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Another Foot And Mouth Whitewash Report: Government "Catalogue Of Errors" Led To Outbreak
Cabinet commissioned inquiry cites incompetence over sabotage, praises PM

Steve Watson
day, March 11, 2008

In a report that smacks of damage limitation, a Cabinet Office commissioned inquiry into the outbreak of foot and mouth disease from a government laboratory in the UK last Summer has concluded that incompetence and poor facilities were to blame for a leak of the virus.

"This virus should never have got out. Everything was wrong around the Pirbright; the regulatory system was poor, the risk management was poor," Dr Iain Anderson concluded.

Immediate reports last year found that the leak originated from the facility in Pirbright, Surrey, which was used by both the government's Institute of Animal Health and Merial Animal Health, a private American vaccine company.

The reports stated that a live virus, which was being used to develop a vaccine, had probably leaked from faulty pipes and spread from the site. The leak led to the culling of hundreds of healthy animals and an export ban on British livestock.

The findings of the government commissioned inquiry into itself essentially corroborate this story, blaming "poor containment conditions" and exactly mirroring two previous inquiries.

Citing a "creeping degradation of standards", Anderson also advised relaunching and prioritizing the Institute of Animal Health in response.

Despite this, Anderson, who also led the inquiry into the much bigger 2001 outbreak, actually praised the government and the Prime Minister, stating that the response to the outbreak was swift and efficient.

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There was, unsurprisingly, no mention in the report of concerns of sabotage which were prevalent at the time amongst Investigators.

Neither was there any probe of a reported "international drill" held at Pirbright Laboratory, involving live virus, one month before the outbreak.

The concern amongst investigators was that any sabotage would not have been without motive, given that Merial Animal Health Limited, providing they remained undetected as having been the culprits for the outbreak, would have benefited from record purchases of their vaccine during another mass foot and mouth scare.

Andrew King, a former head of molecular biology who was brought in by the Institute of Animal Health told The London Times that biosecurity was so tight that he felt the outbreak must have been caused deliberately.

He said: “As far as I am concerned the authorities have failed to find any chink in the armoury of the establishment’s bio-security. What you are left with is human movement, which is not a matter for the institute, it’s a police matter. It’s very, very unlikely that it could be spread by accident. People do not spread the disease easily.”

Once again, however, we are subjected to another so called "independent" inquiry that is sparse on detail, reveals nothing new and purely serves the purpose of sweeping the issue under the rug, sadly now a commonplace occurrence where the British government is concerned.

For those who doubt the veracity of British government involvement in a plot to once again eviscerate the livelihoods of farmers (routinely the biggest power block opposing the Labour government) in an act of agraterrorism, they should carefully consider what happened in 2001. The Sunday Express reported that the foot and mouth virus was released deliberately out of Porton Down bio-weapons facility and could have possibly been the source of the outbreak two months later.

The disease spread like wildfire throughout the country as many accused the government of not doing nearly enough to contain it and the spring of 2001 in England was characterized by apocalyptic images of burning pyres dotted all over the countryside as over four million animals were slaughtered.

Coupled with reports of the government making inquiries to timber merchants and sign makers (before closing public footpaths), it is inconceivable that an animal rights activist, as we are led to believe, could have penetrated a level 4 bio-weapons facility that also houses anthrax and ebola and is protected by armed guards of the Ministry of Defence Police and the Military Provost Guard Service. The individual who stole the vial must have had full security clearance to enter the facility. Why would an animal rights activist release a virus that would kill four million animals?

Patricia Doyle, PhD also reported that Foot and Mouth exercises were being run by the British government immediately before the outbreak was made public.

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