 8 billion UK pounds [approx 12.2 trillion US dollars] cost of last year's epidemic. Two government reports being published next month will herald fundamental changes in the way that future outbreaks are handled.
The U-turn will anger many farmers who fear that vaccination will jeopardise millions of pounds in exports. Consumer groups and food businesses have also suggested that it could lead to products being labelled with disease warnings. However, The Times has learnt that an official scientific inquiry headed by Sir Brian Follett for the Royal Society will recommend scrapping the slaughter policy which saw 10 million animals killed and the devastation of Britain's rural economy last year. Instead, the report will say that healthy animals should be vaccinated to prevent the disease spreading, and that there is no reason why meat or other products from such livestock cannot then be sold on supermarket shelves.
The Follett inquiry's recommendations are likely to be accepted by Margaret Beckett, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, next month. Senior government figures say the taxpayer and the tourism industry cannot be expected to pay the price for saving a meat export market worth less than 100 million UK pounds, a fraction of the outbreak's cost last year. The Netherlands used vaccination to control the spread of outbreaks last year [2001], but later slaughtered the animals and destroyed their carcasses to regain the disease-free status needed for exports within the European Union. However, ministers believe that the EU, which is conducting its own inquiries into livestock vaccination, can be persuaded to adopt the new policy.
There is also growing optimism about new synthetic vaccines being developed which, unlike existing products, do not carry any risk of contaminating healthy animals. This could lead to routine vaccinations of livestock at birth, a practice which previously led to import of meat from countries such as Argentina being banned or heavily restricted. Elliot Morley, the Animal Health Minister, told The Times last night: "I am a firm advocate for vaccination as part of a contingency plan. I only want to have a policy of 'vaccinate to live' -- otherwise what is the point?" He said that for the moment "blanket vaccination of every animal in Britain" would be difficult because there are so many strains of the disease [virus] and would make it difficult to export meat [there are 7 different types of FMD virus. - Mod.JW]. The minister insisted that objections from consumer groups and retailers to selling meat and dairy produce from vaccinated animals could be overcome.
During last year's epidemic, Mr Morley prepared a plan for Downing Street on vaccinating animals. However, he was opposed by Ben Gill, the National Farmers' Union leader, as well as business and consumer groups. At the height of the epidemic, a meeting with Tony Blair at Chequers which included Mr Gill, supermarket chiefs and food processing firms, finally rejected the plan. Since then the Government has faced sustained criticism over its handling of the crisis, which cost the taxpayer 3 billion UK pounds and the private sector -- including tourism -- a further 5 billion.
The Government's second inquiry into the epidemic, headed by Iain Anderson, a former Unilever executive, is expected to be published on 18 Jul 2002, the same week as the Royal Society report. Mr Brown, who was moved from Agriculture to the Department of Work and Pensions after the election, is believed to have been singled out for failing to take decisive action to prevent the outbreak turning into an epidemic. However, he is understood to have persuaded Dr Anderson to tone down some of his comments. The final report is likely to acknowledge that ministers were facing a virtually unprecedented situation and had to make decisions under intense pressure.
Ministers yesterday were reeling after a breach of disease controls was uncovered. Mr Morley said he was horrified and blamed "rogues" in the industry. He has called an urgent meeting with pig farmers next week to discuss the findings and to urge them to root out any cowboy farmers. He is angry that 10 days after a pig was identified with suspected foot & mouth disease, vets have been unable to track down the owner. A criminal investigation is now underway at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The pig was spotted at Dawkins International abattoir in Congerstone, Leicestershire and was one of 66 collected from Selby market on Wednesday last week. This pig and some of the consignment had no identification marks on them. Some 34 farmers from Yorkshire, had sent pigs to the market that day, but no one has confessed to being the owner of the animal.
[Byline: Tom Baldwin and Valerie Elliott] - -- ProMED-mail
[The British Government announced last year 3 independent inquiries on the 2001 FMD outbreak, which would report to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The inquiries were: 1. Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, as pledged by the Government, chaired by Sir Don Curry. 2. Scientific review by the Royal Society of questions relating to the transmission, prevention and control of epidemic outbreaks of infectious disease in livestock, chaired by Sir Brian Follett FRS; 3. Inquiry into the lessons to be learned from the foot & mouth disease outbreak of 2001 and the way the Government should handle any future major animal disease outbreak, chaired by Dr Iain Anderson. The terms of reference and timetables of the three inquiries can be seen at . The first inquiry reported to the government in December 2001. The other 2 are expected to do so during the second half of July 2002.
This news item from The Times includes details about both due inquiries; we have presented in our posting only the ones related to the Royal Society report since it deals with the vaccination issue, while the "lessons to be learned" one does not. It will be interesting to follow both reports when published. -Mod. AS]

TB Scare here in the UK!

30th March '02 Daily Mail Comment
"Cause for Hope in the Countryside! <click here>

23rd March '02 Daily Mail article <click here>

28th Feb. 2002.... See below but seems results came back negative. Seems will be a few more days before this is confirmed! Or negated! What the hell! We are disinfecting again just in case!

28th Feb. 2002....SUSPECTED FOOT & MOUTH: DEFRA BANS LIVESTOCK MOVEMENTS DEFRA this afternoon banned livestock movements in an 8km (5 mile) radius around a farm at Hawnby, North Yorkshire, as a precaution, after suspect lesions were found in the mouths of two sheep. The sheep were examined as part of an inspection visit required by DEFRA when farms restock after foot and mouth. Animals at the farm were slaughtered last August as part of the contiguous cull. Samples have been taken from the sheep for urgent testing for foot and mouth disease at the Institute of Animal Health laboratory at Pirbright in Surrey. In the meantime the two sheep are being slaughtered as a precaution. Animal Welfare Minister Elliot Morley said: “It is too early to say if this will be the first case of the disease since last September. The laboratory tests - which can take between 4 and 96 hours - will need to be completed first. “We must take no chances with this very infectious disease. The Department thoroughly investigates all suspect cases, precautionary measures are put in place and we stand ready to take immediate action if the tests show positive. “This suspect case underlines the need for farmers and vets to remain vigilant during the restocking period and during the lambing season, and to maintain high standards of biosecurity.” The precautions taken since the suspect animals were identified earlier today are: sealing off the suspect farm; halting all livestock movements within an 8km (5mile) radius of the farm tracing all farms which supplied sheep to the suspect farm, placing them under restriction and thoroughly inspecting them Press Enquiries: 020 7238 5599 Out of hours: 020 7270 8080 Public Enquiries: 08459 335577 Press Notices available via DEFRA Website
Goats on the yardsheep OK!
Thankfully, all well here!

10 million animals were slaughtered in foot and mouth cull
By Robert Uhlig Farming Correspondent (Filed: 23/01/2002)
THE number of animals slaughtered in the foot and mouth outbreak could be as high as 10 million - more than twice as high as official Government figures. On the day that Britain was officially declared free of the disease by the world animal health organisation, so opening the way for exports to resume, the Meat and Livestock Commission said that more than six million beasts had not been included in the official slaughter toll. The Government said that 4,068,000 animals were culled between the first case on Feb 20 and the 2,030th and last case detected on Sept 30. But the commission says that the true total is 10,849,000. The official figures do not include two million animals slaughtered for welfare reasons such as dwindling feed and space. The National Farmers' Union included these in its estimates. But according to Jane Connor, economic forecaster at the Meat and Livestock Commission, many more animals were overlooked because they were either killed with their mothers - and counted as only one animal - or because they were killed after foot and mouth had closed the market for them, in which case they were not counted at all. "We will never know exactly how many were culled but it was many more than the official figure," Mrs Connor said. According to her calculations, at least 1.2 lambs "at foot" were killed with each breeding sheep - amounting to four million lambs slaughtered but not counted. And the official toll of 595,000 cattle did not include 100,000 calves and 50,000 calves close to birth that were killed with them, the commission said. About 500,000 lambs were killed in the light lamb disposal plan because they were considered unsellable. Last night, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs confirmed the commission's figures as accurate but concentrated on the resumption of exports. Lord Whitty, the food and farming minister, said: "This is a very encouraging step but we must not lower our guard; there is a great deal of work still to do." Exports had resumed within minutes of the International Epizootic Office in Paris giving its approval, which had not been expected until May. Ben Gill, president of the NFU, said: "It's great news that this has happened so quickly and is a testament to everyone who has worked hard to achieve this, including Government, vets and scientists." &sSheet=/news/2002/01/23/ixhome.html

The Irish Times Tuesday, January 15, 2002
Britain officially free of foot-and-mouth disease. Britain is spending its first day officially free of foot-and-mouth 11 months after the disease first crippled the countryside. The removal of "at risk" status from Northumberland is another step in Britain being declared officially clear of the disease by the international community. The removal of "at risk" status from Northumberland is another step in Britain being declared officially clear of the disease by the international community. Over six million animals have been slaughtered as a result of 2,030 cases between February and the final case on September 30th last year. The outbreak turned out to be the world's single biggest foot-and-mouth epidemic and the most serious animal disease epidemic in the UK in modern times.

December 6th '01.
You may know about the awful time we have had here in the UK re. Foot and Mouth Disease, good news today as seems we are all finally clear here. Report below! However, if you are new to this page, <click here> and skip to the diary of how we coped and what we went through over the last eight or nine months!!

Date: 4 Dec 2001 From: ProMED-mail Source: Defra News release 267/01, 28 Nov 2001 [edited] Defra lifts last FMD infected area - ---------------------------------- The last remaining foot and mouth infected area in England will be lifted at midnight tonight. The landmark move follows extensive blood testing of sheep and clinical examination of cattle in the Brough and Kirkby Stephen area of Cumbria. It marks the end of a massive programme of blood testing within 3km Protection Zones. The successful completion of serological testing in the last remaining 3km Protection Zones over the past few weeks has seen the release of over 17 000 farms from Infected Areas. However, animal movements are still subject to licences from local authorities. The announcement, which affects almost 1500 farms in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and County Durham, gives farmers greater flexibility on restocking and other day to day farming activities. However, those farms that were culled out as infected premises or as dangerous contacts will remain under restrictions until they have completed the cleansing and disinfection process and restocked successfully - or until a period of 12 months has elapsed. These counties will not be eligible to become classified as "FMD-Free" until at least 90 days after the last case there, which for Cumbria means the end of the year at the earliest. Welcoming the news, DEFRA Minister Lord Whitty said today: "The lifting of the last remaining Infected Area in the country is a momentous achievement and reflects a great deal of hard work by teams on the ground. I thank the farmers of Cumbria, and the wider community there, for the patience and cooperation they have demonstrated while the blood testing programme has been ongoing. We are not out of the woods yet. A number of counties in northern England have yet to be classified as "FMD-Free," pending further testing of sheep flocks in the surveillance zones. I would urge everyone to remember that strict biosecurity is as essential now as it has ever been. With the continued cooperation of everyone, we can ensure that this disease is finally eradicated." Ray Anderson, the regional operations director in Cumbria, said today: "This is the moment Cumbria has been waiting for all year. The lifting of infected area restrictions is the first step for the farming industry in Cumbria to get back to business as usual." - -- ProMED-mail [2030 farms have been confirmed as infected in the UK since the beginning of the epizootic in February, 2001. The last case was recorded on 30 Sep 2001 in Appleby, Cumbria. The European policy regarding the prevention and control of FMD is to be discussed during an international conference in Brussels, 12-13 Dec 2001. ------------------- End forwarded material ---------------------

October 27th '01.

Well, as you may all know, the Foot and Mouth epidemic here in the UK has been a long hard time for us all, started the end of February and I write tonight, end of October, and what happened to the year? Captured in a sort of diary below this message, posted here as things happened, seems so long ago now. It all happened so fast but over such a long time.

Things are still not back to normal completely, though now seeing friends again after seven/eight months of isolation and we have been in semi-celebratory mode since the all clear here. All the same we are still disinfecting and being very careful, it is not over yet!.

Very sad that having come through F&M OK I lost two of my lambs, Rosie and Josie, and my ewe, Poppy, to stray dog/fox attack? Can say no more here at this time, it is so awful and so distressing!

Date: 24 Oct 2001
From: Chris Griot
Source: Reuters [edited]
European Union veterinary experts have voted to ease curbs on exports of pork and beef from Britain imposed because of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), according to the European Commission. The Standing Veterinary Committee voted on Wednesday in favor of a European Commission proposal extending the area from where Britain is allowed to export fresh pigmeat to all counties that have had no outbreak of FMD or have remained free of the disease for more than 3 months. The vets had earlier this month recommended allowing pigmeat to be exported from some counties in eastern England and Wales, Scottish counties, and islands such as the Shetlands which had never had the disease. These areas will now also be allowed to export beef, the vets decided on Wednesday. The proposal still has to be adopted by the European Commission and will enter into force as soon as it is adopted. The situation in the British sheep and goat sector will be evaluated at the next meeting of the Standing Veterinary Committee on 6 and 7 Nov 2001. The highly infectious livestock virus reached epidemic proportions in Britain earlier this year, hitting more than 2000 farms and leading to the slaughter of nearly 4 million animals. - -­ Chris Griot

2nd September 2001. Sad News from Kathryn.

"We lost all our young stock to Foot & Mouth yesterday, not infected, but a contiguous cull. A whole generation of pedigree animals, from 12 months old. Lots of heifers about to have their first calves. The end would be instant for them, but not for the calves inside...... We have appealed and managed to save our dairy herd for now, which is one farm further away from the infected premises, but we are hanging on by a thread. We had 24 hours waiting for a decision when we thought we were losing everything. Not a good week for us here in Northumberland. Over half of our small 'community' has been wiped out, all the folks we grew up with. When we look out now there is only one other farm with livestock.

Kathryn Rowland with Macy (Nellsbern Palme) and Thomas (Border Terrier) in Northumberland."

August 29th 2001 and Simmy's 2nd Birthday!

And what nicer present could we have than to learn that all the farms around here have come back clear on the tests and we have freedom again! Still taking full precautions and disinfecting but at least we can come in and out a bit more and visit and go to the pub. Simmy and Sunny are thoroughly enjoying being out and about on the leads again (weird when you consider they have all the space here to chase around off-lead, but my the Yip, Yip, Yips today when the leads came out and we went for a Birthday Walk down to the Village Pub..

longlease from the road
Here's a pic of Longlease taken from the road, sorry no dogs and no me on it, and a bit dark, was hoping Jo and Chris would be around to snap us, but everyone was down the pub already and it was very dark when we came home, promise will get some more pics up soon. But gives you some idea where we live. The boundary just below the white house is us to L and R of the pic and extends about halfway up the hill side, this pic taken about half a mile away.

Well, F&M continues around the UK but, thankfully, after six months of isolation here it's looking more cheerful.

Happy Birthday, Simbo!XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

And a big Thank You for all your messages of support, you have kept us cheerful through through all these long months!

August 18th 2201.

Nice of them to let us know! Dennis never got the results of the last load of tests and they've just been up again and tested again. Seems if you don't hear you are clear, and retesting can be anything between every three weeks to every eight weeks, whenever they get themselves organised. What a shambles!! Looks like we are OK, though still disinfecting!

August 4th 2001

All still OK for the moment! No news is Good News! We are still waiting results of our tests but seems longer we don't hear then seems we are OK and it's been almost five weeks now! Keep those fingers and paws crossed please! They have culled some 4000 sheep a few days ago on the Brecon Beacons just 17 miles away, today a load more, and others have been tested and look likely for the cull. Also tests to begin in Cumbria and Yorkshire where the flocks roam free also! Some more 80,000 sheep involved here!

Call for Vaccination from the Soil Association.!Open

Humour? Makes a change!
Trying hard to keep my sense of humour going!

Latest report on F&M: Source: The Guardian [edited],3604,522896,00.html

July 3rd 2001!

All is well here still, though there are still new reports of the disease. We are staying firmly quarantined and Disinfected. We have been surrounded by it for months now and it's not over yet. Taking full precautions.

Here is how it has been for us!

Foot and Mouth Disease is still slowly spreading through the UK, we have been totally surrounded by the disease for over four months now, nearest case confirmed just one and a half miles to the East. Sadly, Dennis, my farmer friend, who owns the land around and below me, had eighty of his cows grazing on that farmland, they were slaughtered as a precautionary measures although they tested negative for the disease. Thankfully, the rest of his animals have been spared. All around us are empty, so silent fields. We have been lucky!

No new cases here recently so we are feeling more hopeful but still up to our necks in disinfectant and in self-imposed quarantine! How Long, Oh, Lord?

In the middle of all this, Hoppy and Poppy gave birth to two healthy lambs apiece.Though sadly Flora-Dora had bad prolapse and later still-birthed her lambs.

Here's the Flock today, those lambs have surely grown

Flock of ten

Continued prayers please for Abbi, Elli (my goats), Hops, Pops, Flora-Dora, Ella, Bella and Little Fella, and the four new babes Rosie, Posie, Josie and Elvis, (my sheep)

Me, Sunny, Simmy, my Felines, my Equines and My Cloven Footed Gang

Abbi and Elli My Sheep!
see below - for enlarged pics.

For Map of the latest outbreaks close to us go to the : <MAFF Website> We are between Hereford and Hay on Wye on the Welsh Borders!

I am appalled by the way this crisis has been handled by our present Government and their insensitivity when the first outbreak occurred on holding a debate about banning fox-hunting when they should have been debating how to handle this crisis! Seems they rank foxes higher than our prized cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, deer, also hedgehogs and elephants and other species in zoos. Animal carcases piled up and rotted as no arrangements had been made to destroy them and those very foxes which are no longer being hunted for fear of horses spreading the disease were spreading the disease even wider as they were feasting along with other carrion eaters such as rats and crows!

For an alternative view on FMD go to:

Abbi and Elli

L-R Elli and Abbi on the disinfected yard!

Many of you have queried re. foot and mouth since the epidemic hit us here in the UK, well, guess I know quite a lot about it by now.

It is the most highly infectious animal disease there is as it can travel on the wind as well as by contact with infected animals, a viral plume has been known to travel up to 150 miles over water. It affects cloven footed animals, pigs, sheep, cows, goats, deer and even elephants. It is rife in some 3rd World countries and it would seem that this outbreak may well have been brought in from there in illegally imported meat product. And this could be a simple case of someone bringing food with them maybe returning from holiday or something, an animal here has been exposed to it and it has just spread so fast. It does not affect other animals or humans but they can spread it, on paws, hooves, shoes and clothes, hence the reason for big gatherings of people and animals being postponed, including Crufts, and the countryside being closed down and off limits!.

We have isolated ourselves here at Longlease as much as possible, essential journeys out only, visitors banned, post box moved half a mile down the drive, and if you do come in it's over straw mats soaked in disinfectant for the car tyres and dip your wellies and scrub them down. Then change your clothes!

Yes, Yes, there is a vaccine but as last resort it would only be used to create a ring around an infected area in a bid to stop the disease spreading. Those animals would then still be killed and burnt. It's all very sad and very frightening but the reason there cannot be widespread vaccination is that we would then lose our Virus Free Status and would be unable to export and import animals ever again. This seems very wrong, but see more about this below, it's complicated.......!

So there we are, millions of animals have been slaughtered to try and stop this spreading, and if we succeed, in around six months time with a bit of luck we start afresh with rebuilding the farming industry!

Hmm! Me thinks the government here in the UK may be buying up very cheaply a lot of farmland in the near future to be turned into flood plains to try and stem the other disaster we have been experiencing in the UK! The results of global warming and the floods! A very sad & difficult time!

Thank you all for your messages of support and prayers for my goats and my sheep, God willing and a lot of disinfectant still to come, we will be OK!

Love, Jean and the Gang

My sheep

Hoppy, my pregnant lead ewe, at the front here, her lamb from last year, Ella, to the right, then just behind we have Flora-Dora, her Mum, Poppy, and her last year's twins, Bella and Little Fella hiding behind the bush (the only male in the bunch and he got the rubber band treatment (ouch!) See above for the now expanded flock,

More on Foot and Mouth

"From Barbara Nibling, 4/02/01, questions and answers re. my post on the VETMED List:

>So am barely outside the quarantine zone for the latest two confirmed cases in Powys! My goats, I milk for my own use;

Foot and mouth can be spread in milk from infected animals, so imagine the devastation to commercial dairies when they are unable to sell the milk the herds produce. Milk produced by your animals can be used for human consumption but be careful of excess milk.

>it's meat for my own freezer!

While we may never know the cause of the current outbreak in the UK, it is reasonable to assume it *may* have come from cured ham - curing does not kill the virus - cooking does. There are presently four major outbreaks of F&M globally. Europe (Mongolia), Taiwan (which was just recovering from a massive slaughter of pigs from the 1997 outbreak), Argentina (probably encroaching from Paraguay), Africa (N Province? Natal?). The type currently in the UK was first identified in New Delhi in 1990 and is the same strain which hit S Africa last year.

>re. the vaccine! My first thought was, there is a vaccine, why can't I just get my animals jabbed and all will be well!

Ah, the same reasoning we in the US have used for years as a reason why our animals, vaccinated against rabies, were quarantined when entering rabies free countries (UK being only one of them). The status of being a country free of foot and mouth is of high value among nations where importation of livestock is desired. While S America has some of the finest cattle in the world, they are only exported as breeding stock sometimes, since quarantine is required into foot and mouth free countries. For your own livestock, they would be immunized. But in continental Europe, there was the epidemic of 1981 in Brittany traced to an "inactivated" virus. So to maintain a foot and mouth free status globally, any animal vaccinated after the crisis has passed is slaughtered. While the US has relaxed importation of cattle from foot and mouth countries since 1980, a blood test is taken. If antibodies to foot and mouth exist in an imported animal, whether vaccine or natural, an embargo is placed on all animals succeptible to that disease for importation. In the US, foot and mouth is considered a "notifiable" disease, like rabies.

>Why can't we vaccinate all animals that are at risk here UK, Europe, US, Australasia,

Ouch, while the idea of a vaccine is great, there are a few problems. Current vaccine is an inactivated (killed) vaccine. Typically, the vaccine is used to reduce the incidence to reduce infected animals until vaccination efforts can be discontinued. An elimination policy is used when clinical disease occurs. However, it is difficult to produce a vaccine of consistent potency - it is too "killed" and doesn't produce an immune response or isn't "killed" and causes the disease. This continues to be a major area of research interest.

>perfectly healthy animals are at the moment being put down because they carry antibodies so may have been exposed to the disease and recovered

Unfortunately, cattle exposed to foot and mouth may shed the virus for two years after recovery, sheep for six months. So actually, these are the animals most likely to continue to spread the disease. Foot and mouth does not cause high mortality to the animal, so it is quite common for the animal to recover. It does cause loss of weight (and so devastating to cattle ranchers), loss of vigor (and so increased sheep losses), tenderness to feet (and so elephants and pigs frequently die because they are unable to stand, not because the disease killed them).

>my dogs, my cats, my ponies, my sheep and my goats, routinely wormed, dosed and jabbed for everything else. Why not F & M??

Well, do you vaccinate against rhinderpest, rabies, bluetongue, peste des petits ruminants, Rift valley fever, sheeppox? OTOH, you probably do vaccinate against pouping ill, endemic to the UK but uncommon in the rest of the world.

>mutates in the way the 'flu virus does,

Rarely. There are seven subtypes and typically epidemiologists figure out where the outbreak came from by following the gene trail.

>vaccine would need to be developed each year which would be expensive?

Well, one that worked well at all would be a better start!"

Many thanks for your answers here, Barbara, now I understand! And many thanks to Pat Long for putting me on the VETMED List.

Continued prayers for my cloven foots and keeping up with the disinfectant routine!

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