31 August 2001

Dutch vaccination plea

DUTCH farmers have written to NFU president Ben Gill demanding that the UK starts vaccinating animals around fresh foot-and-mouth outbreaks.

"Without vaccination, there is a real danger you could still be getting cases in six months time or even a year," said LTO dairy chairman Siem Jan Schenk. "We are also very afraid that F&M could return to Continental Europe if it is not dealt with properly in the UK."

Holland successfully contained F&M within a few weeks earlier this year by ring-vaccinating around outbreaks and then culling the animals. But Mr Schenk conceded that the Dutch were lucky because they were already on a state of high alert by the time the disease arrived.

Vaccination may not have been so appropriate in the UK when the disease was widespread, said Mr Shenk. But serious consideration should be given to following the Dutch example because outbreaks are now more sporadic. &#42