Although we believe that the initial policy
of eradication of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) by culling
was correct, 10 vets now call attention to their reservations
over continuance of the policy (Veterinary Record, 21 April
2001). They explain: We can no longer defend the justification
of this carnage to support the wider issue of FMD control
to the public. We also wonder if it will be credible for MAFF
to have any role in policing animal welfare in the future.
They continue: The current policy of eradication is
not based on issues of food safety or animal welfare. It is
simply an issue of cost-benefit to the agricultural industry.
We are unable to reconcile the economic benefits of the current
policy against the human suffering and the millstone of social
and economic costs that now burden the whole (rural) community.
The vets conclude: how far is the profession prepared
to compromise animal welfare? How much more social and economic
hardship must be borne by the rural and wider community before
the profession has enough foresight and courage to say enough
is enough? Further information can be found at www.vets4vaccs.co.uk.
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