book cover of The Year of the Pyres

The Year of the Pyres

The 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic
A non fiction book by

Early in February 2001 a young vet, examining animals at an Essex abattoir, discovered a case of foot and mouth disease. His discovery was to lead to the biggest epidemic of the disease the world has ever seen, the slaughter of nearly four million animals, the virtual closure of the countryside, major pollution of the environment from pyres and burial pits, the abolition of a whole government department, and the postponement of a General Election. The Year of The Pyres follows the story of the epidemic, and documents how mistake after mistake was made initially, thus helping the disease to spread. The policy of mass slaughter, promoted by government scientists and statisticians, has been described by many colleagues as "medieval." This book covers the cases for and against vaccination, along with many personal, and often tragic, stories. It also includes input from a variety of experts on the subject, and ends with the questions that need to be asked and suggestions as to how to ensure the tragedy never happens again.

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