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  History of United Kingdom Foot and Mouth Disease Epidemic 2001-2002 
UK & EU Inquiries into the Foot-and-Mouth Disease Epidemic of 2001

Updated 2009 -

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Photographs of British farms and farmworkers after the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic of 2001

-   Published in 2002   -

"Foot and Mouth: The Aftermath"
A collection of photographs
by Ian Geering



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*Royal Society Inquiry - vaccination recommended, computer modelling criticised:

NEW book about Foot-and-Mouth Disease rural crisis in United Kingdom

"Of Love and Slaughter"

Rural Drama and Romance Novel

Based on real-life interviews and investigations in Devon
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*National Audit Office report June 2002:
News   Executive Summary (298 Kb)   Report (2.19 Mb)   Applying the Lessons (657 Kb)


DEFRA report: Source of 2001 UK Foot and Mouth epidemic
The epidemic is concluded to have begun on a pig finishing unit in the North-East of England. From there the virus spread via two routes:

The virus quickly spread by movements of sheep, people and vehicles throughout England, Wales and the southern counties of Scotland.

The FMD virus probably originated in infected or contaminated meat or meat products. The actual origin and nature of this source material and the route by which it entered the UK will probably never be identified.

*European Parliament committee of inquiry - European Union: details
*Northumberland County Council FMD inquiry report: February 26th 2002
*Scottish inquiry into foot-and-mouth crisis pledges to determine cost to the economy: BBC
*Time of year was a crucial factor in rapid spread of foot and mouth disease epidemic: Report
*Outbreaks could have been halved: Environment & Rural affairs committee evidence
*Foot-and-mouth spread by a carcass pyre lit on an infected farm: vet tells inquiry
*Shotguns taken from depressed farmers at height of foot-and-mouth disease crisis: BBC
*Emotional scars of foot and mouth crisis could last for decades: BBC
*Serious welfare problems due to bureacracy during UK FMD epidemic: RSPCA
*Young people in foot-and-mouth disease areas turned to drink & drugs: Devon FMD inquiry
*Cattle cull around Devon village was "chaos and shambles": BBC
*Lives wrecked by smoke & fumes from pyres, 100 farmers to give evidence: Times report
*"Absurdities" attacked at Devon disease inquiry: BBC
*Foot and mouth inquiry told of "needless killing": Guardian
*Devon foot-and-mouth inquiry to be broadcast on Internet in pictures and sound
*Pig Veterinary Society report to National Audit Office
UK Government announces 3 more inquiries into FMD epidemic
all are semi-judicial (not fully public) and will start after the epidemic ends
there are already 7 other enquiries underway into aspects of the FMD crisis, particularly the financial aspects
  • Policy Commission: will examine the government's handling of the crisis in England, Wales & Scotland, expected to take 6 months. It will be chaired by Dr Iain Anderson, of oil company BP. He is expected to make recommendations on the way authorities should react to future animal disease epidemics.
  • Scientific Commission: under the Royal Society, will examine veterinary and animal management aspects e.g. where did it come from, how did it spread, should vaccination have been used, lessons for the future, report expected Summer 2002. Under chairmanship of Sir Brian Follett FRS, it will study the threat posed by the 15 most dangerous epidemic ("List A") diseases of farm animals - including swine fever (see our archive of last year's outbreaks in UK) which caused big problems in 2000. It will consider questions relating to transmission, prevention and control of epidemics.Royal Society press release
  • Commission on Future of Farming & Food: will examine options for development of farming industry & food policy in U.K.
Environment (DEFRA) Minister, Margaret Beckett, interrupted her caravan holiday in France to announce the inquiries. She said that there would NOT be an "all singing all dancing" public inquiry - i.e. much of the proceedings will be in private.
The third new foot and mouth disease crisis inquiry, the policy commission on the future of farming and food will be chaired by Sir Don Curry, former head of the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC). official announcement
*Details of all 10 enquiries into FMD crisis: Guardian


*Foot and Mouth Disease: latest news

Archive of UK foot and mouth disease 2001:
from outbreak via epidemic to endemic to depopulation to disaster to timebomb to rural rasure


*Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Photos & Resources




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