UK and EU  Foot and Mouth Disease Epidemic - UK Outbreak 2001

History of Foot and Mouth epidemic in U.K. 2001
Part 4
(external links open in new window - some may no longer be online!)

United Kingdom Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak 2001Foot-and-Mouth Disease FMD viruses reproduction

Depopulation Plan - from March 15th 2001
A desperate situation results in desperate measures!
the option of vaccinating in rings around infected foci is rejected in favour of a smaller "ring" (3 km) of depopulating around confirmed outbreaks - a "contiguous cull" strategy designed to kill up to 1 million healthy animals (this soon became 3M)
the media referred to it as "the mass cull"

The Veterinarian's Oath
" constant endeavour will be to ensure the welfare of animals committed to my care"
British Veterinarians are required by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to swear an oath including these words
*News of FMD   History of UK FMD in 2001: Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 5  Part 6  Part 7  *FMD resources


Video Film clip: Shot cattle being loaded - Foot-and-Mouth Disease U.K. 2001

Thursday March 15th (day 25)

*Minister of Agriculture's statement today: House of Commons

18 new outbreaks announced in UK today, making total of 251 (including 1 in N. Ireland) new outbreaks in County Durham, Devon (4), Dumfries & Galloway (3), Cumbria (5), Powys, Anglesey, Kent, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire BBC report
2 other outbreaks, in Dumfries and Galloway are added to yesterday's figures (there is often confusion about how late evening results will be recorded) bringing the total for yesterday to 28.
Shooting of wild pigs has begun: marksmen have begun shooting pigs on the Berkshire/Wiltshire border, where they are said to live close to sheep

*FMD - EU reports: Standing Veterinary Committee   France exports ban

Mass destruction of at least 200,000 animals announced:
All farm animals within 3 km of infected farms are to be slaughtered
All sheep, even if healthy, that can be traced to FMD infected locations (e.g. if a flock includes sheep purchased at Longtown market near Carlisle) are to be destroyed. 550 farms are currently under restriction in the UK.
More than half of all FMD outbreaks have been in 3 counties: Devon (34 outbreaks), Dumfries & Galloway (35 outbreaks), Cumbria (66 outbreaks)
Devon has been identified as a particular problem area, and MAFF is to establish veterinary inspections of all farms within 3 km of known infected premises.

*World FMD precautions   *Map series - FMD spread and current infected areas: Guardian

France: Only the one outbreak confirmed still, a farmer in the Rhone area of S. France was discovered yesterday hiding 37 sheep from a batch imported from UK. The sheep were immediately destroyed.

Germany: the farmers' journal top agrar tell us that there is much concern about the confirmed outbreak in France. There is a nationwide animal movement ban in Germany until 27 March with two exceptions (both requiring a licence):
  * animals can go from farm direct to slaughterhouse
  * breeding stock, or young animals such as piglets, can go directly from origin farm to recipient farm
In North Rhine-Westphalia you also need a clinical examination of the animals before they can be moved.

* Telegraph: FMD threatens elections   Farmer driven to suicide   Underpaid vets refuse to help
Health, Welfare and Economic problems are growing on uninfected farms hit by nationwide movement controls. Although movements to an abattoir can now be licensed, there are many usual movements within and between farms that cannot take place. The pig industry has a marked problem because rearing, growing and finishing stages of production are often on different farms. National Pig Association (NPA) regional manager, Ian Campbell, says "Pigs multiply by 4% in numbers and 4% in weight every week. We are in the third week of restriction for a significant proportion of the UK (pig) industry and housing requirements are no longer available to meet welfare criteria. By the end of the week, units will be coping with 24% excess to capacity."
Foot and Mouth disease outbreaks reported in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

- FMD Paranoia? -
thanks to Pat Gardiner for this quote from the the Washington Post
"British sports fans arriving in Munich for an important soccer match were forced to surrender all meat and cheese sandwiches. Bavarian farmers' association warned Munich supporters to 'keep their distance' from the British - not for (the usual) fear of sparking a fight, but because they might pick up the (foot and mouth disease) virus".
Pat's comment: "Every cloud has a silver lining!"

Friday March 16th

Minister of Agriculture spoke on TV this evening: the FMD virus is spreading in Cumbria. Route of this local spread is unknown but does not involve animal contact or wind spread. The Minister suggested that it might be people or vehicle movements, he did not make not clear why birds, insects or wild mammals were not being considered.
He said that consideration would be given to stocks of rare breeds and genetically irreplaceable pedigree sheep flocks in the cull of about 200,000 sheep in that region
Farmers' leader pleaded for sheep to be blood tested rather than slaughtered indiscriminately, but this was rejected "on veterinary advice" (note: delays of up to a week in lab test results have been reported already, so laboratory resources might be the problem).
Minister Nick Brown also said that there has been unacceptable delays in disposing of carcases and that army logistical support had now been called in.
He refused to comment on the question of whether or not local elections (and possibly a simultaneous general election) on May 3rd should be cancelled, other than to say that postal voting could get around any risk of people in infected areas being disenfranchised.

14 outbreaks announced today, making total of 273 (including 1 in N. Ireland): Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Devon (3), Powys (2), Kent, Cumbria, Anglesey, County Durham (2), Herefordshire, North Yorkshire, Dumfries & Galloway (2), and Monmouthshire. latest MAFF regulations

*National movement controls - risk zones scheme: NPA

*Statement on Foot-and-Mouth Disease: European Parliament

delays in infected carcase disposal - an infection risk?
There has been great concern that delays in disposing of infected carcases may have contributed to secondary spread of the FMD virus in UK livestock from primary infected locations. MAFF have stated that undisposed carcases do not constitute an infection risk. A virologist experienced in FMDV work comments:
"The inactivation of FMDV in carcasses is dependent on the pH drop following rigor. I believe this applies only to muscle tissue. The vesicles and faeces will still be full of infectious virus and I am sure that carcasses awaiting disposal do pose some risk."
the opinion of other experts on this matter is welcomed

*greater controls needed for FMD protection: UK Pig Veterinary Society

- FMD Paranoia? -
Germany is considering a deployment of armed troops inside its borders to seal off farms and guard borders against foot-and-mouth virus. Voicing national fears that police and border patrols alone cannot cope, the conservative CDU party is calling for troops specialising in chemical and biological warfare to be dispatched immediately, as are ministers in German states near France. The defence ministry in Berlin said today: "We cannot rule out such an operation." full report
Pat's Comment "I always said MAFF was capable of starting a war"

Mass slaughter of animals began today - a sad and angry day for Britain
Farmers' groups are threatening legal challenge to the Government over the handling of the FMD situation
Minister says today that only sheep and pigs will be culled, not healthy cattle
there are concerns that the final toll may be up to 1 million animals

*Rural revolt feared: BBC

France: still only one outbreak confirmed. A pig breeding farm near the outbreak had sent gilts to various farms in Britanny prior to the general movement ban on 27 February, but samples have turned out negative - the pigs had already been destroyed as a precaution. The nationwide animal movement ban has two exceptions (both requiring a licence):

      * animals can go from farm direct to slaughterhouse
      * weaned piglets (of about 8 kg) can go directly from an exclusively farrowing farm to a growing farm. This exception does not apply in 10 departments (mainly in and around the infected departments). Demands to extend this exemption to bigger animals (25kg) have been unsuccessful so far.

Saturday March 17th (day 27 of the epidemic)

30 outbreaks today, making total of 291 (including 1 in N. Ireland): Cumbria (7), Dumfries & Galloway (4), County Durham (3), Devon (3 including largest cattle dealer in the county), North Yorkshire (2), Staffordshire (2), Anglesey, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Lancashire, Monmouthshire, Powys, Shropshire, West Yorkshire, Worcestershire.   latest MAFF regulations


mass cull - a personal opinion
Destruction of hundreds of thousands of healthy sheep has been presented by the Ministry of Agriculture as a way of dealing with subclinical FMDV infection - which seems a poor substitute for a test and destruction strategy, given the massive technical and veterinary resources that MAFF now have available, drawn from all over the world
What seems more likely is that this is mainly a massive "scorched earth" strategy, i.e. no animals = no FMD.
Such a low-discrimination depopulation strategy may produce rapid resolution of the epidemic (and of the crippling unfocussed nationwide control measures), but at enormous financial, emotional and genetic cost - M. Meredith

Delays up to 5 days in killing infected animals: Telegraph
Farmers revolt against mass kill:  BBC   Telegraph

Sunday March 18th (day 28 of the epidemic)

25 more outbreaks today, making a total of 323 (including 1 in N. Ireland): Anglesey (3), Herefordshire, Dumfries & Galloway (6), Devon (2), Cheshire, Cumbria (4), County Durham (3), Tyne and Wear, Gloucestershire (2), Powys, Warwickshire.
Minister of Agriculture says that the epidemic could go on for some months.
Infected carcases are being burned outdoors in Cumbria today.
More loss of EU confidence in MAFF controls: The former CVO of Belgium, Dr. Piet Vantemsche, says that "We do not have to count (UK FMD outbreaks) any more. The time has come that we must ask ourselves whether it is time to vaccinate the animals in the UK, in order to protect the Continent."

Chaos and despair: Telegraph   Sunday Times

Devon sheep farmer reported today that carrion birds had pecked the eyes of a sick ewe, an even not seen before and attributed to the "feast" of undisposed carcases that these birds have been enjoying on surrounding infected farms in recent weeks.
Cost of UK foot and mouth disease epidemic to now estimated at £9 billion with further 3 billion in lost tax revenue.

Loss of overseas confidence in MAFF controls: The German organization of State Veterinarians (Bundesverband der beamteten Tierarzte) says that full vaccination of animals in Britain is needed to control the situation. They say that millions of doses of vaccine could be made available quickly and that this would provide protection after 4-6 days. German national Farmers organization (Deutsche Bauernverband) also urges politicians to re-evaluate the non-vaccination policy.


Monday March 19th (day 29 of the epidemic)

Update on the UK FMD virus strain:
Pirbright laboratory report that the UK virus is Type O Strain PanAsia - Topotype ME-SA
Countries from which this strain was isolated during 2000 were:
Cambodia, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal (probably), Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates. full report (.PDF)

cull of 0.5M healthy sheep in Cumbria - a personal opinion
FMDV is spreading out of control in Cumbria and the option of depopulation (around outbreaks) has been chosen over the alternative "test and cull positives" or "local vaccination" strategies. The decision is a very important one of course, and needs a wider input of expert consideration, computer predictions and EU consultations than I can muster, so I cannot offer a best "answer".
What I would like to voice is an uneasy feeling that the local vaccination (combined with stabilising the local animal population) option might not be getting the fair consideration that it warrants, for two reasons. One is the strength of "veterinary dogma" in Britain that eradication is the "only option". The second is a concern that MAFF might be tempted into an over-committment to exuberant killing in an attempt to restore its tarnished reputation or to appease political masters for whom the FMD crisis has become an immense, inconvenient and embarrassing disaster.
Britain's very valuable FMD-free status would be lost if we vaccinate, but if this loss is regional, rather than national, and if it lasts for less than a year, it might begin to become comparable to a continued chasing of virus outbreaks, given that the mass cull might not eliminate the problem. Vaccination would also give MAFF and the country a breathing space in which to catch up with laboratory and carcase disposal backlogs, re-group and re-organise.
I would like to risk raising one more factor which may not have been given due consideration. Treating live sheep as if they were already meat - a mere commodity to be shipped, exhausted, stressed and an excellent medium for virus replication, around markets and dealers the length and breadth of the country, is part of the dynamics which has brought us to this sad and sorry FMD crisis situation. If we kill 100,000 or so lambs, a few days or weeks of age, are we perpetuating the mentality that has brought our nation so much economic harm and international disgrace? People have said to me "Most of these lambs are destined to be killed and eaten later this year, so what does it matter?" Well, what matters is simply this...
...some of us eat meat on the "quality assurance" condition that these animals were given a quality of life - at least a few months in which to express and experience the delightful species characteristics with which they are genetically endowed, before we use them for our sustenance and pleasure,
...a few months in which to sniff the air of a Cumbrian hillside and taste the lush green grass of an English summer.
Economic wealth is very important, but so also is the wealth of being a civilised and compassionate nation. - M. Meredith


Tuesday March 20th (day 30 of the epidemic)

Record number of (45) outbreaks in UK today, making a total of 394 (including 1 in N. Ireland): including Cumbria (21), Dumfries & Galloway (5), Devon (3), Anglesey (2), County Durham (2), Herefordshire, Shropshire (2), Worcestershire.
Rural tourist attractions are re-opening at the instigation of the Rural Task Force set up to deal with the economic crisis created by nationwide movement restrictions
319,436 animals authorised to be slaughtered so far in the epidemic:
64,428 cattle, 239,152 sheep, 15,806 pigs, 50 goats etc.
223,564 animals slaughtered so far, further 95,872 awaiting slaughter, only 159,874 carcasses destroyed

CVO stands firm on mass culling: BBC   Calls for vaccination: BBC

Cross-party political co-operation over FMD has ended in UK Parliament
Requests to postpone the local elections on May 3rd have been rejected, a national election might also occur on this date
Some small rural businesses (e.g. hotels and public houses) are to get 50% rate relief and the Government has asked the Inland Revenue and V.A.T. authorities to look leniently defer payments) on businesses in difficulties.
Army now helping logistically with carcase disposal in Devon, help expected to extend to Cumbria soon

Animal Charity that reported FMD origin farm has its animals put under restriction
Over 200 sheep, goats, cows, camels and guinea pigs belonging to a Norfolk animal charity have been put under a FMD restriction order (form D notice) allegedly because they reported (or allegedly because they visited) the swill-feeding pig farm in Northumberland (in December 2000) where the UK FMD epidemic is believed to have originated. Report by Norfolk Now

Netherlands - FMD suspicion
The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture has announced that there is serious suspection of FMD on a goat farm in Oene (centre/east of the country). The farm had received animals from France.
All animals on the farm were culled on 17 March but further laboratory investigation revealed 4 animals positive to serum-neutralization (antibody) tests. Further tests are being caried out. Results are expected at the end of the week.
There are 3 contact farms. On two of them the animals were already killed because they had also received animals from France. A third farm in the same region (Oosterwolde) will be slaughtered out.
Around the farm in Oene, and the 3 contact farms, a zone of 10 km is established in which ALL transport of animals is forbidden.
Transportation of manure in these areas is also forbidden. Collection of milk and transport of feed only permitted if vehicles are disinfected. All farms in a 3 km zone will be inspected. Export and import of all cloven-hoofed animals from and to NL is forbidden again (only lifted on Sunday)


Wednesday March 21st (day 31 of the epidemic)

Netherlands Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks map

Netherlands - 3rd FMD outbreak confirmed + vaccination plan:
(click map for larger image)

To prevent further spread of the disease until infected animals are destroyed, all susceptible animals around infected farms (possibly 20,000) will be vaccinated.
3rd outbreak confirmed on a farm in Welsum, situated between the one in Oene (reported last Sunday) and Olst. The new farm belongs to a brother of the outbreak farm in Olst. There are three other suspected outbreaks. Two in the south of the country (Maren-Kessel and Herpen, and one near Oosterwolde, situated in the same 10 km zone as Olst Oene and Welsum.
The second Dutch FMD outbreak and first obvious clinical one was confirmed on a farm in Olst (4 km east of the farm suspected a few days ago in Oene, and now known to be positive), 15 km N of Apeldoorn. FMD found in 4 cattle out of 60 on the farm, which also has 20 sheep. The farm has not sold or bought any animals in recent weeks - airborne origin suspected. All animals will be destroyed and in a zone of 1 km around the farm all other animals will be killed and incinerated. All animals within a 1 km zone of other suspected herds in Oene, Oosterwolde and Maren Kessel (contact herds with Oene farm) will also be killed and incinerated.
There is a country-wide ban on all animal and manure transportation (including poultry). The Dutch minister of agriculture says that their emergency plans include the vaccination (followed by destruction later) of animals within 1 km of a FMD outbreak if those animals cannot be killed and destroyed immediately.
The earlier Dutch suspect outbreak now known to be postive was in a farm in Oene of 500 goats   BBC report

*UK FMD - interview with Director of Pirbright laboratory: FAO
*Netherlands FMD situation: Official press release

Are birds spreading FMD virus? A 1994 USDA-APHIS paper on Foot and Mouth Disease reported sources for 627 of over 880 primary FMD outbreaks worldwide from 1870 to 1993, 22% were attributed to airborne transmission or birds.
A Nottinghamshire farmer recently shot a starling that has been ringed in Arnhem, Netherlands. Do birds travel in the other direction? Do birds sometimes spread FMD in the UK? What about the carrion birds and unburied carcases mentioned a few days ago (see above)? If so, the efffectiveness of the proposed "ring depopulation" strategy in Cumbria and the Scottish borders comes into question. Spread by geese and other birds: MAFF risk assessment

Could epidemiologists spread FMD virus? Next week many UK epidemiologists and MAFF people are travelling to the Netherlands for the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine There has been some concern that they might carry the FMD virus with them to the Netherlands - after today's developments, there is now also concern that they might take the virus back home with them as well. Sounds like they need the advice of an epidemiologist!
(sorry epidemiologists! - although true, this news item is also a quite disreputable and flagrant bit of teasing - MJM)
(the epidemiologists went ahead with their meeting - good! - if they were intimidated by the virus, what hope would there be for the rest of us?)

*EU may ban swill (garbage) feeding of pigs: New Scientist

40 outbreaks today according to ITN, 36 according to MAFF, making total of 422 (MAFF) or 435 (ITN) (figures include 1 in N. Ireland)
Minister of Agriculture said today that a continuing high level of new outbreaks is expected
Today's outbreaks: 21 in Cumbria, 3 in Dumfries & Galloway, 2 in Staffordshire, Goucestershire and Devon, 1 in Anglesey, Essex, Herefordshire, County Durham, Monmouthshire and Worcestershire.
The mass depopulation cull begins tomorrow in Dumfries & Galloway, Cumbrian cull is delayed until destruction and carcase disposal backlog has been cleared.
Estimated 20,000 jobs have been lost in Wales tourist industry because of FMD control measures. People who have similarly lost their jobs in Cumbria are holding a demonstration today in Keswick.

*EU foot-and-mouth disease protection measures: France   United Kingdom

*Politicians "buy-off" discontent: The Times     *Political conflict over FMD: BBC
Cold weather and snow in UK this week unfortunately favours survival of FMD virus in the environment, on the positive side, it takes more than one virus particle (an infective dose) to create an infection
Agriculture Minister Nick Brown and Chief Veterinary Officer, Jim Scudamore, face questioning today from the House of Commons Agriculture Select Committee (a cross-party committee of MPs) about the Government's response to foot and mouth.

Thursday March 22nd (day 32 of the epidemic)

38 or 45 more sites infected so far in UK today (data is hopelessly confused), bringing the total to 473: new locations include 10 outbreaks in Cumbria, 5 in Dumfries & Galloway, 4 in Devon, County Durham, 3 in Gloucestershire, Powys, 2 in Northumberland and Staffordshire, 1 in Lancashire and Worcestershire.
Army help (only 125 personnel) has now moved into Dumfries and Galloway to help clear the backlog of undisposed carcases and plan for disposal of the depopulation cull of 200,000 healthy sheep which began today.
1,100 vets from all over the world are working for MAFF now - the normal MAFF complement of vets is only 220. Veterinary practices in the UK have been reluctant to release vets to assist the State Veterinary Service (SVS) because the remuneration was only £160 per day, compared with an employment overhead cost to veterinary practices of about £400 per day. The SVS offer has been increased now to £250, but this compares badly with a reputed daily rate of £500-1,000 for MAFF livestock valuation officers.

Is UK State Vet Service adequately resourced? - a personal opinion

The UK veterinary profession has been telling MAFF for a decade that it was understaffed with vets. Widespread closures of regional offices and laboratories, loss of species specialist posts and reduction of research funding at the former Central Veterinary Laboratory, Weybridge (now reduced to agency status) over the past decade has also contributed to a situation where the UK is not equipped to deal with major epidemic diseases of farm animals - this was abundantly clear as recent as last year during the classical swine fever outbreaks. MAFF's progressive retreat from direct (non-bureaucratic) relationship with UK livestock farming has undoubtedly contributed to the evolution of the present FMD crisis. - M. Meredith


*European Commission Standing Veterinary Committee: Dutch FMD   UK FMD

Republic of Ireland (RoI): first FMD outbreak confirmed
Typical FMD lesions were detected on March 20th in sheep on a farm near Jenkinstown in County Louth, close to the border with Northern Ireland and only 4 miles away from the single outbreak which occurred in N. Ireland. All 138 sheep have been destroyed. 3km exclusion zone and a 10 km surveillance zone has been placed around the farm. All animal movements in Co. Louth have been banned. The farm is within the surveillance zone established afterthe Northern Ireland outbreak at Meigh, South Armagh. The source of the (RoI) outbreak is believed to be sheep imported via N. Ireland from mainland U.K.   BBC report & map

Netherlands Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks map

Netherlands - source of infection discovered
(click map for NEW larger image)

The FMD virus is believed to have reached the Netherlands via a shipment of veal calves from the Republic of Ireland. The calves were rested in an animal holding near Barouche Gondouin (FMD confirmed on 12 March), Mayenne (France) from 4pm on 23 February to 4 am on 24 February, during which time they allegedly became infected by sheep coming from the UK.
The veal calves were part of a larger batch, of which 74 went to Oene, 75 to a farm in Spring-Capelle and 80 to a farm in Beesd. FMD symptoms have apparently been observed in the Spring-Capelle batch.
There are now three surveillance zones in the Dutch regions with confirmed or suspected outbreaks:
1- Region Oene (three farms )
2- Region Sprang-Capelle ( 40 km South of Utrecht)
3- Region Beesd (20 km South of Utrecht)
All are linked to the one transport of calves from Ireland.
Minister Brinkhorst (NL) is angry that the French (allegedly) did not inform about this situation. The European commission want NL to burn animals on farms and is opposed to emergency vaccination. However, The Netherlands government and most of Dutch agriculture and general public are very opposed to on-farm burning.
A total ban has been introduced on all transport of milk and feed to and from any farm in the country, except where feed movement is required for animal welfare. This complete standstill will be for a minimum of 72 hours, until the FMD situation (3 confirmed outbreaks - see below) gets clearer. Farmers can mostly hold a maximum of 3 days milk, after which they will have to pump it in their manure storage facilities. It is expected that there will be enough milk in the shops until Saturday, but panic buying of milk and beef is already occurring and supplies are running low.
There is another suspected outbreak of FMD in the south - a mixed farm near the town of Sprang-Capelle. Two FMD crisis centres have been established in the southern and eastern parts of the country. Farmers and their organizations have been complaining about lack of accurate information from the ministry of agriculture.
Belgium: the government is very concerned about risk of spread from the Netherlands
Germany: in the Region around Vechta, people are advised NOT to go to the Netherlands unless absolutely necessary. On return they are advised to disinfect vehicle tyres. The region around Vechta is the most dense pig-populated area of Germany. It suffered huge financial and social consequences of an epidemic of classical swine fever some years ago.

*FMD vaccination in the EU: clarification

Britain's Foot-and-Mouth disease is out of control according to Professor Roy Anderson, an epidemiologist called in by the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) to assess the crisis. Prof. Anderson says that the foot-and-mouth epidemic could take a further five months to eliminate. 40 new infected sites were announced yesterday bringing the total to 435. Over 270,000 animals have been slaughtered so far and a further 130,000 are waiting to be killed. Nearly 80,000 carcasses are awaiting disposal. Prof. Anderson believes that the epidemic will peak early in May and that it is likely to be the worst foot andmouth epidemic the United Kingdom country has ever seen, worse than the 1967 to 1968 epidemic. Ananova report

Friday March 23rd (day 33 of the epidemic)

EU agrees vaccine use: European Union vets in Brussels have agreed to limited (strategic) emergency vaccination to fight the spread of FMD. They have at last overturned EU policy of the last 15 years, by agreeing that the Netherlands could innoculate animals around infected farms on animals awaiting slaughter. BBC report

MAFF say 30 UK outbreaks confirmed today, making total of 510 (515 according to the BBC): (including 1 in N. Ireland): 16 in Cumbria, 6 in Dumfries & Galloway, 6 in Herefordshire, and 1 in each of Monmouthshire and West Yorkshire.
Animals condemned for slaughter now totals 435,000, about 150,000 are awaiting slaughter.
MAFF website report earlier today, was a delayed reporting of yesterday's total: 42 new outbreaks, bringing total to 480
(including 1 in N.Ireland): 13 in Cumbria, 5 in Dumfries & Galloway, Devon, 4 in County Durham, Gloucestershire, 3 in Staffordshire, Powys, 2 in Northumberland, 1 in each of Lancashire, Tyne & Wear and Worcestershire.
97,00 carcases lie on UK farms awaiting disposal, but MAFF are moving into higher levels of slaughtering as the depopulation cull gets underway.

*Why We Have to Vaccinate (Sheepdrove)

*Napalm for carcase disposal   (people will be suggesting 'carpet' bombing next!) : New Scientist

Mass cull (ring depopulation) in UK: The UK Chief Scientist has recommended that the cull (currently underway in Cumbria and Dumfries & Galloway) should be extended nationwide.
The Minister of Agriculture has deferred a decision on this, Prime Minister has emphasised that the mass cull will go ahead in some form.
The Chief Scientist is the first Government figure to speak of an "epidemic" rather than an "outbreak" and the first to admit that the virus is out of control. BBC report

Dutch call for vaccination: Zoos in the Netherlands want to have the option of FMD vaccination. With Government and Parliament support they will request permission from the EU Standing Veterinary Committe. Legal action is being considered if necessary. The Zoos' animals include rare species that are threatened with extinction. Parliamentary agriculture spokesman, Pieter ter Veer has urged the European Union to re-evaluate its non-vaccination policy. He says "The EU is the last remaining polit-bureau in the western hemisphere!".
The Dutch Veterinary Institute, ID-Lelystad, has 500,000 doses of vaccine ready for use. Another 750,000 can be produced weekly.

Germany may be infected: Pigs on a farm in Verden, in the German state Niedersachsen are suspected of having FMD, some pigs had been imported from the Netherlands
Authorities in the Northern German state Niedersachsen have blocked borders to the Netherlands to prevent spread of FMD. Truck loads with sand have been put on some border crossings. Edam cheese has been confiscated from returning motorists. 56 farms in Niedersaksen have been put under restrictions because they have received animals from the Netherlands. In the state of Nord-Rhein Westfalia, 1200 farms have received 200,000 animals from the Netherlands in recent months. German authorities are afraid that the virus might already be in Germany.

Expert report published today predicts UK outbreaks will rise over next 2 weeks to a peak of around 70 per day, with overall total rising eventually to as many as 4,000 by June
34 years on, and UK skill in dealing with foot and mouth disease has not advanced an inch!
435,000 animals already condemned - only 7,000 fewer than in the entire 1967/68 epidemic: BBC report
*"Disposal by burial is the method of choice": AVIS
*Bird & Insect transmission of FMD: USDA-APHIS

Netherlands Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks map

Netherlands - new suspicion
(click map for NEW larger image)
Dutch Veterinary Research Institute, ID-DLO in Lelystad, has identified the virus strain. It is confirmed that the FMD virus strain is genetically identical to the one in UK.
Preliminary tests have NOT confirmed FMD on two suspect farms in Herpen and Kootwijkerbroek. The suspect farm of 457 veal calves in the village of Kootwijkerbroek, 20 km East of Amerstfoort, had been particularly worrying, it is a region with many veal farms and also many very vulnerable mixed farms (cattle & pigs together). Four calves out of 457 had shown clinical signs of FMD. 10 km to the South East lies the country's largest nature reserve: De Hoge Veluwe. The Park, well known for herds of deer and wild pigs is now closed again to the public.
There are four other suspect outbreaks: Oosterwolde, Maren-Kessel, Sprang-Capelle and Beesd. Confirmed outbreaks are in : Oene, Olst and Welsem.

Saturday March 24th (day 34 of the epidemic)

*France - second outbreak of FMD:  BBC report
*UK slaughtering & carcase disposal speeded up: BBC report

Monday March 26th (day 36 of the epidemic)

*EU FMD news: Overview of controls (22 March)    Netherlands    Standing Veterinary Committee (21 March)

27 UK outbreaks today, bringing total to 634 (including 1 in N. Ireland): including Shropshire, Cumbria (11), Dumfries &38; Galloway (2), County Durham (2), Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Devon (2) and Staffordshire.
Minister of Agriculture said today "it is NOT true that we are running behind the disease"
A legal challenge is being launched to MAFF's "mass cull" (ring depopulation) strategy
The army has started burying thousands of sheep in a mass grave on a disused airfield in Cumbria

Netherlands : All 5 confirmed outbreaks - Oene (2), Olst, Welsum, Nijbroek - are situated very close together (within 5 km). More suspect (in-contact) farms e.g. veal farm in Sprang-Capelle. All animals within 1 km will be destroyed today.
3 farms around Overberg (30 km east of Utrecht) appear to have been destroyed unnecessarily - the ministry thought erroneously that the farms had received calves from France. Emergency vaccinations carried out today around Oene on 32 farms with a total of 2,000 animals (they will be killed later when there is enough destruction capacity). The area where animals will be killed around Oene has been extended to 2 km, a total of 27,000 animals destined for slaughter so far.
Farmers and civilians protesting against mass destruction of animals, blocking roads and lighting fires, they want to use vaccination to protect animals.

France : 2 outbreaks, second was a sheep farm in Mitry-Mori, East of Paris.

Germany is urging a change in the European Union FMD non-vaccination policy: Alexander Müller, State Secretary in the German Ministry of Agriculture & chairman of the Foot and Mouth crisis centre, says "In the current situation a total vaccination in Germany would not be useful, but in view of the situation in Great Britain a general discussion about the EU policy is desired."
German railways have announced that they will not transport animals in future as a result of criticism from the general public
* Huge burial pits dug for 200,000 sheep   *outbreak in Lake District National Park
*Map of latest & existing UK outbreaks

Rural myth exposed:  it is NOT true that Foot and Mouth virus is the first virus to be discovered that does not spread via Microsoft email software!


Tuesday March 27th (day 37 of the epidemic)

39 UK outbreaks today according to BBC (24 according to MAFF) making a total of 673 (including 1 in N. Ireland): new outbreaks include Derbyshire, Cumbria (14), Co. Durham (3), Devon (3), Dumfries & Galloway, Gloucestershire and Northumberland.
The Vale of York has suffered its first confirmed outbreak of foot and mouth in cattle at Danby Wiske, near Northallerton. Previous outbreaks in North Yorkshire have all been high up in the Hawes area.
Target of slaughtering animals within 24 hours of farmers reporting FMD is still not achieved in Cumbria - nationwide 270,000 animals are still awaiting slaughter.
Minister of Agriculture has announced tonight that use of vaccination is under consideration.

*NEW TEST KIT distinguishes FMD Vaccinated and Infected animals

*40,000 sheep due to die today on Anglesey: prayer for them
(this cull was postponed because of carcase disposal problems)

New UK legislation: announced today. Swill (garbage) feeding of pigs will be banned and a 20 day "standstill" (no transfers to other owners) will be required after cattle, goats or sheep have been brought onto a farm - this is already a requirement in pig herds.
*"Cover-up" suspected at swill farm where FMD began: Independent (article later removed)
*Smuggled meat blamed for FMD epidemic: Times


Friday March 30th (day 40 of the EU epidemic)

Foot and Mouth Disease mass cull in UK 
Llamas, American bison, rare cattle culled
in "firebreak" strategy: Independent
Mass cull of healthy animals - Native American perspective


*Legal action against MAFF cull of healthy livestock: Independent
*MAFF management criticised: Independent

60 outbreaks today (highest daily total of the epidemic so far)
making total of 839 (including 1 in N. Ireland)

Vaccination lobby growing in Germany: Two German organic farming organisations, "Bioland" and "Demeter" are demanding total vaccination of animals against FMD. They believe the current ring-vaccination, as practised now in the Netherlands, is not enough because those animals are still killed after an outbreak. "Green" farmers say that their animals are irreplacable because they have been fed and raised from the beginning without any risk of BSE.
The German Agriculture organization "Bauernverband" and most German agriculture ministers are also in favour of total vaccination.

*Discussion of Vaccination & Source of UK virus: ProMED
*The UK FMD epidemic of 1923: Independent


Saturday March 31st (day 41 of the UK epidemic)

BBC reporting 23 outbreaks today and a total of 840 (including 1 in N. Ireland)
total number of animals identified for slaughter is 832,000
Just under 542,000 slaughtered so far, of which 155,000 remain to be disposed of, 292,000 animals awaiting slaughter.
General election is to be delayed until June.
*Cull of 40,000 sheep on Anglesey still postponed because of carcase disposal problems: Telegraph

Penrith, Cumbria - "After the slaughter, the birds stopped singing"
Copyright 2002 Ian Geering from his book Foot and Mouth Disease - The Aftermath -
Vast tracts of grazing fields bereft of animals

from "Foot and Mouth Disease : The Aftermath" by Ian Geering


History of UK FMD 2001-2
from Outbreak to Epidemic to Endemic to Depopulation (this page)
to Disaster
to Timebomb to Rural rasure to Recovery to Healing & Transformation

*Recent News of FMD   *FMD resources


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