Brussels, 28 March 2001
FMD : SVC
agrees to UK contingency plan
The Standing Veterinary Committee
representing the Member States of the European Union
gave today a favourable opinion to the proposal of the
European Commission fixing the conditions applicable if
the plan for emergency vaccination of cattle in Devon
and Cumbria (UK) is applied by the UK authorities.
While confirming their strong commitment to the policy
aimed at foot and mouth disease eradication the
Committee acknowledged that in Devon and Cumbria there
is a specific epidemiological situation where the
disease is already widespread in sheep. The Committee
confirmed that there is no support for general
preventive vaccination of animals in the EU as a whole.
The forthcoming Commission proposal for a revised
Council Directive on Community measures for the control
of FMD will, however, provide an opportunity for
wide-ranging debate on all issues including in
particular the use of preventive vaccination. The
Committee agreed that the question of a possible
preventive vaccination of zoo animals shall be
discussed in an expert working group next Friday and by
the Chief Veterinary Officers of all Member States who
meet tomorrow in their meeting of the Council.
The UK request is prompted by the
exceptional circumstances in the counties of Cumbria and
Devon. In these counties a very large number of FMD
infected sheep are being found, without showing evident
signs of disease. There are also exceptional problems
related to culling a huge number of FMD susceptible
animals. The Committee recognised that these exceptional
circumstances warrant an exceptional response. It was
considered appropriate, therefore, to ask the Committee to
clarify the conditions under which protective FMD
vaccination could be used as an additional tool for the
eradication of the disease.
In the event that vaccination takes
place, about 180 000 cattle would be vaccinated and would
need to be clearly identified as such in their passports.
The vaccinated cattle would not be moved from the
vaccination zones for more than one year after the last
outbreak in that area and in no case to other Member States
as they might in principle spread the FMD virus to other
animals, if infected just before full immunity develops.
The meat and the milk of these animals could be used
subject to specific treatments which will ensure possible
FMD virus destruction (pasteurisation of milk, maturation
Furthermore, the trade restrictions
which are applied in Great Britain since 21 February will
continue to stay in force. As a consequence no live animals
nor any derived non-treated products which might spread the
FMD virus can be marketed outside the UK.
If the UK resorts to the possibility of
protective vaccination it shall ensure that Member States
and the Commission are officially informed on further
details of the envisaged vaccination campaign, such as the
exact area where protective vaccination will take
Such a possible campaign would of course
have an temporary and geographically limited impact on the
FMD status of the UK. In the light of the control standard
in place at international level, the internationally
recognised status of other Member States being «FMD-free
without vaccination » is not in question.
Released on 30/03/2001
FOOD SAFETY |
DIRECTORATE GENERAL "HEALTH
& CONSUMER PROTECTION"