July 3 - July 9 2004 ~ ...And just how "random" is random testing? "....the SVS has some explaining to do to the EU"
In order for the UK to secure the commercial advantage of "disease free status" - for example from Brucella melitensis - it has agreed randomly to test for the disease. Negative results throughout the survey allow for every sheep flock and goat herd in the country to be recognised as “officially free” of the disease (the highest status defined by the EU) This enables the UK to demand that any animals imported from the EU are of the same high status and prevents the necessity of importing animals of "lower" health status.
However, we read the following email this morning:
"I do not believe the selection is random. When our flock was tested ....July 1999, I was taken aback to learn in conversation with the two technicians (NOT vets) who turned up that they had just come from testing a farm on the opposite side of the parish, and were going on from me to test a neighbour! I can supply the names of the farms concerned.
The letter I received quoted that in 1998, 2302 sheep flocks had been tested. I leave you to work out the odds against three of these "selected at random" UK farms falling within the same small parish - but it would be on a par with winning the national lottery.
No, they had chosen a convenient morning's work on three premises within easy travelling distance of each other.
Methinks the SVS has some explaining to do to the EU."
March 7 - 13 ~ "Each of the 2,026 FMD cases was subjected to a detailed clinical and epidemiological investigation. ...""Each of the 2,026 FMD cases was subjected to a detailed clinical and epidemiological investigation. ..."
is the claim in DEFRA's Origin of the UK Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic in 2001" What did Mr Scudamore mean by "each of the 2026 FMD cases"? In their Jan 2002 submission to the EU for the resumption of Disease Free Status, http://www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/int-trde/misc/foot/OIE_FMD_report.pdf DEFRA appears to make the same claim - i.e. that it had tested all Infected Premises. This is very odd. We know that many slaughtered premises were never tested. Farmers' requests for lab tests were very often curtly denied.
"Each of the 2026 FMD cases"? In addition to the 2,026 so-called IPs there were also 7,494 "dangerous contacts" premises (of which 3,329 were contiguous premises) and 257 "slaughter on suspicion" premises. In total, about 10,000 farms were slaughtered. (See PQs) Pirbright received samples from only a small fraction of slaughtered farms - probably less than 20% of all contiguous culls and even many IP's taken out on clinical grounds. DEFRA's claim to the EU was surely wrong. And the EU, because they are apparently unhappy about the way the crisis was handled, capped the UK's right to claim repayment at £250 million, leaving almost £1 billion outstanding - and it seems that the UK government may now never be able to get this UK taxpayers' money back .