I wish to make it known that I believe the UK's existing FMD Contingency Plan is just more of the same horror canned, ready to be opened like a Pandora's Box.
To : All who sight these Contingency Plans
From : Captain Bryn Wayt
Date : 13th November 2002
Critique of Contingency Plan 2.5
Blue text is taken from the Plan, RED text highlights the offending section/s.
I start with my utter disbelief that the same belligerent, ignorant, Jack-Booted mind set still exists within DEFRA as it did during the 2001 FMD crisis; for the same unbelievable deviant, barbaric foundations of slaughter pepper this new Contingency Plan with added absurdities as culling animals that live under the virus plume ! (culling of other livestock exposed to the disease (e.g. premises under virus plumes)).
This does not quite gel with what is said on page 87 under Footpaths, In addition to geographical factors, risk may diminish with time. Virus viability on pasture is limited and is dependent on meteorological conditions.
Slaughter on Suspicion is still ingrained in your minds within this plan, as is the illegal “firebreak cull”, as is culling out Contiguous premises, as is “Dangerous Contacts” whether they have disease or not. (subject to the Government’s Animal Health Bill becoming law) preemptive or 'firebreak' culling of animals not on infected premises not dangerous contacts or not necessarily exposed to the disease. Tell me the AHB is not law.
Vaccination is given the backseat again with only four small miserable babbled paragraphs and some mention that you will “consider” it, just like Mr Morley did 10 times in about 8 months in 2001.
This plan shows all the hallmarks of a re-run of shameful FMD 2001 outbreak, with a visible polish on communications and logistics, and a wilful neglect of any Lessons Learned. It is the 2001 animal holocaust all over again, for the same people, in the same jobs, have drawn up the plan. The same Titanic with the same crew. It is inconceivable that you all contemplate the same journey through a FMD crisis.
To use the Bishop of Hereford’s word, I think this Contingency Plan is “evil”; and the why hereby follows.
Why is VACCINATION so far down the list on the plan ?
It is Item 18, and falls behind that of Cleansing and Disinfection of Affected Premises (Item 15) – which is rather prophetic !
7. If FMD is Confirmed (through Clinical Examination or Laboratory Test)
Clinical examination has been proven to be prone to massive misdiagnosis – take the last case of a bull down in Cornwall that sparked a scare in October 2002, and involved the DVM Jan Kelly phoning Elliot Morley direct asking what to do next ! This animal has sores in its mouth from natural in-field escapades.
My point here is CONFIRMATION of FMD cannot be by a mere “clinical examination”.
Dangerous contacts will be culled as soon as possible.
Given that the 2001 FMD disaster allegedly identified 7178 DC’s and only ONE, I repeat, only ONE, proved “positive” (only 396 were “tested”) it is premature, contemptuous and dangerous to assume this debased Dangerous Contact cull be once again the unscientifically unvalidated method of disease control. Has absolutely nothing been learned from this stupid DC cull farce of 2001 ?
Another thing to bear in mind is that a farmer has won a High Court Ruling (costing DEFRA £40,000 costs) that his Form A was served illegally; this case naturally points to ALL other Contiguous farms that were similarly issued with a Form A that they too were probably served illegally as well !
High Court success turns the spotlight back onto Vets disciplinary procedures.
A North Devon farmers long-running legal battle against DEFRA came to a conclusion in the High Court on Monday. The case, which was distinct from arguments about the legality of the contiguous cull, centred on the legality of Veterinary Inspectors working for DEFRA and serving a Form A on contiguous premises. The farmer had argued that where this was done in accordance with a mandatory Emergency Instruction, and there had been no specific veterinary risk assessment, there could be no reasonable grounds to suppose that disease existed on his premises and the service of Form A was unlawful.
On Monday, in the third High Court hearing this year in which the farmer had represented himself, DEFRA finally accepted, prior to the full Judicial Review of the issues which was to be heard by Mr Justice Maurice Kay, that the service of the Form A on the farmers premises had been 'in error'.
In an agreement between the parties, approved by the Judge, DEFRA also agreed to pay the farmers reasonable costs in pursuing the litigation. Whilst the acceptance of the 'error' related to this farmers specific case, it has much wider implications for the veterinary profession.
The same farmer had, on Friday, agreed to discontinue separate Judicial Review proceedings against The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons after reaching agreement with their solicitors that the Preliminary Investigation Committee of the RCVS would, following judgement in his case against DEFRA, re-consider all his complaints against the Temporary Veterinary Inspector who had served the Form A.
The PIC had, in January this year, concluded that although the farmer might be able to show that there were no reasonable grounds to suppose that disease existed on his premises, the complaint ought not to proceed to the Disciplinary Committee because the Vet was acting in accordance with DEFRA policy.
Now, in the light of DEFRA's admission in Court, the PIC will re-consider the matter in the absence of Roger Eddy, the former President of the RCVS, who was largely responsible for issuing guidance to Vets regarding the signing of Form A during the epidemic.
In the agreement between the RCVS and the farmer, which was referred to in Court on Monday, another PIC member who had worked as a TVI for DEFRA, also agreed not to take part in the re-consideration of the complaints. The RCVS's solicitors will be on hand to give Committee members legal advice during the meeting which will, as usual, be held in private.
The RCVS now has another opportunity to put their house in order. Should they continue not to confront the ethical problems exposed in the conduct of Vets during the epidemic, the farmer has said that further Court action cannot be ruled out.
October 22 2002
7 options and strategies which are potentially available include: - emergency vaccination (either to live or to kill, within an area or in a ring around an area);
Killing healthy animals is a crime, and there is absolutely NO valid reason on earth why vaccinated healthy animals should even be considered to be killed. I deplore this return to barbarity for the sake of having a plan on paper which shows contempt for sentient beings and animal welfare, and flies in the face of common sense.
other disposal routes being available as an additional resource subject to environmental, land use planning and public health considerations.
Given the EU has new rules for the disposal of SRM, it would appear there is no case for the burial of whole bodies (as before) – so where and how are whole infected dead animals to be disposed of ?
• A Protection Zone will be imposed with a radius of 3km around the Infected Premises. Regular veterinary patrol visits of all premises with susceptible livestock within this area.
What will these vet visits achieve ? In 2001, it usually meant slaughter, is that the case now ?
Is this not the perfect area and time in which to implement VACCINATION ?
Why is VACCINATION not mentioned under this early “patrol” scenario ?
A Veterinary Risk Assessment
Form A’s were being plastered on farms without a proper full VI. In consequence, thousands of farms were slaughtered out for no good reason in 2001. It is therefore IMPERATIVE a full, and substantial VI is carried out, unlike the superficial one that took place on Didi Phillips’ farm (Cornwall) by vet David Fields, who did not carry out a full examination for fear of causing distress and harm to healthy pregnant sheep, which he later slaughtered anyway. When considering a VRA I strongly suggest the template that should be used is that of an eminent expert in FMD matters, Dr Keith Sumption (now working for the FAO in Rome). His expert knowledge proved that Didi Phillips’ farm should NOT have been slaughtered out, despite being Contiguous to an alleged IP, because of the overwhelming evidence against FMD contamination due to the normal vectors associated with the spread of the virus were not present.
The VRA within this present Contingency Plan does NOT cover an inspection of a farm that is Contiguous to a scientifically proven IP. This is a glaring hole that needs filling !
- culling of other livestock exposed to the disease (e.g. premises under virus plumes, contiguous premises); and
- (subject to the Government’s Animal Health Bill becoming law) preemptive or 'firebreak' culling of animals not on infected premises not dangerous contacts or not necessarily exposed to the disease, in order
to prevent the wider spread of the disease outwith an area.
These two paragraphs indicate without a shadow of a doubt, that NOTHING has been learned and the intent of the government is to wallow in ignorance of new science on their doorstep – it is an indictment to gold plated stupidity.
“Under virus plumes” – and who measured these on sites in 2001 ? Nobody. Even a certain discredited Professor by the name of Roy Anderson amended his FMD ‘model’ to indicate that his previous assumptions on virus spread were wrong, and that the FMD virus travelled no more than 500 metres in ideal conditions.
Look at this excerpt from a report from Pirbright, which suggests even less ! On test were 10 sheep and 2 cows.
Measurement of aerosol excretion of FMDV from sheep and cattle infected with UKG 2001
Samples of the air in the room were collected with a cyclone sampler on the first and second day (sheep) and first and third day (cattle) after inoculation. In addition, a series of pairs of sheep were selected on the same days and placed in a 610 litre cabinet10 and multiple air samples collected with a May sampler. The inside of the cabinet and the walls and ceiling of the room were sprayed with water before commencing the air sampling to ensure that the relative humidity was high and therefore suitable for the survival of airborne virus 10. After measurement, the sheep were returned to the box.
Therefore the amounts of airborne virus emitted by the two species were very similar, although the heifers were probably around 150 kg and the sheep were only around 30-40 kg. However, the data for the sheep may indicate that peak aerosol excretion lasts for only a single day, while in cattle significant amounts of virus could be detected for 3 days.
Investigations during the UK 2001 epidemic (R. P. Kitching, S Alexandersen and others, unpublished results) have shown that the disease progressed slowly in sheep and that evidence from the field may indicate, that only about 5% or less of the sheep in a flock were infected after several weeks,This relatively low level of airborne excretion from sheep and cattle confirm previous work 6;7;11;13;16;24 suggesting that these species only play a minor role in airborne spread between farms.
For the sheep the peak aerosol excretion apparently only lasted a single day (then fell to levels below our detection limit). This will of course have an impact on the ability to transmit disease.
In conclusion, available evidence suggests that conditions facilitating aerosol transmission, i.e., high animal density and closed housing with limited air-change, favor fast transmission in sheep, while, in contrast, conditions decreasing aerosol transmission, i.e., low density, out-door sheep herds with little contact among different groups of sheep, favor slow transmission among sheep.
The intent to slaughter out Contiguous premises is a method that brought world-wide condemnation to your government and the scientists behind the idea, and as stated before, was a proven damnable nonsense. As for even thinking about “firebreak” culls, it is outrageous – the fact your plan actually gives credence to slaughtering healthy animals is asking for civil disobedience and perhaps civil war; this country will NEVER put up with such incompetence again, and this plan reeks of it.
For a vaccinate-to-live strategy to work, a number of logistical, technical and trade problems need to be resolved in consultation with interested parties.
What absolute drivel !
Why did the EU send observers down to Uruguay twice during their FMD outbreak in 2001 ? The only problems with vaccinate-to-live is that you don’t want to understand the solution, as it does work ! Uruguay is doing exactly what you call a problem, there’s no need for resolutions – we import their vaccinated meat right now………will you please wake up.
If the Uruguay experience does not persuade you VACCINATION works, then let us examine the latest "deal" the UK government made with Thailand.......guns for food to put it crudely.
In exchange for arms we are going to get meat vaccinated against FMDv from Thailand....if this report from the OIE dating back to February 1997 is anything to go by !thanks to immunisation of animals with vaccines produced in Asia (a new vaccine laboratory is being built in Thailand) or imported from EuropeIt is worthy of note that FIVE years ago SE Asia was using "new diagnostic techniques" which could tell the difference between vaccinated and infected animals..............makes nonsense of the lies and deceptions that drop so readily from the mouths of our government and what they think of as "best scientific advice" !!Application of biotechnology to animal disease surveillance and vaccine control. The new diagnostic techniques (immunoenzyme tests, monoclonal antibodies, genetic analyses, etc.) are now widely used in Asia. They have led to significant progress, especially in the rapid detection of outbreaks of infectious diseases and in the distinction between vaccinated and infected animals. Furthermore, the use of new-generation vaccines (sub-unit or recombinant) offers particularly interesting prospects in the fight against rinderpest, Aujeszky’s disease and poultry diseases.This might make Mssrs Beckett, Morley and Whitty splutter just a little about their reluctance to vaccinate and twitter on about the public acceptance of such meat.
Press Release of 28 February 1997
STRENGTHENING THE CONTROL OF FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA
The Office International des Epizooties (OIE) and the FAO/IAAE(1) organised the Third Meeting of the OIE Sub-Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease in South-East Asia, which was held in Manila (Philippines) from 24 to 28 February 1997.
Opened by the Minister of Agriculture of the Philippines and the Director General of the OIE, the meeting was presided over by Professor U. Kihm (Switzerland) and Dr A. Hassan (Malaysia).
The purpose of this meeting was to review the status of foot and mouth disease in the region and to assess progress, already made or planned, towards eradication.
According to reports presented by delegations from the sixteen participating countries, the disease is still present at variable incidence in most South-East Asian countries, notably Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Foot and mouth disease causes direct losses equivalent to more than a quarter of the production of cattle, buffalo and pig farming, and major indirect losses for agriculture, from a shortage of working cattle in the rice fields.
A recent survey presented at Manila showed that 1.598 of a population of 2.036 cattle and buffaloes contracted the disease during 1996, and 154 died, entailing a loss of 36.000 US dollars for the 514 families in Cambodia that owned these animals.
However, much progress has been achieved in controlling the disease, thanks to immunisation of animals with vaccines produced in Asia (a new vaccine laboratory is being built in Thailand) or imported from Europe, and thanks to the widespread use of enzyme immunoassay (the ELISA test) for diagnosis and surveillance of foot and mouth disease, coordinated by Dr M.H. Jeggo of IAEA.
Thanks to this vaccination, some areas have already been freed or protected from the disease. The Philippines hope to eradicate the disease soon from Luzon Island, where it is present among pigs.
A major coordinating task has to be accomplished in order to protect disease-free areas from reinfection from adjoining countries, particularly through illegal imports of livestock (amounting to over 400.000 within the region, according to a report presented at Manila).
A plan for control/eradication of foot and mouth disease in South-East Asia was presented by Dr Yoshihiro Ozawa, Regional OIE Representative for Asia and the Pacific. This plan will take twelve years and comprises three stages: strengthening of the capacity of national veterinary services for surveillance and control, then simultaneous mass vaccination in all countries involved, and finally a slaughter policy for infected animals in residual foci.
This plan, approved by APHCA(2) and ASEAN(3) , has received the support of the FAO, IAEA and the World Reference Laboratory for Foot and Mouth Disease at Pirbright (United Kingdom). It has already received important financial contributions from Australia, Japan, Switzerland and Thailand.
The OIE Sub-Commission for Foot and Mouth Disease in South-East Asia has recommended that, in order to speed up implementation of the plan, the urgent establishment of a regional coordinating unit in Bangkok (Thailand) staffed by an expert from Thailand (Dr Ab Kongthon) and two expatriate experts.
(1) FAO/IAEA: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the International Atomic Energy Agency
(2) APHCA: Regional Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(3) ASEAN: Association of South-East Asian Nations
Whilst not wishing to pick holes in every part of this sour Contingency Plan, it is extremely disappointing to see such a pathetic response in the Serological testing department.
Why no mention of RAPID test kits that were available in 2001, and are ready to use on site today (could borrow some from Thailand ?).
8.1.1 An agreement has been reached with VLA for them to provide serological testing capacity for FMD on a contingency basis of 120,000 samples per week at three laboratories. The first laboratory would be ready to start testing within 3 weeks with an initial capacity of 7000 tests, 20,000 tests in the second week and reaching full capacity of 40,000 in the third week. The second laboratory would be operational within 6 weeks and a third laboratory within 8 weeks with the same capacity build up. Full capacity of 120,000 tests per week would be reached by the 10th week.
If FMD is to be defeated, then time is crucial in positive identification of the disease, and thus would prevent the nauseating RED false alarms that look incipient from the word ‘go’. If the outbreak is that large, then two months waiting for a lab to be operational is a joke.
News and Information
A full list of Infected Premises (IPs) updated daily. This will not include Contiguous Premises (CPs), Dangerous Contacts (DCs) or premises slaughtered on suspicion (SOS) for data protection reasons.#
Once more these obnoxious terms are with us, CP’s DC’s and of course the ludicrous SOS ! Nothing has been learned from wasting £20 billion pounds in 2001.
14.4 Where possible animal (sic) should be kept alive and healthy where they are. This is first of all the responsibility of the farmer, but there may be a need for Government assistance possibly in the form of a fodder scheme and/or a licensed movement scheme. Any animal welfare disposal scheme would be an option of very last resort.
It is clear that there has been no “proof” reader, as the singular (animal) has been used where the plural should have been used. Attention to detail in any plan is the mark of a professional.
It is interesting to see the term, “of very last resort” used, where the EU has insisted that emergency VACCINATION be used as tool of “first resort” which would not lead us down to an AWDS.
18.1 Vaccination contingency plans are currently being developed in discussion with a wide range of Stakeholders
18.2 In the short term ADAS will provide resource for an emergency vaccination programme under a contract with Defra. This will provide capacity to start a vaccination programme on notification from the NDCC.
18.3 Longer Term arrangements will be made through a commercially let contract. This will be designed to provide an appropriate level of resource and expertise to support the SVS and enable emergency vaccination to be used in the future where appropriate.
18.4 The Government is currently reviewing vaccine supplies both at a national and international level. The UK is a member of the International Vaccine Bank, the EU Vaccine Bank and owns a national stock of vaccine.
I include the FOUR tiny paragraphs devoted to vaccination – how utterly pathetic to see this minimal effort after 20 months. Inquiry after Inquiry pointed in the direction of emergency vaccination. Even the EU FMD Temporary Committee has this down as a weapon of first resort.
This abject failure to amplify this VITAL ingredient in controlling FMD indicates to me, the lack of resolve and determination to table the definitive way ahead in stopping FMD in its tracks. After Mr. Morley had “considered vaccination 10 times” one would think you had a pretty good handle on what vaccines were readily available without the padding and mumbled para 18.4 stating you are “reviewing” supplies.
This lack of up to date information leaves yet another gap for vets and farmers to fall into. I remind you, that farmers are quite capable of vaccinating their own animals against FMD (as they did so readily in Uruguay in 2001).
I would strongly suggest detailed instructions on this issue along with the distribution and collection of vaccine be made available at the very next issue of an update (2.6 ?) to these Plans. Learn from the Uruguay experience if you are wise. Learn from Thailand even.
‘Birdtable’ meetings are arranged around a map table showing details of infected premises. They are short, outcome-focussed (sic) briefing meetings where key personnel stand around the table and give account of their logistical problems and progress against them.
It is interesting to see that the back-room boys in the NDCC have to stand to give their summation of their logistical problems; why should there be logistical problems if the plan is rock solid before it is needed ? Maybe because there is only kit available for 10 IP’s at the outset ? So much for some people assuming the position to, “Take an outward-facing role”.
Those outside the government are also taking their advice to, “Horizon scan for wider governmental issues”.
What wonderful embellishments which mean, I suppose, use your common sense and initiative.
Chief Veterinary Officer
• Attend Stakeholder Group (once per week) or send deputy
I would suggest the CVO takes time after making sure any IP has in fact got proven FMD, he attends these Stakeholder Group meetings in person – it is the least he can to do, as he should be accountable for his actions day to day, and thus week by week. Sending a deputy is reneging your duty. Likewise with the DEFRA Chief Scientist, so too Director SVS – Silver Commander together with Director Vet Policy, and indeed Director Animal Health & Welfare and last, but no means least, Director Communications.
Library: Chief Librarian to be alerted so that the Library service can support the press and briefing units with factual and contextual information to ensure information is being made available to other parts of the Department. The Library holds a wealth of information on previous outbreaks and inquiry reports etc. as well as access to a number of electronic current awareness services.
It is great pity then, that government take verifiable no notice of this wealth of information.
When considering Footpaths, there is a dim glow of some common sense regarding the cost/benefit equation. The meat export market for the UK has been put at around £650 million/year and the cost of the lamentable command and control of the 2001 FMD disaster cost the nation £20 BILLION.
ii. Even small risks can be further diminished by appropriate action, but the cost may outweigh the benefit. There is a balance to be struck between the need to control FMD and the damage that controls do to other important industries, such as tourism. Draconian action may be unnecessary and inappropriate, particularly if universally applied.
“Draconian action” just about covers the 2001 FMD crisis. The life's lost and families wasted like their animals is a shame that will stick with the present government and taint their history forever.
To avoid another dose of inappropriate, and a non-proportionate responses, delete the SOS, DC and Contiguous cull imbedded ideas along with any thoughts of more illegal “firebreak culls”. An animal has either got FMD or it has not.
Remember Uruguay stopped slaughtering in an instant; after the 29th April NO more animals were killed. "Clinically affected and in-contact animals (including pigs sheep and goats) are neither slaughtered nor vaccinated until the last sick animal has recovered". This is a curable disease, lest we forget.
Get VACCINATION into the Plan immediately as a weapon of FIRST resort – let’s not dither and spin 10 times ever again.
Captain Bryn Wayt