19 April 2001
Government delays vaccination plan

By Johann Tasker

THE government has postponed plans to vaccinate hundreds of thousands of cattle against foot-and-mouth disease because it cannot decide how to proceed.

The revelation comes after the Ministry of Agriculture booked space for an advertisement in FARMERS WEEKLY magazine.

The advertisement acknowledges that the arguments regarding vaccination are finely balanced, adding that there are many understandable concerns.

It adds: “Farmers leaders have asked for a delay in the process so the science can be explored and the implications for consumers and trade better understood.

“We understand their position and we will be listening carefully to the views of farming and food industry representatives over the coming days before deciding how to proceed.”

The advertisement was booked in FARMERS WEEKLY for next Friday (27 April).

A government official confirmed that the wording was correct, but said MAFF should have booked the advertisement for this week (20 April) rather than next week.

The mistake has resulted in some media coverage focusing on an exclusive article written for FARMERS WEEKLY by agriculture minister Nick Brown.

In the article, to be published on Friday (20 April), Mr Brown appeals to the farming community to support the governments control strategy.

FARMERS WEEKLY editor Stephen Howe welcomed the article but remained highly critical of the governments policy during the crisis.

“We are delighted that Nick Brown chose to write exclusively for FARMERS WEEKLY to put his message across to Britains farmers.

“Nevertheless, we believe MAFF has made serious errors in not enlisting help from the army at a much earlier stage to identify, slaughter and dispose of infected and suspected stock far more quickly.”

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage