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It is becoming more and more apparent that something very unpleasant must be associated with the government policy on foot and mouth over the past seven months - and I am not referring to the virus.

Why have Pirbright suppressed any equipment, such as the SmartCycler and the Genesis Diagnostic kit?

Answer: Dr Donaldson and Pirbright have commercial interests in producing equipment of their own. This is not guesswork ; it is supported by a letter from Pirbright to one of the producers who queried the time it has taken to get their equipment "validated"

Why have sheep been targeted as the villains of the piece and slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands without benefit of tests for active virus?

Answer: because, after years of encouraging farmers to stock up on more and subsidy bearing sheep, the governments now wants to remove them from areas it has earmarked for other purposes, especially the expansion of large farms into even larger ones. FMD is a timely excuse. If eradication of the disease were the real motive, the DEFRA would have made use of technology. Even discounting vaccine (which we deal with below) the notion that it takes Pirbright as long as three weeks to come up with test results is ludicrous. This time lapse "justifies" the immediate killings that have taken place on IPs and "Dangerous Contacts". The real time for such tests - ie no more than a few hours and certainly within the day ( information comes from a former Pirbright bigwig) - would have allowed tests to be carried out before any so-called contiguous culling was deemed necessary. BSE scares also pave the way for more slaughtering of sheep.

Why is the Rapid Diagnosis PCR Smart Cycler so important?

Answer: It is a piece of equipment capable of testing many samples at once, identifying the actual animal causing a positive result, and it operates in a safe, uncontaminated environment. Answers can be obtained within an hour at the farm gate itself and sent instantly anywhere in the world by means of the attached laptop. It has been extensively field tested in the US (by the military) for anthrax and other diseases - and for foot and mouth in the lab. When it was suggested in March that it could be tested in the field in UK (no outbreak in US) in cooperation with Pirbright, it was rejected. Why? Pirbright are trying to develop their own commercial PCR machine, that's why. There is a huge and lucrative market. Long gone are the days when Pirbright honourably considered itself a "public service" and refused to use its monopoly to cash in on disease.

Vaccine. Why has it been rejected over and over again?

Answer: For purely political reasons, because vaccination does not suit Pirbright at the moment and because too many reputations rest on the modellers' solution being the right one.. If, as the misinformation abounding during the course of this outbreak states, vaccines are not effective, how is it that they have been used in Holland, Argentina and other countries to wipe out the disease within a week? There is most certainly an effective vaccine and high potency doses are kept at Pirbright. HM govt were very ready to use them in April. Why the idea was pulled out may be answered truthfully one day. To say it was lack of cooperation from Cumbrian farmers is not true. The answer MAFF gave to a question about non-cooperation in the 52 NFU questions made it clear that there is already a "statutary instrument" for enforcing cooperation. This answer is readily available for inspection.

By all means publish this on your website....

Sam

See also the worrying information about GM modification of FMD virus at Pirbright