23 April 2001
Brown rules out foot-and-mouth jab
By Alistair Driver and Johann Tasker
AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown has indicated that the government has effectively ruled out vaccination against foot-and-mouth disease.
To have a vaccination programme we need the to be supported by a substantial majority of the farming community, he told MPs.
Mr Brown was giving evidence to the House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee on Monday (23 April).
The government had accepted that there was a case for vaccination among cattle in north Cumbria and possibly North Devon, he told MPs.
But for vaccination to be successful, the government needed the support of the veterinary profession, food industry and consumers as well as farmers.
Mr Brown said: The support of the farming community just isnt there.
The case for vaccination has receded over recent days as the number of new foot-and-mouth outbreaks has declined.
The average number of cases has fallen to 16 cases a day compared to 43 cases at the peak of the epidemic in early April, said Mr Brown.
The government had not considered vaccination so much as a disease control but to reduce the numbers of cattle that needed to be killed, he said.
Mr Browns comments came as proponents of vaccination tried to step up their campaign for inoculations to be introduced.
Fred Brown, a scientist working at the US governments Plum Island Animal Disease Centre, is due to arrive in London on Tuesday (24 April).
Mr Brown, who is one of the worlds leading authority on foot-and-mouth, will set out the case for vaccines at a press conference at Westminster Hall.
Meanwhile, a Russian scientist has claimed to have found a new cheap vaccine for foot-and-mouth disease costing about 7p a dose.
Velimir Zaharov from a national institute of biology 200km north of Moscow said one shot of his vaccine was enough to immunise one cow or sheep.
The vaccine being considered by the British government would need a booster after six months. The cost per animal is thought to be about 20p an animal.
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