Foot-And-Mouth Leak Lab ‘Should be Rebuilt’

UK - The government laboratory that was the source of this summer’s outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease should be closed and rebuilt, Whitehall’s chief scientist said yesterday.
calendar icon 7 December 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

Professor Sir David King, who retires as chief scientific adviser to the Government at the end of the month, said the Institute of Animal Health (IAH) in Pirbright, Surrey, was now so outdated that the lab needed to be replaced.

He told the Commons Innovation, Universities and Skills Select Committee, which oversees science, that though the IAH had outstanding scientific staff, they needed better facilities to do their jobs.

Sir David told the MPs that the IAH was a prime example of a centre that had suffered because government departments too often cut long-term research investment to meet day-to-day needs.

The August outbreak was traced to a leaking pipe at Pirbright, supposed to have been repaired several years ago. A dispute between the IAH and Merial, a private vaccine company on the same site, over who should pay the £50,000 cost, meant the work was never done.

In his final appearance before the MPs’ panel, previously the Science and Technology Committee, Sir David described what he called the lowest point of his seven-year tenure as chief scientist when he confirmed for the first time that it was 10 Downing Street that banned him from speaking to the media at a 2004 science conference in the US, at which he was giving a keynote lecture. He had just written for the journal Science a commentary that said global warming was a greater threat than international terrorism.

Source: TimesOnline
© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.