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"Not the Foot and Mouth Report"(Private Eye 2002)

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Foot and Mouth disease

"FMD is a virus that propagates incredibly quickly -- when it discovers a new niche where there is no immunity among animals, it just rips through them. Europe is FMD free, and animals there aren't vaccinated against it - so they have no immunity." Keith Sumption - from an article on the FAO website,

Autumn 2016 ~ Foot and Mouth breakthrough: "transient cell transfection" will make lab-based diagnosis of FMD strains cheaper and easier

Autumn 2016 ~ World's current policies on eliminating animal disease "outdated, inhumane and uneconomical"

March/April 2016 ~ Foot and Mouth - recent developments in US and Britain

February 19th 2016 ~ Foot and Mouth: "early detection, animal traceability, movement restrictions and vaccination is essential to averting a very large outbreak "

August 30th 2015 ~ "The government targeted killing anything and everything... " The BBC Reunion programme on Foot and Mouth 2001

July 8th 2015 ~ In America, agriculture organisations are urging the Senate Committee on Agriculture to quickly find a solution for a FMD vaccine shortage. Meanwhile in the UK...?

February 11th 2015 ~ The Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics to collaborate with FAO on zoonoses and diseases such as FMD and avian influenza

January 30th 2015 ~ US White Paper on Foot and Mouth "Entities cannot wait three to seven days and see if vaccination is needed."

January 30th 2015 ~ "vaccinating susceptible animals living in a broad geographic area could result in a shorter outbreak with fewer herds depopulated."

January 23rd 2015 ~ The US is looking seriously at field tests for new FMD vaccines - but rapid diagnostics?

April 2014 ~ Ongoing research towards the global eradication of foot and mouth disease

March 18th 2014 ~ Sri Lanka "we will eradicate foot and mouth disease by 2020 using local vaccines"

December 4th 2013 ~ In the fight against foot and mouth, interferons can be used to protect both pigs and cattle immediately

October 2013 ~ Rapid foot and mouth vaccination is needed in an outbreak say American researchers

September 2013 ~ "Planning for a Foot and Mouth outbreak is complex."

June 8/9th 2013 ~ The Netherlands " fully committed to obtaining international acceptance of emergency vaccination"

May 18 2013 ~ "The new cells are the first permanent cell line capable of identifying all seven serotypes of FMD virus."

Spring 2013 ~ "The result is a new type of vaccine that is safe and stable."

October 23rd 2012 ~ DIVA-compliant FMD vaccine awarded $1.114 Million Contract from U.S. Department of Homeland Security

September 26th 2012 ~  FMD on farm testing with portable PCR  "the analytical sensitivity of the test would be greater than antigen capture lateral flow devices on far..."  

The Final Report, earlier this year, from the  Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis, entitled "The use of new technologies for rapid, field-based (point-of-care) testing in the detection of emergency animal diseases"  contains an appendix (A3.5 on page 61) examining the "Use of POC (point-of-care) and near-POC tests in management of foot-and-mouth disease"  Extract:
iv) Use of portable PCR equipment on farm.
The validity of the last option was questioned even though the analytical sensitivity of the test would be greater than antigen capture lateral flow devices on farm...  
This meeting also concluded that screening tests for FMD should be developed as and form part of multiplexed tests including tests for other (endemic) pathogens...
The meeting also stressed the need for POC tests that work effectively on non-standard samples, such as bulk milk, that could be used in assessing freedom from infection in the recovery phase following an outbreak.....POC tests have a potential role to play in all stages of an outbreak of FMD.
Commercially available POC tests based on nucleic acid amplification, validated under field conditions, will almost certainly be available in the very near future....the use of these tests will shorten the duration of an outbreak. ." (our italics)

August 31st 2012 ~ New attenuated, antigenically-marked FMD viruses provide "a safe alternative to virulent strains for FMD vaccine manufacturing" and their negative markers provide "a suitable DIVA companion test"

August 29th 2012 ~ Cumbria has plans to scrap the manual inputting of data onto the Animal Movement Licensing System.

August 27th 2012 ~ Australia's FMD forum agrees on "swiftly implementing a vaccination campaign if needed" and that there is no public health risk from the consumption of meat from vaccinated animals

August 24th 2012 ~ "All that we have registered is in some way aimed at reducing, if not removing, the risk that that experience might be repeated." Ian Mercer, Chairman of the Devon Inquiry into the handling of Foot and Mouth, October 2001

  • Import controls of meat and other livestock products at the points of entry continue to be inadequate.
  • Small local abattoirs continue to disappear and the suggestion that the big supermarkets themselves support them to avoid long, arduous and dangerous lorry journeys has been ignored.
  • The number of farm animal vets goes on dwindling - (indeed, we heard yesterday of an elderly retired vet who kindly stepped into the breach to treat a case of staggers when no local vet prepared to treat farm animals could be found.)
  • The "insensitive and even belligerent operatives and bungled culls" that "do little to enhance the professional reputation of all those involved, from Ministers downwards" were deplored. But can anyone reassure us that this would not be repeated given the draconian regulations hastily placed on the statute book in the revised Animal Health Act of 2002?
  • Above all (and there is far more) the Devon Inquiry preliminary finding paragraph 1.12: The fate of the findings of the Devon Inquiry - the best of all the inquiries by far - show yet again how little those with the power to change things are prepared learn the lessons of the past. It will be remembered that DEFRA not only declined the invitation to attend but Alun Michael's letter, explaining why written answers to Devon's questions were late and/or non specific, may be thought a masterly example of government defensiveness.

    August 24th 2012 ~ "We can visit the moon but we can't prevent the spread of this disease. How is this possible?"

    August 24th 2012 ~ Concern for the long-term future of the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and its vital research

    July 5th 2012 ~ "This is the biggest news in FMD research in the last 50 years.. . it supports a vaccinate-to-live strategy in FMD outbreak response....Now it will no longer be necessary to destroy all the animals in a herd when just a few become infected."

    July 2012 ~ Pirbright is awarded 3 million dollars (£644,000) by the FAO to put Pirbright "at the centre" of the FMD control strategy's first five-year phase of work.

    June 22/23rd 2012 ~ "successful FMD control models should replicate themselves if the benefits are clear."

    June 8th/9th 2012 ~ More information on the licensing of the first FMD vaccine that can be manufactured on the U.S. Mainland

    June 8th 2012 ~ US gives GenVec a conditional licence for FMD vaccine for use in cattle

    June 5th/6th 2012 ~ "The update better aligns Australia's FMD vaccination policy with advancing vaccine technologies, community perspectives and international standards and practices"

    June 5th 2012 ~"Worrying also is that despite his comments stating a 24-hour delay in testing would be unacceptable, the Minister now says a 24-hour service cannot be guaranteed."

    June 4th 2012 ~ "I don't know why they will not use a penside PCR test..."

    June 4th 2012 ~ "I am concerned that Pirbright has such an emphasis on using its own tests in order to foster their development (often for the 3rd world) and earn money."

    May 29th 2012 ~ "It needs to be understood that it is trade that is holding back science."

    May 29th 2012 ~ " no scientific basis for the assumption of a greater risk with the use of emergency vaccination."

    May 29th 2012 "Who in the police family will worry about multi-force natural disasters such as floods or diseases like foot and mouth?"

    May 22nd/23rd 2012 ~ Remembering Oaklands - May 2001

    May 24th 2012 ~ IAH Pirbright has been awarded £38 million by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) "to help protect UK livestock".

    May 4th 2012 ~ "This is probably one of the most important innovations in the last 60 years in foot-and-mouth disease."

    May 3rd 2012 ~ "Diseases simply do not respect international boundaries...FMD SAT2 could spread throughout vast areas, threatening the Gulf countries, even southern and eastern Europe, and perhaps beyond," Juan Lubroth

    April 24th 2012 ~ "Manufacturing an FMD vaccine from a new virus strain and within probably less than 2 months.."

    April 15th 2012 ~ "required to convince international partners that supporting vaccination will be worthwhile."

    April 9th 2012 ~ Has Egypt produced "a new vaccine" to protect animals from the SAT2 strain of foot and mouth?

    April 6th 2012 ~ "The spread of FMDV SAT2 ....sufficient quantities of an appropriate FMDV SAT2 vaccine are urgently needed" UPDATE

    April 6th 2012 ~ "The spread of FMDV SAT2 into North Sinai is, internationally, of grave concern....sufficient quantities of an appropriate FMDV SAT2 vaccine are urgently needed"

    March 29th 2012 ~ IAH working on cheaper, lower risk FMD vaccine

    March 26th 2012 ~ "In the United States, the national policy for foot and mouth disease (FMD) vaccination lacks clarity"

    March 17th 2012 ~ "An alternate delivery system improves vaccine performance against foot-and-mouth disease virus"

    February 18th 2012 ~ FMD - 11 years on...

    February 12th 2012 ~ "... it was so bad I can't even respond. Alan Beat is right; the authorities have learnt nothing and it could happen again."

    February 12th 2012 ~ Reaction to BBC video below

    February 11th 2012 ~ "Controversially instead of vaccination, a mass cull was ordered which led to 10 million animals being slaughtered."

    February 7th 2012 ~ "Our results indicate that boIFNλ 3 plays a critical role in the innate immune response of cattle against FMDV."

    January 31 2012 ~ US document "Vaccination for Foot and Mouth Disease - Strategies and Considerations"

    January 31st 2012 ~ The record is put straight too about the often misunderstood 2001 vaccination campaigns in the Netherlands and in Uruguay

    January 24th 2012 ~ Eradication of Foot and Mouth? The OIE mentions "lack of political will in some countries" - but for us in the West it should be "enlightened self-interest, not benevolence"

    January 24th 2012 ~ OIE: the aim of "global control of FMD is therefore particularly timely and ties in perfectly with the OIE objective of improving animal health and welfare worldwide."

    December 16th 2011 ~ Foot and Mouth: The latest Contingency Plan appears to look exclusively towards an eventual use of Pirbright's own "lateral flow" device.

    December 16th 2011 ~ This month's important research at Leeds cannot use actual FMD virus

    December 8th 2011 ~ How long, O Lord? How long?

    December 3rd 2011 ~ The UK will not renew its vaccine bank when it expires next year but will instead rely on the EU bank, which has been 'substantially enlarged'.

    November 3rd 2011 ~ Paraguay's head of National Service for Animal Health and Quality: "There now is no doubt that it was human error that led to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth."

    November 1st 2011 ~ FMD back in South Korea? (No)

    October 14th 2011 ~ "a breath of cool air in an over-heated arena of epidemiology populated by clean-shod computer nerds without field experience...."

    September 9th 2011 ~ Tim Farron's PQ expresses his worry that the reduction in resources to AHVLA affects the UK's capability "to detect and prevent a foot and mouth outbreak"

    September 7th 2011 ~ ProMed on the new FMD outbreak in China: " if "stamping out, no vaccination" policy is indeed and exclusively applied, its efficiency deserves to be revisited in view of the fact that new outbreaks continue to appear.."

    September 7th 2011 ~ "There is no change proposed for these tests."

    Miyazaki would have at least a 10 day start on trying to halt the outbreak while it was still small. This would have meant minimal slaughter and minimal use of ring vaccination.

    September 5th 2011 ~ Removing "infected or potentially infected" animal bodies - the "Invitation to Tender" PDF is 98 pages long

    August 31st 2011 ~ Summary of responses to the consultation on Defra's Contingency Plan for Exotic Notifiable Diseases of Animals held between 18 March and 13 May 2011

    August 30th 2011 ~ New research from Pirbright into an effective marker vaccine

    August 30th 2011 ~ "There was also union concern over dealing with specific issues raised by having a vaccination rather than a slaughter policy."

    August 15th 2011 ~ "...Nigel Miller speaks for the majority when he says that we must find a way of avoiding the mass slaughter of animals.. emergency vaccination to live should be accepted as a key part of future strategy." Professor Crispin and Toby Tennant

  • "any new virus can be characterised in hours", and that "Very good vaccines are readily available" Informed comments would be gratefully received. A letter from Professor Crispin (former President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) and Mr Toby Tennant, also published by the Scottish Farmer, applauded the organisers of the Moredun conference in March As we said when the Garland research appeared in July,

    August 15th 2011 ~ The attitude of the Scottish Beef Cattle Association mirrors the disastrous attitude taken by South Korea

  • "Trade for producers outside the Vaccinated Zone is not much affected by vaccination - and they will be better off if disease is contained" Even DEFRA's Alick Simmons' presentation concluded that the Silver Birch exercise had shown that vaccination "reduces expected outbreak cost" and that "the longer export ban is a less important factor since vaccination shortens the outbreak". It would also
  • "substantially reduce the expected (average) number of animals culled and the number of farms with culls." Perhaps the Scottish Beef Cattle Association assumes that, in the successful limited cull they seem to be envisaging, identification of infection and accurate testing of animals could be carried out incredibly fast. And who can guarantee that when budgets are so tight and already existing rapid on-site diagnostic technologyis ignored in UK Contingency Plans? As Sam Mansley's " Break Out Session" group emphasised at the time: As they implied, once a culling policy is in full swing, it is tragically late for public outrage to get the policy changed.

    August 15th 2011 ~ FMD - Avoiding a two-tier market

    July 26th 2011 ~ "No evidence for spread of foot and mouth disease by vaccinated animals or their products"

    July 5th 2011~ FMD in Israel: " the efficacy of the vaccine has been demonstrated by the fact that not a single dairy animal has been (clinically) affected in Israel since the start, in March 2011, of the epizootic

    July 3rd 2011 ~ " I welcome any progress that can be made to ensure we never have to go through a mass cull again."

    July 3rd 2011 ~ "10 million animals were slaughtered in foot and mouth cull"

    30th June 2011 ~ FMD. Some countries do indeed learn fast - 18 months on from "FMD free without vaccination", South Korea now demands FMD vaccination certificates from all livestock farmers.

    vaccinating. (See also Korean article link mended.

    June 3rd 2011 ~ "...we're able to take our device, literally plug it in to the cigarette lighter of a car, and run molecular diagnostic tests out in the field..."

    June 3rd 2011 ~ "the collaboration with the FAO in the establishment of a portable and mobile diagnostic system that demonstrates high sensitivity and specificity characteristics, but is also affordable throughout the world."

    May 31st 2011 ~ Genestat machine is ideally suited to early detection of foot and mouth

    May 30th 2011 ~ Nigel Gibbens:" these types of tests aren't currently practical for use on the ground during an outbreak" But DxNA Genestat would seem to prove the CVO mistaken

    May 30th 2011 ~ Is DEFRA aware of the following points from the DxNA website about the cheapest, most effective - and already available - on-site diagnosis system?

  • Commercial systems purported to be portable are too bulky for convenient transport. Samples still require labor-intensive, manual preparation. In contrast, this is fully automated with DxNA technology.
  • Considerable time is required to obtain reportable results
  • Higher costs of devices and tests
  • Higher power demands Unique aspects of DxNA's technology:
  • Speed: results in 60 minutes or less
  • Ease of use: the need for highly-trained technicians is eliminated
  • Portability: lightweight and can be powered through a wall outlet or car battery
  • Lyophilzed PCR reagents: stable without refrigeration
  • Accuracy: unique, closed system rendering valid, trusted data
  • Economical: less costly than current real-time PCR technologies
  • Multiplexed assays test for three targets at the same time. As the ProMed moderator, Dr Martin Hugh Jones, said this month ".... tests must be run cow-side. There is no time for the delays inherent in sending off samples to a distant laboratory.... if you can get ahead of the disease, time is on your side...."

    May 27th 2011 ~ Vaccination – "We must have common sense along the food chain We must avoid mass slaughter...": Declan O'Brien, IFAH-Europe Managing Director

  • We should have pragmatic benefit/risk assessment
  • The CVMP should have the power to propose an EU authorisation based on a benefit/risk assessment
  • The antigen/vaccine bank should be completed with all Member States accepting use of such products
  • Food safety should not be challenged
  • We need rapid assessment powers for all vaccines to be able to respond to crises
  • Facilitate replacement of an antigen via a Variation – fast track in a crisis
  • We can do it better in the future! Read in full (pdf)

    May 27th 2011 ~ “Mathematical models are useful for predicting how outbreaks will spread, but in order to make the models  accurate, we need to supply them with data about how  disease spreads in the real world.”

    May 26th 2011 ~ "Quarantine was applied and all animals were subsequently vaccinated."


    May 23rd 2011 ~"On the risks of persistence of FMD circulation in wild boar/wildlife in South-East Bulgaria and Turkish Thrace"

    May 13th 2011 ~ It is the last day to respond to DEFRA's Consultation on their latest Contingency Plan

  • animals' 1.7 day "window of infection" makes the mass pre-emptive culling - and it has never been ruled out - a literal case of overkill.
  • The notion of merely "considering" vaccination until large numbers of animals are threatened is based on money and politics not science.
  • The extraordinary fact that the plan makes no mention at all of available "cow-side" rapid diagnostic kits (available for a decade) - particularly since the researchers Woolhouse & Charleston et al now say how essential it is that they be developed in the UK (funding needed to reinvent the wheel again?)
  • The lack of FMD experts with field experience among those who would "advise" the Secretary of State
  • The discussions at the Scottish FMD Moredun Conference resulted in Scotland moving towards vaccination to live in any future outbreak. The various presentations are worth reading
  • If the plan is designed to be read by the people actually affected by foot and mouth it is far too complicated. People want to know what to expect, what the procedures are, and the time scale. They are not impressed by jargon - acronyms and expressions such as "bird-table meetings" They want clear common sense in good plain English. Few people now want to look back in anger. They are too tired and too anxious that the future should not make the mistakes of the past. (DEFRA page) and here is our (rather too long) submission, sent yesterday.

    May 10th 2011 ~ "The Science paper, if nothing else, provides sufficient evidence to demonstrate the sheer futility, not to say inhumanity, of hunting down and killing healthy pet sheep in the 'safety' of the owner's living room."

    May 9th 2011 ~ "Roger makes an excellent point. Any such tests must be run cow-side. There is no time for the delays inherent in sending off samples to a distant laboratory." ProMed moderator

    May 6th 2011 ~ Nigel Gibbens: "While these types of tests aren't currently practical for use on the ground during an outbreak, we are continuing to fund their development..."

    May 6th 2011 ~ "..this real time PCR test can be performed at the site of the potential foot and mouth outbreak using automated PCR analyzers that do not require a laboratory..."

    May 5th/6th 2011 ~ New research has "significantly altered scientists' thinking about FMD - "what we thought we knew about foot and mouth disease is not entirely true."

    May 5/6th 2011 ~ Dr Charleston maintains that the "next challenge" is to develop on-site diagnostic tests for use during an outbreak to detect FMD before clinical signs appear. This is an incomprehensible remark.

    machine is a portable, briefcase sized device for on-farm detection of foot and mouth disease returning a result from the sample in about 90 minutes on farm. The study Diagnosis of FMD by RT-PCR: prospects for mobile and portable assays (pdf) funded by DEFRA concluded that such instruments but the study then went on to say: Can anyone explain why "validation" takes so long when what needs to be validated has already been so successfully tried and tested in such studies?
    Another example is Tetracore's VetAlert an easy to perform single tube method See documentation (pdf) .(More)
    The UK's apparent reluctance to use available systems - which are not even mentioned in the latest Contingency Plan - is a mystery that we find deeply disturbing. Informed comment would be most gratefully received. (See Friday's email from Dr Breeze)

    April 25th 2011 ~ Bulgaria FMD continues. ProMed concerned about the "vaccination" applied in Thrace

    April 21st 2011 ~ South Korea finds FMD in piglets a week after downgrading the alert level from orange to yellow

    April 21st 2011 ~ Another DEFRA Contingency Plan. Another consultation. We have until May 13th

    April 21st 2011 ~ Diagnostic testing will, during an "amber" or "red" alert, simply precede slaughter and samples carried all the way to Pirbright (or Weybridge if Pirbright cannot cope).

    April 21st 2011 ~ Bulgaria, ignoring vaccination, is to fight FMD with a new barbed wire fence

    April 19th 2011 ~ Worse and worse for Bulgaria as "police sharpshooters in the Bulgarian Strandzha region" prepare to shoot roaming, starving animals

    April 19th 2011 ~ Bulgaria's foot and mouth - In the Strandja region, animals are dying of starvation

    April 17th 2011 ~ Penside testing: "the diagnostic specificity of the LFD was approximately 99% compared to 100% for the ELISA"

    April 17th 2011 ~ South Korea An additional outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease

    April 16th 2011 ~ "The bottom line is still, that if the CVO wanted to embrace vaccination to live using DIVA vaccines, he would have noticed these fundamental stumbling blocks.."

    April 16th 2011 ~ "...the risks posed by vaccinated carriers must be an acceptable, "close to zero" risk. ..."

    April 12th 2011 ~ "I firmly believe that if you give farmers the tools and correct opportunities they can manage and control disease." (as long as it's Bluetongue rather than FMD?)

    April 12th 2011 ~ The thaw in Korea has raised more concerns about polluted ground water from the buried corpses of culled animals

    April 10th 2011 ~ "The time to discuss vaccines is now!" Professor Sheila Crispin and Toby Tennant

    April 7th/8th 2011 ~ Southeast Bulgaria - yet another discovery of FMD leading to the slaughter of hundreds more domestic animals - and no vaccination.

    April 5th 2011 ~ Fifth case in Bulgaria highlights the idiocy of non-vaccination. Hundreds more animals to be killed

    March 31st 2011 ~ Massive water pollution detected near livestock burial sites [S. Korea]

    March 29th 2011 ~ FMD Bulgaria "..from large farms which employ up to 30 individuals, to families who own one or two cows.. This is a tragedy,"

    March 28th 2011 ~ Heartbreaking reminders of 2001 as 300 Bulgarian farmers try to stop the killing of their flocks and herds and ask for FMD vaccination instead

    March 27th 2011 ~ Vaccine gave the vaccinated livestock "satisfactory protection"

    March 27th 2011 ~ Bulgarian villagers want "an all-out vaccination campaign"

    March 26th 2011 ~ Yet more FMD discovered in three villages in SE Bulgaria

    March 24th 2011 ~ Bulgaria's second new outbreak of FMD

    March 24th 2011 ~ "Lesson Identified 23 – GB Administrations should develop their strategy for the on-farm use of portable diagnostic equipment." Silver Birch Report

    March 23 2011 ~ "The old NFU line about 'the public not eating (FMD) vaccinated meat' is now generally accepted for the dinosaur it was..."

    March 22nd 2011 ~ Bulgaria did not use vaccination. Now it has a new outbreak

    March 21 2011 ~ "...We must learn to put aside deep-seated prejudice and embrace vaccination. It fully deserves to be regarded as a method of first use, not of last resort.."

    their susceptible animals certainly gave protection to those across the Channel. In England, only those far sighted farmers who believed in vaccination bothered to vaccinate; (this this did not stop DEFRA from claiming victory for its own piecemeal "voluntary" campaign).

    March 16th 2011 ~ More from the Scotland conference: "future contingency plans should incorporate emergency protective barrier or ring vaccination"

    March 15th 2011 ~ FMD vaccination "a real opportunity to build these innovations and flexibilities into our future contingency planning" says Nigel Miller

    March 12th 2011 ~ Trauma can't be airbrushed, nor guilt Gillded

    March 9th 2011 ~ "Surely, they are owed the assurance that their sacrifices will mean that others will never have to witness the terrible scenes of slaughter ever again....."

    March 5th 2011 ~ South Korea to abandon "FMD free without vaccination"

    vaccination". The country paid a very heavy price for delaying vaccination until the disease was out of control. The status of "FMD free without vaccination" confers a 3 month trade advantage. However, the South Korean gamble of protecting their miniscule export trade rather than protecting their farmers and animals led to anguish throughout South (and now North) Korea see below The appalling cruelty involved in the live burial of a million pigs tarnished the reputation of South Korea.
    In the Korean newspaper we see the "official" reason for the change of status: It should be pointed out that the vaccines used were Intervet's inactivated oil-adjuvanted vaccine, produced in Cologne. Notes on Transmission and Vaccination (given to by Keith Sumption in 2002) show that any suggestion that animals treated with such a modern vaccine pose a risk from "chronic latent foot-and-mouth virus" stems either from ignorance or from mere political face-saving.

    February 28th 2011 ~ "Hopefully, it will get some truth out."

    February 28th 2011 ~ Western Morning News' front page today: "Smugglers' charter" fears as UK Border Agency abandons Cornwall, moving customs cover to Gatwick

    February 28th 2011 ~ The cost of using real-time diagnosis - and of not using it

    Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Virus target specific reagents are a set of primers, fluorogenic probe and mastermix for the specific identification of FMD viral RNA by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)....The single tube method is easy to perform and results are obtained in less than 2 hours.
    The assays are optimized for use on multiple platforms including the Cepheid SmartCycler, Roche LightCycler, ABI Prism, BioRad iCycler, Stratagene MX3005P, and Qiagen Rotor-Gene Q...." See documentation (pdf) The latest version "TCor4" costs the equivalent (maximum price) of about £9.900 but comes with a mini centrifuge and case to carry everything in. The FMD assays is sold as units of 64rxns at £7.4 per rxn, so about £473 per unit.
    The total cost for each culled farm in 2001, including compensation, cleaning up etc was at least £250,000 each. Gordon Brown estimated £2.6 billion for the cost of FMD2001 but a more comprehensive estimate (More on costs) puts the financial costs at £20 billion

    February 26th 2011 ~ South Korea - finally - "completes vaccinations on cattle to contain FMD"

    February 25th 2011 ~ article on "FMD ten years on" is on Farmers Guardian online today

    February 24 2011 ~ "existing legislation regarding vaccination should be amended in such a way that vaccination becomes a realistic option in the event of a crisis".

  • Emergency vaccination has to be understood as vaccinate-to-live,
  • Diagnostic banks for particular infectious diseases are necessary to supplement vaccine banks and must be part of a strategic plan prepared during 'peace time' ready for an emergency .
  • existing legislation regarding vaccination should be amended in such a way that vaccination becomes a realistic option in the event of a crisis.
  • Trade issues should be resolved.
  • Relevant legislation regarding veterinary medicinal products is not well suited to approve the use of vaccines in emergency situations. And the overall recommendation offered just at the time last May when a review of legislation dealing with veterinary medicinal products provided an ideal opportunity to introduce a mechanism for the approval of vaccines for emergency use, was that "Vaccination and testing should replace unnecessary culling" Read summary (and link to full paper)

    23/24 February 2011 ~ "This rapid strip test is simple, easy and fast for clinical testing on field sites"

    23/24 February 2011 ~ "the shameful and scandalous story of the FMD epidemic is all but forgotten. Arguably worse than forgotten, as it never really came to light at all."

    20/21st February 2011 ~ Korea: "There is no economic gain in culling millions of animals to protect a small amount of exports"

    20/21st February 2011 ~ "Every step was careless and unsatisfactory"

    Sunday 20th February 2011 ~'Farming Today This Week' on this, the Tenth Anniversary of FMD, devoted their programme to horses.

    Saturday 19 February 2011 ~ "Foot and mouth marked the nadir of the fortunes of farming - that was the worst it ever got. People were deeply traumatised and some wounds will never heal." Anthony Gibson

    February 17th 2011 ~ ".... what are the chances of a  full length documentary being shown in which these issues could be properly presented to the public?"

    February 16th/17th 2011 ~ "The Secretary of State is obliged under Regulations 9 and 10 of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Control of Vaccination) (England) Regulations 2006 (2006/183)...."

    February 15th/16th 2011 ~ Pushing the hard decisions ever further down the road - the unbearable delay in getting vital tools "validated"

    February 15th 2011 ~ Bulgaria may have spoken too soon

    February 15th 2011 ~ "The way Argentina sees it, before it even considers ending its vaccination programme, Europe will have one of its own"

    February 15th 2011 ~ BBC Inside-Out programmes from Cumbria and from Devon

    February 15th 2011 ~ "The regulations ought to line up with the science. It's a quite cynical seeking of commercial advantage."

    February 14th 2011 ~ "Deputy Chief Vet Alick Simmons said border controls were already robust enough to prevent the disease." BBC

    February 14th 2011 ~ "The choice of vaccination or not should be made on virology and epidemic grounds, not for political, economic, trade and other reasons irrelevant to an FMD outbreak "

  • rapid identification of an infected premise,
  • movement standstill,
  • culling the confirmed infected premise promptly together with
  • prompt removal of the dead to the rendering plant and disinfection,
  • and careful sanitary measures. The practice of culling so-called "dangerous contacts" could be dropped in favour of careful observation and testing. Dr Watkins, whose knowledge of the virus is extensive, concludes, "Surely the success in the control of Bluetongue by a similar vaccine (inactivated virus) in Europe should whet the appetite for leaving the Middle Ages behind and using the new tools to conquer an old foe using vaccination?

    February 14th 2011 ~ FMD "preventable and controllable by vaccination" says Hugh Pennington

    February 13th 2011 ~ On Monday evening, BBC "Inside Out" looks at FMD policy ten years on.

    February 12th 2011 ~ What can we tell the Japanese?

    February 11th 2011 ~ North Korea finally admits that foot and mouth is affecting 8 of its provinces

    February 10th 2011 ~ BVA warns of the return of foot and mouth is only "one holiday away"

    February 10th 2011 ~ Where are the vets to come from?

    February 07, 2011 ~ FMD has been found at South Korea's largest breeding farm

    February 6th 2011 ~ BBC's Countryfile visits the grief of 2001 Cumbria - and fails to point out that the sheep killed at Great Orton were uninfected

    February 6th 2011 ~ " The images of what went on, they will live with me forever..."

    February 4th 2011 ~ "the fact that vaccine is being used to control the disease may explain the current situation, and spread may be minimal." FMD Libya

    February 4th 2011 ~ And as for the results of NOT vaccinating? "farmers' suffering is just collateral damage"

    February 4th 2011 ~ Food supplies worldwide are sinking lower, prices are rising higher and credit has trickled away.

    February 4th 2011 ~ "Disease eradication that means animal killing is plain and simply, evil and wrong. That's a fact. That is not negotiable."

    February 3rd 2011 ~ If we eat meat at all, we eat products from vaccinated animals

    1. Vaccination leaves no residues (unlike some antibiotics/parasiticides/other chemicals etc etc)
    2. If we eat meat, we eat products from vaccinated animals
    3. If we consume dairy products, we are consuming products from vaccinated animals
    4. It would appear to be simplicity itself to get these messages across to the public and the industry."
    The writer added, "The current Ministers are collectively rather better than many who have gone before, so why don't they rise up and refuse to spout the garbage they are given to read out?"

    February 3rd 2011 ~ Consider...

    February 2nd 2011 ~ No one seems ever to have explained to contemporary policy makers that compulsory contiguous culling in 2001 was "as unnecessary as it was ineffective"

    February 1st 2011 ~ "If Dr Gibbens would like to contact me I will be pleased to tutor him on the basics. There is still time but not much."

    February 1st 2011 ~ Charlotte Smith talking to Nigel Gibbens: "Isn't vaccination just something that would stay under constant review?"

    January 31st 2011 ~ "Clearly a heightened risk": Anthony Gibson on Farming Today. (And 3rd infected village found in Bulgaria)

    January 31st 2011 ~ "... these standards are not mandatory and cannot be imposed by the OIE" Dr Bernard Vallat

    January 31st 2011 ~ "And yet it was the NFU leadership, wasn't it that was very much against the use of vaccination back in 2001? "

    January 31st 2011 ~ "Clearly a heightened risk": Anthony Gibson on Farming Today. (And 3rd infected village found in Bulgaria)

    January 27th 2011 ~ Countess of Mar: "More needs to be done if we are to ensure we do not see a repeat of the foot and mouth disease outbreak of 2001"

    January 27th/28th 2011 ~ The German press picks up the story of the European Livestock Association's letter to the OIE and EU

    January 27th/28th 2011 ~ South Korea: "the nation's worst outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease .... also encouraging overseas travel...."(sic)

    January 27th 2011 ~ The FAO is advocating proactive vaccination campaigns designed to stop the spread of the disease - and practices that "adequately take animal welfare and environmental impacts into account".

    January 26/27th 2011 ~ "Dealers and the meat industry have for too long called the tune"

    January 26th 2011 ~ Bulgaria: "... the EU decision aimed to convince overseas customers...that there is no risk for the EU's meat export trade."

    January 26th 2011 ~ What "control of wildlife reservoirs"?

    January 24th 2011 ~ Ten years on from 2001, is the UK as unprepared now for FMD as it ever was?

    January 24th 2011 ~ The Foot and Mouth Contingency plan should be a real set of actions that everyone understands, clear and sensible enough for any vet and farmer to agree with.

    January 24th 2011 ~ The British Government has never carried out a proper risk assessment analysis, looking carefully and with independent, informed input at a variety of possible policies to combat Foot and Mouth.

    January 25th 2011 ~ "South Korea has asked a few countries to donate emergency vaccines..."

    January 26/27th 2011 ~ "Dealers and the meat industry have for too long called the tune"

    January 26th 2011 ~ What "control of wildlife reservoirs"?"target="_blank">severe cold weather means there is not enough capacity to keep buildings heated let alone cope adequately with the measures needed to combat FMD and H5N1. The moderator comments: The OIE formed an ad-hoc group on vaccines and antigen banks which provided the basis of a new chapter in the OIE Manual in 2004 available "Guidelines For International Standards For Vaccine Banks."

    January 24th 2011 ~ "You should not need a law degree to understand the regulations ..."

    January 22nd 2011 ~ 2011 marks the 250 year anniversary of the veterinary profession

    January 21st 2011 ~ Seoul to "limit the culling of livestock"

    January 20th 2011 ~ Latest OIE Wahid report FMD in S Korea lists 29 continuing outbreaks

    January 18th/19th 2011 ~ "Should the need arise for FMD vaccination in Bulgaria..." ProMed

    January 18th 2011 ~ "Having a dedicated bank meant Merial supplied 1.2 million doses to South Korea within six working days from orders being placed. Without a bank, it could easily have been four months or even longer."

    January 18th 2011 ~ Bulgaria: "Source of the outbreak(s) or origin of infection * Unknown or inconclusive "

    January 18th 2011 ~ Korean Newpaper reacts to outrage at the live burial of pigs in Korea

    meat is safe to eat - as the North Koreans who also have the disease in their country, are demonstrating by eating the infected animals instead of culling them.
    That the present anomaly about vaccination is a way of refusing trade from poorer countries was aptly illustrated by this Dutch remark:

    January 17th 2011 ~ Rezovo FMD: What has been confirmed? Old infection or recent active spread?

    January 17th 2011 ~ Bulgaria Foot and Mouth: "Blood samples from farm animals in the village of Rezovo, Bourgas, have proven positive, the National Veterinary Service said"

    January 16th/17th 2011 ~ Isn't Thrace - the most northern region of Turkey - now considered an FMD free (with vaccination) buffer zone?

    Sunday 16th January 2011 ~ South Korea foot and mouth: "In hindsight, it would have been cheaper if South Korea opted to vaccinate animals but there was no way to predict the huge losses caused by the latest outbreak,"

    Sunday 16th January 2011 ~ Meanwhile, in Bulgaria...."there are no guarantees that the case of transmission of FMD from Turkey in our country will not be repeated"

    January 14th 2011 ~ "this action is considered belated..."

    January 14th 2011 ~ SCFCAH decides that only the Bulgarian coastal district of Burgas should now stay in quarantine.

    January 13th/14th 2011 ~ What action has been taken to prevent FMD sweeping through Europe if Bulgaria's wildlife is infected?

    January 11th 2011 ~ "it is time for the veterinary profession to put the experience they have gained during the last 250 years into practice..."

    January 10th/11th 2011 ~ "the decision to vaccinate should be made swiftly, to allow maximum opportunity for protective immunity to develop."

    January 10th 2011 ~ 37 domestic animals reportedly infected with FMD in Kosti, Bulgaria - all others there to die. No mention of vaccination.

    January 10th 2011 ~ "Modelling showed that vaccination in a 5km radius of IPs would have the effect of shortening the epidemic."

    January 10th 2011 ~ South Korea will now vaccinate ALL remaining animals in the FMD areas

    The "Final Report on FMD workshop held as part of the FMD 2010 International Symposium" (pdf file) makes some very interesting points about modern vaccination, post outbreak surveillance and rapid diagnostic methods and is likely to be of interest to new readers. Similarly, the report from the Netherlands (2009) "Vaccination against Foot-and-Mouth Disease Differentiating strategies and their epidemiological and economic consequences" asks and answers similar relevant questions.)

    January 9th 2011 ~ "knowing now that my animals were never infected makes it worse."

    January 8th 2011 ~ S Korea's automatic contiguous preemptive culling. "This policy failed to prevent spread in the UK" Nick Honhold

    January 8th 2011 ~ "I can't do this anymore, not for a million dollars. Each day is a nightmare."

    ( A Wiltshire farmer's email today echoes our deep concern at the failure of the Silver Birch FMD exercise to insist on the use of emergency vaccination - apparently because of reluctance from abattoirs and "major retailers" to sell meat vaccinated against this particular disease.)

    January 7th 2011 ~ FMD has been confirmed in the 3 wild boar in Bulgaria.

    January 6th 2011 ~ South Korea's president President Lee Myung-bak: "...we need to do more than just quarantine work."

  • "...the disease may be present in wild boar across all the region, including EU and non-EU countries..." the UK Ministry merely advises livestock holders that "suspect disease" should be reported immediately, "high levels of biosecurity" be maintained and the "swill feeding ban" upheld.
    Elsewhere, vaccines are excellent and rapid on-site diagnostic kits are available - yet EU animals are no more protected against the probability of another FMD crisis than they were in 2001 and far less than they were in 1990, after which compulsory prophylactic vaccination of cattle against foot and mouth disease ceased in the EU.

    January 6th 2011 ~ Is DEFRA really aware of how close the threat of FMD is creeping?

    Jan 6th 2011 ~ The urgency of the challenge of vaccination cannot be over emphasised.

    January 6th 2011 ~ Korea is now considering the vaccination of pigs in addition to cattle

    January 5th 2011 ~ "I despair. I look at my beautiful, unique beasts and cannot imagine what I would do if and when tragedy should strike"

    January 4th 2011 ~ "Just keep this email and change the name of the country when it happens."

    January 4th 2011 ~ South Korea is "moving to effectively vaccinate the entire country"

    January 4th 2011 ~ statements made about vaccination should be "meticulously analysed" ProMed.

    January 3rd 2011 ~ First post for 2011 - Last gasp plea for foot and mouth protection?

    January 3rd 2011 ~ The cost of killing to cure

  • Rare and valuable animals and genetic lines were lost forever.
  • Welfare implications, both for animals and humans, were considerable and - in some cases - officialdom's lack of humanity was deeply shocking
  • Clinical examination used for diagnosis was far too late, state of the art rapid diagnostic methodswere ignored
  • Vaccination with modern high potency vaccines would have produced excellent immunity within days.
  • Not all susceptible animals need to be vaccinated as part of disease control measures. (S. Korea is vaccinating cattle only as did Uruguay in 2001)
  • Vaccinated animals can be reliably differentiated from infected animals (DIVA strategy) and the simple act of vaccination reduces virus excretion if the animal is actually infected.
  • The role of carriers under field conditions has been considerably overstated. Are there any people in responsible positions who are able to consider these points and then set about an honest and scientifically rigorous cost-benefit analysis of the different methods that can be used to bring outbreaks under control?

    December 27th 2010 ~ South Korea vaccinates, reassuring its population that vaccinated beef is safe to eat

  • The idea that vaccinated meat was not going to be accepted was finally put to rest by the Consumer Council.
  • Few remember that Europe became free of FMD by means of preventative vaccination. Only when the UK persuaded Europe to abandon its vaccination policy did FMD become a problem within Europe again.
  • As for onward spread by so-called "carriers", experts who vainly tried to persuade Britain to vaccinate in 2001, pointed out that there are no documented cases where vaccinated animals with a qualified vaccine have caused new outbreaks. "To my knowledge there are not and none of my colleagues FMD-specialists could, so far, give me an example. Not in Europe and not in South America" (More) Millions of animals in the past decade have been unnecessarily killed before their time as a result of governments wanting to keep the lucrative economic status of "FMD free without vaccination." That South Korea has abandoned its policy of non-vaccination is cause for hope.

    December 22nd 2010 ~ Korea to vaccinate livestock to cope with FMD spread

    December 22nd 2010 ~ "South Korea is mulling over the use of vaccines to stem the worst ever outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease"

    December 12th 2010 ~ South Korea's policy of not using foot and mouth vaccination means massive killing and staggering costs

    December 6th 2010 ~ Foot and Mouth policies continue to cause the mass killing of animals - now South Korea again slaughters thousands

    October 27th 2010 ~ UK's own contingency plan exercise in November does not aim to "provoke new policy developments"

    policy ever questioned in the light of expert opinion? (Informed comments welcome)

    October 27th 2010 ~ it is worth noting that previous exercises have been somewhat ill fated.

    October 26th 2010 ~ Sweden is testing its FMD contingency plan this week

  • improve the ability to combat epizootic diseases,
  • test and evaluate the contingency plan,
  • set up the new crisis organisation,
  • apply improved management methods,
  • introduce a new computerized disease control management system." Are the results of such exercises shared between countries? It would be encouraging to think that DEFRA were able and willing to learn from the experience of other countries' Ministries - particularly those that are still primarily "Ministries of Agriculture" and thus able to concentrate on veterinary issues in a way that our own cannot.
    It is encouraging to read today that the Netherlands and Turkey are going to collaborate on disease control, in particular discussing vaccination and what can be done in the area of TB and brucellosis.
    The Dutch have a modern and open-minded approach to advances in veterinary science and an enviable reputation for listening to the expertise of their farmers and smallholders. See

    October 8th 2010 ~ "...the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic was shaped by incessant War metaphors in newspapers and other media: the same narrative is being followed for badgers and TB with very negative consequences."

    September 17th 2010 ~ If the transport industry were not so mighty....

    September 14th 2010 ~"It is just part of the process that people who have a hammer see every problem as a loose nail..."

    September 14th ~ ProMed speaks of the hazard of FMD to neighbouring countries where FMD vaccination is practised

    September 13th/ 14th 2010 ~ "farming really is an industry, much like car manufacturing or steel forging," says Jay Rayner. (And therefore doomed, say others)

    September 14th ~ ProMed speaks of the hazard of FMD to neighbouring countries where FMD vaccination is practised

    September 10th 2010 ~ "Because there is no live FMD virus in the vaccine, the field test presents no risk for a disease outbreak." USDA

    September 5/6th 2010 ~ Foot and Mouth creeps closer as Turkey struggles with a 300% increase in the disease

    September 3rd 2010 ~ Japanese FMD suspected cows test negative

    September 2nd 2010 ~Why in 2010 - in Japan of all places - is anyone looking at a reported case of suspect FMD without the tools to make a diagnosis?

  • "An on-farm PCR test for FMD on April 9 (using the $50 Tetracore FMD real time PCR test, on a $50,000 IdahoTechnology RAPID PCR machine ( would have given the answer within an hour....a preclinical test that detects FMD-infected animals 2 to 3 days before they show clinical signs of disease a pooled sample from several animals could have been used. The best science could have given the answer in one hour: in fact it took 11 days.
  • And to confirm that infection, why does Japan not have the Tessarae resequencing microarray at the NIAH so that within 5 hours ALL the pathogens in the sample can be identified... ? A PCR-positive sample taken on April 9 could have been identified by microarray the same day along with actual sequence information - in fact it was 14 days later before the official confirmation.
    How is it that on 19 April the local government veterinary service tests by PCR for all the diseases except the one that matters - FMD?....For the want of a $50 PCR test kit in the right place Japan is paying dearly.
  • Why is the source of an FMD outbreak or infection always "unknown or inconclusive"? Why are we not applying modern microbial forensic tools to trace the virus to its source outside Japan by its biological signature (Carrillo, C. and Rock, D. Molecular epidemiology and forensics of RNA viruses, in Microbial Forensics, Editors Breeze, R.G., Budowle, B. and Schutzer, S. E., Elsevier, 2005, 174-185)? ..." Read in full

    September 2nd 2010 ~ A new FMD case? How long will it take for Miyazaki to know if it really has a new case of foot and mouth?

  • tracing the disease as fast as possible by using newer diagnostic tests with which one can quickly confirm infection, even in the prodromal/preclinical phase, giving almost immediate ensurance;
  • immediate slaughter of animals on infected premises;
  • utilising ring vaccintion...Read in full.

    August 27th 2010 ~ "Miyazaki Declares End of Foot-and-Mouth Epidemic" says the headline - but why did Japan decline help from the FAO and what lessons will be learned?

    August 17th 2010 ~ Why is such "heavy lifting" needed to get rapid test technology into suspected premises - and into the Contingency Plan?

    August 17th 2010 ~ Successful detection kits are manufactured and are already in use elsewhere for rapid lightweight and on-site diagnosis - Why are we not using them?

    gets a result from the sample in about 90 minutes on farm - yet although the study Diagnosis of FMD by RT-PCR: prospects for mobile and portable assays (pdf) funded by DEFRA concluded that such instruments the study then went on to say: Can anyone explain why "validation" takes so long when what needs to be validated has already been so successfully tried and tested in such studies?

    13th August 2010 ~ Mongolia's FMD outbreak was contained and quickly resolved by means of vaccination and effective testing

    11th August 2010 ~ Miyazaki carries out "visual examinations" to "prove" the end of FMD

    July 26th 2010 ~ "Objectively, a single, solitary sick water buffalo showing "fever and diarrhea" is not usually expected to become subject to suspicion of FMD"

    July 21st 2010 ~"we have seen just how dangerous this particular serotype of FMD can be in terms of rapidity of spread"

    July 20th/21st 2010 ~ FMD on the move westwards from Asia. Russia is vaccinating

    July 16th/17th 2010 ~ New surveillance system predicted Asian FMD - and a new vaccine is already available.

    determined by virus protein software analysis, provides an index of the capacity for virus rapid replication.)
    Today's Press release says (extract): The Replikins website announces that a new synthetic Trans-Strain FMD Vaccine, called TransFMDV(TM), has been developed and is now available.
    It is interesting at last to see a realistic estimate of the financial cost of the 2001 outbreak and to recall that the non vaccination policy was designed to protect an export trade worth around £560 million. Yet even now, the UK contingency plan continues to prevaricate about vaccination. The Dutch contingency plan, on the other hand, now specifies the use of vaccination or marker vaccination in a radius of 2km around a source herd and the conclusion of the 160 page report from the Central Veterinary Institute of Wageningen University was that:

    July 16th 2010 ~ FMD Myazaki. Elderly owner's face says it all - the stud bulls are doomed

    July 16th 2010 ~"It was very easy to use! Sample preparation took about two minutes. We all learned how to use the GeneSTAT within a few minutes."

    to be used in countries such as the UK and Japan. The only question that remains is WHEN will the outdated regulations of the OIE and EU pass into history. What is the real price of guarding the monopoly of central laboratories and of using unsound science to "justify" protectionism? Discriminating against vaccination is absurd when it is now possible to distinguish FMD infected animals from purely vaccinated ones.

    July 16th 2010 ~ FMD Myazaki: "We urged the quarantine officer many times to examine the cow, but he didn't listen to us..."

    July 10th 2010 ~ Myazaki FMD - priceless and healthy stud bulls. Will they be sacrificed because of OIE code 8.5.8.?

    July 7th 2010 ~ "One of the problems is that lessons are lost ..."

    July 7th 2010 ~ Lessons that could and should have been learned - and were not

  • "Certainly as an industry we would not stand in any way to object to vaccination if the scientists deem it the right way of moving forward." (Peter Kendall, president of NFU on the Today Programme)
  • "The Government deserves congratulation for learning the lessons of its shambolic response to the devastating 2001 crisis by stopping all animal movements and preparing for vaccination of surrounding herds as soon as the virus is identified. A clear lesson of the last outbreak was the need for speedy vaccination, so the isolation of the virus and a potential matching with banks of vaccine will be key."Chris Huhne ( Liberal Democrat environment spokesman)
  • " The Government must consider emergency vaccination of animals in affected areas to help control the disease and prevent healthy animals being slaughtered needlessly" Philip Lymbery, Compassion In World Farming's Chief Executive
  • "Everything must be done to make sure we do not see a return to the appalling mass slaughter of farm animals that occurred during the last outbreak. There was widespread public revulsion at the funeral pyres and mass killing, and animal welfare seemed to be the lowest priority for the authorities. That must not be allowed to happen again."Jackie Ballard, MP for Taunton in 2001
    (Comments quoted in The Argus 4th August 2007) Although the Government had secured 300,000 doses of emergency vaccine and put vaccination teams on standby, it was decided not to vaccinate. The out-of-date nature of EU discrimination against FMD vaccination underlies all this. Appreciation of rapid diagnosis, of the efficacy of NSP-free vaccines, and of DIVA tests to differentiate vaccinated from infected animals all comprise lessons still waiting to be learned.

    July 5th 2010 ~ The FMD tragedy in Japan is not over. "Miyazaki cow tests positive for foot-and-mouth disease"

    June 30th 2010 ~ Foot and Mouth in Japan: The Miyazaki prefectural government plans to lift its state of emergency tomorrow

    June 28th 2010 ~ "a delay in detecting foot-and-mouth disease in the early stages of its outbreak led to the spread of the virus in Miyazaki Prefecture"

    June 28th 2010 ~ In the Netherlands, mass culling is never going to take place, again

    June 22nd 2010 ~ The inevitable march of on-site rapid testing will force a change of policy - sooner rather than later, we hope

    June 18th 2010 ~ Now rain in Miyazaki adds to the misery

    June 18th 2010 ~ Many know perfectly well that Japan's policy is at least ten years out of date.

    June 16th 2010 ~ "We should not be surprised that FMD is causing losses to branches of Japan's economy other than agriculture.." ProMed

    June 16th 2010 ~ Prime minister Naoto Kan says, "We are on the brink of it spreading to the rest of Kyushu."Japan Times

    June 14th 2010 ~ "The results of the assay of the invention are available within 30 minutes, a significant advantage since FMDV is highly contagious and will spread rapidly through the herd."

    June 14th 2010 ~ "...if we can do this, if we can fix that, can we call a General Election?" Richard Macdonald recalls Alastair Campbell on the phone in 2001

    June 14th 2010 ~ FMD Vaccination was - at the very moment of Alistair Campbell's phone call in 2001 - successfully eliminating FMD without mass slaughter.

    June 12th 2010 ~ "For me, this is the end," says 86 year old Japanese farmer

    June 12th 2010 ~ Japan's new PM regards the present outbreak of FMD as a "National Crisis"

    June 11th 2010 ~ "the real tragedy of FMD ... takes place silently every day in those countries that live with FMD as an endemic infection" Roger Breeze

    June 11th 2010 ~ "There are now no technological barriers to the elimination of the major transboundary livestock diseases - including foot and mouth"

    June 10th 2010 ~ European Livestock Association: "... a better way of animal health control, appropriate to the scientifically advanced tools of the 21st Century"

    vaccination to live , has written to Dr. Toshiro Kawashima, CVO in Japan (and copied to Dr. Bernard Vallat, OIE, John Dalli, EU Commisioner Health and Consumer Policy and all Members of the European Parliament) The letter is backed by senior British vets and virologists and informed also by the expertise of those closely involved in the swift eradication of FMD in Uruguay in 2001. It makes some urgent recommendations involving vaccination. Extract:
  • ... the size of the vaccination zones should not be based on a generic contingency plan, but must be estimated according to the type of outbreak: e.g.a multiple loci situation versus a single FMD locus quickly identified.
    In the first case the zones must be large, in the last case the zones can be kept relatively small
  • to apply modern purified high potency emergency vaccines that are very effective and provide protective immunity in a matter of days
  • after vaccination, to differentiate infected animals from vaccinated animals (DIVA strategy), by serological screening of vaccinated farms using the appropriate tests;.." Read the ELA letter (pdf) in full

    June 10th 2010 ~ Japan's entire livestock industry is now threatened. "Why in 2010 - in Japan of all places - is a government vet turning up to a reported case of suspect FMD without the tools to make a diagnosis?" asks Roger Breeze

    June 10th 2010 ~ "For the want of a $50 PCR test kit in the right place Japan is paying dearly...."

    June 7th 2010 ~ FMD in Japan: " I could not diagnose it from these symptoms."

    June 7th 2010 ~ "Current policies are not based on recent scientific advances and demonstrate a callous disregard for animal and human welfare."

    June 6th 2010 ~ FMD in Japan could signal the end of the EU's non-vaccination policy, suggests Veerman

    June 5th 2010 ~ Last 5 stud bulls in Miyazaki test negative for foot-and-mouth disease

    June 4th 2010 ~ Comparing FMD policy in Mongolia and Japan. Praise from ProMed for Mongolia's effective use of "vaccination in response to the outbreak"

    June 1 2010 ~ China's non-vaccination policy - "a policy which is in need of confirmation or explanation"

  • Stamping out
  • Movement control inside the country
  • Disinfection of infected premises/establishment(s)
  • Dipping / Spraying
  • No vaccination
  • No treatment of affected animals "No Vaccination" - and yet the ProMed posting also includes the extract from Business Week yesterday remarking that it is expected that revenue from sales of vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease from the China Animal Husbandry Industry Co. will increase "by a large margin."
    To whom are these vaccines being sold if not to China itself to fight its own outbreak? The ProMed moderator shares our bafflement: (Read full ProMed posting)

    May 31st 2010 ~ Japan imposes centralised law to kill livestock - no appeals

    May 31st 2010 ~ "..the progressive destruction of the entire susceptible animal population in and 10 km around the affected farms is expected to achieve soon the planned eradication."

    work nor even that infected animals, inadvertantly vaccinated, can pose a danger of spread. Last week, the ProMed moderator, AS, spoke here of the Vaccinated and infected animals can be distinguished on serology testing; authorities are still able to monitor the spread of disease when modern marker vaccines are used.. - in short, the objections to vaccination are economic ones - and it is the outmoded trade rules that should be challenged, not vaccination. (Unfortunately, Sir David King, ex-Chief Scientific Advisor for the UK, never allowed his own serious lack of FMD expertise to hinder him from using his very powerful position to dominate the decision making process for the worse in 2007 just as he did in 2001.)

    May 22nd 2010 ~ Will Japan consider vaccination-to-live? asks ProMed

    May 20th/ 21st 2010 ~ "The statement that FMD cannot be eradicated by vaccination is absolutely false": FMD experts

    May 20th 2010 ~ Unchallenged statement is misleading and inaccurate

    May 19th 2010~ "The government will vaccinate them before slaughter to slow the spread of the virus"

    May 19th 2010 ~ The FMD situation in Japan means "internationally accepted alternatives....vaccination and/or prescribed, special biosecurity measures, deserve consideration" repeats ProMed moderator

    May 16th/17th 2010 ~ Korean officials say the FMD virus was imported from abroad..but spread unwittingly by movement around farms by vets

    May 16th/17th 2010 ~ Protecting our borders from FMD - "as part of the European Union (EU) the UK must apply the same rules as other EU Member States".

    May 16th 2010 ~ FMD continues to spread. "A possible solution...deserving consideration, is .. preventive vaccination" says ProMed moderator

    May 14th 2010 ~ Threat of FMD "low"?

    May 13th 2010 ~ "the virus could be carried by a traveller.."

    May 12th 2010 ~ astonished that its recommendations and key messages are so clear and so unequivocal

    May 11th 2010 ~ Could this paper be heralding the breakthough to sanity on foot and mouth?

    May 11th 2010 ~ vaccination has to be seen in a new light, directly linked to the availability of effective diagnostic tools

    May 3rd 2010 ~ Foot and Mouth disease on the move - endemic or established across four continents now

    May 3rd 2010 ~ "FMD free without vaccination" status comes at a heavy price

    April 28th 2010 ~ " ..a possible replay of the disastrous 2001 FMD epidemic.. a review of preventive measures and response capacity would be welcome." FAO's Chief Veterinary Officer Juan Lubroth

    animals in order to protect their trade benefits - financial benefits that are looking increasingly risky and scientifically unsound. While acknowledging that vaccines are used routinely in many countries, the OIE's rationale for the non-use of vaccines at no point suggests that they don't work -concentrating instead merely on cost. Ironically, Lubroth says (see FAO website today) , "Even one small outbreak in a previously FMD-free country can cause millions of dollars of losses as global markets close and disease control measures are enforced," adding The costs of not vaccinating are perhaps clearer now. We can only hope - as, on this website, we have been hoping for the past long decade since the scenes of utter misery and chaos in the British countryside.

    April 28th 2010 ~ "recent, large-scale weight of infection in source areas, very probably in the Far East."

    April 25th 2010 ~ "Has anyone flown into the UK from South Korea recently?"

    April 24th 2010 ~ Foot and Mouth continues to spread in South Korea - in spite of mass culling

    April 21st 2010 ~ South Korea - an outbreak has spread to the mainland from an island west of Seoul despite a mass cull

    April 19th 2010 ~ "Getting the exact vaccine right following an outbreak is very, very important..."

    April 15th 2010 ~ Foot and Mouth symposium in Australia: "...better use of technology ... vaccination as a preferable FMD control strategy."

    April 12th 2010 ~ Australian scientists will spend 5 million researching vaccines for use in Australian livestock, "better preparing the industry in case there's a domestic outbreak"

    April 12th 2010 ~ Will the UK follow the Dutch example on Foot and Mouth?

    January 25 2010 ~ The Dutch contingency plan for FMD now specifies the use of vaccination

    January 25th 2010 ~ FMD "vaccination in the event of an outbreak is becoming the more popular policy..." Australia's Deputy chief executive of Animal Health

    January 25 2010 ~ An FMD death toll of 11 million animals was the estimate given by the UK's Meat and Livestock Commission after the 2001 outbreak

    December 14 2009 ~ Slaughter on Suspicion policy - on it goes

    Sept 16 2009 ~ What actually constitutes a Foot and Mouth outbreak?

    August 28 2009 ~ "Vaccinate to live" policy for Foot and Mouth is trialled in Australia's current "Exercise Diva"

    August 1 2009 ~ Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, is urged to "revisit the decision to phase out Plum Island"

    July 27 2009 ~ Professor Roy Anderson's "clear conflict of interest"

    July 27 2009 ~ The Department of Homeland Security "relied on a rushed, flawed study" to move FMD research from Plum Island to Kansas, says the GAO

    July 6 2009 ~ FMD conference in Paraguay ".... the global control of this high-impact international priority"

  • "economic and social justification for recognizing global control and eventual eradication of FMD as a global public good"
  • strategy should be regarded as an international priority
  • Further research on the development of effective and quality vaccines,
  • the establishment of vaccine banks for FMD vaccines in strategic locations and in support of regional FMD control programs ..
  • quick and efficient diagnosis of FMD be further enhanced,
  • strengthened cooperation for national, regional and global surveillance systems for FMD.
  • Transparency and timely disease reporting . Read in full and see also Dr Bernard Vallat's words at the Paraguay conference where he said that "FMD has a domino effect over food security given the world shortage of proteins of animal origin that can be found in produce such as meat and milk. Only an effective immunization can avoid having to sacrifice the infected cattle."

    June 29 2009 ~ FMD: "Only an effective immunization can avoid having to sacrifice the infected cattle" Dr.Bernard Vallat in Paraguay

    June 25 2009 ~ the first time that "a conference has been organized to tackle the problem and ensure a global commitment to control FMD world wide"

    Thursday June 25 2009 ~ The EU to buy FMD antigens

    June 23 2009 ~ Will the EU-27 Meeting in Luxemburg today make a difference?

    Tuesday June 23 2009 ~ The Agricultural Ministers of EU-27, meet today in Luxemburg

    Saturday June 13 2009 ~ "The full cost of the foot-and-mouth epidemic has never been officially revealed..." Roseanna Cunningham

    June 3 2009 ~ "when there's a new outbreak of a serious virus in a remote area of Africa, it can take weeks for the information to reach the state veterinary services. Efforts to control the disease are hampered by this delay...."

    May 21 2009 - "Vaccination - the foundation of prevention": Professor Albert Osterhaus on H1N1

    May 19 2009 ~ Journalists still making false assumptions about the cause of FMD 2001.

    May 18 2009 ~"Resolved, That this House has considered the matter of swine flu."

    May 18 2009 ~ The "Territorial Army" to deal with Foot and Mouth?

    May 17 2009 ~ " It is anticipated that a license application for an FMD vaccine will be filed within a year."

    May 17 2009 ~ Every single one of the eight scientific expert witnesses to the EU inquiry in June 2002 said that vaccination must be used in any future outbreak

  • tests to distinguish between vaccinated and infected animals were already being used in Turkey, in Bulgaria, in Macedonia, and in Albania for several years before 2001 and cost very little.
  • Vaccines against foot and mouth were fully effective in 2001 and sufficient supplies of the correct strain were available at the time of the outbreak.
  • Unlike in 2001, no one now pretends there is any risk whatever involved in the eating of products from vaccinated animals.
  • (More updated information on the FMD vaccination page) There is no sound scientific basis to a non vaccination policy. The legitimate concerns of meat producers could be solved at a stroke if the EU were successfully lobbied to change the outdated and unnecessary regulations about FMD vaccinated products. No public inquiry has ever properly corrected the misinformation put about at the time nor correctly examined the origins of the 2001 outbreak.

    May 11 2009 ~ FAO plan to keep foot and mouth out of Europe

    May 11 2009 ~ Rapid RT-PCR test kits now being used all across America to differentiate flu virus strain

    May 6 2009 ~ Jane Kennedy: "this isolated, short-term trial involving wild boar took place at a time when foot and mouth ..and other exotic diseases were not present in Great Britain"

    May 6 2009 ~ "Frighteningly absurd"..... "meat should never ever have been included in the trial. It should never have been considered as a possibility"

    May 6 2009 ~ "One World, One Health" said the OIE in January....but global sickness looks ever more likely

    May 6 2009 ~ How right was Professor Fred Brown when he advised years ago that FMD could be eradicated if there were a global policy.

    May 5 2009 ~ Between June 24-26, 2009 the first Congress for the Eradication of FMD, will be held in Paraguay.

    May 1 2009 ~ "The Department of Defense can fast track a reagent within hours for use in hand held satellite linked PCR device..."

    May 1 2009 ~ Rapid diagnostic test: "this identifies the current H1 and future changes in that target that have not yet evolved"

    April 29 2009 ~ H1N1: "What one would like to see is a professional and independent analysis of the methodologies currently being used, as well as methodologies that could be used but aren't."

    April 28 2009 ~ "For the first time ever, we are on the threshold of being able to stop a pandemic "

    April 27 2009 ~ DEFRA's more "risk-based approach" to monitoring and enforcement..

    April 23/24 2009 ~ ARS, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security GenVec are now collaborating to develop the new FMD vaccine for inclusion in the U.S. Veterinary Vaccine Stockpile

    April 23 2009 ~ "The disease implications are frightening"

    April 23 2009 ~ DEFRA's baited offal for wild boar in the Forest of Dean

    - a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) - is added to an offal bait that, it is hoped, only wild boar will eat (see Its effect on other wildlife is not known.
    An email received today from the Forest of Dean expresses concern about the possible effect of the hormone on humans particularly now that the Forestry Commission is to permit the stalking and culling of the Forest boar for sale as food. He is concerned about a possible decline in local human births. Wild boar are messy eaters and part of what they eat will inevitably find its way onto the forest floor making it available to non-target species. (See also BBC page on wild boar in Britain)

    April 22 2009 ~ Now, more than ever before, one sees the good sense in insuring against disaster rather than expecting to be bailed out by the public purse

    April 22~ .Farmers were told in 2001 and still believe the unscientific nonsense that it is impossible to sell vaccinated pedigree cattle..

    22 April 2009 ~ NFU concerned that farmers might have to finance nine tenths of the cost of combatting an outbreak of a disease such as foot-and-mouth

    21/22 April 2009 ~ Changing conditions on pig farms

    21/22 April 2009 ~ National Beef Association says NO to cost and responsibility sharing because the cost to farmers would be too great

    April 16 2009 ~ Recent judgements in foot and mouth and TB compensation cases

    April 5/6 2009 ~ "real deal with the European Commission on animal health issues."

    April 5 2009 ~ "real deal with the European Commission on animal health issues."

    April 3-5 2009 ~ "superior disease-outbreak response" tools against FMD

    April 2 2009 ~ "...the current DEFRA Ministers are collectively rather better than many who have gone before.."

    1. Vaccination leaves no residues (unlike some antibiotics/parasiticides/other chemicals etc etc)
    2. If we eat meat, we eat products from vaccinated animals
    3. If we consume dairy products, we are consuming products from vaccinated animals
    4. If we believe that a voluntary prophylactic vaccination scheme will produce adequate vaccination cover for bluetongue, a notifiable disease with considerable welfare implications, we need to see a psychiatrist
    5. It would appear to be simplicity itself to get these messages across to the public and the industry."
    The writer adds, "The current Ministers are collectively rather better than many who have gone before, so why don't they rise up and refuse to spout the garbage they are given to read out?"

    April 2 2009 ~NOAH survey shows that fewer than one in ten people still believe that animals should be culled rather than vaccinated

    April 2 2009 ~ DEFRA is not following up the NOAH survey on new public acceptance of farm animal vaccination

    March 26 2009 ~ Non-vaccinating EU facilitates Iraq's massive foot and mouth vaccination campaign

    March 25 2009 ~ The Bio-Seeq Portable Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory is now being field tested

    March 25 2009 ~ "This system makes possible the mass vaccination of a susceptible animal population without compromising the serological identification of convalescent individuals."

    March 15 2009 ~ When computer modelling goes haywire.....

    March 12 2009 ~ "European science advice looks very deficient" Professor John Beddington.

    . The Group suggests that the virus would "replicate in them sub-clinically and be present persistently for a long time" but as Dr Colin Fink points out: Removing the discrimination against FMD vaccination for Member States is of such importance that a website such as this - with the moral support of many of those who do understand the science and deplore the unnecessarily destructive present policy - has been pleading for change for nearly eight very long years.

    March 12 2009 ~ "farmers still have the mental scars from the ordeal..": Ben Fogle

    March 6 2009 ~ "His Lordship did not so read the section"

    March 6 2009 ~ " The disputes are usually trivial and include such items as formal errors in the invoice."

    March 4/ 5 2009 ~ "the need for continuing advances in vaccine technology combined with clear communication"

    March 2 2009 ~ "differential based on suffering"

    27th February 2009 ~ An anxious wait for the 7 farmers.

    27th February 2009 ~ "Our grazing livestock are the guardians of our landscape - we still have our traditional British meat. But even that is under threat from supermarket pressure...."

    26th February 2009 ~ Farmers' claims "serious, substantial and meritorious"

    24th February 2009 ~ Out of court settlement for 7 of the 14 FMD farmers

    23 February 2009 ~ That was then

    23 February 2009 ~ This is now

    February 22/23 2009 ~ Professor Gull: "Defra has avoided the conclusions of the Anderson report and has gone for a short-term solution.."

    February 18 2009 ~ "The general problem cited was bureaucracy and, in particular, transport regulations... the burdens became intolerable."

    February 17 2009 ~ "... I can only conclude that the BBC is institutionally uninterested in the real countryside..."

    February 14 2009 ~ "only someone whose soul belongs to the 18th century could so casually dismiss the government's role in negotiating with the rest of Europe in order to minimise the damage to agricultural exports..." Guardian

    February 9/10 2009 ~ "FMD free vaccination" - a trade advantage which needs to be re-examined scientifically

    February 9 2009 ~ Argentina: "Without pasture, you have nothing...they are killing the meat machine..."

    February 8/9 2009 ~DEFRA is to break its funding commitment for Pirbright re-development

    February 8/9 2009 ~ FMD in Basra - animals helped with antibiotics and pain-killers until the disease type is determined and vaccines sent - from Pirbright

    Feb 4/5 2009 ~ "We plan to consult on specific proposals for implementing responsibility and cost sharing for animal health shortly."

    February 4 2009 ~" well and truly bushwhacked in a carefully planned ambush" Kim Haywood

    February 4 2009 ~ "We recommend that Defra continues to develop and test its policies and arrangements for emergency vaccination.." Anderson

    is preferred. In early August 2007, although appalled by the escape of virus from Pirbright, we therefore confidently expected immediate emergency ring vaccination. After all,
  • We knew the strain
  • We had appropriate vaccine almost within yards
  • We knew that this time the outdated scientific arguments against vaccination had long since been exploded - leaving only the animal product export sector to cry out against vaccination The decision not to vaccinate but to revert to stamping out was met with widespread disbelief and led to anxiety, emotional trauma, the loss of thousands of healthy animals - and a standstill for farmers as far away as Shetland. (See yesterday's government responses to the recommendations or read pdf file in full)
    Reader comments

    Feb 4 2009 ~ a CBA could be done in five minutes on the back of an envelope by anyone who understood the rural economy, the science of virology and the social consequences of killing.

    February 14 2009 ~ No more self congratulation: The rules have to be changed.

    January 30 2009 ~FMD vaccine doses will be available free of charge - in Saudi Arabia

    January 23 2009 ~ FMD research to be carried out in Thailand.

    January 20 2009 ~ More about the Stratophase diagnostic optical sensor chip, Spectrosens

    January 19 2009 ~ "Animal health systems are not a commercial or a strictly agriculture good"

    January 18/19 2009 ~ "Defra must be encouraged to collect clinical advice from outside the citadel walls"

    January 16/17 2009 ~ Deep concern at decision to move from Plum Island to Kansas

    January 16/17 2009 ~ GAO report highlighted the risks of a release from a laboratory in close proximity to the susceptible animals

    January 13-14 2009 ~ The UK's "standard disease control methods" for diseases such as CSF and FMD could be vaccination.

    January 13-14 2009 ~ " ensure that this level of bureaucratic and political incompetence and widespread abuse of rural families and farm animals never happens again"

    Jan 12 2009 ~ "There is something grossly offensive about the way in which various bodies, from government downwards, communicate with their 'stakeholders' ..."

    January 5 2009 ~ identification of FMD infected animals before development of clinical signs - "a paper already published that describes the same under field conditions in Pakistan and employing many more samples..."

    January 4 2009 ~ The biggest breakthrough for 50 years? Really?

    January 4 2009 ~ But infection be detected before it reaches the stage when a number of animals can be seen to be clinically infected.

    Dec 31 2008 ~ ".... this approach allows identification of infected animals even before development of clinical signs..."


    Dec 11 2008 ~ Contingency Plan changes to encompass lessons learned?

    vaccines are tried, tested and have proved excellent. (That is, in countries whose animal health policies aim to keep animals healthy. EU livestock is not safeguarded from the FMD virus.) While a delay of 2 days may be required while vaccine is prepared for delivery from storage and teams are readied, all we see, in the 68 page overview, even after two disastrous outbreaks of FMD, is that emergency vaccination response might now be in "4-5 days" and that :

    December 11 ~ No reference to use of rapid on-site diagnosis.

    December 11 2008 ~ "Defra remains totally committed to ensuring we learn lessons from our experience of outbreaks, so that we can make sure we respond effectively in future.."

    December 11 2008 ~ The food crisis has pushed the number of hungry people in the world to almost 1billion

    December 10 2008 ~ Another rapid portable test for on-site diagnosis being developed

    December 10 2008 ~ "The melamine affair is symptomatic of too much traded/imported/"adulterated" feedstuffs finding their way into even "organic" diets for both livestock and human consumers."Richard Sanders, Elm Farm

    December 6 2008 ~ "If you want to have a Category 4 laboratory, it should be a modern facility," said Professor Brian Spratt - but vital Pirbright funding is very much in doubt

    November 11 2008 ~ Rapid test for C. difficile infection gets EU go-ahead. But for animal diseases...?

    November 9/10 2008 ~ Hilary Benn thinks attitudes to FMD vaccination really have changed

    November 8 2008 ~ "...wishing those lost farmers were still there."

    November 7 ~ "this ridiculous guide which tells people not to walk their dog in the heat of the day or feed it at the table. .."

    them - might be a better subject for DEFRA publicity. It was Peter Melchett in the Guardian last year who reminded us that

    November 4 2008 ~ "The NFU has confirmed that it is not engaged in any discussions with DEFRA on livestock disease cost and responsibility sharing"

    October 2008 ~ FMD legal case - " it's about accountability"

    October 17 2008 ~ IAH and Merial sued in test case over FMD leak at underfunded government lab

    October 17 2008 ~ "...these laboratories .. in desperate need of investment"

    October 12 2008 ~ "Inappropriate political decisions have led to the virtual wholesale dismantling of Veterinary Services."

    October 8/9 2008 ~ EUFMD says, "We NEED your opinion on priorities for new diagnostic kits"

    October 8/9 2008 ~ The Global Control of FMD Tools, Ideas and Ideals

    October 4 2008 ~ Mitchells returns to court in a few weeks

    October 4 2008 ~ "stunning, incisive and moving material.."

    October 1 2008 ~ Nicky Paull, new president of the BVA, wants to provide the "political lobbying that the profession needs"

    Monday September 29 2008 ~ "... in the absence of sound veterinary advice, decisions may be made on the basis of short term financial expediency ... "

    September 23 2008 ~ Porton Down to get millions for renovation - and what of Pirbright?

    September 23 2008 ~ "striking lack of co-ordination between those funding and those running high containment facilities"

    September 22 2008 ~ "Remember this when you are next told that, for example, we cannot ban imports of livestock from EU countries affected by Bluetongue, because those are the rules; or that we cannot vaccinate against foot and mouth, because those are the rules."

    September 12 2008 ~ Of the utmost importance in any viable cost-sharing partnership in animal health policies

    September 9 2008 ~ " remove animal health and welfare from the political arena..."

    September 8 2008 ~ "maximum gains from genetic modification are small, much lower than with either conventional breeding or agroecology-based techniques."

    September 1 2008 ~ "This foot in mouth disease modelling...."

    September 1 2008 ~ "information that it appears great care was taken to conceal...."

    August 22 2008 ~ "the government should abandon slaughter in favour of vaccination"

    August 21 2008 ~ Mitchells Auction Mart case against DEFRA delayed yet again

    August 21 2008 ~ "continued welfare unfriendly use of double tagging ..."

    August 20 2008 ~ EU to investigate the issue of composting of animal by-products in the UK

    August 18/19 2008 ~ Can the EU really - possibly - not know that such a small portable machine has been in existence for years?

    August 18/19 2008 ~"... It has been possible and practical to use the RAPID device to detect avian influenza virus on farm and in the field since 2000."

    August 11/12 2008 ~ "a lifetime's work taken away in hours"

    August 9 ~ DEFRA assurances about the "low risk" of animal disease from animal by-products are at last being officially questioned

    August 9 ~ "The Vet lab virologists are producing fine data on the sequences of the viruses and the politicians seem conveniently deaf to the meaning of this"

    6 August 2008 ~ Continuing deep concern about the siting of the US National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility on the mainland

    Aug 2 2008 ~ Four year funded project on diagnosis ended on July 31

    the pen-side diagnostics the central laboratories.
    The poster produced at the end of the project mentions In the EU, penside tests have been developed to test for antigen only.
    Reference Laboratories may be understandably jealous of their position and status and would certainly not want to find themselves by-passed. However, FMD and other List A diseases cannot be rapidly controlled if samples from animals not yet showing clinical symptoms still have to be transported long distance to such laboratories for definitive analysis.
    We know, for example, that "a highly sensitive and specific one-step multiplex RT-PCR assay has been developed and standardised for the simultaneous and differential detection of the most important vesicular viruses affecting livestock." ( abstract) Can such as this not be used rapidly in the field, as in the former Soviet Bloc? Comment would be gratefully received.

    Aug 2 2008 ~ A "specific web-site for knowledge communication" was one of the objectives of Work Package 9..

    29 July 2008 ~ Livestock Reduction?

    July 25 2008 ~ Foot and Mouth Culling, Transport, Disposal, Cleansing and Disinfection - sanitised to "Field Operations"

    July 25 2008 ~ "Inhibition of foot-and-mouth disease virus replication in vitro and in vivo by small interfering RNA"

    July 19 2008 ~ "Why does it only get worse? After BSE, FMD, Bluetongue I always thought : that's it, we've hit the bottom now. Beggars belief, it seems there is no end in sight."

    Tuesday 15th July 2008 ~ "A shift from an industrialised agriculture system to one based on ecologically sound principles and free from petro-chemical inputs..."

    July 12 ~ Rich enough to import sufficient food? For how long?

    July 6 2008 ~ "Plum Island is the clear choice for the NBAF, and Homeland Security should opt to build it there."

    July 1 2008 ~ Mitchells of Cockermouth is suing Defra for more than £100,000 owed from 2001

    June 25 2008 ~ "striking lack of co-ordination" between those funding and those running high containment facilities

    June 25 2008 ~ The completed report says that the issues of adequate funding, coordination and security must be properly addressed.

    June 23 2008 ~ "ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets..."

    June 23 2008 ~ "if foot-and-mouth does get out, what does that mean to these sites?"

    June 21 2008 ~ DEFRA won't help towards Surrey's £250,000 FMD bill.

    the government's responsibility was making all the decisions, refusing to vaccinate and turning its deaf ear to expert advice. For the government, "responsibility" means that the costs of their own policies and muddled responses are met by others. Despite the endless stream of regulations making farmers and managers ever more accountable, DEFRA and the government are not, it seems, ever to be held responsible themselves. (This paper shows what would be a saner approach to industry cost sharing and governmental responsibility.)

    June 14 2008 ~ Vets "just walking away from large animal work..." Nick Blayney

    Monday 8 June ~ "... if the lab comes to Kansas it will be surrounded by agricultural production.." says professor at Kansas State

    June 3 2008 ~ Why is it not possible to find 30 billion dollars a year to allow 862 million hungry people to feed themselves?

    June 2 2008 ~ "...regular contact with stakeholders, and being as open as possible about current and future policy-making, has contributed to creating a climate of trust" CVO report 2007 (page 21)

    May 31 2008 ~ "Animal vaccinations are among the most effective, successful tools...."

    May 29 2008 ~"We changed the policy and brought foot and mouth under control and the Cabinet was somewhat grateful"

    May 29 2008 ~ "a global problem of supply and demand - not just in the short term but the medium term and the long term": Gordon Brown

    May 28 2008 ~ Surrey County Council will prosecute neither IAH Pirbright nor Merial over FMD leak last August

    May 28 2008 ~ The next wave of animal diseases - just waiting to happen

    May 28 2008 ~ OIE President Barry O'Brien's frustration that countries re-invent the wheel instead of cooperating on animal health

    May 28 2008 ~ "The Trust's function is 'to provide a wildlife sanctuary in perpetuity' for the Arapawa goats, sheep and pigs..."

    May 28 2008 ~ "yet another example of a huge corporation steamrolling and bulldozing over a community..."

    May 27 2008 ~ US Government Accounting Office report warns about what happened at Pirbright

  • ....human error can never be completely eliminated and since a lack of commitment to the proper maintenance of biocontainment facilities and their associated technology - as the Pirbright facility showed - can cause releases...
  • ...The investigations determined that there had been a failure to properly maintain the site's infrastructure. In all, eight separate outbreaks occurred over a 2-month period.
  • ... ...accidents, while rare, still occur because of human or technical errors. Given the non-zero risk of a release from any biocontainment facility, most of the experts we spoke with told us that an island location can provide additional protection. ...." The report reveals that the DHS had not conducted any studies to determine the wisdom of moving FMD activities away from Plum Island, using instead an existing study that does not clearly support such a move. The GAO concludes that an island location can help prevent what happened in Surrey: the spread of FMD virus along terrestrial routes (by vehicles splashed with contaminated mud, for example) and also perhaps airborne transmission. The report noted grimly how "recent outbreaks in the United Kingdom have demonstrated its economic consequences."

    May 27 2008 ~ Instead of tilting at the Opec windmill, we should be weaning ourselves off fossil fuels

    May 26 2008 ~ One world, one disease - "integrated approach needed" to manage human and animal disease.

    May 26 2008 ~ "people want it close to home, as fresh as possible, and produced sustainably"

    May 25 2008 ~ Via Campesina is convinced that sustainable family farming and local food production can solve the current food and environmental crisis.

    May 25 2008 ~ Health and Safety Executive stands to gain financially from its unscientific insistence that white asbestos cement be disposed of

    May 23 2008 ~ "many more farmers will abandon sheep production under the burden of yet more bureaucratic futility...."

    May 23 2008 ~ Malcolm Wicks put soaring oil price problems down to 'the perfect storm' that no one could have predicted....

    May 23 2008 ~ Chris Skrebowski on PM programme says 'We're into a land without maps here'

    May 22/23 2008 ~ Energy watchdog, International Energy Agency, admits serious doubt on future of oil supplies. EDM Motion has only 48 signatures.

    May 22 2008 ~ mass death of bees in southern Germany blamed on insecticide

    May 22 ~ vaccination against FMD "which allows a better control of the disease" OIE Alert

    May 22 ~ The threat of GM terminator seeds - back again

    May 22 2008 ~ The relentless rise of the seed multinationals has already locked millions of farmers into buying commercialised seed

  • As market demand for commercial crops rises, small producers are forced to abandon local and indigenous varieties.
  • Seeds which people once saved now have to be sourced from seed companies while foodstuffs farmers once grew on their land now have to be bought from shops.
  • The top 10 seed companies control 55% of the total commercial seed market. The danger is that Terminator is the logical next step in seed companies' bid to privatise plant life and would leave farmers with no choice at all...." Read "Against the Grain"

    May 22 2008 ~ "What is land for, what skills are necessary and where does the public interest lie?"

    May 22 2008 ~ " traditional farming practices....considered of high nature value"

    May 22 2008 ~ The CAP is not scheduled for a root and branch reform until 2013 - but...

    May 22 2008 ~ Many are watching Brazil's reaction to the live export suspension and are backing a permanent ban on long distance transport of animals for slaughter.

    May 19 2008 ~ "...nations like mine are aggressively developing alternatives to oil...."

    May 18 2008 ~ "Defra itself admits on its website that the blood test is cruder and less "specific" than the skin test..."

    May 18 2008 ~ What an appalling waste.

    May 17 2008 ~ "The fact that Defra insisted in doing this without a re-test is just awful. All those poor healthy cows have been put down without reason."

    May 14 2008 ~ "Supermarkets are not stupid. They stay close to the Government..."

    May 13 2008 ~ " A much needed antidote to the world as seen from Westminster ..."

    May 13 2008 ~ "people and places which are the lifeblood of village life"

    May 13 2008 ~ The scramble for biofuels is driving Colombian peasant farmers off their land

    May 12 ~ "Farmers admit they are getting great prices for wheat, but that's being offset by record fertiliser and fuel prices."

    May 12 2008 ~ David Attenborough on waste - Washington Post

    May 12 2008 ~ Lack of foreign pickers could result in the waste of 50,000 tonnes of UK soft fruits

    May 12 2008 ~ A short film about the big picture

    May 11/12 2008 ~ Mangroves would have protected villagers in Burma

    May 11 ~ "Grocery bills could be a proverbial canary in the coal mine, warning of dangers the rest of us can't detect"

    May 11 2008 ~" a palpable sense of urgency in their voices.."

    May 11 2008 ~ One-fifth of the world's cropland is degraded

    May 9 2008 ~ "resource nationalism" can endanger world food security.

    May 9 2008 ~"overall there is little sign that policy-makers have grasped the enormity of what has happened."

    May 9 2008 ~ Professor Tim Lang "we've got to have a sustainable food system"

    May 8/9 2008 ~ Pirbright was in "desperate need of investment" from DEFRA in 2006 - but the leak not our responsibility says the government

    May 8/9 2008 ~ The government was alerted to the desperate lack of funding long before the virus leak.

    May 8 2008 ~ "completely unacceptable that we are going through this again"

    May 8 2008 ~"behind the façade of pleasantries about the industry the Government has no policy towards domestic food production at all" James Paice

    May 8 2008 ~ Depending on cheap food from abroad is no longer a safe bet.

    May 7 2008 ~ The commercialisation of Pirbright's "lateral flow" device "to support clinical diagnosis."

    May 7 2008 ~ Scrapie research continues....

    May 7 2008 ~ No compensation for swill feeders - but real dangers from present disposal of waste

    May 7 2008 ~ Uncooked waste meat may contain animal pathogens, including BSE, the foot-and-mouth disease virus, African swine fever virus and classical swine fever virus.

    May 7 2008 ~ "The theme of the symposium is tracking the emergence and global spread of FMD."

    May 7 2008 ~ It is "whistling in the wind" to blame OPEC for the huge rise in oil prices

    May 6 2008 ~ "We need a change in the approach to rural development. ....a sense of ownership in initiatives to improve production. ."

    May 6 2008 ~ - "How organic agriculture and localised food (and energy) systems can feed the world and free us from fossil fuels.."

    May 6 2008 ~ "It is saddening that the very government which is supposed to support him killed him."

    May 6 2008 ~ assets of the FAO should be transferred to the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development

    May 5 2008 ~ Oil price hits $120.36

    May 4 2008 ~ "We should get back to proper science before it is too late."

    May 4 2008 ~ "The cheap food era may be over "

    May 2 2008 ~ The UK - "pushing up the prices and making food less available for poor countries"

    May 2 2008 ~ "...unacceptable risks to public health, the environment and the welfare of the animals themselves"

    May 2 2008 ~ "Organic agriculture is the only option left in our looming energy crisis, when oil becomes too expensive and scarce for farming use..."

    May 2 2008 ~ more than a matter of labelling regulations

    May 2 2008 ~ Tesco towns or Transition towns?

    May 2 2008 ~ "change must come in the first instance from the grassroots"

    May 1 2008 ~TB blood test clear - but all the cows to be destroyed...

    May 1 2008 ~ "...people are hungry for positive solutions which engage their creativity." Rob Hopkins

    May 1 2008 ~ Tesco baulks at the Competition Commission's plan for an independent ombudsman

    May 1 2008 ~ Government's plans to meet its renewable energy targets through offshore wind stymied by Shell.

    28/29 April ~'commodities super-cycle' likely to cause starvation on an epic scale.

    Monday 28 April ~ 'devastating policies' which are weakening the world economy, increasing food shortages and destruction of forest across the planet.

    Monday 28 April ~ "...a megalomaniac idea that the recent rise of half a degree would have been caused by man"

    Saturday 26 April ~ seawater-irrigated agricultural areas would allow biofuel to make sense

    Saturday 26 April ~ What farmers need to step up production - less red tape

    Friday 25th April 2008 ~ seminar discussing African Horse Sickness (AHS) and West Nile Virus

    Thursday 24th April 2008 ~ "a pattern of ignoring and manipulating science"

    Thursday 24th April 2008 ~ Biovet's Foot and Mouth vaccines will enter the market this year

    Thursday 24th April 2008 ~The best preparation is to have a vaccine waiting and ready for use

    Thursday 24 April ~ The presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela and Cuba's vice-president plan a £50 million pound scheme to combat the impact of rising food prices

    Thursday 24 April ~ Federal regulators are backing away from two proposals that would have allowed institutional investors to expand their stake

    April 24 ~ Since January, big rice-producing nations including India, China, Vietnam and Egypt have capped export

    Wednesday 23 April 2008 ~"this new speculation, this flaring speculation is driving up the's silent mass murder"

    Wednesday 23 April 2008 ~ Oil is now within striking distance of $120 a barrel. Grains prices still rising

    Wednesday 23 April 2008 ~ "... enthusiasm for growing your own is stronger than ever."

    Wednesday 23 April 2008 ~ Shakespeare's birthday today - and the words of one of his wisest creations:

    Tuesday 22 April 2008 ~ "food and oil prices "risk becoming a destabilising force in the global economy".

    Monday 21 April 2008 ~ Holland wrinkles its nose at London Stink claim

    Monday 21 April 2008 ~ "I am not into scaremongering. But AHS demands that we look directly into its eye - because this is a no-nonsense disease."

    April 20 2008 ~".. as many as 90% of the horse population could be infected and compulsorily slaughtered".

    Sunday 20 April 2008 ~ " A billion people overweight, 800 million people who are starving, who are hungry, who are not fed enough...."

    April 17 ~ Peat bogs are Europe's rainforests - and under threat

    April 17 2008 ~ "... some great old photos of Clapham Common dug up for allotments, and people growing food on the rooftops of London during World War Two."

    April 17 2008 ~ A system integrating good housing to landscape, conservation of natural resources - a very practical design system. Permaculture.

    April 17 2008 ~ Britain farmland - more and more being bought up by rich investors

    April 17 2008 ~ "the need for affordable food versus the need for renewable energy..."

    April 16 2008 ~ Professor Bob Watson "Can we change our priorities in the agricultural sector?"

    April 16 2008 ~ The British Government failed to sign the IAASTD accord.

    April 16 2008 ~ There is emphasis in the report on proven traditional agricultural methods from around the world as much as on the new technologies.

    April 15 2008 ~ It has exacerbated a global food crisis - yet our petrol tanks must now contain at least 2.5 per cent biofuel...

    April 15 2008 ~ "the period of intense oil production [growth] is over".

    April 15 ~ "It is hard to understand how two such different food economies could occupy the same planet, until you realise that they feed off each other"

    April 14 2008 ~ "we aren't boycotting supermarkets entirely but we are gradually weaning people off them"

    being moved more than about two miles is the meat animals - who have to be sent to slaughter some distance away since, because of a shameful series of cock-ups, we have lost the majority of our good local slaughterhouses.

    April 14 2008 ~ The animal welfare issues of prolonged transport to slaughter.

    April 14 2008 ~ We need "intelligent growth"

    April 14 2008 ~ The FAO's measures cannot surely do much more than paper over a few cracks.

    April 13 2008 ~ Mass starvation warning

    April 12 2008 ~ "people whose lives are being blighted by bland corporate values - the stallholders and publicans and shopkeepers whose jobs are hanging by a thread..."

    April 11/12 2008 ~ "The backyard organic garden is sounding less and less like an elite affectation, every single day."

    April 11 2008 ~ What is the UK Government's position on Food Security?

    April 11 2008 ~ role for gardening and urban agriculture

  • If 95% food is oil-dependent, what would a post or 'less oil' food economy look like?
  • Which sectors need to change most?
  • Cost: prices need to rise but how much would they? SDC $100 showed +5-10%
  • Skills on farm - role for gardening / urban agriculture? There is, of course, no official food security policy yet. Gundula Azeez (Soil Association) also gave an audio & Powerpoint presentation at the meeting and the All-Party Parliamentary Group now has their own website where several interesting links can be found.

    April 11 2008 ~ Family farms and urban gardens

    April 11 2008 ~ "people want to make it a mainstream activity"

    April 11 2008 ~ Governments are racing to secure food imports

    April 10 2008 ~ " waves of unrest around the world...all related to the food and fuel prices"

    April 9/10 2008 ~ 33 nations from Mexico to Yemen may face "social unrest''

    Wednesday April 9 2008 ~ "With all our combined efforts we must be able to move the EU-tanker..."

    Wednesday April 9 2008 ~ Argentina - empty shelves are the price of soaring energy and grain

    Wednesday April 9 2008 ~ The big exporters with political clout and pedigree breeders are often those who continue to raise powerful voices against vaccination

    Tuesday April 8 2008 ~ The production of money, not food, takes precedence every time for UK government - but without farming we all go hungry

    Monday April 7 2008 ~ Briefing day for everyone interested in setting up a Community Supported Agriculture project.

    Monday April 7 2008 ~ The crisis is global

    Sunday April 6 2008 ~ Staring down the barrel of a crisis

    April 6 2008 ~ EU's Rapid Alert System for Non-Food Products (RAPEX) includes UK wind turbine

    April 4 2008 ~ Food prices... effects are being felt globally.

    April 3 2008 ~ The National Conference for Transition Towns is to be held in Cirencester next weekend

    April 3 2008 ~ Top-down does not work

    April 2 2008 ~ "alternative ways of handling any future outbreak, with minimum disruption to the industry.."

    April 2 2008 ~ "... labelling of products from vaccinated animals must be prohibited." Jan Mulder

    April 2 2008 ~ "a real grass roots movement that is inspiring people to get involved.."

    April 1/2 2008 ~ Compton develops a microchip to identify viruses

    March 31/April 1 2008 ~ bTB - part of the answer at least lies in the soil

    March 31 2008 ~ Back to the backyard - not simply because it's fun but for our economic survival

    March 31 2008 ~ Biofuel targets. Why were the real experts not listened to?

    March 31 2008 ~ Small scale biofuel production - another matter.

    March 31 2008 ~And, if one has the stomach for it....

    March 27/28 2008 ~ Peak oil' meeting in Taunton

    March 27 2008 ~ Ninety-five per cent of the UK's fresh fruit is imported

    March 27 2008 ~ "Middlesbrough borough council turned over parkland, town-centre planters and other landholdings for fruit and vegetable growing.

    March 27 2008 ~ Transition Towns: " We've got to reduce our dependence on oil.....And you're expecting the whole of Ambridge to get involved?"

    March 27 2008 ~ Green MEP Caroline Lucas, will be visiting Stroud on Friday, April 11th.

    March 27 2008 ~ "Economic contraction may be bitter medicine, but it's part of the cure for what ails our planetary home."

    March 27 2008 ~ "shoppers do not care whether the FDA thinks the hormone is safe or not - they would simply rather not have it."

    March 27 ~ Monsanto does not always quite get its own way.

    March 26 2008 ~ 6.7 million tonnes of food waste is generated by UK households each year, the equivalent of one third of food bought, or £8 billion worth of produce

    March 26 2008 ~ Wasting away

    March 26 2008 ~ The new FMD vaccine "signals tremendous promise" - but the US clings to its "reasons not to vaccinate"

    March 25/26 2008 ~ "The Great Turning" - the Ecological or Sustainability Revolution

    March 25 2008 ~ France's "decision was a victory for environmentalists and for farmers opposed to gene-modification technology"

    March 25 2008 ~ Arapawa goats - to be left alone until September

    March 25 2008 ~ Rapid chip diagnosis VereFlu commercially available

    March 24 2008 ~ "It's about creating alternatives, realistic ways of living that can inspire everyone in the whole of society..."

    March 24 2008 ~ "Moving to New York City," she said, "was what first got me interested in food and farming."

    March 24 2008 ~ Wealth and security now lie in productive land

    March 24 2008 ~ "... How did we forget something so basic?..."

    March 24 2008 ~ "A little knowledge is dangerous for these politicians - they've never run a butcher's shop or been involved in actual mince production."

    March 22 2008 ~ DEFRA - 2 sat-navs short of a picnic?

    March 21 2008 ~ FMD review "not worth the paper it's printed on....we appear to be almost no further forward..."

    March 20 2008 ~David Cameron "Britain risks food shortages and rocketing prices unless we begin to grow more of our own produce."

    March 20 2008 ~ Hilary Benn heckled over TB

    March 19 2008 ~ "Cleared" - not quite the word we'd have chosen

    March 18 2008 ~"It's a question of unleashing the collective genius around you..."

    March 18 2008 ~ " As Richard Heinberg put it, people are instinctively more interested in what is going into their car than in what is coming out of the exhaust pipe...".

    March 17/18 2008 ~ Cheap food culture has led to dangerous lack of disease surveillance and lowering of welfare standards

    March 17/18 2008 ~ Who or what is Enviros Consulting - and why has DEFRA paid it six and a half million pounds since 2005?

    March 17 2008 ~ Nonoparticles? No thanks. The technology will "concentrate corporate control of global agriculture and food systems" even more.

    March 16/17 2008 ~ "The evening felt celebratory, positive and inspiring. Transition Handbooks sold like hot cakes..."

    March 16/17 2008 ~ Let them eat biofuel...?

    March 16/17 2008 ~ In glorious contrast to our politicians and ever more chaotic Ministries..

    March 15 2008 ~ Revolt over double tagging

    March 15 2008 ~ Time to bury the on-farm burial ban and other useless regulation and red tape

    March 14 2008 ~ "stretching vital environmental life-support services to the limit..."

    March 14 2008 ~ Towards a win-win situation. Gordon Copeland calls for dialogue, a little goodwill and a management plan

    March 14 2008 ~ British hill farmers doomed by "failed and flawed government policies".

    March 13 2008 ~ FMD report - " tiny virus, big whitewash" says Elm Farm

    March 13 2008 ~ ".. ignorance of virology and cutting-edge technology, idiotic and unscientific opposition to vaccination, institutionalised secrecy.."

  • As in 2001, vaccination was opposed at every stage - in spite of the eminent voices calling for it on August 4th including that of Bernard Vallat, not to mention Peter Kendall. Never before had conditions been so entirely favourable:
    We knew the strain, we knew the source, we had supplies of the exact match vaccine to hand, we knew the timescale.
    The virus could have been stopped in its tracks within days by ring vaccination from the outside inwards - Instead, it reappeared in September. (Blog (new window))
  • As in 2001, the available rapid RT-PCR diagnosis was not used. It has now been used to track and eliminate pathogens globally for nearly a decade. Apart from UK commercial jealousy - what can be stopping its use here?
  • As in 2001, healthy animals were killed en masse. On the Emerson's free range farm, for example, even the two pet goats were killed. The killing of the pigs and cows continued well into the night under arc lamps. Not one of the animals was subsequently found to have been infected. In fact, only a handful of the 2000 or so animals killed turned out to have been infected.
  • As when Gordon Brown was at the Treasury, lack of funding into animal disease caused the head of Pirbright to say just months before the outbreak, "Year on year, we are able to do less science or we are able to employ less people, and this is an area of work that spans from foot and mouth through to bluetongue virus.."
  • Simple failures to understand farming needs, such as lack of cattle handling eqipment, led to distress and delay. Communication with ordinary people was poor. Country-wide over regulation led to massive losses. The UK reputation slid further into the mire. In 2002 the official inquiries, anxious not to whisper criticisms too loudly at those great ones who had made such an unholy, bloody, fiasco of things, listed some gentle recommendations. They were the lessons to be learned.
    DEFRA did not learn them. Blog (new window)
    Reading Dr Anderson's "we found much to applaud.." review , we can hear the hollow laughter of despair all over the country.

    March 12 2008 ~ Charles Clover: "Do me a favour. This inquiry - or lessons learned review as we must call it - was clearly never going to blame anyone."