A foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is not by definition a foot-and mouth disease crisis. Why then did the 2001 outbreak result in a crisis situation in the Netherlands? It was not because nobody was prepared for it. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries had a scenario in stock. The scenario was applied as intended and the scenario did what it was supposed to do; it prevented spreading of the disease; it resulted in a relatively quick eradication of the disease; and it minimized damage to agriculture exports. Nevertheless, the crisis was there. This document reports on a process in which the individuals and groups involved in the crisis participated in a joint analysis of what caused the crisis, and in the making of a policy and research agenda. The conclusion was that ignorance of the societal function of animals and the countryside was the cause of the crisis: the scenario focussed on foot-and-mouth disease control in a production-orientated environment. In reality many people perceived that the scenario and its rigid application as threatening non-production values such as the companion role of animals and the recreational function of the landscape. Inevitably another outbreak of foot-and-mouth will occur. However, research and policy should seriously address this perception of animals and countryside to prevent an outbreak from becoming a serious crisis.
Publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages: 100
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