23 March 2001
EU vets give vaccination go-ahead
By Philip Clarke, Europe editor
EU vets have given the Dutch permission to introduce a limited vaccination programme, should the foot-and-mouth situation deteriorate.
But for now, the Dutch authorities have no intention of going down this route, as they are able to control the disease through slaughtering and rendering.
Meeting in Brussels on Friday (23 March), the standing veterinary committee accepted that burning carcasses was not an option in the Netherlands.
Some of the farms affected so far were too small for funeral pyres to be lit safely, and there were strong political objections to the image of burning animals.
The Dutch delegation explained that there was the capacity to slaughter the stock from up to 150 farms a week and to render carcasses within four days.
That was more than enough to deal with the current outbreak of three confirmed cases and four suspects.
This includes the slaughter of all animals on farms within a 2km protection zone.
But should the situation worsen and capacity is exceeded, then the authorities would vaccinate all stock within the 2km, subject to slaughter within two months.
Any vaccinated animal would have to be permanently marked — by ear-clipping or tattooing — and full records kept.
The Netherlands would only regain its foot-and-mouth-free status three months after the last vaccinated animal was killed, just as would be the case if the animal had been diseased.
Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage