Clause 4 - Slaughter of vaccinated animals

Part of Animal Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 4 December 2001.

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Photo of Elliot Morley Elliot Morley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 10:45, 4 December 2001

No, I do not agree with that analysis at all. Independent scientific research will demonstrate that that is a fallacy. When the outbreak began, we had no idea where the disease would occur. It affected the length and breadth of the country and it would not have been possible to use ring vaccination, because that would have meant putting a ring around the whole country. Using suppressor vaccination would also have been difficult.

There is no comparison with the situation in Holland, where people were warned by us and had a small and isolated outbreak that they could move in on quickly. If we had been in that position, we could have dealt with it in exactly the same way. The Dutch Government used vaccination primarily as a means of orderly disposal of the animals. That was a controversial decision in Holland at the time, and in that sense one could argue that it was political. We were never at any time given any scientific advice that vaccination would have been effective in bringing the disease to a halt. If we had been, we would have taken it.