FOOT-AND-MOUTH - Links to Feature Articles on this disease

A collection of Featured Articles covering foot-and-mouth disease, relating both the to UK and worldwide outbreaks and to the disease in general.
calendar icon 11 April 2001
clock icon 11 minute read
Links to Feature Articles on Foot-and-Mouth

The Times
Wasted nation: the truth about foot-and-mouth
The election pushed foot-and-mouth out of the news. Yet new outbreaks have led to more mass culls, and no one is telling us how many healthy animals are being killed. Worse, government policy is based on bad science
Denver Post
Research is best tool in fight against livestock diseases
Over the past few months, U.S. livestock producers have closely followed the latest international news. All for good reason. We have watched nervously as foot-and-mouth disease has ravaged the United Kingdom's livestock community and as it has marched into the European mainland, the Middle East, Asia and South America.
All of this begs the question: How do we best protect American livestock from animal ailments such as FMD and mad cow disease?
Amarillo Globe News
U.S. Livestock industry looks at foot-and-mouth disease
While foot-and-mouth disease hasn't appeared in the United States since 1929, the recent outbreak in the United Kingdom and a number of other nations has spurred the livestock industry, wildlife officials, zoos and other animal-related endeavors to take precautions and consider options to prevent an outbreak in the United States.
Iowa Farmer Today
FMD outbreak like fighting 7 diseases
“One of the problems in controlling FMD (foot-and-mouth disease) is that there are seven different types of the virus and there are no universal vaccines against it,” noted an Extension veterinarian. “It’s like having seven different diseases,” Nolan Hartwig with Iowa State University, said during a recent meeting broadcast over the Iowa Communications Network.
Vaccination against Foot and Mouth disease: Some Key Facts
This article, written by the Office of Science and Technology, UK Ministry 0f Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) explains some key facts about vaccination against foot and mouth disease to aid understanding of how vaccination works and different possible approaches to applying it.
"Vaccination" - What exactly do they mean?
The dreaded 'V' word is now being banded around freely by the UK Government, who only a few weeks ago were stating it was the option of "last resort". Have things got that bad? - Jim Muirhead, Editor of looks at the facts and highlights some of the reasons behind the indecision.
New Scientist
Napalm could be used to destroy slaughtered animals
As the carcasses of slaughtered animals pile up on British farms, American researchers have suggested a radical solution - napalm.
They say it would be a faster, cheaper and more efficient way of disposing of animals than the pyres now burning in fields across the country. Faced with a similar task during an outbreak of anthrax in Reno, Nevada, in August last year, Ron Anderson of the Nevada Department of Agriculture came up with the idea of using napalm.
His experiments show that napalm, a mixture of polystyrene and an adhesive mixed with diesel or petrol, can destroy a carcass in just 60 minutes. In contrast, burning animals on a pyre of wood takes three days.
Reuters - The Financial Gazzette - South Africa
Foot-and-mouth keeps Africa in cycle of poverty
NAIROBI - Foot-and-mouth disease is helping to keep the world's poorest continent locked in a cycle of poverty, scientists say. Because the disease is endemic across much of Africa, farmers in many countries have been denied access to lucrative European and North American markets for key animal products. "It's a classic example of the widening gap between the haves and the have nots. It is disease rather than tariffs which is the major trade barrier for the developing world," Brian Perry, a Nairobi-based livestock specialist, said.
New Scientist
Kill the swill - The days of feeding leftover food to pigs may be numbered
Europe may ban the feeding of swill to pigs in an attempt to prevent future outbreaks of foot and mouth disease. Epidemiologists tracking the current epidemic, which has now spread to France, suspect it began when swill contaminated with the virus was fed to pigs in February on a farm at Heddon-on-the-Wall near Newcastle, UK. The swill may have contained meat from a country affected by the disease. One theory is that leftovers from in-flight meals are to blame.
At a meeting of the European Commission's Standing Veterinary Committee last month, several member states asked the Commission to consider a European Union-wide ban on swill feeding. The feed industry in Britain wants a ban too. "It taints the whole industry, and we're fed up with it," says a spokeswoman for the UK Agricultural Supply Trade Association.
Scripps Howard News Service
Foot-and-mouth virus strain is more virulent than normal
Microbiologists say the strain of foot-and-mouth disease ravaging livestock in the European Union appears to be a far more virulent form of the virus than they have seen before.
The United Nations, which tracks outbreaks of the disease, says the foot-and-mouth strain - dubbed Type O PanAsia - was first reported in Cambodia in January 2000.
It has infected thousands of animals in 14 countries, including some, such as South Korea, Japan, England and France, that have been free of the disease for several decades.
``There is something about this virus that has made it more fit'' to infect a host animal and spread, said Tom McKenna, a veterinarian with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's animal and health inspection service. ``It's taken off around the world.''
BBC News
Head-to-head: The case for and against vaccination
The slaughter of 500,000 apparently healthy animals has prompted many farmers and veterinary experts to ask about alternatives.
Professor Julian Wimpenny from the Cardiff School of Biosciences puts the case for vaccination while Professor Joe Brownlie of the Royal Veterinary College argues that vaccination is not the solution.
European Commission
Questions and answers on EU vaccination policy
The EU answers some burning questions: Why is there currently no vaccination in the EU against FMD? Will the Commission review its non-vaccination policy? Is over-regulation, forcing the closing of small abattoirs, a factor? Is the large scale transport of animals the cause of the current outbreak? Is intensive farming at the origin of the disease? Is there financial compensation available to producers?
Frankfurter Allgemeine - Germany
Market Forces - Are they to blame?
Buyer beware! The forces of the "unbridled" market are once again falling into disrepute.
Skeptics are busily gathering evidence against privatization, liberalization and deregulation and calling on the state to stop shirking and take up its original responsibilities. Are not the crises over bovine spongiform encephalopathy and foot-and-mouth disease due to the decline of the state?
Why is no British authority strong enough to assure that animal feed is prepared at temperatures high enough to eliminate safety hazards? Why is the British network of veterinary oversight so full of holes? Is it not the state's duty to provide supervision as a "public good" because no one else will? And if diseases like BSE and foot-and-mouth spread from country to country through trade, should not the state be radical about protecting its borders? Isn't privatization the reason why those who want to be punctual no longer take the train in Germany -- let alone in Britain if they want to be safe? And don't the forced black-outs in California demonstrate the evil consequences of liberalization?
All of these questions are legitimate, but we should beware of the easy answers.
Crisis will be much worse than 1967 and could last until Christmas or beyond
As the spread of foot-and-mouth disease marches relentlessly on and the Agricultural minister confirms the precautionary slaughter of 100,000 sheep, Jim Muirhead, Editor of analyses the statistics of the current and 1967 outbreaks and concludes that the crisis is already worse than in 1967 with even more bad news to come.
The Observer
Yes, our food is cheap - and so is our talk
The outcry over foot and mouth won't change a thing, says Matthew Fort
For a few days we have been treated to an unusually detailed picture of how our food is produced and the consequences. Television has shown us pigs in crates, sheep in lorries, cows in abattoirs. We have seen large-scale industrialised agricultural complexes and small-scale units that seem modelled on Cold Comfort Farm.
We have suddenly learned about the centralised slaughter of animals brought about by the huge reduction in the number of abattoirs. We have become experts in cross-contamination brought about by having to ship animals vast distances across country. We have discovered a complex internal trade in animals which involves them being bought in a market in one part of the country and transported to another where they will fetch a higher price.
And, predictably, we have reacted with horror. Pundits have held forth at length. Politicians have wrung their hands and blamed others. The man or woman in the street has said things must be done. Things must change.
Things won't be done. Things won't change. Things have come about because we, collectively, have let them.
British Medical Journal
Foot and mouth disease: the human consequences
Foot and mouth disease is a zoonosis, a disease transmissible to humans, but it crosses the species barrier with difficulty and with little effect. Given the high incidence of the disease in animals, both in the past and in more recent outbreaks worldwide, its occurrence in man is rare so experience of the human infection is limited. The last human case reported in Britain occurred in 1966, during the last epidemic of foot and mouth disease.
The circumstances in which it does occur in humans are not well defined, though all reported cases have had close contact with infected animals. There is one report from 1834 of three veterinarians acquiring the disease from deliberately drinking raw milk from infected cows. There is no report of infection from pasteurised milk, and the Food Standards Agency considers that foot and mouth disease has no implications for the human food chain.
OPINION, Denis T Avery, Hudson Institute
The Politics of Foot-And-Mouth Disease In Europe
Industrial Farming Is The Scapegoat for Livestock Disease... but The First Farm British Authorities Traced The Outbreak To Is A Small Family-Type Farm. Pity poor Europe. Plagued by fears of mad cow disease and gene-altered crops, the continent is now suffering a plague of foot-and-mouth disease among British livestock.
The European answer to all such problems is always the same: organic farming. True to form, "industrial farming" is being blamed for the new outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe. The facts show quite a different story...
New Scientist
Future vaccine could halt Foot-and-Mouth
New vaccines could one day prevent the mass slaughter of livestock during foot and mouth outbreaks. Britain and other European countries are currently destroying tens of thousands of animals.
Foot-and-Mouth Disease: Will it spread to the U.S.?
Animal health officials in Texas are watching with concern the relentless westward march of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the most recent outbreak of which was confirmed in late February at several sites in England, where livestock operations already have been financially ravaged by the brain-wasting disease, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) and outbreaks of the viral infection, hog cholera.
MSNBC, Newsweek International
Death of the British Farmer
Disease is just the latest crisis besetting rural life. There was no mistaking the pall that hung over British farming last week. Fed by the carcasses of thousands of pigs, sheep and cows, funeral pyres pumped black smoke into the sky as the country battled the latest scourge to its agriculture industry. This time the enemy was foot-and-mouth disease...
The Guardian
The making of an epidemic
The impossibly tangled web which Ministry of Agriculture staff began to unravel last week now extends across three animal species, five countries and many British counties as foot and mouth disease carried by British sheep threatens to spread though Europe and even further afield.
But as mainland Europe continued yesterday to try to identify and quarantine or kill those animals which they suspect may have come into contact with infected British sheep, it was becoming clear that the continental meat trade is so complex that a sheep born in Aberdeenshire could be trucked 1,600 miles before being slaughtered as far away as Beirut. The detective story starts..
FOOT-AND-MOUTH: Eradication versus Vaccination
As the foot-and-mouth epidemic spreads to all corners of the United Kingdom, Editor, Jim Muirhead asks the sites veterinary consultants to explain why the Government is pursuing an eradication policy when a vaccine for foot-and-mouth is available.
1967 Remembered - A nightmare of the future?
No Borders for Global Meat Trade

In the light of the recent Foot-and-Mouth Outbreak in the UK, has published two articles. The first, by our Consultant Mike Muirhead, "remembers 1967" and asks is worst to come this time round. The Second looks at the global meat trade and considers the responsibilities of today's society.
The Observer
Paying the price for cheaper food
Once again British farming is in a state of shock. Once again consumers are in a state of bewilderment. Once again consumers are being asked to pay the price for a system of agriculture and food production which, time after time, has shown itself to be deeply flawed.
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