11 January 2002

Welsh are still opposed to F&M vaccine

MOST Welsh livestock producers still oppose the use of foot-and-mouth vaccine, a survey by the Farmers Union of Wales has revealed.

Of about 800 producers questioned at the Welsh Winter Fair, 57% claimed a slaughter policy should be used in any future outbreak. One in four favoured vaccination and 18% were undecided.

FUW president Bob Parry said he was not surprised at the result, which he described as vindication of the unions anti-vaccination policy. "Culling did halt disease spread, especially in the Brecon Beacons.

"A host of problems are created by vaccination. There are many strains of F&M and you must decide whether to vaccinate all susceptible animals or ring vaccinate."

There was the question of slaughtering animals vaccinated to create a firebreak and exports could be jeopardised for a long time if the control policy was changed, added Mr Parry.

A public inquiry into the recent crisis would be the place for a level-headed debate of the scientific, commercial and political arguments surrounding vaccination. But the survey result suggested that, like him, most farmers already held strong views. "While a discussion on vaccination would be beneficial, I believe culling to be the correct approach to defeating the disease." &#42