Vaccinating livestock against Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) and returning them to the food chain could be a ‘viable alternative’ to mass culls in the case of a future outbreak.
This was said at a recent UK conference that hosted farmers, veterinarians food processors and the Scottish and UK governments. The meeting discussed the ‘significant’ role vaccinating animals could play in controlling a future epidemic – ten years on from the worst outbreak of the disease in the country.
Future control models for the disease may include vaccination of animals and then enter the food chain. Members of the meeting also discussed the practicalities of vaccine manufacture and distribution, when and how the vaccine could be used and challenges vaccination may present.
Veterinary virologist Peter Nettleton said vaccination was the ‘modern alternative’ to mass slaughter. He said: “The use of vaccination to resolve the next outbreak could help to prevent the tragic scenes, social upheaval and psychological trauma that were witnessed 10 years ago.”
Nigel Miller, the President of NFU Scotland, said: “Fundamentally, we must find a way to avoid the scenes of mass slaughter of 2001. “The economic disruption caused by culling livestock from huge areas, and the scars that left on both individuals who were directly affected and the wider countryside, is not something any of us want to see again.