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.


6 Responses

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  1. Jane Barribal said, on August 10, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Good luck to you and your pig ‘cos at the moment it’s only ‘luck’ that can save us all.

    If only we could turn the clock back and resurerect dear old King John who drew up Magna Carta giving us the ‘right to the peaceful enjoyment of our own legally held possessions’ . It served us so well until replaced by the amendment to the Animal Health bill following 2001.

  2. lordpatel said, on August 10, 2007 at 8:04 am

    You use the word delusional frequently .. it is you who is delusional.. DEFRA press conferences are held to contain news, not to disseminate it, to educate the bovine press jackals… and to placate the rabid members of the NFU autocracy.

    Please note Lord (!) Rooker and Dr Dalton the architects of destroying DEFRA funded agricultural animal research have not made their presence felt … and Mr Hilarious Benn has gone all quiet.

    Have a pang of conscience for Debby (so different now from her Hollywood days) who is probably a very competent Vet but is evidently way, way out of her depth with the reptiles in Westminster , Canary Wharf and Stoneleigh.

  3. Jonathan Miller said, on August 10, 2007 at 9:24 am

    My liege Lord Patel

    Well, psychosis is one of my specialised subjects and perhaps it takes one to know one…

  4. Nick Green said, on August 10, 2007 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Jonathan. Thanks, I am really enjoying your Blog.

    Perhaps we should ask the undeniably incompetent DEFRA teams why they did not close footpaths when one considers we are dealing with THE most contagious disease affecting cloven hoof animals. I DID – here is what happened:-

    I rang the Animal Health Office at Reigate this morning at approximately 1015 hrs.

    I was eventually handed over to a vet who tried to answer my questions.

    They were under the impression that a prototype “American” remote RT-PCR had been used at IP one. But they new nothing else as they had only recently arrived in Surrey. They suggested I contact Page Street.

    They were obviously busy but did their best to answer my questions.

    I explained that given that FMD was the most highly contaigous disease effecting cloven footed animals, why was the decision taken to leave footpaths open.

    They stated that “We did not agree with this IT WAS A POLITICAL DECISION.”

    As if we didn`t know!


  5. Lina said, on August 10, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    They could ask her if it is true or false that vaccinated animals can be differentiated from infected animals.
    You don’t have to ask, for one you will never get an honest answer, but it is true vaccinated animals can be differentiated from infected animals.
    DEFRA just wants to hang on to their old fashion, kill them all.

  6. They reap as they have sown « said, on September 13, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    […] Once again, those of us who have since the 2001 débâcle been demanding vaccination have been ignored. Once again, we have been proved right. Had Defra ring vaccinated immediately following the original outbreak this summer, the cows now infected in the shadow of Windsor Castle would not be infected. I told you so. […]

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