Some major points of interest from the EU Temporary Committee's Draft report on FMD:
"estimates suggest that the number of animals slaughtered may even have been as high as 10 million"
". The source of the epidemic has not been definitely identified"
"The OIE rules provided for excessively long periods before 'FMD-free' status, which is absolutely vital to trade, could be reacquired if emergency vaccination (prophylactic inoculation) programmes were carried out during an outbreak, and did not take account of the state of the art with regard to tests to distinguish vaccinated animals from infected animals."
"emergency vaccinations were to be avoided and performed only -- at the request of the Member State concerned -- by way of exception, in the event of a major epidemic. In the light of experience of FMD in 2001, this policy cannot continue in its present form."
"..the policy of the EU and the Member States must therefore in future take account of the social and psychological impact on the public.....the basic 'no vaccination' policy has assigned undue priority to trade-policy aspects. "
"(Drummond Report). Hardly anything had been done to implement this report's recommendations for remedying the shortcomings before the crisis arose"
"....the closure of local veterinary centres and a concentration on regional centres, which has inevitably resulted in a loss of knowledge of local conditions."
"foreign vets had to be deployed, which led to confusion and uncertainty among farmers, partly on account of linguistic communication problems.."
"The British Government's information policy was inadequate, both before and during the crisis....advice from the various government departments was repeatedly altered, inconsistent or even contradictory "
"violations of animal welfare legislation during culls and in connection with the 'standstill'. In individual cases, it was also reported that farmers who were affected had been intimidated and pressurised in connection with the culls....considerable stress among those concerned, many of whom were still suffering psychologically as a result months after the crisis. "
"The appropriateness of the models used to model the course of the epidemic remains scientifically controversial...it remains controversial and doubtful whether the 24/48 hours contiguous cull strategy was really responsible for curbing the epidemic...in many cases it proved impossible to carry out the culls on neighbouring farms within 48 hours. "
"decision to bury animal carcases in mass graves or burn them on pyres as part of the mass culls was, at least in some cases, taken without adequate consultation of local institutions."
"the carrying-out of the 24/48 hours contiguous cull may have involved violations of animal welfare legislation because of the pressure of time to which it gave rise. It was reported that unnecessary pain and suffering had been inflicted on animals because of the inexpert performance of staff.."
The mass culls and movement of carcases to mass burial or incineration sites also gave rise to a risk of accidental further transmission of the virus via the staff deployed or their equipment and on account of the transport of slaughtered animal carcases through uninfected areas. However, there is no definite evidence that such transmission actually occurred."
"The Commission failed to review the Member States' contingency plans within an appropriate period following the introduction of the ban on prophylactic vaccination in 1992."
"Emergency vaccinations ought always to be carried out in those cases in which they make it possible to avoid mass burial or burning on pyres, which are dangerous to the environment and health, and the risk of further spread of the virus from the vaccinated animals is relatively small."
"The most serious source of the risk of entry of FMD is illegal imports of animal products from countries where FMD is endemic. However, goods are imported in such massive quantities that it is neither economically nor logistically realistic to suppose that sufficient capacity could be made available to inspect goods for FMD at border control....While the risk that FMD will be brought in by tourists or in food for consumption during travel is relatively slight, it is not negligible, bearing in mind that, for example, at Heathrow airport within a period of a few days in May 2000 illegally imported food with a total weight of 3100 kg was seized during checks on passengers' baggage, including meat from exotic animals ('bushmeat') and various types of fish. At Dublin airport, around two tons of illegally imported animal products are found and confiscated every month.
Member States are called upon to immediately halt and reverse the trend towards cutting the number of staff in public veterinary services and to permanently provide sufficient veterinary staff to prevent and control livestock diseases so that even major epidemics do not get out of control. 99. Member States should regularly carry out training measures and crisis exercises to control epidemics, involving farmers and vets, including internationally in cooperation with neighbouring Member States.
Member States should increase the provision of information to the public concerning livestock diseases and their impact on human health.
Compensation should also be conditional on the recipient's making an appropriate contribution by means of premiums for relevant insurance or in some other way. 111. The Commission and Member States should investigate to what extent the existing system of compensation payments unduly influences the control of FMD; in particular, the unjust system whereby compensation is paid only to one group of victims (farmers whose livestock is culled) should be overhauled, especially where compensation is not linked to an insurance system.
products derived from animals vaccinated against FMD can be marketed at least regionally, but if possible throughout the EU, provided that there are no objections to this on grounds of disease control. Major food businesses should be involved in the planning.