DEFRA : Foot and Mouth Contingency Plan – Version 2.5
Critique : Dated : Sunday, 26th January 2003
Presented by : Captain Bryn Wayt. East Sussex. England
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Stakeholder Status : Private Citizen
Vested Interests : Nil
Any Contingency Plan should be presented as simply as possible yet try to cover every probable loophole to which it relates, using knowledge gained from past experiences tuned to the specifics of the operation to be ‘covered’ in the future. The DEFRA Contingency Plan – Version 2.5 gives the impression that much has been learned, but little if anything has changed in tactics from the 2001 FMD outbreak, as it exudes Section upon Section on communications between all parties. The Plan lacks grass-root operational vitality and a basic “what do we need to do at the farm”.
It has failed to incorporate or even acknowledge in a forthright manner the VITAL role of VACCINATION as a tool of first resort as was identified and recorded in the Inquiry Report by the EU Temporary Committee on FMD (Dec 2002).
I can understand the politics of why there is this glaring omission and Black Hole, but if the UK is to avoid the barbaric bloodbath and the disparagement of the rest of the civilised world then the previous heinous fundamental mistakes have to rectified by the honest inclusion of operational tools that rectify them. VACCINATION is one such vitally important sharp tool.
Plan Layout by Sections
Though much intense detail has been incorporated, it is presented in an illogical manner.
The Plan should be laid out in a chronological fashion using an outbreak of FMD as a marker of how the/any disease would unfold. The 2001 experience would flow in Sections such as,
- First credible suspect FMD case – STOP movements. Inform local farmers.
- First blood samples sent for laboratory analysis.
- FMD confirmed or denied.
- Vaccination of healthy BOV contiguous to IP starting from say 10km working inward.
- Slaughter of scientifically proven diseased animals.
- Destruction of carcases.
The way the Contingency Plan is presented, VACCINATION does not appear until Section 3.18 which is long after Cleaning and Disinfecting (Section 3.15 ) has taken place !
It is noted with deep regret that although the word VACCINATION appears, there is no honest attempt to have it sewn into the framework of this or any other FMD Policy document as a serious, workable policy and effective tool used against this curable disease.
Therefore I must severely criticise the planners for failing to take any account of the strong words used by the EU FMD Temporary Committee who in their Dec 2002 Inquiry Findings (http://www.warmwell.com/dec20finaleu.html) said that VACCINATION must a weapon of first choice and to use their words,
“65. In future, therefore, when an outbreak occurs, emergency vaccination with the aim of allowing animals to live for normal further use should no longer be regarded as a last resort for controlling FMD but must be considered as a first-choice option from the outset”.
There is no positive intent shown anywhere in ANY of the planning documents that emergency VACCINATION will be used, as there is NO indications of a chain of command or meaningful managerial set of events that dictate why, when, where, how, and who, will carry out this function of VACCINATION.
It has been a proven VITAL ingredient in controlling FMD outbreaks around the world in the last 10 years, a perfect example being the Uruguay experience of 2001.
See the EU Final Report of a Mission carried out in Uruguay 25 –29 June 2001 at;
The glaring omission to seriously include the use of the vaccination tool, from the outset, has to rectified without delay – planners have had two years to get their act together, and are still visibly dithering once again in this very important area of FMD operations.
Having failed to acknowledge the EU Temporary Committee FMD Inquiry findings by name, there is ample scope for this to be rectified within Section 1.5 to avoid criticism of not dealing “proportionately” with an outbreak by using VACCINATION to stop the spread of FMD.
VACCINATION would hand time to those at the sharp end dealing with laboratory proven FMD cases. It is a proven cost-effective disease control tool.
The Contingency Plan Version 2.5 and its sister document, “Decision Tree” are pathetically weak throughout in relation to utilising VACCINATION. In my view, this is a very serious and debilitating flaw which must be recognised and dealt with immediately.
Readers are referred to the VIPER document. Most will have no access to it, therefore most cannot comment on its veracity and usefulness. I suggest it is placed in the Public Domain without delay - if transparency is still an option.
This is a weak introduction to what the farmer should expect when he/she has a “suspect case of FMD”. I suggest the bullet points make a clear and focussed attempt to outline this very serious stage of identifying real FMDv. It is a poor start to FMD planning at grass roots level.
There should be robust and unequivocal lessons for all in this Section, so avoiding scandalously wrong misdiagnosis by some vets at the end of a telephone in Page Street which led to millions of healthy animals being slaughtered.
Section 1.7 should not be as vague and woolly in relation to confirmation of the disease.
As FMD was seldom confirmed by laboratory tests before animals were slaughtered (overall UK figures suggest only 13% were actually suffering from FMD) the inference that “FMD is confirmed” through Clinical Examination alone leaves me VERY worried that proper scientific proof will NOT be sought before a frenzy of slaughter grips the government - as it did during 2001. There were “rapid tests” available in 2001 and they are available today, so the need to specify such tests MUST be laid out before any slaughtering takes place; such primary action in identifying the FMDv is VITAL to my mind.
I could not see the justification of Slaughter on Suspicion during 2001, and I cannot see any wholesome scientific evidence to change my mind in 2003. Any slaughter policy must be founded on solid verifiable, honest, and open science – this was not done during 2001 and such gross incompetence should not be allowed to filter through now by inadequate Contingency Planning two years down the line. It smacks of further dithering incompetence.
Dr David Shannon, ex-Chief Scientist at MAFF and later DEFRA spoke out on the 19th Feb 2002 that the 2001 slaughter policy was based on flawed, biased and poorly thought through scientific advice ( www.warmwell.com/shannonfeb19.html ). I have read nothing about any new FMD ‘models’ that predict spread, let alone read of their “validation” which would alter the conclusions Dr David Shannon spoke about and make him any happier with Plan Version 2.5.
The identification of the FMD Index Case and how it is dealt with, must be beyond reproach. Likewise the domino effect with any proven infected contacts arising from that case.
Relying on unvalidated ‘models’ that purport to forecast where and when the virus will appear is still on the cards two years down the line. That there has been no amalgamation, approved by peer group review, of all the ‘models’ from the 2001 disaster indicates to me these ‘models’ are no more valuable now than they were in 2001.
Given that the 2001 FMD disaster identified 7,178 DC’s and only ONE - I will have to repeat that - only ONE proved “positive” (only 396 were “tested”) shows the crass stupidity and unscientific approach that still permeates through these existing FMD Contingency Plans as a fool-proof avoidance of the mass illegal slaughter has not been thought through.
The plans must be cleansed of this totally unscientific cave-man approach to controlling FMD.
There must be no more examples such as in AVON where there were 4 IP’s / 4 SOS /14 DC’s ( 14 Contiguous Premises) and where testing took place on only 4 premises all told, and ALL 4 were “negative”.
If one examines PQ 2164 by Peter Ainsworth MP on the 20th November 2001, it shows the holocaust was extended unnecessarily to Contiguous Premises (CP’s) where healthy animals were destroyed without any scientific proof of infection whatsoever – Wigtown had 216 farms slaughtered out, and only 2 (two) had been tested “positive”. This is just disgraceful barbarism.
The burial pit at Great Orton has roughly 500,000 sheep in its ‘hold’ – sheep from 115 farms were tested between the 7th and 23rd April 2001 and only 1 (yes ONE) sample came back “positive” – another case of disgraceful unbridled barbarism.
My point here is, there MUST be scientific proof from the testing laboratories that FMDv is present in the samples before any slaughter takes place. Not only that, proper veterinary inspections and epidemiological evaluations MUST take place on farms that are reported as having a “suspect case of FMD”.
As has been proven (Sellers, 1971) mere exposure of cattle or sheep from a local or distant potential source is not by itself important. Such exposure must be sufficient to infect.
(Sellers, RF 1971 Quantative aspects of the spread of FMD. The Vet Bulletin, 41,6, 431-439)
Such VI’s (Veterinary Inspections) to establish an IP must be shown to have been honestly and earnestly carried out using Best Practice – the Contingency Plan does not give any idea of what that might be, and it is only fair, right and reasonable that Stakeholders have an firm grasp of what that might entail.
Thus the Contingency Plan should show farmers and Stakeholders that,
(a) There was a plausible route of entry of the virus into the cattle or sheep.
(b) There is DIRECT contiguity of the land which might have reasonably allowed, during the risk period, animal-animal contact between a previously “clean” farm and a proven IP.
(c) Evidence must be available to show that a series of events had occurred which might have reasonably resulted in the transmission of contaminated personnel, materials, vehicles, or other known risk vectors crossing from the proximate IP to the previously “clean” premises.
(d) There shall be a defence against culling, or arbitrary notification of a Form A, if it can be shown a lack of contiguity exists, e.g. by a geographical feature (such as a 37 acre woodland fenced from each owners land, and susceptible animals have been housed during the risk period).
(e) The threat of “airborne transmission” should be scientifically examined. In this formulation, the density and composition of the infected herd/flock on the IP and that of the suspect proximate herd/flock must be taken into account, since the number of cattle required to give rise to sufficient volumes of infected exhalent that might travel by wind alone during the risk period, must be sufficiently large enough to cause the recipients downwind to be infected. Donaldson et al (2001) reported that the maximum predicted distance of spread of the Type O virus strain from cattle, would travel downwind, and cause risk to other cattle would be 200 meters, or < 100 meters for sheep.
To illustrate these important factors, and get away from theory, it may be helpful to use an actual distressing case study from the 2001 FMD crisis in Cornwall, where one particular farm was classified as an IP (West Witheven Farm – a Commercial enterprise) whilst another (Higher Fonstone Farm – a private family holding with 5 cows and 120 sheep with 38 new born lambs) was totally slaughtered out ( 2nd April 2001) due to the sole fact that Higher Fonstone Farm was considered a Contiguous Premises.
On the IP there were 120 milking cows and around 60 heifers.
Superior knowledge argues (Vet - Dr Keith Sumption, PhD in the epidemiology of contagious virus infections in animals, with 10 years training post-graduate vets in the control of animal diseases, including FMD) that even if ALL the cattle at West Witheven Farm were synchronously at the peak of virus excretion it is improbable that sufficient virus would have been released to travel the one thousand meters (1 km) by air unless, by chance, particularly favourable conditions and circumstances were to occur.
As it happened, only a small number (5) of animals at West Witheven Farm were reported sick, and with few therefore expected to be subclinically excreting the virus there were insufficient numbers to create sufficient “virus plumes” that might travel beyond the 100 meters and past the 200 meters Donaldson et al argued as the maximum ranges such infection may travel on the wind.
Not withstanding perfectly favourable conditions for such a transfer of disease, West Witheven Farm lies to the North of Higher Fonstone Farm and thus is UPWIND of the prevailing wind Cornwall is famous for; so practical common sense, based on science, rules out windborne transmission and infection of Higher Fonstone Farm.
Not only that, there were low numbers of “receptors” to collect the virus, thus the risk of acquisition was very low. Sheep are much less efficient as “samplers” of airborne virus, by a factor of about 15-20 fold (Sellers and Parker, 1969) and therefore since most sheep were housed, as were the cattle, on Higher Fonstone Farm it is extremely unlikely infection would have been present in subclinical form in the sheep to cause FMD distress due to the lack of “threshold levels” of the virus reaching them. Never the less, orders were given to slaughter out Higher Fonstone Farm despite no sign whatsoever of FMD and just because it was a CP – there were 7 other CP’s but only 2 were “taken out”, one was a dairy farm and the other a pig farm housing 4000 pigs but the DVM Jan Kelly thought fit to slaughter only 3,800 of them and allow 200 to live – so there we have the disgusting anomalies of CP slaughter that need to be cleansed of such non-scientific nonsense and absurdity.
Even the definition of CP changed during the 2001 outbreak – what is it now ?
The definition of Dangerous Contact changed during the 2001 – what is it now ?
See MAFF Emergency Instruction 2001/62/VexDT - dated 26th March 2001, and Emergency Instruction 2001/21/VexDT and 2001/58/VexDT.
It even reached the stage where there was an “Automatic” procedure to declare a place a DC; see Emergency Instruction 2001/73/VexDT dated 29th March 2001 which also stated,
“ 4(b)…this EI contains a more refined definition of the word ‘contiguous’….”
So are we still to expect the rules to change under our feet during another FMD outbreak; the Contingency Plan does not prepare us for that eventuality.
Are we still beholding to such panic measures ? The Plan does not tell us.
What is the definition today of a Contiguous Premises ? Is it still defined as, “….adjacent OR next to and includes premises across a road” ?
The Contingency Plan does not include such important definitions – it should.
More importantly, just because farms lie close or even 1km away from each other, is no reason to assume one will infect the other – there has to be a FULL scientifically based risk analysis of the epidemiological likelihood of FMD virus being transported, by whatever vector, reaching the other premises before any thought is given to slaughtering out. The SOS was a complete nonsense in 2001, and we do not need the science of fools in some office to dictate actions once again.
Under the new shake up of DEFRA announced by Mrs. Beckett perhaps the likes of David Mowat (020 7904 6079 Fax 020 7904 6487) will not be available to advise anymore ?
Stakeholders should have contact numbers available to them now – the Plan is cascading with DEFRA comm trees, but for the farmer there is nothing tangible – there must be.
To illustrate the ludicrous FMD rules that illegally allowed Higher Fonstone Farm (and many others around the UK) to be slaughtered out despite overwhelming odds it never had FMD in the first place is the matter of VI’s. NB Tests in Cornwall showed that of the 4 IP’s the 1 SOS, the 22 DC’s of which 12 were ‘Contiguous’ only 1 (one) sample came back positive.
David Fields was the vet that attended the farm and later slaughtered out.
Since a FULL and proper VI had not been carried out, the owners of the healthy animals which were slaughtered out approached the RCVS with a complaint and were told,
“…a full clinical examination of all the stock would have been extremely time consuming and stressful for both the family and most importantly, the stock. To examine a sheep effectively for lesions of FMD requires handling and restraint, taking of the temperature, casting of the individual, cleaning of the feet of all mud and debris, thorough examination of all feet and the mouth. This is a procedure that could not be accomplished without stress and disturbance to the individuals concerned and could have caused actual harm to the heavily pregnant ewes present….”
So to avoid all that, all the animals were slaughtered to save time, distress, and actual harm.
It has to be said the RCVS concurred that the vet did nothing wrong under the FMD rules. Well they would, wouldn’t they !
Such is the pseudo-science and procedures that surrounded the Contiguous Cull of 2001.
As far as I can make out, the existing Contingency Plan Version 2.5 could lead to exactly the same thing again – which would be a modern nonsense of biblical proportions.
The Plan does not indicate to Stakeholders exactly what they can expect of a VI. Each VI must be completed as outlined by the vet in the Higher Fonstone Farm case, despite him omitting such a VI on the fatal day and despite having served a Form A on healthy animals, the slaughter continued. MAFF were fined #5,000 for such a nonsense.
There can be no scientific justification for perpetuating such a Contiguous Premises slaughter policy – the Plan must make that perfectly clear. As it stands it does not, and invites the gates of hell to be opened and further acts of state barbarism.
Section 7 bullet points indicate that DC’s, “will culled out as soon as possible”. >From the above, it can be deduced that anybody exercising the slightest modicum of scientific common sense will see the folly of slaughtering so called “Dangerous Contacts” willy-nilly.
Further, under Section 7, “Regular veterinary Patrol visits of ALL premises” is just inviting disaster by using very limited valuable resources possibly carrying infection from a newly infected farm to an uninfected farm. This headless-chicken act serves no good purpose. There is NO mention that vets should remain “clean” nor any indication of limiting their excursions to satisfy that requirement. “Protection Zones” should be just that, and not excuses for zigzagging fact-finders looking for trouble that is not there.
It is a pity “Blue Boxes” are defined by circles with a minimum radius of 10km. It is rather confusing boxes having a radius.
Page 7. It is regretful that VACCINATION is referred to under such muted terms as, “additional options and strategies which are potentially available” . The EU Temporary FMD Committee made no bones about the primary role of emergency VACCINATION and it is pathetic to see the current Contingency Plan throwing it out as an option which is potentially available. Rather like, should we have a police presence at the FA Cup Final ! VACCINATION should be not be viewed through the wrong end of the telescope.
Page 8. Top of Page.
I deplore the reference to culling other livestock allegedly exposed to the disease merely because they are housed in, “premises under virus plumes”. There has been NO scientific data in the Public Domain from the 2001 FMD outbreak (or any other source worldwide) which has been scientifically validated to authenticate the hypothesis that such culling is appropriate and proportionate or is ethically proper in controlling FMD.
There has been NO definition of what a virus plume actually is, or must behave like, and its qualative infective strength, to ensure positively that “other” livestock will succumb to such a dubious exposure from an unknown, unmeasured vector.
Such unscientific fag-packet methods cannot be entertained when defining slaughter premises.
It is an outrageous piece of nonsense which has no place in Contingency Planning for the control of FMD.
The same can be said of the illegal “firebreak cull”. I would have these items removed in toto.
Regarding an Emergency Vaccination-to-Live policy; much has been made by opponents who lament at the, “logistical, technical and trade problems” of such a VACCINATION scheme.
Inserting into the Contingency Plans TOTALLY negative ideas is not conducive to a successful and cost-effective outcome of a FMD Control strategy.
For a vaccinate-to-live strategy to work, a number of logistical, technical and trade problems need to be resolved in consultation with interested parties.
It has been TWO years since the last FMD outbreak in the UK and during that time Uruguay has been selling their VACCINATED to us ! This verifiably exposes the hypocritical nonsense that has hindered and delayed an agreed VACCINATION-to-Live policy for the UK.
Such extended prize winning dithering has to come to an end. There are strong indications that the EU and the world place no value in such excuses to VACCINATE against FMD in an emergency situation.
Page 12. Section 2.2 Alert Stage RED Confirmed Case of FMD
Having alerted everybody under the sun during the Alert Stage Amber, the same motions are carried through but without informing Stakeholders (more especially the farmer involved) what happens on the ground at the IP and in the designated Protection Zone/s. There is an avalanche of informing networks, but operationally, Stakeholders do not know what to do next. The example I am thinking of is who, when, where, how is going to carry out the VACCINATION plan of non-infected premises ?
This is a glaring Black Hole that needs addressing immediately and not thought of as a potential option to be discussed, dithered and sweated over after the first IP is broadcast to the nation.
Section 3.1 Resources
Who are being trained to VACCINATE susceptible livestock against FMD ?
The Contingency Plan is mute when it comes down to that question.
Do not forget that farmers in Uruguay did it themselves and saved the nations stock; meat which they are now selling to us whilst you – the planners – are still wondering and talking along the lines of what to do about VACCINATION !
The farmers helped VACCINATE the countries entire herd of cattle (10,598,034) on the countries 48,518 farms – missing out Sheep, Pigs and Goats. How about that for not spreading FMD by Contiguous Premises factors !
Yet planners and this Contingency Plan still have the bare-faced audacity to mention, “ a number of logistical, technical and trade problems” have to be overcome. This is just weak-willed nonsense and has to be scrapped.
I wonder if many readers noticed that the number of cattle vaccinated in Uruguay were about the same number that were slaughtered in the UK, costing the nation about #20 BILLION (Institute of Directors) ? What makes more sense, vaccination or slaughter ?
On the 1st November 2001 the European Commission granted permission for Uruguay to export de-boned meat into Europe - check the tonnage of vaccinated meat we (UK) import.
The dithering must stop, and the training commence – starting with the farmers as the front-line force. I will train with them !
Let us just remind ourselves what happened in Uruguay in 2001.
23 April FAD confirmed.
23 – 29 April Slaughter only policy (Stamping Out).
28 April - the total number of animals destroyed was 3,479 with 11,750 bovines, 2874 sheep and 22 pigs awaiting slaughter.
29 April control of FAD was based on a VACCINATION policy and after the 29th April, NO MORE ANIMALS were killed – not even the clinically infected ones !
“….clinically affected and in-contact animals (including pigs sheep and goats) are neither slaughtered nor vaccinated UNTIL the last sick animal has recovered”.
26th August, the outbreak was officially at an end.
The legal basis of the VACCINATION programme was established on the 16 Jul 2001 by RG/DGSG No 34A/01. By the 22 July 2001, all cattle (100%) had been vaccinated – the second ‘round’. The EEP (Expected Effective Protection) was >90% on the ‘second’ round.
1st November 2001 the European Commission granted permission for Uruguay to export de-boned meat into Europe.
Stakeholders/farmers should be in no doubt that training (and it is not rocket-science) will be provided for them BEFORE an outbreak occurs. They are an intelligent resource that can assist in stopping FMD in its tracks. So many times in 2001 we read about “getting ahead of the disease” – vaccination will do that with farmers assistance (ask Uruguay).
“Clean” vets. There is NO mention of the fact that the virus can lie in the throat for 96 hours, and thus vets could be “dirty” for that time – which could/would infect farms when the Plan talks about under Section 7, “Regular veterinary Patrol visits of ALL premises”.
What is intended to done about that sate of affairs ?
Section 3.6.2 Stocks
Everything is implied but VACCINATION is ignored. Once again a lamentable grasp of the obvious.
Section 3.6.7. Disposal
This section raves on about how there is an agreed, “disposal hierarchy” – why is the same intense diligence not applied to the role of VACCINATION ?
There is the fine tooth comb approach to the DISPOSAL of animals but not even a yard brush approach to how to implement an Emergency RING VACCINATION Plan.
Incineration/Rendering/Landfill/Transport – once again an orgy of thought and brain-storming in the aftermath of slaughter, but NOTHING in this Contingency Plan to saving animals from slaughter by VACCINATION.
“The first laboratory would be ready to start testing within three weeks….”
In THREE weeks FMD could be all over the UK if the last outbreak was anything to go by, so reaction times should be in the order of HOURS rather than weeks. It proves once again, there is no serious commitment to “testing” before slaughtering.
Is it not scratching the bottom of the barrel looking at, “local Job Centres” when you want to locate personnel to undertake, “blood sampling” ?
There are about 180,000 farmers in the UK and to save their animals I am sure they would be a willing source to undertake, “blood sampling” quicker than some long-haired standby at a Job Centre who has other ideas about injecting no doubt.
Farmers are a suitable professional resource with vested interests and on-site, yet the dreadful term, “horizon scanning” has not located what is right under planners noses !
Time would be of the essence during an FMD outbreak and farmers would help maximise what time is available for testing, vaccinating, and blood sampling – why don’t you use them ?
Page 28, 4th line from the bottom: It is lamentable to see bland references to Slaughter on Suspicion. This proves once again, the practical science of controlling the spread of FMD has been totally ignored, and the stupidity and illegality has not been rinsed from the minds of planners who seek wholeheartedly a slaughter policy. The SOS policy was a proven failure in 2001 and should have no place in a modern, science based, FMD eradication policy.
The single DEFRA “Helpline” is surely a tactical joke ? One phone number was useless in 2001 and it is no use nominating another single number, even though it may be ‘split’ when it reaches the call centre.
There should be Regional phone numbers and email addresses all ready today to accept inquiries. The Plan is deficient in this respect, and planners have had 2 years to formulate a farmers communication package – where is it ?
It hardly seems appropriate to mention AW when the Animal Health Bill is hanging over every farmers and stockholder, but we are lumbered with it and have to legally accept it. I was pleased to read that Lord Haskins even thought it, “was over the top”.
“…Provision for emergency slaughter on farm for poor welfare” is provided for and detailed in VIPER Chapter 32, Section G. As before, those not privileged enough to see this VIPER document are acting in the dark. So what is the definition of, “poor welfare” – does it encompass the fact that poor Draconian rules in 2001 precipitated the very need for the welfare slaughter scheme ?
There should never be a need for an Animal Welfare Disposal Scheme (AWDS) because it was human shortcomings and lawmaker’s indifference that was the root cause of animals getting into welfare deficient situations not of their making but of their law-masters abject failures of biblical proportions – a total lack of planning ahead.
I would like to see Section L of that VIPER document please.
Page 32. VACCINATION. Section 3.18.1.
It is 2 years since the last FMD outbreak in the UK and planners are still saying,
“….vaccination contingency plans are currently being developed in discussion with a wide range of Stakeholders”.
Do you think for one minute your opposite numbers in Uruguay are still mumbling amongst themselves (and Stakeholders of course) about vaccination ?
Why don’t you just copy the plans Uruguay used ? Even pay for a copy – it will be cheaper than another slaughter/stamping out policy that seems to be on the cards. The Total Compensation package Uruguay paid out was only US $1,866,783.
Did you know Uruguay did not even have vaccination written into its Contingency Plan when they had their outbreak in 2001 !
When they saw what a complete mess we in the UK were getting into, they used basic common sense and initiated their VACCINATION plan (without any training) after they had had FMD for one week ! They had watched the UK sink into the abyss of panic and stupidity, and by starting VACCINATION saved their animals, and taxpayers money. We eat their vaccinated meat today by the tonne – look here : http://www.bsereview.org.uk/data/uk_imports-3.htm
I suppose Nestle are still saying people will have to be “persuaded” to eat products from vaccinates ?
Lets us remind ourselves what information the FSA the NFU and the Government were sitting on after FMD was confirmed.
Extracts from the LLI Meeting 1st May 2002, Sir John Krebs et al
3. Sir John [Krebs] had been interested in how far the disease might have already spread since FMD had presented implications for abattoir inspections by the MHS.
He had discussed this with Sir Robert May, President of the Royal Society, around 24 February [Ed. 2001] and had decided to ask key experts in the area of epidemiological modelling - who had already been known to him - on the potential scale of the outbreak.
By 27 February, Brian Bender (MAFF Permanent Secretary) had agreed to the offer of help, and Sir John had telephoned the experts to call a meeting.
6. On 8 March, Brian Bender had agreed to Sir John's request to release the data to the modellers.
On 9 March, the CVO had prepared the data for sending.
They had been distributed to all groups on 13 March.
7. It had been agreed at the 6 March meeting that the modellers were to report within 10 days of receiving the information.
A meeting to hear back from the modellers was convened on 21 March at the FSA.
The Oxford and Cambridge/Warwick groups had not yet worked on the data but had agreed with the conclusions (acting as independent referees).
10. The fourth model, the Interspread model developed by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and used by MAFF epidemiologists, had not been presented on 21 March.
With hindsight, it probably should have been.
"Bryan Grenfell (Cambridge) had not worked on FMD before although his model may have been the most helpful in the end".
Editor : I really don't think so ! The hideous and unbridled slaughter of millions of healthy animals based on debased and untried, unvalidated ‘models’ cannot be described even by a drunken lunatic as "helpful".
17. When the CSA had taken over the Science Group, Sir John [Krebs] had cautioned against relying on one model alone and had suggested that the models be challenged and debated.
He believed they had been subjected to informal peer review.
For example, the Cambridge model had been different from that of Imperial College.
The risk assessment process generally conducted by the FSA to form Agency policy involved the view of experts debated with stakeholders.
A possible criticism of the process during FMD was that it had been too internal.
The transfer of information had been between the CSA, MAFF and the Prime Minister without sufficient debate with stakeholders who had been involved in separate discussions, rather than a more open exchange with stakeholders.
19. First, the FMD virus in meat which had posed no risk to humans.
Second, vaccination raised issues, such as whether food needed to be labelled, which culminated in the Prime Minister's meeting at Chequers on 10 or 12 April.
The expert advice had been that there were no additional food safety risks.
The Consumers' Association had said that labelling was not necessary since the use of FMD vaccine was no different in principle from the approximately 33 vaccines used against animal diseases. The Soil Association had agreed.
The food retailers and National Farmers Union had been opposed to vaccination, and it had not been implemented.
So it can be seen the ‘models’ had been hastily concocted unvalidated experiments, and the present Contingency Plan offers no new evidence these ‘models’ have been improved beyond reproach. For all we know, they might be pulled out again to dictate slaughter !
It may be worth reminding planners and anybody else reading this what Commissioner Byrne had to say about this subject.
David BYRNE European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection
Consumers will, however, also have to accept that if vaccination is to be a more viable option it must be accompanied by an acceptance that the meat and products from vaccinated animals can be safely eaten. This is of course the case but there were suggestions in the course of the last outbreak that such products should be labelled to allow for consumer choice.
Animals are already vaccinated against a wide range of diseases, including FMD in the case of imports of maturated meat, without any indication to this effect in labelling.
I consider that this policy should remain intact in the event that preventive vaccination is used to deal with future outbreaks.
The FSA were, and continue to be as I write, very guarded about letting the UK public know the truth that vaccinated meat (and products) is safe to consume.
Marks and Spencer are in no doubt that it is the Government who should be educating the public in this respect - and I would say Contingency Planners too - that vaccinated meat is safe.
Marks and Spencer’s told the Royal Society Inquiry, “…it is the role of Government to communicate to the public, and get the message across that there are no human health implications associated with foods derived from vaccinated animals”.
(Ref : Peter.Wight@marks-and-spencer.com 29 November 2001 17:16).
We, the public, are STILL waiting to hear that Government message. Lessons Learned ?
I emailed the FSA asking that they educate the public on the vaccination agenda by issuing the FACTS now – they refused, but said in the event of another FMD outbreak they would make a public announcement that vaccinated meat (and products) are safe – in my mind this is a deliberate and disgraceful dereliction of duty and an utter disgrace that should be corrected.
So that it is on record, I reproduce here what should be in the Public Domain via the FSA.
From FSA : (dated 3 Dec 2002 at 13.25 hrs)
Jane Ince (Jane.Ince@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk)
Chemical Safety and Toxicology Division
Dear Captain Wayt,
Thank you for your email dated 5 November that you sent to Dr Woolfe at the Food Standards Agency.
I am replying on his behalf.
You asked about the FSA position on eating meat that has been vaccinated against Foot and Mouth Disease.
The FSA advice is that the health implications from eating meat, milk or other produce from animals that have been treated with authorised Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccines are negligible.
Direct exposure to the active (live) foot and mouth virus has only rarely been reported to result in human infection. FMD vaccines contain inactivated (dead) foot and mouth virus and, in addition, must comply with regulatory requirements (Directives 1999/104/EC and 2001/82/EC) on safety for use in food animals.
In the event of another Foot and Mouth outbreak and the decision to use authorised vaccine being made, the FSA would make the view in the paragraph above public by means of its website and in responses to questions from stakeholders and consumers - and we will also explain this position to those who enquire in the absence of any outbreak.
The lesson to be taught here in the Contingency Plan is that vaccinate meat is safe, and not be so dilatory to wait till we are fighting another outbreak.
Page 32 Para 18.2 refers to the Short Terms – where emergency ring vaccination would be implemented via ADAS. It seems to me DASA has not expanded nor shared the operational and managerial forces that would be required to execute an emergency ring vaccination plan.
Where in the Contingency Plan can farmers and Stakeholders view and comment on how, where, when, why are ADAS going to do it ?
Para 18.3 refers to Long Term arrangements – I submit the vague expression, “support the SVS and enable emergency vaccination to be used in the future where appropriate” needs to be far more explicit and detailed; how exactly is this support to be achieved, as it is not a matter to leave for the future, as it is “appropriate” right now – before FMD strikes again.
Para 18.4 refers to, “…the government is currently reviewing vaccine supplies”. Planners should know exactly where such supplies should come from and the quantities – 2 years have slipped by and the information is there – why do you not tell farmers/Stakeholders what the options are ?
This faint hearted and frivolous reference to vaccine supplies indicates a less than capable hand on the tiller and a mute awareness of what is in the tool-box.
Once again, there is no mention of who, when, how and what will supply/deliver supplies of vaccination equipment to suitable farms – or will every farm with over 50 head be issued with the tools to do the job should the sensible order ever be issued to commence emergency RING VACCINATION. There has to be a plan for this, and there is not !
There is an avalanche of information dissemination “decision trees” for pen-pushers, but nothing for the “troops” on the ground who could/will be, the saving grace for the whole operation.
Once again those at the farm gate have been ignored in favour of a white-washed umbrella of back-room plans for the planners and none for the troops (farmers/smallholders).
The priority issues are being strangled and buried by red-tape gone mad. It is beginning to look like one cannot see the wood for the trees as layer upon layer is added.
Is there a simple “farm manager” Contingency Plan that can be “removed” as you say, from these intense Plans ? I fear not !
Page 46. Template for the 1st Report to DEFRA Strategy Board.
On the Agenda are the issues of, suspect/confirmed/negative responses to a disease; let’s say that disease was FMD, so the Template mentions, after Epidemiology, “Animals Slaughtered”.
There is not even a hint of “Animals VACCINATED” – that is how grossly negligent and debased the whole plan is. It refuses, in any meaningful manner to accept VACCINATION will be used as a tool of FIRST RESORT.
Not for the first time, have I to bring to the attention of planners that VACCINATION must be incorporated and threaded through each Section so that there is a ‘will’ to use vaccine to control FMD. As the plan stands, it is a working ‘model’ for the shameful Animal Health Bill to be used as a weapon of first choice, with slaughter the only word and action that DEFRA seems capable of writing down and reacting to when it comes to FMD.
The umbrella effect is seen when it comes to, “ISSUES”. The slightest hint is whispered of VACCINATION – four little lines, not even with some dilatory waffle.
What is the lead-in time
Is this the extent and stage we are at 2 years down the road of the mighty Contingency Plan when the first vet rings in saying, “I am positive I have found a case of FMD” ?
This is not plainly NOT good enough; if ever a national FMD plan needed some fire in its belly this one surely does.
Page 49. DEFRA Science Group
Why is there no mention of the FMD ‘models’ that shaped the disaster last year, having been upgraded to take FULL account of those essential bits of information that was missing from each and every one ?
Is it because no such upgrades have been made, let alone validated ? I think that is the case, for there has been no beating of the chest by DEFRA that there has been peer group reviews of the new integrated ‘models’ and that DEFRA wish to announce to the world they are ahead of the game with a super ‘model’ capable of tracking FMDv.
“The foot-and-mouth epidemic in Great Britain: pattern of spread and impact of interventions”.
So titled is the ‘paper’ of the Ferguson, Donnelly, Anderson (Imperial College Modelling team headed by Anderson) that describes the deeply flawed and now hated model that resulted in the 12hr/48hr Contiguous Cull policies – thankfully buried with the animals.
There is mention of the “Interspread” one, but little further is known about it, as it is not open to Public scrutiny, apart from the passing mention during the KREBS meeting,
“The fourth model, the Interspread model developed by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA) and used by MAFF epidemiologists, had not been presented on 21 March.
With hindsight, it probably should have been.”
"Bryan Grenfell (Cambridge) had not worked on FMD before although his model may have been the most helpful in the end". Very reassuring I’m sure.
Last year there was the FIRST collective meeting of the scientists who were involved with FMD ‘models’ used in the 2001 disaster – one year ago, and still no public mention of any ground gained by these chaps in the upgrading of these FOUR models that were used. Why not?
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE MODELLING WORKSHOP 23 May 2002
The aim of the workshop was to bring together for the first time experts from a range of disciplines, to discuss research needs for modelling foot and mouth disease (FMD) and other exotic animal diseases.
Present were :
Prof. John Wilesmith
Prof. Neil Ferguson
Dr Matt Keeling
Dr Alex Donaldson
Mr Fred Landeg
Mr Sam Mansley
Dr Richard Clifton-Hadley
Dr Donaldson gave a presentation which mentioned,
In particular, the model did not take account of differences among species in the profiles of their
infectiousness (e.g. pigs can excrete 60 times more airborne virus than sheep and cattle) and
differences in the minimum dose required for infection.
The consequences of the culling policy were also considered in terms of its strengths (e.g. reduction in density of incubating animals) and weaknesses (e.g. carcass disposal, violation of biosecurity measures etc.). It was indicated that future research should focus on the development of
(a) a validated diagnostic test for use on the farm
(b) a validated test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals and
(c) new vaccines.
In addition, infectious profiles and transmission by different livestock species, as well as other factors influencing transmission need to be determined. Finally, fully validated models (wind spread and strategic) need to be developed.
(a) There was a “diagnostic test” available for pen-side tests right at the beginning of the 2001 FMD crisis, but for political reasons it was not used.
(b) There exists a secure pen-side test that differentiates infected and vaccinated animals.
(c) Was there anything wrong with the vaccines Uruguay used in 2001 ? Clearly not, they worked and we in the UK are eating the meat to prove it.
In addition, infectious profiles and transmission by different livestock species, as well as other factors influencing transmission need to be determined.
Finally, fully validated models (wind spread and strategic) need to be developed.
Nobody would argue with these last remarks of Dr Donaldson !
Maybe somebody could feed the ‘model’ with a “What if”- a 37 acre mature woodland is directly between 5 infected cows (housed) and on the non-infected premises, 5 cows and 120 sheep with 38 new born lambs (also housed) and the position of the non-infected premises is UPWIND and a minimum of 1,000 meters away – could it reasonably and scientifically be considered to have been infected by airborne spread alone,
(a) one day after IP was culled out ?
(b) two days after IP was culled out ?
(c) at any time prior to culling out of the IP ?
The questions above may not be able to be answered, for Mr Fred Landeg announced to all those assembled that,
“….However, further development of models based on the 2001 epidemic may be of little immediate use with regards to future outbreaks, which may have different characteristics.”
The same farms are there, the same sort and numbers of animals no doubt, and the same wind and weather awaits the next FMDv attack – does the strain make all that much difference if tackled quickly enough by VACCINATION ?
That is the sort of question farmers are likely to ask, and the Contingency Plan fails to give any operational advice on this in any fashion.
So what ‘models’ are on the scientists work bench that can be of immediate use ? Stakeholders would like to know, as would farmers.
the models contained incomplete data and lacked veterinary input.
Have any new ‘models’ been embellished with the required enhancements they did not have the benefit of in 2001 ? The quick answer is NO ! Because the experts agreed that,
In the future it would be useful to have a family of models which interact.
The family should include:
- strategic models - to examine potential control strategies
- tactical models - to assist in decision making during an outbreak
- operational models - to assess whether control strategies are feasible (economically/
- training models - to consider various scenarios
The Contingency Plan should make a clear note that the 2001 ‘model/s’ used were so seriously deficient (as verified by the need of so many fundamental changes and additions outlined by the experts on the 23rd May 2002) that no ‘model’ exists in the UK that can be relied upon to give grounds for a scientific decision to slaughter out Contiguous Premises and that decision will only be made by laboratory testing of samples.
There is no use having the kind of ‘model’ that caused so much unnecessary slaughter where it was shown,
At present the air dispersion models do not produce reliable predictions for the dispersal of
FMDV over long distances. More data on the characteristics of plumes and the minimum
dose required for infection of different livestock species are required. Models also need to be validated.
Failings such as those mentioned by the experts need to be brought out into the open, so that farmers and Stakeholders know the ‘state of the nation’ and the source and gravity of any decision is based on pure epidemiological science and not invalidated, incomplete deficient ‘models’ which are far from reliable as yet.
Give vent to the truth of the matter relating to ‘models’ – it is missing from the plan.
The experts were asked a number of questions, and their answers should be included in the Contingency Plan so ‘openness’ and honesty is a trademark of the new DEFRA.
Q. “Could the models that were developed during the 2001 FMD outbreak be quickly and easily
adapted to future outbreaks of FMD or other exotic diseases of livestock in the UK?”
Ans. “We are still a long way from having even basic models that could be applied to other exotic
diseases that threaten the UK. In particular, vector-borne diseases are much more complex
DEFRA has a lot to gain, in terms of controlling future outbreaks, from funding work into modeling. However, much of the work on developing FMD models and models of other diseases has been funded from other sources.
DEFRA should support the development of new models. Previous FMD models are based on models for human diseases and consequently include spatial mixing. However, mixing does not occur to the same extent in animal diseases due to restrictions on animal movement.”
Interdisciplinary teams should be formed so that modelers are working alongside vets and others who have a thorough understanding of the farming industry and the field situation.
The remark was made that this was the first meeting for which modelers and vets involved in the field control of FMD had been brought together for discussions. Prior to this DEFRA staff, field vets and field epidemiologists had been working flat out to control the FMD outbreak.
It was generally agreed that closer links among modelers, epidemiologists, veterinarians etc. need to be established. These links need to be created now, prior to any future epizootics.
Ans. Support for research in this area is dependent on the availability of funds. The present DEFRA research budget for exotic diseases is fully committed, but bids have been made for extra funding.
My point from listing all the above is to show those constructing the action plan that the Contingency Plan (version 2.5) fails to point out where the farmer fits into all the rhetoric.
Page 51. Animal Disease Policy Group
TOOLS – no mention is made of the best “tool” against FMD – the sharpest, most cost-effective tool the UK could lay its hands on; VACCINATION tool.
There is mention of a Disease Control Data Base, but nothing of how in real life a “data” base will “Control” a disease such as FMD. That system has to be explained to the farmer/stakeholder for such “data” bases served the country abysmally in 2001; an example of pathetic planning saw Cornwall run out of disinfectant supplies early on.
There is nothing like the farmers point of view, and with her permission, here is a verbatim report by one slaughtered out farmer on how a “Disease Control Data Base” will have to come alive for farmers on the ground, and not just the glib mention that there’s a Data Base.
We couldn't get supplies of disinfectant - they ran out quite early on and there were several weeks in Feb / March 2001 when there was none to be had in Cornwall for use at the farm gate etc.
Late on in the summer 2001, the environment agency stopped people putting down disinfectant mats on lanes into villages because they said the run-off from disinfectant would go into rivers.
A lady on Exmoor organised her own disinfectant system run by volunteers in mid April 2001, to disinfect tourists' cars going into Exmoor...............maff should have been doing this, not a lone housewife !
Footpaths : I saw Nick Brown in Feb 2001 on TV being asked by a woman who ran a B&B in Devon why the footpath down her farm lane had been closed, but it was considered safe for B&B guests to drive and walk down her lane.....he answered along the lines of " cars are safe, but feet aren't " ..............
basically he had no idea and was giving totally contradictory advice....even he realised what **** he was saying and petered out !
Early March 2001 we were sent an info pack of about 4 pages of glossy A4..........totally ******** useless. We asked neighbours and they didn't get any useful help off it either.
No pictures / photos of what to look for.......we're all kinda thick and a photo would have helped !
It gave no info as to whether we should stay at home / not drive into infected areas like Holsworthy to the Agricultural Merchant's for feeds / allow the postman on the farm / send Sam to school etc.
We phoned Exeter for advice and they said " do what you think is sensible " !
There was no info on riding horses either. I asked our vet and he said don't, rang Maff, they said disinfect the horse's hooves when you return ( not leave though ) !
By mid April 2001, well into the outbreak, Cornwall had no cleansing & disinfectant crews ...we had to phone Exeter.
The Army in charge of cleansing were not allowed to talk to farmers direct. So no one could find out when carcases were being collected or farms cleansed.
The HSE officer who came here on April 15th said he had been given no advice and had written out his own plan........I think I sent you a copy ? Ours was the first contiguous farm he had been on.
Last Autumn when J Kelly suspected fmd in St Cleer, she said repeatedly in interviews that she thought the bullock might be showing signs of fmd.
They should have videos of cattle with fmd, sent to all vets so they know what it actually looks like ! And no, I'm not being sarcastic there !
I make no apology for inserting these factual and verifiable real-life comments from an ex-farmer, for they illustrate only too clearly what a total shambles FMD 2001 was, and that lack of a visible ‘fix’ in this Contingency Plan (version 2.5). Farmers have been left out of the equation in so many areas.
I am pleased to see the “Birdtable” meetings and the running of the NDCC, “…is modelled on the structure of a military operations room”.
As these “Birdtable” meetings will be held with everyone standing, will there be time to mention, “who is doing the vaccination” ?
Annex A : Scotland
“Certain policies and procedures set out in this Contingency Plan will be different in Scotland”.
You can say that again. The glaring difference is that Scotland has at least the gumption to specify an outline VACCINATION plan.
What scares England so much about following suit, and laying down a coherent and understandable VACCINATION plan, that can do without the FMD ‘models’ that are not even validated nor ready.
Uruguay did not pussy-foot around waiting for some mumbo-jumbo from an incoherent and untried FMD ‘model’ – after ONE WEEK of watching the dumb stupidity of the English animal extermination plan, they VACCINATED without even referring to a Contingency Plan (vaccination was not written into their plan).
Nobody is tasked with running a VACCINATION programme. Nobody has been earmarked (both ears, as per new born lambs !) to manage and control stocks of vaccines/needles and the logistics of a rapid reaction to a first confirmed outbreak. Perhaps some help can be sought from the NHS who are used to giving drug addicts free supplies.
Everybody with a clipboard has been tasked to “Horizon scan” yet those issuing clipboards are standing on top of a proven solution in the fight against the spread of FMD – VACCINATION.
Annex C : Job Descriptions
There is a Head of Cleaning Disinfection (C&D) Cell, why is there nobody with the title, “Head of VACCINATION Cell” ?
The total neglect, and throw away attitude, of this tool of first resort is a despicable dereliction of duty by planners and is a violation that requires Ministerial action.
There is no Contingency Plan if there is no VACCINATION.
The Head of C&D is tasked with looking after the last bucket and spade, yet there is not even a tea-boy in the vaccination “cell”.
One can only conclude VACCINATION was never an honest option, just a pacifier for the populace that can “be considered and is always an option”.
Annex C along with the entire document lacks a sustainable effort to thread in VACCINATION as part of this nations plan to combat the curable disease called FMD.
There has been wilful neglect shown by planners to incorporate a workable VACCINATION plan and that needs sorting out before anybody can mutter, “Horizon Scan”.
Page 76 Annex G
A fine resounding title; I hope they can answer this simple question; who, when, where, how and what are connected with the logistical implementation of an Emergency Ring VACCINATION policy programme ?
Perhaps Annex H on Page 83 can be expanded to include those answers ? For here farmers /stakeholders see for the very first time, in any DEFRA document, the mention of “Head of VACCINATION Operations”. From this promising heading, disappointment is forecast for those looking for a detailed plan of what this person has on his plate !
One can marvel at the job Head of D&C has to accomplish, but when it comes to “Head of Vaccination Operations” the details how this cell works are apparently Top Secret for there are no intimate details on what the job depends – no who, what, where, when, why, how !
This is the biggest Black Hole in the whole plan imaginable – an omission that reeks of incompetence and lack of “Horizon Scanning”. A bit like the FMD ‘models’ of the future, not ready, incomplete, unvalidated and worthless if an outbreak happened tomorrow.
Page 84. Divisional Disease Control Centre
“Key work Areas”
Readers might guess my next few words – there is no mention of VACCINATION in any of these “boxes” or “key work areas”. The question is why not ?
It is getting as bad as finding Suddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction – some tiny clues about VACCINATION but no weapons.
It is obvious no sincere thoughts have been matured about getting involved with an Emergency Ring VACCINATION Plan otherwise there would be cross-references all over the place. The disgrace that they are missing is wanton failure to address the issue of VACCINATION.
Page 88. Annex I
Para 3 (ix) If the risk of spreading FMD, “by walkers from one farm to another is therefore vanishingly small”, how is a Slaughter on Suspicion policy still thought viable, proportionate and scientifically legal ? One can see “walkers” are being dealt with fairly, why can’t farmers be treated with equal and responsible share of reason ? No proven FMD, no Form A.
Page 96. Annex L
“Look for early signs of Disease” farmers are told, carry out regular inspections of your animals it is said. Would it not therefore be sensible and wise to specify within the Contingency Plan what they are meant to be looking for in the first place ? With photos.
If the DVM for Cornwall, Ms Jan Kelly was unsure last Autumn (2002) whether or not a young bullock had FMD, then those who have never seen real FMD signs, need something to explicitly show them - colour photographs at the least.
I repeat for planners benefit the comments of the Cornwall farmer,
Last Autumn when J Kelly suspected fmd in St Cleer, she said repeatedly in interviews that she thought the bullock might be showing signs of fmd.
They should have videos of cattle with fmd, sent to all vets so they know what it actually looks like ! And no, I'm not being sarcastic there !
The Contingency Plan has been polished on the communications side, turning over to the Operational side there is no honest, earnest, and meaningful attempt to lay down an Emergency Ring VACCINATION Plan.
That alone makes the Plan shallow and severely lacking in motivational proof that much has been learned from slaughtering 11 million animals, and that the virtues of a VACCINATION plan have been buried in favour of the 2001 FMD policy that tore the heart out of this country.
If planners do not FULLY incorporate a VACCINATION element solidly woven into this plan, then it remains a blueprint for mass slaughter without questions asked, and based on theories from 2001 and the hideous AHB.
Signed: Captain Bryn Wayt
Date : Sunday, 26 January 2003