Vaccinate now, pleads Scots farmer

30 March 2001

Vaccinate now, pleads Scots farmer

By FWi staff

VACCINATE against foot-an-mouth now or there will be no replacement stock to replace slaughtered animals afterwards, urges a Scottish producer.

Without vaccination the disease will rage into new areas, warns Andrew Wood, whose farm at Auldgirth, Dumfries and Galloway farm is 10 miles from an outbreak

Mr Wood, who runs cattle and sheep, fears if the disease reaches the Cheviot Hills it could decimate stocks of replacement mules.

These are the source of new stock which affected sheep producers will need to restock in the aftermath of the epidemic, said Mr Wood.

“The Government has not thought this through at all, said Mr Wood. If we have to take out all the stock where are we going to get replacements from?

Mr Wood warned that if ministers continue to dither over the issue they will need to vaccinate in a 30-mile radius to contain the disease.

But on Friday (30 March) a spokesman for the Prime Minister said the Government is to delay a decision on a vaccination firebreak.

A decision on inoculating livestock to try to control the spread of foot-and-mouth is now unlikely to be reached before Monday.

This is despite Downing Street indicating on Thursday (29 March) that a decision would be made within 48 hours.

Under limited vaccination proposals stock around infected areas would be inoculated to create a “firebreak” in the hope that the disease would stop spreading.

Immunity will take two to three weeks to take effect, although high-potency vaccines can provide immunity against airborne spread within four days.

Once it is clear that the disease has not spread beyond vaccinated stock, the vaccinated animals can be slaughtered and the carcasses destroyed or buried.

“No one likes to see stock being taken out, but if we do this we can go back and be strong again,” insisted Mr Wood.

We need to act now to make sure we have something to go back to. I dont want overseas stock as theyre not hardy enough for this area.

Scottish Agricultural College sheep specialist John Vipond said it was still too early to how the disease will affect farmers who breed replacements.

If the disease spread there could be difficulties for producers who rely on small southern country Cheviots, conceded Mr Vipond.

But there were other Cheviots in the north which could be used as alternatives, he said.

Some farmers do think only one breed is suitable to their area, but there would be other hill breeds which could be used, he said.

Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks

Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage

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