From a letter to the Anderson Lessons Learned team from Alan Beat

"the disease was in the DECLINE stage by the time Prof Roy Anderson took over . . . . . this cannot be proved to others until a proper analysis is done and published of the test results and locations of those first 800+ outbreaks. But it is an investigation that can and should be done."

Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that justifying data needs to be examined, we do already have one measure that clearly demonstates the point, as detailed in my paper "More on modelling" which was included in my own submission to your inquiry.

Extract:

"The decline in the epidemic can be shown to be independent of the new culling measures as follows:

The peak of the epidemic had already passed, and the steady decline in daily case numbers become well established, BEFORE any possible impact of the new culling policies could have taken place. Even if the 48 hour target for CP culling had been met (which it was not, especially so when first introduced), the incubation and early infectious stages of the disease allow an average of nine days to pass between exposure to virus and the appearance of clinical signs for farm diagnosis (stated in this paper). To recap, the key dates are:

23rd March Contiguous culling introduced with local veterinary assessment

26th March Epidemic peaks with 54 cases in one day

29th March 24/48 hour culling policy introduced

9th April First possible impact of 24/48 hour culling, cases down to 32 per day

The impact of 24/48 hour culling could not have begun to take effect on reported new cases of infection until 11 days following the 29th March (48 hours plus 9 days incubation). On that date, 9th April, the daily case numbers had already declined to an average of 32 per day and Professor David King was expressing "cautious optimism" that the new measures were starting to "turn things round" (Veterinary Record, 14th April). Yet clearly this was not, and could not be, the case.

If the new culling policies were to make any impact on the course of the epidemic, this would show as a marked decline in daily case numbers commencing on or around 9th April. That did not happen, in fact there is no significant change in the pattern of decline at any point that can be attributed to the new culling policies."

(I have challenged many of the principal players with the above argument since it was first published by our regional newspaper, the Western Morning News, back in November 2001 - King, Anderson, Woolhouse, Keeling, Pirbright laboratory, EFRA Select Committee and others. None has made any attempt to refute it. They have no counter argument to offer. )