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Product title :

Carcass disposal: lessons from Great Britain following the foot and mouth disease outbreaks of 2001

Author(s) : J.M. Scudamore, G.M. Trevelyan, M.V. Tas, E.M. Varley & G.A.W. Hickman

Summary :

The foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak that occurred in the United Kingdom in 2001 was of an unprecedented scale and severity and presented a massive logistical challenge to Government. Over 6.5 million animals were slaughtered and disposed of, over 4 million as a direct result of disease and a further 2.5 million on welfare grounds. On-farm burial and on-farm burning were the principal routes for disposal at the commencement of the outbreak. On-farm burial was limited by legislation to protect groundwater supplies and pyre burning came increasingly under attack from local communities concerned about health risks from smoke and emissions. Burning also painted a vivid but distressing picture of the war against disease. Increasingly, rendering capacity made an important contribution to disposal. The peak of the outbreak could only be managed by the development of a new disposal route – mass burial in engineered sites and by using licensed landfill where available. During the course of the outbreak, a disposal hierarchy was developed to reflect environmental and public health concerns, namely: rendering and incineration ranked first, licensed landfill next, followed by burning with mass burial or on-farm burial as the least preferred options. However, the campaign against the disease could not have been won without the tactical use of mass burial in addition to all the other available disposal routes. The authors describe the development and deployment of the disposal routes used in the 2001 outbreak.

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