Vaccination debate hijacks informal agriculture meeting

Foot-and-mouth set to dominate informal two-day meeting of EU agriculture ministers

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is set to dominate an informal two-day meeting of EU agriculture ministers in stersund, Sweden (8 and 9 April). The ministers had been scheduled to discuss ways of ensuring a "safe, sustainable and ethical food chain". However, discussions on how FMD can be controlled will now overshadow the agenda.

The German and Dutch farm ministers, Renate Kýaurens-Jans Brinkhorst will urge other EU agriculture ministers to rethink their opposition to limited vaccination against FMD at the informal meeting. The two ministers met earlier in the Netherlands to work out common lines on the issue. The current measures taken to contrain the FMD outbreak do not incluse vaccination and have resulted in the slaughter of more than a million animals in the UK and other Member States.

Pros and Cons of a limited vaccination scheme:


  • Alternative to killing and destroying animals
  • Creation of 'firewalls' surrounding outbreaks


  • Seven different strains of FMD (vaccination helps only against one strain)
  • No test to distinguish inoculated animals
  • Protection lasts only a limited time (approx. 6 months)
  • Loss of disease free status (loss of lucrative export markets)

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