UNITED KINGDOM-FOOT AND MOUTH DISEAE.
National Sheep Association has welcomed the fact that Defra have accepted all the recommendations made by Sir Ian Anderson in his Review of the 2007 FMD outbreak. However the clear message from NSA is that good words and acceptance of recommendations is all well and fine but if there is to be improvement those words must be turned into actions by government.
The Anderson review and its recommendations focussed around the way in which the outbreak was handled as opposed to dealing with the reasons why the outbreak occurred. Because of this remit the review found positives as well as lessons to be learnt as part of its conclusions and whilst the things that went well must not be overlooked, NSA believes that the positives should not be used to detract from either the negatives or the reasons why the outbreak occurred in the first place.
NSA Chief Executive Peter Morris said ’ The sheep farming community still, after all this time, feels incredibly angry about what happened in 2007 and many sheep farming businesses have never fully recovered from the financial and emotional turmoil that they were forced to endure. It was absolutely right that a full review was undertaken and that its recommendations were accepted by government. This will not take away the anger and pain but at least it will show that we can reduce the implications of any future outbreaks
NSA is now concerned to ensure that government delivers on its promises to improve the traceability systems that we have in place and the way in which situations and communications are handled in the event of a future outbreak. However it is a worry that government makes such explicit references to cost and responsibility sharing in their responses to the Anderson recommendations. What will not be acceptable is for government to feel it has fulfilled its obligations to improve by simply passing on costs of improvement to industry and by moving itself further away from shouldering the responsibilities it has in a disease outbreak situation.
NSA believes that it is right for industry and government to work together as closely as possible in such situations but the conditions that surround any such working arrangements must be fair and equitable to both industry and government. Finding the balance that will ensure Anderson’s recommendations are implemented to best effect for all involved is no small task.’
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