Vets question UK defence on FMD

The risk of a another foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak is “just a holiday away”, according to leading UK vets.

Harvey Locke, president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), told the association’s annual dinner that vets were concerned about the UK’s capability over the threat of FMD, it was reported in the Farmers’ Guardian

He said the return of the disease to the Continent was a cause for concern: “Right now Bulgaria and Turkey are battling an outbreak along their shared border and, as someone remarked to me recently, we are now just one holiday away from bringing the disease back into this country.”

He welcomed Defra’s recent contingency exercise, called Silver Birch, to test UK FMD defences, but said the exercise left the BVA with “many questions”.

He said: “The role of vaccination, the quality of communication channels and the adequacy of existing tracing systems are all serious issues that must be addressed when the government reports back on the exercise.”

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