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Vaccinate Now

Compiled by Alistair McConnachie

"We will lose our export markets if we vaccinate"
If our aim is "disease free" status, then we're going to get that back quicker if we vaccinate.

For example, if we use emergency vaccination we will regain "disease free" status one year after the last emergency vaccination, or one year after the last outbreak, whichever is the later. Since vaccination will lead to outbreaks finishing sooner, then export markets will return quicker if we use emergency vaccination... see Dr Richard North's paper here.
We need also to consider:
= Even if we regain Foot and Mouth-free status, there is no guarantee that other countries will necessarily want to start trading with us again.

= Foot and Mouth can hit at any time. If could hit us again one week after we have finally been declared Foot and Mouth free. Therefore, continuing this Slaughter policy in an attempt to become Foot and Mouth free forever, is ultimately vain and futile, because we don't know how, where or when nature is going to hit us, at any time.

= If we lose the export market forever, then there is a quite sufficient domestic market to service. Indeed, we import more meat than we export anyway, so we don't actually have to export anything. We just need to re-orientate our efforts to the home market.

= Economically speaking, the cost to the rural and tourist industries is far greater than the loss of the export markets.

= Vaccination is more economic than slaughter. It costs £1400 to kill and burn a cow, but only 30p to vaccinate a cow.

"There is no test to ensure that vaccinated animals are not also infected"
Fred Brown, FRS, of the United States Department of Agriculture, perhaps the foremost expert on Foot and Mouth in the world, has recently stated that infected animals can be distinguished from vaccinated animals by a blood test, and that if a vaccinated animal becomes infected, then it can be identified by this test.

"Vaccination does not guarantee immunity. On average 2 per cent of animals vaccinated would not get immunity"
The chances of the 2% getting the disease are minimal when 98% of animals around them are immune. And even if the 2% did catch the disease, that is not a good enough reason to delay vaccination. Moreover, animals to a large extent can develop their own natural immunity to these things.

"We can't allow vaccinated animals to enter the food chain"
"Farmers fear that milk and meat from vaccinated livestock will be shunned by food manufacturers, supermarkets, and most importantly the public."
According to the Food Standards Agency, virtually all milk and meat in Britain's supermarkets comes from animals that have received a battery of vaccinations.

It has stated that 33 vaccines are routinely used on farm animals in Britain. [Anthony Mitchell and Alun Rees, "Vets walk away from grim task as farmer's rebellion grows", The Daily Express (English edition) 19 April, 2001]

"If the animals are vaccinated they will have to be slaughtered at the earliest opportunity"
There is no legal requirement, whatsoever, for vaccinated animals to be slaughtered... see Dr Richard North's paper here

"To introduce vaccination now would be a betrayal of all those farmers who have sacrificed stock, and suffered pain and anguish, in order to stop the disease without resorting to vaccination."
It is a strange form of reasoning that uses the recent history of "pain and anguish" to justify the continuation of the slaughter. All woefully errant behaviour causes pain and anguish. That is not an argument for more of the same.

It is also a misrepresentation to suggest that farmers have "sacrificed" their stock in order to try to eradicate this disease. A sacrifice is something done willingly. In the face of a massive abuse of state power, the farmers have had no alternative.

The people who have betrayed the farmers are the people who have withheld these alternatives from the farmers, and led them along a woefully errant path.

"Around 50 per cent of animals vaccinated would become carriers of the virus, potentially spreading infection to other non-vaccinated animals"
Professor Fred Brown has stated that if a vaccinated animal becomes infected and becomes a carrier then it is extremely unlikely to pass the virus to other animals. Attempts to infect animals by bringing them into contact with carrier animals have failed. He knows of only one case. This bears out the findings of the official 1968 report into the 1967 outbreak which stated, "the danger of carrier animals had been exaggerated and that carriers in a susceptible population did not constitute a significant risk".

"Pregnant animals cannot be vaccinated"
There is no contra-indication of the vaccine for pregnant cows, according to MAFFs answers to NFU questions on the possible use of vaccination. See question 29, posted at

"The slaughter policy appears to be working"
If we slaughtered every single animal in Britain we could "bring it under control". Similarly, if we banned all cars then we could prevent all road accidents. However, we have other options. We can vaccinate to bring this under control, or, we could even consider the radical idea of simply letting it run its course.

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