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FMD control - vaccination or slaughter?

The latest case of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the UK has re-opened the debate as to whether vaccination is a better method to control the spread of the virus than compulsory slaughter. The latter policy led to the culling of some 7 million animals in the six months it took to bring the previous 2001 UK epidemic under control. During that outbreak the Government rejected the use of vaccination since it could not persuade farmers that it would both halt the spread of the disease epidemic and be cost effective for the national livestock industry. However, legislative change in the wake of the 2001 crisis means that the vaccination option must now be given more weight when formulating a control policy.

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