Foot and mouth – industry response to Pirbright news

Industry leaders and farmers are calling for a full and thorough investigation into how foot-and-mouth virus may have leaked from either the Institute of Animal Health or Merial laboratories at Pirbright.


Speaking to FWi, NSA chief executive Peter Morris said it was essential to discover how the virus had leaked out. “Whichever lab it has come from has a lot of explaining to do and owes industry a huge apology for the trouble they have caused.”


While unsure whether either lab could be held liable for compensation claims from the industry, Mr Morris suggested some organisations and companies, particularly those affected by the movement ban, such as markets and shows, could have legitimate claims. “Someone has to be held accountable for this.”


However, leading cattle vet Keith Cutler of Endell Vet Group, Salisbury, said it would be difficult to make any claims against either lab unless true negligence could be proved. “If all procedures and precaution were followed then it would be difficult to prove negligence and it would seem to be an accident.


“Continental labs have, historically, had more regular breaches, so we are lucky it has happened so infrequently here,” he added.


Meanwhile, local cattle farmer Angus Stovold said someone had to be held accountable for the breach of biosecurity and subsequent outbreak. “There is always a risk with the lab being there, but even so, this sort of leakage shouldn’t happen.”


More on the Surrey foot and mouth outbreak

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