Farm Animal Welfare Council


Summary of extraordinary council meeting on 4 May 2001

Chairwoman's Report
FMD Welfare Issues
Next Meeting

This is a report of the Farm Animal Welfare Council's Extraordinary meeting on 4 May 2001, chaired by Judy MacArthur Clark. This Extraordinary meeting, only the second such in the Council's history, was called to address in full session welfare issues arising out of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreak in February 2001 and the subsequent action taken to control the disease.

Chairwoman's Report

The Chairwoman reported that Council had set up an FMD Task Force in early March 2001 and informed the Chief Veterinary Officer of its ability to provide advice quickly on welfare issues. The Chairwoman had also written to and subsequently met with Elliot Morley in April 2001. The purpose of the Extraordinary meeting was to clarify Council's thinking on a number of issues that would be passed to Ministers for consideration. The Council would also prepare to give evidence to any review of lessons to be learned.

FMD Welfare Issues

Council discussed a number of number welfare issues arising out of the FMD outbreak and commissioned further action on each.

20 day standstill proposals for sheep, goats and cattle

Council discussed its response to a MAFF consultation on proposals to introduce a requirement limiting movements of sheep, goats and cattle for 20 days following movements of animals onto the holding. The text of Council's response, sent on 11 June 2001, is available on the What's New page of our website.

Welfare Provision During the FMD Outbreak

The Council was informed of the various welfare provisions put in place by MAFF (now Defra) since the beginning of the outbreak. These included:

  • Advice for farmers on protecting the welfare of livestock restricted to farm premises;
  • Licences for movement direct to slaughter;
  • Licences for welfare movements;
  • Arrangements for movement of fodder; and

The Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme

As the outbreak progressed restrictions were eased and more welfare provisions were added to protect livestock still restricted to farm. Each new provision or restriction lifted followed detailed risk assessment.

The Role of Livestock Markets Post FMD

The role of livestock markets, and indeed the marketing of livestock, was identified as an area for particular scrutiny. Multiple movements of sheep had played a large part in the spread of infection. The Markets and Transport Working Group was charged with considering the issues in depth and producing a paper for the next Council meeting.

Welfare concerns arising from slaughter under disease control conditions

There were a number of concerns with the mass cull of livestock in the field, not least the highly publicised incidents raised by the media. The Slaughter Working Group was charged with the task of bringing these all together in a paper for the next Council meeting.

Farm Assurance issues

The Working Group that was studying the implications of farm assurance schemes on the welfare of farm livestock was also asked to assess whether such schemes could have any benefits/disbenefits for livestock welfare in disease situations.

Report to Ministers

A letter was sent to Elliot Morley on 12 May 2001 which reported on the outcome of the Extraordinary Council meeting. It also stressed the need for a major and wide ranging review of the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.

Date of next meeting

14 June 2001


Further Information:

FAWC Secretariat
Area 511
1A Page Street
London SW1P 4PQ

Tel: +44 (0)20 7904 6534
Fax: +44 (0)20 7904 8255

Last modified 26 April, 2005
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