This page and its internal links were set up to help llama owners during
the epidemic that swept the UK's sheep, cattle and pig industries in 2001.
We have left the
information on our site for archive purposes. Some will be, or become, out
of date- - especially the external links.
Slaughter: food for thought
Can we vaccinate our llamas
Vaccine does exist: it is made here in the UK and exported, but it
cannot be used in this country or in the EU.
The principle reason for this, we are given to understand, is because the
vaccine contains the virus, so that once used vaccinated animals cannot be distinguished from those
harbouring the actual disease. Thus if used here, the UK would lose its
status which would destroy the export industry. Hence the slaughter
policy which means once the disease is eliminated by systematic
slaughter, then "the industry" will have the chance to retrieve
its fmd-free status and return to normal...
It is said that the vaccine is not 100% effective and cases of fmd being contracted from vaccinated animals have been
Growing demands for
When fmd first broke out there
was almost no mention of the possibility of vaccination. Since the
failure to halt the disease's spread, however, demand for its use have
been growing, both from the farming community at large and from many
scientists and vets.
The possibility of its use is now at the forefront of policy discussion.
Unfortunately there is much contradictory information and some
misinformation as to the effectiveness and dangers of vaccination.
One of the stated
reasons for not using vaccine, for example, is that it cannot be
distinguished from the disease. Recent reports that new processes
mean it can be distinguished have been dismissed by some scientists
as "misreading of the evidence."
It may be, therefore that if used as a "firewall", it
will only be a temporary measure to hold back the disease's
relentless advance and that all vaccinated animals will end up being
slaughtered anyway (in order to remove all traces of fmd even
in vaccine form). Thus demands for vaccination of healthy
animals not due for slaughter at this stage may, according to
current (28/03/01) government thinking, lead to their ultimate death
In the foot and mouth epidemic of the 1960's a
number of farmers turned to a homeopathic medicine "Borax 30"
(not to be confused with domestic borax) to try to prevent the disease.
No scientific evidence has shown that it is effective however and a
British Veterinary Association spokesperson has been quoted as doubting
it has any positive effect. (On the other hand no farms that suffered
fmd in previous outbreaks in the 1960's were shown to have tried it, so there
is no given evidence of its failure either!).
Borax 30 must not be
given undiluted and is added to drinking water. Ask your vet or farm
shop for more information before using it.
Footnote: Borax 30 cannot be used as a
"remedy" in the sense of a cure, as has been suggested
somewhat misleadingly, but only be tried as a preventative. If livestock
has fmd it must be reported to the Ministry of Agriculture immediately,
whereupon it will be
subject to the current policy of slaughter.