News - January 16, 2020

Assessing animal disease research

Albert Sikkema

Agriculture minister Carola Schouten has announced an audit of Wageningen Bioveterinary Research. This was prompted by the ‘foot and mouth’ court case brought by livestock farmers in Kootwijkerbroek, which ended last week.


The Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal considered that the laboratory in Lelystad had not kept to the prescribed protocol when testing foot and mouth disease samples in 2001, although the test results were correct. ‘Wageningen Bioveterinary Research is accredited and works continuously on improving its processes and methods,’ says the minister in a letter to Parliament, ‘but I find it important to have their working methods assessed in an independent audit.’ ‘Of course such an investigation can’t do any harm,’ says WUR spokesperson Simon Vink. ‘We hope the audit will increase confidence in the institute’s working methods. The criticism of the laboratory mainly concerned the administrative handling. That could and should have been better.’