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The clear shortcomings and uncertainties in the handling of the foot and
mouth crisis must be addressed if the UK is to avoid a repeat of the
disaster or indeed any other infectious animal disease, the NFU said today.

There must be more investment in research into animal diseases to find new
and better diagnostic and epidemiological methods, the NFU said in its
response to the Royal Society's Inquiry into Infectious Disease in

An inadequate contingency plan and ineffective controls of UK and European
borders against illegal imports are also highlighted in the NFU's

NFU President Ben Gill said: "We simply cannot go on with the current
situation where spending on these areas is being continually pared down.
Why, for example, were there so many unanswered questions when the issue of
vaccination was being discussed?

"If anything comes out of this disastrous episode it must be to convince the
authorities that they cannot scrimp on spending money in the area of animal

"Foot and mouth has shown this to have been a catastrophic false economy."

In addition to the NFU's written submission, Mr Gill will give evidence to
the inquiry at a later date.

He added: "We must use this scientific inquiry to look to the future and
develop a positive strategy should - heaven forbid - we ever be hit by such
a tragedy again.

"And this strategy must be considered in the context of the EU and
ultimately the world. Foot and mouth has reminded us that animal diseases
are no respecters of borders and with the world a more open place than ever
before, we need to work collectively."


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