28 March 2001
Jab plan for thousands of cattle
By Philip Clarke, Europe editor
GOVERNMENT officials hope to vaccinate around 180,000 dairy cattle in Cumbria and Devon as they seek to limit the ravages of foot-and-mouth disease.
The plan is being examined by European vets who are studying government proposals for preventative vaccinations in the areas worst hit by the disease.
A spokesman for the European Commission said some issues were unresolved, including what would happen to milk and cattle once they had been injected.
“But I am convinced vaccination will be approved in one form or another.”
Sheep do not feature in the plan, due to the long-term trade consequences of losing the vaccine-free status.
But that is less of a consideration for the dairy herd, because live cattle exports from Britain are already banned due to BSE.
The longer life expectancy and greater financial worth of cattle also make their wholesale slaughter less attractive, said the commission spokesman.
MAFF has no wish to slaughter vaccinated animals quickly, as is the case in the Netherlands where treated livestock has to be culled within two months.
Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage