Leading farm animal welfare organisation, Compassion In World Farming says that it is vital that the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is dealt with swiftly, efficiently and humanely in ways that avoid the scenes of wholesale slaughter witnessed in 2001.
"We must make sure that any outbreak is controlled swiftly to stop further suffering to farm animals and the farming industry. It is imperative that action is taken to avoid uninfected animals being slaughtered unnecessarily. The Government must consider emergency vaccination of animals in affected areas to help control the disease and prevent healthy animals being slaughtered needlessly"
says Compassion In World Farming's Chief Executive, Philip Lymbery.
There are two forms of emergency vaccination: 'vaccination-to-live' (the animals live out their normal economic lives and their meat is then eaten) and 'vaccination-to-die' (animals around an infected farm are vaccinated to reduce the spread of infection and are then killed).
Compassion In World Farming believes that a 'vaccination-to-live' strategy is vital to avoid unnecessary loss of life amongst farm animals and to limit disruption in the farming industry.
It is also vital that we avoid the panic measures reminiscent of 2001 whereby pet farm animals and those on a sanctuary were killed even though there was no indication that they had the disease.
Mr Lymbery concludes, "The nation will be holding its breath in hoping that the Surrey outbreak is an isolated incident. Whatever the reality, any response must be carried out without delay and in such a way that avoids the wastage of healthy animals so prominent in the 2001 outbreak."