TIn the year 2001, one of the worst veterinary cases in France is registered. It is an outbreak of a disease called Foot-and-mouth disease or hoof – and – mouth disease, which was discovered approximately in the month of February, but it was in March when the worst suspicions of the French farmers were confirmed, since the disease involved them in the financial disaster that this sector was going through that year Let’s see a little more about this case that shook the world of veterinary medicine in those years in France.
The outbreak began with six cows in the town of La Baroche-Gondouin, which is located in a village in the department of Mayenne, northwest of France. A few miles away there was a neighboring farm that had imported British sheep in early February 2001 and had been found to have antibodies against the virus. These cows were vaccinated illegally by a veterinarian to prevent them from acquiring the disease. All the infected cows and the rest of the cattle were slaughtered and incinerated that same day. In total, one hundred fourteen head of cattle slaughtered were counted.
In addition to the cows, the decision was also taken to eliminate the animals susceptible to the infection of the outbreak, among them thirty seven goats, seven cows and twenty pigs were exterminated. According to the Minister of Agriculture, Jean Glavany, this outbreak had spread throughout France, despite all the actions that had been taken to prevent this from happening. The way in which the outbreak spread throughout France was through the wind, since the disease traveled up to eighty kilometers by land and sixty kilometers by sea. Which explains the appearance of many cases on the French and Belgian Atlantic coast, all this helped by the winds from the English Channel.
The worst mistake that was made in the name of veterinary science in France was the illegal vaccination of these cows imported into the United Kingdom, to which we can add the fact that France imported in February 2001 the amount of twenty thousand lambs from the United Kingdom. It was believed that at least half of them were carriers of the plague. The infected cattle in the neighboring farm were also slaughtered on the twenty-seventh of February, which allowed believing that there was a long time for the virus to spread to other places in France.This was considered one of the worst registered veterinary cases in France because it affected many farmers, the preventive culling of at least fifty thousand animals was ordered, twenty thousand of them were sheep imported from the United Kingdom, and the rest were lambs that came into contact with them. In addition, eighteen farms in eleven departments located in different regions of France were quarantined for half a month.
In addition, the exportation of animals sensitive to the outbreak was prohibited, including all internal movement; the only destination of these animals was the slaughterhouse.This outbreak was also considered one of the worst registered veterinary cases in France, since the news was also bad for the general economy, because the increase in the price of meat contributed to the increase in inflation. This case also caused that, as is traditional in France, annoying farmers and meat transporters interrupted traffic at the entrances to three cities (Nantes, Lille and Paris). They demanded an increase in the payment of compensations and subsidies. In Germany they announced the elimination of the sheep imported from France, also in Holland, the government prohibited the transport of all kinds of animals from France. Belgium and Spain also closed their borders to French animals. Switzerland and Norway stopped their trade in animals originating in the European Union. Italy, for its part, declared a state of emergency as they had found antibodies against the virus in sheep imported from France.
In summary, this case badly handled by veterinarians that affected not only France, had the following repercussions:
- Only in France more than fifty thousand animals were slaughtered.
- The increase in the price of meat contributes to inflation.
- The outbreak stopped the import and export of meat for several months.
- Veterinary science was affected because they are responsible for ensuring the health and good condition of animals, especially those consumed by humans.
19 arrested in Navarre and France for illegal fattening of cattle
Another of the worst veterinary cases recorded in France was the case of the nineteen people arrested in Navarre and France for illegal fattening of cattle in 2015. One of those arrested is a veterinarian from the Department of Agriculture.
The Civil Guard arrested nineteen people accused of integrating an international network for the illegal fattening of cattle for human consumption. They gave the animals drugs that are prohibited on farms, and then sell them in France once they gained weight. Two out of the nineteen arrested are veterinarians and one of them is a public official of the Department of Agriculture. The public official of the Department of Agriculture and Livestock was accused of an alleged crime of disclosure of secrets, since he allegedly warned about sanitary inspections, as well as the illegal products that were sought in those inspections.The network acquired young calves and kept them locked in spaces where they could barely move. By feeding them more time than usual with artificial milk, the animals suffered from ulcers, which served illegal traffickers as an excuse to justify the need to administer drugs to livestock.
Dexamethasone:The network of illegal ranchers was investigated after it was discovered that an animal slaughtered in a slaughterhouse had tested positive for dexamethasone, a drug that is prohibited. Then the investigation for the crime against public health began.
Why is dexamethasone banned in cattle?
This medication is synthetic and is derived from cortisol, which is legally used for therapeutic purposes, as it has an anti-inflammatory effect. However, when administered irregularly, it causes fluid retention that is not normal and causes the cattle to gain weight immediately. The Civil Guard already suspected that it had not been found in the rancher’s logbook data on dexamethasone administered to cattle.It was found that the veterinarian originally from France also fattened cattle illegally on other farms, thus rendering their services. The owners of the farms sent their cattle to the slaughterhouses in general located in France and stopped supplying the banned substances a few days before slaughter, to avoid their sanitary controls.
The meat was sold in France in its entirety. In a very fast operation, the Civil Guard dismantled the network and arrested 12 people in France, six in the Navarrese cities of Pamplona, Erratzu, Arróniz, Oderiz, Lakuntza and Lumbier and one in Ávila. The detainees were between 36 and 70 years old. One of them, a 70-year-old Pamplona resident, acted as partner or leader in Spain for other businessmen in France linked to the network. This man and two of these businessmen were in charge of acquiring the calves and distributing them for fattening in the operated farms, several of them located in Navarra, Ávila and Huesca, owned by it. The arrested in Ávila was 40 years old, a resident of El Barraco, a city in which three others are accused for their alleged participation in the network.
Another of the worst cases recorded in France was the case of twenty-one people arrested in France for the “fraud” of horse meat, among those arrested are several veterinarians, this happened in December 2013.
The French police arrested twenty-one people related to the fraud in the meat industry, this in the south of the country, it is suspected that has sold as meat the horses that were used for medical research. There were about two hundred horses that were not fit for human consumption; they had received fake veterinary certificates, and then they were slaughtered to be sold as food, among those involved are cattle dealers, veterinarians and butchers, located in Narbonne, in the south of France.A spokesman for a pharmaceutical company said some of his horses were used to incubate antibodies to make serums, but others were certified for human consumption. For its part, the owner of the company said it is cooperating with the police to determine how long this fraud was being carried out.
Horses that were not fit for human consumption were sold illegally to meat merchants; it is suspected that they falsified the certificates to qualify them as horses fit for the manufacture of food for human consumption. Some of the meat was even exported to Catalonia so many police officers raided eleven districts, including Girona, in Catalonia. In France, the operation originated when the remains of horse DNA were found in frozen hamburgers, according to their label, they were cow’s. The investigation was extended to Romania and the Netherlands.Therefore, the sale of horse meat has been reduced in France, although this type of meat can still be found in some certified butchers. The head of the national association of horse butchers in France said that the entire industry should not be responsible for the bad behavior of a few dishonest merchants.
The worst outbreak of anthrax in 20 years affects farms in France and veterinarians have also been infected.
They have been a little over 50 cows, sheep and horses that have recently died with this new outbreak of anthrax never before registered in France. Officials warned that there is a shortage of vaccines. Authorities in the mountainous region of the Hautes-Alpes, in southeastern France, have commented that the infection, which can spread to humans and that is deadly in its rarest forms, had spread to 28 farms since June 2018.
Anthrax is transmitted by spores that can remain inactive in the soil, even in the bodies of animals that have already died. Veterinarians in France have been fighting to contain it, since a Spanish laboratory that is in charge of producing the vaccines has been closed throughout the month of August during the summer holidays.The French government is in continuous talks with its European partners to discuss the possible purchase of vaccines “that other countries could have stored. Approximately a total of one hundred and three people in the Hautes-Alpes region had been labeled as potentially infected because they were in contact with infected animals, most of them farmers, veterinarians or slaughterhouse workers.The first case that was detected in this new outbreak of anthrax was the one that was detected in the village of Montgardin on June 28, six cows died and since then it has spread to another 12. Cows that have been infected with anthrax have the following symptoms: swelling in the abdomen and bleeding from their orifices, and they often die in less than twenty-four hours.This disease is very rare; however, more than one hundred cases have been reported on farms in France since 1999, usually during hot summers after periods of heavy rainfall. The cases of anthrax that have been transmitted to humans are very rare. However, we already have some people infected. There is something called, the cutaneous anthrax, which appears on the skin and which is often the most common form of infection, is rarely fatal when treated with antibiotics.
The bacterium that causes anthrax is the bacillus anthrax, which produces a potent toxin. The power of anthrax is so powerful that it has been used as a biological weapon. While the outbreak continues, the faith in veterinary science in France is diminishing in the eyes of the world, since this is not the first time an Anthrax infection happens in France, the last outbreak recorded in France was a few years ago, exactly in 2008, when there was an outbreak of anthrax that was spread for twenty-three farms. However, the current outbreak is considered the largest in the history of France.Veterinarians in France have not yet been able to control this outbreak, the international community is very aware of this situation as an infection of this type cannot be ignored.