FOREWORD BY RICHARD LOCHHEAD
The Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks of 2007 did not see virus reach Scotland but the effects were felt only too keenly throughout the whole country by farmers, crofters and the red meat supply chain. Those whose normal business practices had to be put in hold, or in many cases curtailed, until the disease situation allowed for a safe return to normality experienced significant disruption.
It is clear that all steps must be taken to ensure any future disease-related disruption can be kept to the absolute minimum and that all practicable measures to facilitate this are applied. The lessons learned from the outbreaks of 2001 undoubtedly helped to ensure a swift response when dealing with the outbreaks last summer and allowed for disease to be contained to just one section of Great Britain. I thank all who worked hard and co-operated without hesitation to ensure that Scotland's livestock remained disease free. This period of uncertainty was handled impressively by all involved. I was satisfied that the response in Scotland was timely and robust and was endlessly impressed by the fortitude shown by Scotland's farming community during this frustrating and difficult time.
Looking to the future, I commissioned Professor Jim Scudamore to lead this review into Scotland's handling of the outbreak, beginning work immediately after disease freedom had been reclaimed. Jim brought with him a wealth of experience and local knowledge having been CVOUK during the 2001 outbreaks and also having served in Scotland as CVO. I was delighted he agreed to undertake what is a substantial, and I believe, an extremely valuable piece of work.
The findings of this review are vital as we continue to work to increase Scotland's preparedness for dealing with possible future disease outbreaks. It is my commitment that the recommendations made in this review will be given the full attention of the Scottish Government, in partnership as appropriate with counterparts in the other UK Administrations and in Brussels. Our Scottish stakeholders are key to this process, to foster new levels of co-operation and preparedness, find new and better ways of working on all of the key issues identified and ensure that improvements in preparing for and responding to disease can be brought to fruition wherever there is an opportunity to do so.
Finally, I record my thanks to Professor Jim Scudamore in producing this review and also to John Ross, Chairman of the Moredun Foundation who was invaluable when meeting with stakeholder organisations from all over Scotland as part of the crucial evidence gathering phase of the review and also in providing ongoing advice and input to the review team.