History of the United Kingdom and EU  Foot and Mouth Disease Epidemic - European Union Outbreak 2001

History of Foot and Mouth epidemic in U.K. 2001
Part 5
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United Kingdom Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak 2001Foot-and-Mouth Disease FMD viruses reproduction

Descent into National Disgrace - from April 2001

Misinformation, Errors & Repercussions
fuel the horror of ineffective & expensive Control Measures in the run-up to national elections on June 7th

Disgrace = loss of favour or respect; downfall from position of honour
ignominy; shame
[Concise Oxford Dictionary]


Rescue of Working Border Collie Sheepdogs: Foot-and-Mouth Disease UK 2001


Wednesday April 4th (day 45 of the epidemic)

Yesterday there were 44 new outbreaks, total now 991 (including 1 in N. Ireland). Total no animals slaughtered or identified as being for slaughter is around 1,010,000 - just under 631,000 slaughtered (192,000 carcases not yet disposed), 379,000 animals awaiting slaughter.

*Vaccination of cattle deferred - urged to be kept indoors: MAFF
*Farming and tourism will take a year to recover: Telegraph
*Renewed calls for vaccination: Telegraph
*MAFF data questioned: Telegraph   What are We Swallowing?


Mid-April 2001

foot and mouth disease control in United Kingdom -  sheep welfare problems - copyright The Daily Mail
"Daily Mail" newspaper had a front page photo of a moribund lamb covered in mud. Similar pictures on TV and other media of lambs and ewes suffering and starving in appalling conditions of wet and mud and no grass to graze as a result of the continuing FMD movement restrictions: BBC update

*Why strategic FMD vaccination is needed in UK
*Healthy pets killed by MAFF

foot and mouth protest songUK Foot-and-Mouth Slaughter - Protest Song: Audiofile (3.8 Mb)   Lyrics


Late April 2001

*Government claims that epidemic is under control rebuffed: Telegraph
*3 suspect human cases of FMD virus infection: Sky   Telegraph
*Legal block on Anglesey sheep cull: Telegraph
*New International FMD regulations: OIE news   Full report (.PDF) (April)

*UK exports may be banned for 3 years: Telegraph

*Experience of enzootic FMD in sacred cattle: Guardian

*Was army camp the source of UK FMD epidemic?: Telegraph

*What it is like for the animal slaughterers: Telegraph

*Tourist Industry damaged, overseas holidays increased: Ananova


Early May 2001

*Could FMD have been in UK sheep before February?: Independent

*FMD in Wildlife (enter Username: fmd Password: fmd): www.wildlifeinformation.org

*FMD virologist quits UK: Ananova



Mid-May 2001

*New Outbreaks in Borders and Dumfriesshire: BBC

*Economic damage in Yorks. Dales: Telegraph

UK and EU farming crisis 2001 NEW! - Published 2001
The End of British Farming
In 1999, agriculture contributed £6.9 billion to the British economy, around 1 % of GDP. The figure for 2000 was £1.8 billion. In the eye of the foot and mouth epidemic of 2001, Andrew O'Hagan travelled the length and breadth of the country, talking to farmers, small and large, farmers with no crops and no animals. He takes the long view, tracing changes back to the Second World War, the international view of globalisation, supermarket shopping and the European Union. Most of all he takes a personal view - that of one of Britain's most admired, sensitive and subtle writers.
Ordering details


*MAFF accused of suppressing data: Telegraph

*Mental health fears as Government claim crisis is over

*Upsurge in outbreaks in N. Yorkshire: Telegraph   BBC

*Cull may have been excessive says Director of Pirbright: Independent

*Almost 30% of confirmed FMD cases negative to laboratory tests: BBC report

*Guidance for businesses and individuals affected by the Crisis: Royal Agric. Society (.PDF)

*Update & Interviews on FMD control: New Agriculturalist


Late May 2001

*Health risks from burning carcases: BBC news
*FMD reappears in Devon: Ananova
*Britain is Chaotic, Polluted, Ill-educated & Incompetent: Telegraph   German original
*Pyre Dioxins risk to dairy products: Ananova
*Protest against burial site risk: Ananova
*Mass cull begins in N. Yorkshire: Telegraph
*468 healthy animals killed in error: Ananova
*Hard-hit farmers receive supermarket vouchers: Ananova
*Outbreaks in Cheshire - footpaths re-closed: Ananova



Early June 2001

*Effigies burned to mark slaughter of sheep: Ananova

*Vet's experience of FMD slaughter: Ananova

*New Outbreaks in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria: ITN

*5th (at least) farmworker commits suicide: Ananova

*Farmers protest over delayed compensation: Ananova

*Alleged FMD Source farm to be prosecuted: BBC

*UK statistics update: Timeline

UK outbreaks totalled 1,707 (including 4 in N. Ireland) on June 6th (day 108 of the UK epidemic)

*Epidemic increases meat prices: Ananova

*New outbreak in N. Yorkshire: Ananova

*British rugby players checked for virus in Australia: Ananova

*Rural business incomes halved: Ananova

*New restrictions on livestock movements in N. Yorks: MAFF

*Filming began on June 6 (day 108 of the epidemic) for MAFF FMD biosecurtiy video

1718 outbreaks in UK - (4 new) at 9 a.m. 8 June

*Review of FMD in Scotland: Ananova   *Precautionary cull in Somerset : BBC

*Vets fear for their future: BBC

*Balloonists face ruin over foot and mouth: Ananova

Labour government re-elected on June 7th - but 41% of people did not vote: policy statement
former Agriculture Nick Brown is moved to Minister of State for Work
Margaret Beckett becomes Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

*FMD reaches new area in Somerset: Ananova

7 new outbreaks on June 9th making total (BBC data) of 1,725 (4 in N. Ireland)
3,253,000 animals slaughtered, 39,000 awaiting slaughter, 12,000 awaiting disposal

*Outdoor pursuits industry hit by FMD: Ananova

*Ramblers complain about footpaths still closed: Ananova

*Safe Synthetic Foot-and-Mouth Disease Vaccine : news   application

*Army recalled for new outbreaks in Devon and Somerset: Ananova

4 new outbreaks on June 12th making total (BBC data) of 1,736 (4 in N. Ireland)
3,281,000 animals slaughtered, 8,125 premises have had animals slaughtered or destined for slaughter

*New outbreak in Devon dashes hopes: BBC

*Bureaucracy, regulation and environmentalism blamed for FMD devastation: review

*MAFF may have killed 6 million animals: The Times

Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons calls for an enquiry into the Foot-and-Mouth epidemic
After a stormy RCVS Council meeting on June 7th in which the Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) was accused of neglecting the welfare of animals in its mass slaughter programme, the RCVS issued a rather more subdued official press release calling for...
"an independent enquiry not confined to scientific issues" - RCVS animal welfare oath

*Call to remove "Royal" from Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons: petition

*Farmers will no longer be bound by Official Secrets Act: Telegraph

*Zoo visit ends in tears: Ananova

*Inquests on FMD suicide farmers: Ananova

*MAFF replaced by Dept. for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA): PM's Office

Update on FMD outbreaks elsewhere in Europe this year:
1 in Republic of Ireland, 2 in France, 26 in the Netherlands (21 March to 22 April)

*Update on FMD controls throughout Europe: BBC


Late June 2001

*Mystery vesicles confuse FMD diagnosis: Telegraph

pig fights foot-and-mouth disease outbreak cull

Grunty the Pig is saved - DEFRA gets £40,000 bill: Drama in High Court
(Porcine film star fights death in FMD cull: Grunty: in Court   Update)


*FMD bioterrorism risk: Ananova

*Travellers fined for carrying fruit, plants or meat: New Zealand

7 new outbreaks on June 17th making total (MAFF data) of 1,759 (4 in N. Ireland)
8,234 premises have had animals slaughtered or destined for slaughter
3,371,000 animals identified for slaughter, of which 3,335,000 animals slaughtered (525,000 cattle, 2,681,000 sheep, 127,000 pigs, 2,000 goats) and 36,000 animals awaiting slaughter. 13,000 carcases awaiting disposal.

*Seasonal sheep movements pose new FMD threat: Irish Times

*FMD infection - on sale to farmers: BBC

Speaking on June 21st, the new UK Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Margaret Beckett, stated that 4.5 million animals (almost 9% of the UK livestock population of 55M) had been destroyed in the past 4 months in a bid to control FMD
The number of new outbreaks averages 4-5 per day.

*FMD epidemic Enquiry announced & Movement restrictions lifted : BBC

Foot and mouth gives landscape a fresh look
The foot-and-mouth disease slaughter has cleared cattle and sheep from vast areas of farmland, but it has been "boom time" for wild flowers, grass and ground-nesting birds. The new landscape is beginning to resemble the flower-clad fields of Victorian England and the...       quote from The Times June 20th, 2001

*FMD depopulation strategy benefits flowers:

*Contiguous cull of 2M animals may have been unnecessary: Independent

The Netherlands regained foot and mouth disease free status on June 25th 2001
The first outbreak was detected on a goat and veal production farm on March 15 in Oene, virus came from a batch of calves from Ireland that contacted sheep from England during a rest stop in France. There have 26 cases of FMD, last on April 22. 100.000 animals (later destroyed) were vaccinated to control FMD spread. Altogether 265,000 animals were killed. There were many protests by farmers and consumers in favour of vaccination rather than destruction. The outbreaks have led to debate about farming including proposals for: 25-30% less farm animals, less intensive farming systems, abolition of cattle markets, ban on transportation exceeding 8 hours, better recording of sheep and their movements.

France regained foot and mouth disease free status on June 23rd 2001
after three months of no new outbreaks. There had been 2 outbreaks in France

*Effect of FMD on UK economy: 0.3% loss due to movement controls

*Predicted impact & control of FMD in USA: USDA
Texas undertakes FMD outbreak simulation: details

New outbreak in Wales (Brecon Beacons) on June 25th
4,000 animals are being destroyed - REPORT - the first outbreak in Wales for a month. 1,784 confirmed outbreaks in UK now

*Hedgehogs (susceptible to FMD virus) affected by movement controls: Ananova

*Continuing nightmare of movement controls: BBC

*Army deployments in foot-and-mouth control: map

*Major allegations against MAFF alias DEFRA: Sunday Times

*FMD enquiry may be half-hearted: Telegraph

*Cull workers contract Q fever: Guardian

*Takeaway meals are more important than dead hamsters: FMD media complaint

*Second new outbreak in Wales (Brecon Beacons): Ananova

*FMD precautions in USA: update   funding

*Cull worker screening programme for Q fever: Ananova

*Costs of FMD cull outweigh trade benefit: Independent

*4th outbreak confirmed in Brecon Beacons: 96th outbreak in Wales

1,793 outbreaks in UK on June 29th - 3 new (2 Cumbria 1 N.Yorks)

*FMD disinfection update: DEFRA


Early July 2001

*Q fever caught by cull workers - background on the disease

*FMD update July 3rd: BBC

*5th outbreak confirmed in Brecon Beacons: 5th new outbreak in Wales

*Departmental culture blamed for FMD crisis: In Parliament

*Scottish auction and meat group call for public inquiry: Meat News

Heroes and Villains in the UK FMD crisis
Villains: A TV documentary has interviewed leading peopleFoot-and-Mouth Disease crisis in United Kingdom in the FMD epidemic and concluded that the crisis had been "fuelled by government incompetence and mismanagement". In particular that the government "for weeks ignored reports that slaughter was very delayed".
The programme suggested that a government immersed in "spin" (manipulation of public perception) and "presentation" found it hard to believe that others might be telling the truth.
Heroes: The heroes of the crisis were undoubtedly the army who, although not called in until despair and chaos reigned, were fast, efficient and showed great initiative in getting hundreds of thousands of rotting carcases off farms and into burial sites. They were the main influence in reducing long delays in slaughtering and carcase disposal.
Control of the epidemic: Interviews screened revealed that the epidemiology modelling team at Imperial College (IC) led by Prof. Roy Anderson offered their services to MAFF on March 2nd, but had to wait a week to obtain the data they needed, and their findings and advice were largely rejected by the Chief Veterinary Officer of MAFF. The IC modelling results indicated that each infected farm was infecting two others, due largely to slaughter delays, and that the epidemic was doubling in size every 8 days.
The mass cull: The policy of culling farms contiguous to infected ones was advocated by the external scientific advisors and allegedly opposed by the Chief Veterinary Officer who was allegedly satisfied that existing controls would be sufficient. At this point, the government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Krebs of the Food Standards Agency, stepped in and took policy control of the epidemic away from the State Veterinary Service andplaced it in the hands of scientific advisors (a replay of the BSE saga). MAFF was left to implement policy, including the ring cull, rather than formulate it.
The outbreak is under control: The documentary included footage of one of the notorious interviews (March 11th BBC TV) in which the Minister for Agriculture, Nick Brown, stated "we do have it under control". A few days later two teams of independent epidemiologists publically reported that the epidemic (which the government had always referred to as an "outbreak") was clearly out of control.
Non-vaccination policy: MAFF had ruled out vaccination in the early weeks of the crisis but, according to interviews shown in this documentary, the Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Agriculture Minister decided in late March to implement cattle vaccination, following an approach led by Prince Charles. The policy was however firmly rejected by Ben Gill, leader of the National Farmers Union (NFU), who mistrusted the motives for this abrupt change of government view just before the planned General Election on May 3rd. The programme alleged that the government was afraid to upset farmers just before an election (in view of the widespread "countryside revolt" problems the government had faced in 2000) so the vaccination plan was dropped in favour of prolonging the housing of cattle wintered indoors. It was recognised that once vaccination was initiated, there would be no "going back" and more use of vaccination might follow, so rejection of vaccination at this point (late April) by the NFU apparently closed the door on vaccination.   (Source: Channel 4 "Outbreak" 9 pm July 3)

*Epidemic lifts consumer spending 1.06%: Ananova
Scotland livestock markets return in September: Ananova

Negative blood tests from Brecon Beacons: BBC
*Epidemic update: BBC

*Bishop points to mistrust legacy of FMD crisis: Ananova

*New outbreak in Brecon Beacons close to common grazing: Irish Independent

Effect of Foot and Mouth controls on UK Tourism
Footpaths throughout Britain were closed as part of the control strategy to prevent spread of FMD virus, although most are now open. This was one of a number of negative effects that the epidemic has had on tourism. The Office for National Statistics reports overseas visitors arriving in Britain in April was 22% lower than in April 2000. The fall is attributed mainly to a drop in tourists from western Europe. In the 3 months from April 1 to June 1, overseas visitors fell by 4% to 6.1 millions.

*FMD vaccination to be endorsed in EU: rejection of mass slaughter

*Burger sales across Europe hit by FMD concern: Ananova

*Pig industry in danger: Agweb

*DEFRA launches new FMD precautions video: free download

*Pig industry threatened by new cluster of outbreaks in N. Yorks: BBC   Independent

*Government sets up crisis management unit in Cabinet Office: Telegraph

*Rare pigs hit by crippling cost of movement controls: EADT

*Dartmoor national park reopens: Ananova

*Direct costs of FMD controls: UK taxpayers bill

*New antibodies find in Brecon Beacons: Ananova

*EU non-vaccination policy is legal: Agweb

Easing of stringent FMD controls in Netherlands
After a revolt from parliament, farmers and vets, Minister Brinkhorst has rescinded the stringent requirement for monthly clinical FMD checks by vets on goats and sheep. Only a single check will now be required, except for veal calves which will still have repeated checking.
Earlier this week, Dutch farmers were alarmed at the costs they would have to bear for continuing FMD precautions. Farms with five or more sheep/goats or two or more veal calves were to be inspected by a vet, at the farmers' expense, every 4 weeks, despite the low accuracy (both sensitivity and specificity) of clinical diagnosis of FMD. Farms which purchase sheep or goats were to have a FMD blood test within 2 weeks, again at the owners' expense. New regulations for livestock markets are so restrictive that it is virtually impossible for them to re-open.

*Animal body parts found after cull in North Yorkshire : BBC

*Vaccination endorsed by EU: Independent

*Animal shelters suffer effects of FMD controls: Ananova

*East Anglia pig industry worried by continuing FMD risk: EDP


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


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