NATIONAL FOOT & MOUTH GROUP

 

MEETING WITH LESSONS LEARNED INQUIRY

 

22 May 2002

 

Mr Matthew Hill – Secretariat

 

NOTES OF ORAL EVIDENCE

 

1          Global spread of FMD Pan Asia ‘O’ strain – showed slides of origin of disease in India in 1990 and increasing spread – movement from Country to Country, and most importantly, the huge leaps to other continents, eg S Africa and Europe up to 2000.  Source FAO/WRL.

 

2          EU FMD Committee Minutes of 63rd and 64th Session

 

1 and 2 Demonstrate disease was an ever increasing risk of FMD spreading to the UK and Europe, that this had been recognised, and that contingency plans needed to be constantly revised and updated.

 

Why did this not happen in the UK?  It was not a question of IF the disease will arrive, but WHEN.

 

 

3          Spread of disease within first 3 days –  evidence that the 3=  day delay in imposing national movement restrictions resulted in the epidemic being 30 – 50% more widespread than it should have been.

 

4            Concern in Forest of Dean – First to realise that incidence of disease not as being stated by MAFF.   Contiguous Culls not infected – as showing no signs of disease 3 –5 weeks post ‘Infected’ premises slaughtered.  Test results were negative and position of DVM for Glos and letters to Vet Record, etc

 

            Sought details from MAFF of lab test results 1 & 14 May 2001 – not produced until Parliamentary Question raised in November – finally answered Jan 2002. Why was there this delay??

 

5            Evidence of Paul Kitching – 3 items – Notes to Judi Bell, C4 Transcript, Independent on Sunday article. Plus Vet Record Papers and letters, etc

 

            Letters of Michell and others in Vet Record and Papers from Donaldson & Kitching – detailing that airborne transmission had been over stated and that the Contiguous Cull policy was unnecessary to control the disease.

 

6          Who took decision to proceed with Contiguous Cull, 3km and Firebreak Cull and on the basis of what information?

 

7            Modellers versus FMD Science – EFRA Select Committee Evidence

 

8          Case for Contig, 3km, Firebreak Cull not proven – and that there was a fundamental need for proper diagnostic testing.  The reliance on clinical signs to confirm cases in sheep resulted in massive misdiagnosis and consequent impact .

 

9            Evidence of Forest of Dean, Glos, Herefordshire, Worcs, etc and Gt Orton that they were very few positive cases found on lab testing and subsequent  impact of the extensive, unnecessary slaughter, economic losses, cost to rural communities, social and ethical aspects.

 

10            Disease had already peaked (28 Mar 2001) by the time the Contiguous Cull measures were introduced.  They only served to slow down the correct diagnosis and disposal of truly infected ‘Infected Premises’ and increase the logistical problems of disposal and added to the impacts on wider rural economy, communities, etc.

 

 

11            Decision not to Vaccinate.  What was this based on and was it valid?

 

            Role of those on Stakeholder and Science Group meetings – Role of the NFU and others who argued against vaccination.   What did these bodies base their views on and was the weight given to their concerns proportionate and reasonable?

 

            Referred to NFU Questions, FSA, etc Retail Consortium, Nestle

 

12            Relevance of EU Directive on Vaccination Compensation – why was this not brought to farmers and others notice??

 

13        Loss of DFS, Cost Benefit Analysis – and the importance of returning to Normality for all concerned.  Implications and ethics.

 

14        Risk of further infection and outbreaks.

 

            We do not know what is coming into Europe or the UK – Lord Whitty answer to the Lords and information from Defra,

Border Inspections not applied or enforceable – IAH Pirbright

Increased globalisation and movement of trade and people, eg Korea and World Cup.  Disease endemic in Turkey and elsewhere.

 

15        The need to be prepared to deal with disease in a manner which minimises impact.

 

            Ethical, moral and social responsibility for modern, humane and civilised approach to disease using modern science – not primitive and arbitrary control.  The argument for vaccination.

 

16            Overcoming perceived drawbacks to vaccination:

            Carriers, trade restrictions, consumption of vaccinated products, loss of market value, disease free status and exports.

 

17        Modern Vaccines and Tests and Diagnostics

 

18            Vaccination Programme

 

19        The need for Resources for WRL to validate and authorise use is key for

            Diagnostics PCR, Smart Cycler,  NSP Free Vaccines and NSP free testing protocols, eg Intervet Checkit system.

 

            Political will and proper funding is needed to achieve this.

 

            Cf Reduction in Defra budget and research allocation funding

 

20            Conclusions and Recommendations            - as per NFMG Submissions and additions.