Excuse the titular pun today, but I couldn’t resisit it:
in these dark days, there has to be some humour; even if it is somewhat black.
So they’ve established the strain of the FMD virus in this outbreak: 01 BFS67 so we are reliably informed; which was last identified, unchecked, in the UK during the 1967 outbreak (hence the label of ’67’, your budding rural Sherlock Holmes has thus deduced without overmuch taxation of the Old Grey Matter). It would appear that this is the same strain as that which is utilised (for goodness’ knows what) by the Institute of Animal Health at Surrey’s Pirbright Laboratory – coincidentally only a stone’s throw from the first site of this latest outbreak – & additionally by its’ neighbour on the premises, the pharmaceutical company Merial; which also utilises the ’67 strain to produce its’ live FMD commercial vaccine.
I must say, we are both perplexed & angered by this: why oh why, is a vaccine with such deadly prospects, being manufactured in the UK when our Government’s policy is strictly NOT to vaccinate against the disease; even when the number of animals slaughtered heads into the millions, it seems that large-scale culling (aka killing) is deemed preferable to a simple injection (hence all those distressing pyres in 2000/2001)?
Needless to say, the Governmental Institute which shares the site at Pirbright with commercially-orientated Merial, was the first to be allowed to get its defensive oar in; funny old thing, they’ve already emphatically denied any responsibility for the outbreak (at the same time hinting that the big nasty finger of blame lies squarely on the shoulders of irresponsible, money-grabbing commercialism as opposed to the benign wheels of bureaucracy).
Meanwhile the Control Zones have been amended – yet again – so things are not really looking too clever in terms of carefully managed disease control. Let’s just hope the lid is now firmly on the pot, so to speak; & that some genuine lessons can be learned regardless of recrimination: bottom line is, the anxious members of the farming community simply never, EVER want this to happen again.