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European Parliament Climate

Non-vaccination policy on the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)

   Thu 19/04/2001

As the Commission is aware, there is concern throughout Europe at the large-scale killing of animals, most of them healthy, in response to the foot-and-mouth epidemic. The Dutch Minister of Agriculture is now seeking a review of the non-vaccination policy which dates from 1991, but has not received any support from the Commission.

From the early 1950s until the introduction of the European non-vaccination principle in 1991 the Netherlands pursued a policy whereby only cattle were vaccinated as a structural measure. Cattle often mixed with other livestock on farms. Nevertheless, the entire Dutch population of livestock was FMD-free from the 1950s on.

  1. Is the Commission aware of these facts?
  2. Does the Commission feel that, if applied Europe-wide, this approach would also keep European livestock FMD-free and
    (a) if not, why does it think that what was true of the Netherlands could not apply on a European scale?
    (b) if so, why does it base its arguments against abandoning the non-vaccination policy on the cost of vaccinating all 300 million livestock in the EU when it would suffice to vaccinate the 50 million or so cattle?
  3. The Commission says that it takes six days after inoculation for the vaccination to become effective. Can the Commission indicate on what scientific research this claim is based?
  4. The Commission says that abandoning the non-vaccination principle would mean the EU losing part of its sales market. Does the Commission agree that the current FMD epidemic and the mass cull used to control it are equally ineffective means of promoting sales of meat within and beyond the EU?