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Country News - 2002

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EU to issue new foot and mouth directive
Wednesday 18 December 2002

THE European Commission in Brussels is today expected to issue a new directive laying down rules for the fighting of any future outbreaks of foot and mouth disease - and it will include vaccination as part of the campaign.

This follows an extremely critical report on the British Government's handling of last year's crisis, which highlighted lack the of emergency planning, slowness of reaction, and the large-scale burning of slaughtered animals which left farmers "traumatised."

However, one of the key question marks hanging over the entire debacle has never been fully answered: who was responsible for the mass slaughter, as opposed to vaccination, policy?

At the time, officials of the now defunct MAFF said that it was farmers' leaders who fought against vaccination - although many farmers volubly supported this method. Others blamed the supermarket chains for saying they would not buy meat from vaccinated animals.

Responsibility for this key decision has never been allocated - but today's ruling from Brussels is expected to ensure that any future outbreaks will be fought at least in part by vaccination.

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