Saturday, August 04, 2007

return of Foot and Mouth

Yesterday evening my dh and youngest came back from a sea bird watching trip and announced that Foot and Mouth had been found in Britain. In cattle.
My heart sunk.
In 2001, we lived with the spectre of Foot and Mouth. Because we lived on the edge of Foot and Mouth exclusion zones, every time we went to the village, the cars were sprayed. The air hung heavy with the stench of burning animals. Our car became covered with ash and bits of burnt skin if the wind was wrong when they were burning on the other side of the valley. And never mind, saying that it was hot enough etc, I know what I had to clean off! The children's school was closed at one point as they culled the animals. The fields emptied of life and farmers went out of business as herds built up over generations were destroyed.
In short, it was ghastly.
And I do not trust the government to be any better prepared this time. Personally I think it was pure luck and a change in weather conditions that did the trick.
My own personal view is that a system of ring vaccination and then going and culling would be the most effective way of dealing with it. BUT that is me.
Even in the six years since the last outbreak, the countryside has become much diversified and many farmers are dependant on tourism for part of their livelihoods. I am not sure closing the countryside worked last time, and if it happens this time, then how many more businesses will go under?
At the moment, all I can do is to hope and pray that the outbreak is swiftly contained and that the source is discovered. And that the government is better prepared.

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