UK and Scotland look at foot-and-mouth disease vax program

Members of the UK farming and pharmaceutical communities are coming together to plan a preventative strike against foot-and-mouth disease, an epidemic that devastated UK livestock in 2001. And scientists are leaning toward a vaccination program as the first line of defense to prevent mass slaughters like those necessary a decade ago.

"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," said Peter Nettleton, a veterinary virologist.

More than 100 delegates attended the conference at the Moredun Research Institute in Edinburgh, including farmers, food processors, pharmaceutical companies and members of the UK and Scottish governments.

"But to make it work we need buy-in," NFU Scotland president Nigel Millar said. "From farmers being prepared to vaccinate their animals, processors being prepared to handle meat and milk from vaccinated animals, and consumers both at home and across Europe being prepared to buy it."

- read the Farmers Weekly piece