Foot-And-Mouth Outbreak Revives Vaccine Debate

LONDON - An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease six years after the virus devastated the farm industry has reignited the debate over whether livestock should be vaccinated to avoid mass culls.
calendar icon 7 August 2007
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Farmers resisted calls for vaccinations after the 2001 crisis, fearing for exports of meat and dairy products because the method can conceal the presence of the virus and many countries ban the importation of vaccinated animals.

But vaccines have proven effective and the National Farmers Union said they could be one option to confront the latest crisis, which surfaced last week at a farm in the southeast.

"We need more information about whether or not this is an isolated incident before making any decisions about a vaccination," the farming group said in a statement.

The chief veterinary officer has said the government has considered the role a vaccine may play.

The outbreak six years ago led to the cull of six million animals, hitting tourism as well as farming and causing some 8.5 billion pounds in losses to the economy.

Source: Reuters
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