30 November 2001
Disease is not over, warns Beckett

By Adrienne Francis

RURAL Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett has warned that the foot-and-mouth epidemic may not be over.

The Financial Times says Mrs Beckett is anxious to ensure that farmers remain vigilant and continue to take precautions.

“Its a source of anxiety that people will assume its over before it is. We do very much urge people not to do that,” she told the paper.

Mrs Beckett said she supported the exploration of potential uses and implications of vaccination for the control of disease.

The paper comments that her main reservation about inoculation is the effect upon tourism, rather than meat or livestock exports.

“If we go for vaccination, what would be the advice other governments would give their population about travelling to the UK?”

She added: “Its not a risk-free option.”

Mrs Beckett will be addressing environmental and agricultural issues during a three-day trip to Washington, next week.

She will then attend a Brussels conference in December to discuss the handling of future outbreaks with other European Union countries.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage
Recovery plan – Full coverage