Remind me again: why are we not vaccinating?
I do not go to Defra press conferences and they probably would not let me in the building. Besides, the sun is shining and we are behind on the haymaking. But perhaps one of the zombie hacks in attendance at La Reynold’s next performance could briefly bother to ask the chief vet why animal owners are not allowed to vaccinate against FMD at their own expense? They could ask her if it is true or false that vaccinated animals can be differentiated from infected animals. And after she has explained why owners like Sheepdrove should not be allowed to vaccinate, even at their own expense, they should ask her to disclose Defra’s own vaccination protocol. If Defra is finally forced to vaccinate will they then insist on slaughtering vaccinated animals? If so, why? They should ask her to release the minutes of the stakeholder group meetings and to disclose who the members are. I ask because I really, really would like to know.
The news from Dorking is not great as I have a pig over there… and a lot of people coming to lunch. Can anyone tell me where I can source a giant marrow, to feed 100?
The Guardian’s estimable Matthew Taylor is back for more live news blogging here.
It is on Matthew’s blog that I see the chief vet has disclosed that we are now within a 7-day period when it is possible to vaccinate, although no decision has been taken to do so:
12.00pm: Debby Reynolds says that Defra believes the foot and mouth outbreak may now be contained and that the risk that infection will spread outside the affected area is “very low”.
She told a press conference that day seven of the outbreak was a critical day, as it was the first time a decision could be made to vacinate, but – for now – there will be no vacination of animals.
Still no news on the third suspected outbreak in Dorking – outside the protection zone – though the farmer is confident that his calves are suffering from a pneumonia infection and not foot and mouth.
Can someone help me understand the significance of seven days?
The NFU is insisting today that they are “not against” vaccination. This is in a letter attacking “smart Alec” journalists (I presume I am among their number) and includes the curious claim that “we are not against vaccination.” This really won’t do. The NFU have been hysterically against it for years. When have they ever been for it? Under what circumstances would they urge vaccination? Have they advised Defra or shared with Defra any opinions on the use of vaccination at present? This denial of the NFU that they are against vaccination is slippery and disingenuous as well as brazen and arrogant.
Compassion in World Farming who are my near neighbours in Godalming have proposed a very sensible “vaccinate to live” policy which I am waiting to hear the NFU endorse.