Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Anderson Whitewash

Well, what a surprise, yet again no blame attaches to anyone:
Thanks to
March 13 2008 ~ ".. ignorance of virology and cutting-edge technology, idiotic and unscientific opposition to vaccination, institutionalised secrecy.."
Our own "Lessons Not Learned report" would look somewhat different from that of Dr Anderson.
As in 2001, vaccination was opposed at every stage - in spite of the eminent voices calling for it on August 4th including that of Bernard Vallat, not to mention Peter Kendall. Never before had conditions been so entirely favourable: We knew the strain, we knew the source, we had supplies of the exact match vaccine to hand, we knew the timescale.The virus could have been stopped in its tracks within days by ring vaccination from the outside inwards - Instead, it reappeared in September. (Blog (new window))
As in 2001, the available rapid on-site RT-PCR diagnosis was not used. It has now been used to track and eliminate pathogens globally for nearly a decade. Apart from UK commercial jealousy - what can be stopping its use here?
As in 2001, healthy animals were killed en masse. On the Emerson's free range farm, for example, even the two pet goats were killed. The killing of the pigs and cows continued well into the night under arc lamps. Not one of the animals was subsequently found to have been infected. In fact, only a handful of the 2000 or so animals killed turned out to have been infected.
As when Gordon Brown was at the Treasury, lack of funding into animal disease caused the head of Pirbright to say just months before the outbreak, "Year on year, we are able to do less science or we are able to employ less people, and this is an area of work that spans from foot and mouth through to bluetongue virus.."
Simple failures to understand farming needs, such as lack of cattle handling eqipment, led to distress and delay. Communication with ordinary people was poor. Country-wide over regulation led to massive losses. The UK reputation slid further into the mire. In 2002 the official inquiries, anxious not to whisper criticisms too loudly at those great ones who had made such an unholy, bloody, fiasco of things, listed some gentle recommendations. They were the lessons to be learned. DEFRA did not learn them. Blog (new window) Reading Dr Anderson's "we found much to applaud.." review , we can hear the hollow laughter of despair all over the country.

Yet again a succinct and accurate view!

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