Discrepancies over battling FAM.
Three months after the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, FAM, in one of Uruguay's richest farming area which forced a drastic policy change, the head of the campaign to finish with the epidemic was replaced.
Although Dr. Julio Barozzi refused to talk about the reasons for his resignation-dismissal, close aides revealed that the situation reached a turning point on April 29th., when the Uruguayan government under pressure from strong cattle farmers and political leaders decided to stop destroying animals in infected areas and returned to a massive vaccination campaign.
In a recent interview Dr. Barozzi said that technically the correct attitude to eliminate FAM, "would have been to continue with the sanitary rifle, however there are major policy decisions which in spite of my job and responsibility I must abide".Dr. Barozzi admitted many mistakes were committed in the campaign and finally we ended losing "4 to 0".
According to official Uruguayan Agriculture and Livestock Ministry statistics there still are 1,989 farms with FAM and another 1,200 where the virus apparently has been eliminated. This week cattle movement and auctions are scheduled to gradually resume.
As a result of the FAM outbreak and the decision to vaccinate the whole 11 million herd, Uruguay will have limited access to the top markets in the beef industry.
Uruguay's annual foreign sales of beef ranged 500 million US dollars.
Argentina, Brazil, Nafta members have banned Uruguayan fresh beef, and in September a European Union delegation is scheduled to inspect meat plants and review the FAM campaign.
This past week the World Bank announced in Washington the approval of an 18 million US dollars soft loan to help Uruguayan farmers eradicate FAM "A lesson not to forget"
"A lesson not to forget"
In a surprisingly forceful, and candid, speech during the official inauguration of the annual Palermo Agricultural Show, President Fernando De la Rúa vigorously promoted the "zero-deficit" austerity package and also admitted a cover up operation regarding foot and mouth disease. "Once again we were our own victims. We couldn't assume reality. We shouldn't have declared ourselves free of FAM without having a proper sanitary program. We fooled