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Wednesday, 10 October, 2001, 05:10 GMT 06:10 UK
Farm vaccine report launched
Cumbrian farm
Scientists to study handling of foot-and-mouth outbreak
UK scientists are to consider whether vaccination should be used to curb future foot-and-mouth outbreaks.

The Royal Society, the association that includes many of Britain's most eminent scientists, will consider the benefit of vaccination in its wide-ranging inquiry into how effectively the foot-and-mouth crisis was handled.

Signs were put up warning people off infected land
The controversy over vaccination continued from the first case of foot-and-mouth in February.

Early scientific consensus is that of the four million animals killed, up to a million could have been saved had advice on mass culling been implemented more effectively.

The society says it will study whether the current system for the diagnosis and reporting of infectious animal diseases is sufficient. And it will consider how, when and whether vaccination should be used in future.

The inquiry team will take evidence from farmers and leading experts. They will begin by visiting affected farms in November.

The research by the Royal Society coincides with a public inquiry into the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Devon.

Culling condemned

Tourism leaders have called for an end to mass culling.

South West Tourism chief executive, Malcolm Bell, told the inquiry in Exeter earlier this week that vaccination should be considered as a future option.

He criticised the way piles of dead animals were left lying in full view of public roads and the images shown on television and in newspapers for long periods.

On Wednesday, the inquiry in Exeter will hear from the police, health service and community groups.

Last month, scientists said that Britain should initiate an international debate on the use of vaccination to prevent another "inevitable" foot-and-mouth epidemic.

The disease could be eradicated globally if all countries adopted a vaccination policy, said Professor Fred Brown, who helped tackle the UK's last serious outbreak of the disease in 1967.

See also:

07 Sep 01 | Glasgow 2001
International 'vaccine debate needed'
08 Oct 01 | England
Disease brings tourist boom
04 Oct 01 | England
Council inquiry to be webcast
03 Oct 01 | England
Public respond to disease inquiry
20 Aug 01 | UK
Cattle back on sale
20 Aug 01 | UK
Six months of farm misery
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