31 August 2001
Ministers to consider vaccination

By FWi staff

MINISTERS will consider vaccinating livestock if attempts fail to halt the spread of foot-and-mouth disease before the autumn, claim reports.

A senior Whitehall official has told the Financial Times that if the slaughter policy fails we have to consider vaccination again very actively.

The admission follows calls from the chairman of the Countryside Agency, Ewen Cameron, to reconsider vaccination at least on an experimental basis.

The government insider is reported by the FT as saying that in a future epidemic a slaughter policy might not be implemented.

I dont think the public will countenance another war being fought on the same basis, he said.

I think there will be very big questions about public acceptability of a slaughter policy in future outbreaks.

The Guardian also re-examines the issue of vaccination, claiming in its comment section, that F&M culls are dividing rural society.

The paper says scientific advisers may be divided over vaccination, but farmers are no longer totally opposed.

Government officials described the vaccination option as still open bit it must be more than just open.

There need to be detailed plan, which could be put quickly into effect in the event of a further serious outbreak like Allendale.

The Daily Telegraph reports that a vet who serves the area between two Blue Boxes of Allendale and south Cumbria is also asking ministers to vaccinate.

Jim Clapp said the Alston Moor region had been blood-tested clean and it would only take about 30,000 doses of vaccine to cover all animals.

The country is being held to ransom by the cull policy against the virus. Hasnt it been bad enough in Cumbria already? I want Alston Moor to be safe.

Mr Clapp said farmers would comply so long as all animals were vaccinated, they were not subsequently slaughtered and there was a market for their produce.

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