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I have just read and signed the online petition:
"United States Foot and Mouth Policy Must Change"
hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
Here is more information:
What you don't know CAN hurt you.
Foot and Mouth Disease is NOT harmful to humans.
Our Government's policy for handling it can harm you in several ways!
What our own government will do if Foot and Mouth Disease breaks out in the U.S. will use YOUR tax dollars to
harm your business as areas are closed off - many in the UK are going bankrupt
harm your ecology as the land, water and air is polluted from burning or burying "culled" animals - and that WILL cause human health problems
kill your Foot and Mouth Disease susceptible animals (healthy or not) as they are confiscated and slaughtered!This should concern ALL Americans!
Please Read and Sign the U.S. Vaccination Petition
We can make a difference!
Is FMD a violent killer of livestock?No. It is far milder than most other livestock diseases. But it is highly contagious. It is similar to the flu in humans as far as how dangerous it is. (Some humans die from the flu, but most recover. That is why many get a flu vaccine, because it can be dangerous to some.) One of the biggest problems is that animals can recover from FMD quickly and then not be recognised as carriers. So it makes sense to vaccinate BEFORE we have FMD in the States.
Can we spot FMD infected animals before they pass the virus on? No. Animals shed virus days before you can see symptoms. Cattle shed huge amounts.
Are vaccines effective? Fred Brown has said that even in tests where huge amounts of live virus had been directly put into a vaccinated animal's mouth (many more times than would be expected in a real situation) the results were negative.
Where would we get a vaccine? The US has large stocks which could be used along with the Pirbright and EU stocks. Commercial companies can make them too.
Will vaccination work in all susceptible species? Vaccinations work equally well in all species and there are no special problems with sheep or pigs.
Are vaccinated animals safe to eat? Yes. As evidence they had been eaten and their products such as milk drunk without any adverse effects for 40 years in the UK before the ban on vaccination started in the early 90's. Plus we already vaccinate for MANY other things.
Can tests tell vaccinated animals from those who've had the disease? Yes. Tests now exist for distinquishing vaccinated antibodies in an animal from an infected animal. Pirbright has invented such a test in the last few years, as have several other institutions and/or companies in the US and the EU. The UBI diagnostic kits have been vigorously tested and validated, and they are manufactured in a GMP facility with strict quality assurance and quality control. The kits have been commercially available since 1999, and are currently sold worldwide through a USDA export license (except US domestic market).
Aren't there many different strains and sub-types of FMD? Will a vaccine protect against all? Yes and yes. In this age of genomics, they can quickly synthesize designer vaccines according to the viral genomic sequences. So, even in the face of an attack by a virus of unexpected serotype, they can keep ahead of the virus for protection of the animals.
What about infection from vaccinated "carriers"? Fred Brown confirmed that no reinfection of other animals had taken place in tests. Native animals and vaccinated carriers had been penned together and it was very difficult to get infection. He only knew of one case in the past which featured a waterbuffalo in Africa! Fred Brown has said that 'disease free status' was always a myth. It could not be supported any longer particularly in the new world trading situation and was pointless in any event. What were the benefits? The possible exposure to the huge disruption such as the UK has now experience are unacceptable. We need to move towards mass vaccination because it has been shown over the years to be the very best way to tackle any type of virus - human or animal. The huge medical successes of the past century had been the development of vaccines - why don't we use them?In this, the age of the global village, the risks of non-vaccination are escalating.
The risk of accidental infection increases with global trade and travel
The risk of deliberate infection is considered non-negligible by many intelligence agencies
Detecting an outbreak before it has spread far is made more difficult by modern livestock stocking densities, centralized marketing practices and a decline in veterinary surveillance The current outbreak in Europe proves vaccinating IS cheaper, and the only sane, humane, and ecologically sound approach.
There is a page of "facts" (?) about vaccination by the USDA. I have addressed some of what they have written at In Response To The USDA.
The U.S. - Once The Land Of The Free, Now The Land Of Denial
The American press has largely ignored the whole Foot and Mouth Disease fiasco in the UK, as well as the threat to the United States. With FMD breaking out all around the world, WHY has the press ignored it? Why have none of the major news story shows picked it up? What is going on? (Well, read this to see what might be the problem. "In the public's eye, reporters will do anything for a story. Fear and Favor in the Newsroom (www.fearandfavor.org) takes viewers behind the scenes to shatter this myth. Narrated by Studs Terkel, Fear and Favor in the Newsroom shows for the first time on film how ownership of the press by a small corporate elite constricts the free flow of ideas and information upon which our democracy depends.") The the USDA bio-terrorism warning and "Possible Scenario" (www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/ep/avma/villard.shtml) shows FMD would have a major effect on the US. And they expect it will hit the U.S. sooner or later. Some of the FEW Americans that have read the horrible UK reports and talked to the people effected, still tell me "I keep hoping we're safe now." This is an ILLUSION. This is what almost no one is accepting. We are NEVER going to be safe again. Those days are OVER. They will NEVER return as long as we leave our livestock unvaccinated. We will ALWAYS be under the threat of either an accidental infection OR a bio-terrorist attack. We will not return to a non-global economy or style of living. There are breakouts of FMD around the world. In many areas it's endemic. As people travel they risk bringing it here at any time. Currently (5-12-01) outbreaks have been reported in Argentina, Brazil, France, Holland, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi-Arabia, Taiwan, Turkey, Uganda, UK, and Uruguay. FMD remains an immediate threat in Europe and an ongoing challenge in more than 70 countries where it is endemic. Taiwan was FMD-Free a year longer than we had been UNTIL it hit there in 1997. They proved being FMD-Free for a long time does not guarantee safety. This is a GLOBAL disease. It is a virus and EASILY spread. It's isn't going to "go away", because it is endemic in many countries. Vaccination is the ONLY way we'll ever be safe. There are safe vaccines, there are accurate diagnostic tests that can differentiate vaccinated animals from those that carry the virus. Vaccinated animals have been eaten for years. There is no risk to humans from vaccination or from death due to FMD. Click here and read carefully to learn the facts. (www.sheepdrove.com/fb_notes.htm) According to the UC Davis simulation of a FMD breakout in the South Valley of California, "It must be stressed that from the individual farmer's point of view, infected animals need not be eliminated from the herd, because they will usually become productive again after the acute period." They later say, "Considering the animal movement between California and other states, it is highly probable that the outbreak will spread to other states even before it is diagnosed in California." They also state, "During an outbreak, slaughter is equivalent to expropriation of the animals. From the perspective of an individual livestock producer there is no veterinary or economic need to slaughter infected animals since after a short period - between two to three weeks - most would become productive again, even though some may suffer a permanent loss of productivity." So why is the U.S. government planning ways to "expropriate" and slaughter our animals? Even the ones that are healthy, but near any confirmed case? (Sometimes as far away as 40 miles or more according to some State Vets.) Which part of this puzzle is missing? If many countries already vaccinate for FMD, why aren't we doing the civilized thing and protecting our stock as we do from other diseases (like rabies), most of which are far worse than FMD? And does the USDA really think it can happen here? The USDA has been EXPECTING it. They say we are not under any more threat NOW than we have been the last SEVERAL YEARS. What that means is that they KNOW this has been a threat for awhile now, but WE have been OBLIVIOUS to it. And frankly, that's how I think our government wants us to stay. They sure don't want us getting vaccination approved because of the ECONOMIC implications. How much do you think the government collects off the 50 (or so) BILLION $$$ from the FMD-Free Export Trade? Do you suppose that could have anything to do with why we are NOT hearing about what's going on around the world and are not being given true facts or vaccination? NONE of the "action plans for an outbreak" are about the actual disease of FMD. It is not dangerous to humans. It is highly contagious in susceptible animals, but rather mild in effect as far as livestock diseases go (like the flu in humans). Most animals will recover, most will be up to previous production. The ONLY issue surrounding FMD that is TERRIFYING and 100% FATAL and DISASTROUS is the way our own GOVERNMENT will respond to it. (By the way, they don't give a flying fruitcake if lamas are not very susceptible or likely to spread it or not. They don't know the long term shedding effects, they want a FAST cull/kill so FMD-Free Trade can be resumed ASAP. They are not going to leave ANY animals around that they think MIGHT shed it later and RESTART an epidemic that would interrupt that FMD-Free Trade again.) ANY case of FMD (food or non-food animal) will interrupt the FMD-Free Trade. That is the ONLY thing they care to protect. Not you, not me, not American livestock, not our other businesses, not our land or water or air. Look what a mess the UK has made of their country. It is a literal war zone and police state. Why? Because they are the same as the U.S. in wanting FMD-free Trade Status restored as quickly as possible - NOT CARING what it does to the farmers, the folks in tourism, or any other businesses that go bankrupt as areas are closed off. Not caring what it's done to the heart and soul of their own country. This doesn't even take into consideration the MILLIONS of animals killed - or the pollution that disposing of all those healthy animals has created. So we are NOT out of the woods and will never be until we demand our rights, demand to protect the MAJORITY of the US citizens (not just exporters making extra cash) from this INSANE FMD policy the U.S. currently adheres to. Most people are unaware, or will just go back into a cozy case of denial until it actually hits here. And believe me, *new* laws are being set in place daily so none of us will have ANY rights concerning this. They believe sooner or later it WILL hit here. And then all hell will break loose and we'll see the GOVERNMENT take over our lives, kill our stock, ruin businesses, pollute our country, and then it will be too late to do ANYTHING except live with the horror and heartache just like the citizens of the UK are currently experiencing. Most of this just isn't getting through, people in the U.S. think we live in a bubble and a virus can't cross borders. How naive is that? AND for the sake of those that DON'T believe an airborne virus that can travel on muddy shoes or in nasal passages can show up here (intentionally or otherwise), wouldn't it be nice to know that IF it somehow did, our U.S. livestock were ALREADY protected and there would be no killing? No pollution? No horror and heartache? NOW is the time to change these archaic policies. Not AFTER the horror hits! Do you think for one minute that if we didn't have the export law issue that we WOULDN'T be vaccinating for FMD? Of course we would! This is not, has never been, about FMD. It is about money. Until the people of the US wake up and recognize that, and DEMAND that the OVERALL good of America and her people are considered TOP priority OVER someone else's pocketbook, these laws will not change. Some people feel "the petition is written in a very aggressive and inflammatory style". I guess we are supposed to be happy our government has the right (and plans on exercising it) to come in and kill our healthy animals. Frankly, I feel our government is the one being "aggressive and inflammatory" in "style". We have used words. Our government plans on using death. Since we KNOW our government plans on using death, I feel we have every right and NEED to be "aggressive and inflammatory" in "style". I think we need to send the message STRONGLY that we aren't going to lay down and accept such a horrendous approach at OUR expense (in all ways). Whose tax dollars do you think will be used to kill our own animals? We'll be PAYING our government to kill animals we DON'T want killed. We'll be PAYING our government to drive our tourism and other businesses toward bankruptcy (as MANY in the UK have experienced). We'll be PAYING our government to pollute our country which will lead to REAL health issues to HUMANS. How's that for a slap in the face? Our tax dollars do NOT need to be spent fighting a MILD livestock disease that we can vaccinate for. Just like Finnie (in the UK) recently admitted, the slaughter routine does NOT work. Professor Fred Brown of the U.S. FMD Center at Plum Island (formerly Deputy Director of Pirbright Animal Virus Research Institute) has said - it makes ZERO sense in a global economy NOT to vaccinate! It's an out-moded game of economics that leaves the majority of Americans facing a HUGE loss when FMD hits here. And I am just blown away that so many Americans are totally blind to what it's about, and sit by idly waiting to be culled (emotionally and financially) like sheep... somehow thinking the slaughter policy is about "good science". It is not acceptable in this day and age to continue with a kill policy. Vaccination needs to be a choice and available for purchase as in many other countries. Willem Schaftenaar DVM, Rotterdam Zoo (and Chairman of the Committee of Zoo Veterinarians of the Royal Dutch Veterinary Association) has written (www.efrc.com/fmd/fmdtext/fmdshaf.htm) "Times have changed. More and more animals are being transported all over the world. The risk of spreading FMD has increased. The solution seems so simple: vaccinate all FMD-susceptible animals as the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) has advised. This means vaccination twice a year will help stop the virus spreading. Infection trials have shown that vaccinated animals do not transmit the virus to non-vaccinated, susceptible animals. This simple solution is every epidemiologist's dream." And he goes on to say, "Those who have been trained in veterinary science know how the FMD virus behaves. They are supposed to know the epidemiology of FMD. They are supposed to know that a non-vaccinated herd is a ready prey for the virus. These people are trained to guarantee the welfare of animals." And that is what we SHOULD expect in the U.S., that those in authority will protect the welfare of our animals, not kill them to protect the income of exporters. Nothing less is acceptable. America is no longer the "land of free, home of the brave", just the land of denial. How can anyone read/see/know what has gone on in the UK and think it can't happen here? The USDA believes it CAN, laws are being changed in one state after another to take MORE of our rights away so we cannot fight when it does hit. And the majority of Americans are chewing a cud and totally ignorant to what can fall on their heads at any moment. Let's not be "culled", let's fight for our rights.
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