Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The real rapid reaction force

The EU commission has announced that is setting up a veterinary expert team that can deployed at short notice to respond to animal disease outbreaks such as bird flu in Europe or elsewhere – the real rapid reaction force.

This was approved by the Standing Veterinary Committee and the commission is now to go ahead and draft a list of team members from across the EU. Experts will be drawn from the fields of laboratory testing, veterinary, virology, wildlife, risk management and other areas to be ready to move within 24 to 36 hours to affected areas.

EU Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou says recent and past outbreaks of bird flu, swine fever or foot-and-mouth disease in the 27-nation bloc "highlighted the importance of having well-prepared, well-trained personnel available to provide their expertise in dealing with the problem."

Under normal circumstances, we would have been quick to condemn this move as yet another underhand move to promote European integration. But, as experience has so often demonstrated, so utterly dire are British official vets that, by comparison, other EU veterinarians positively shine.

That, perhaps, is the true agenda of Defra – to develop incompetence to such a pinnacle of perfection that EU political integration is seen as a better option.


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