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Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 15:02 GMT
Foot-and-mouth epidemic
Just over 2,000 cases of foot-and-mouth animals were confirmed during the epidemic, yet another 4,000,000 animals were slaughtered. Inquiries into the outbreak have focussed on the government's slow response and on the decision to cull not to vaccinate.


July 2002

Inquiry highlights government mistakes

Inquiry Chairman Dr Iain Anderson
Inquiry Chairman Dr Iain Anderson said that contingency plans were inadequate

The government responded too slowly to the foot-and-mouth outbreak. An official report looking at lessons to be learned says there should have been an immediate ban on livestock movements. It also says vaccination should form part of the strategy in any future outbreak.

The BBC's Judith Moloney reports

Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett: "It's a very serious and thorough report"

Report author Dr Iain Anderson: "At a certain stage in the epidemic there was a sense of panic"

Royal Society backs vaccination

Lambs could be among animals to be vaccinated
Lambs could be among animals to be vaccinated

Vaccination should be used in any future foot-and-mouth outbreak instead of mass culling. That's the conclusion of an inquiry carried out by the Royal Society. It said animals on infected farms should still be culled but suggested healthy livestock on neighbouring premises should be vaccinated to prevent the disease spreading further.

The BBC's Kevin Bocquet reports


January 2002

UK finally declared disease free

The outbreak has cost UK farming more than 2bn
The outbreak has cost UK farming more than 2bn

Three months after the last case of foot-and-mouth, the whole of the UK is declared disease free. Northumberland - the county from where the initial outbreak was traced is the last to see restrictions lifted. But British exports are likely to be restricted for some time to come.

The BBC's Tim Hirsch reports


October 2001

Farmers lose right to resist cull

A sheep walks past signs protesting against the mass culling policy
Millions of uninfected animals were slaughtered during the mass culls

The government has introduced new powers to force farmers to co-operate with the mass culling of animals in any future outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Some farmers asserted their right to have their animals tested before they were slaughtered, leading to delays and the spread of disease according to some scientists.

The BBC's Sue Nelson reports


Devon inquiry condemns government

A pyre burns at Arscott Farm near Holsworthy in Devon in late April 2001
Giant pyres to burn animal carcasses were seen as mediaeval and barbaric

The Government's response to the foot-and-mouth crisis in Devon was "lamentable", according to the county's inquiry into the outbreak. The inquiry says giant pyres used to burn animal carcasses should not be used again and the government should look again at the option of vaccination.

The BBC's Richard Bilton reports


Cull delays made epidemic worse

Thousands of animal carcasses
Many government vets were reluctant to accept the policy of mass culling

More aggressive culling of livestock could have helped reduce the scale of the foot-and-mouth epidemic according to studies by two groups of scientists. The researchers say around one million fewer animals would have had to be slaughtered if the government had acted sooner on the advice received from experts.

The BBC's Sue Nelson reports




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