At the time of foot and mouth in 2001, vaccination was rejected as a method of disease control, largely to preserve our trading status as a nation that was FMD-free without vaccination.
The epidemic cost the taxpayer £9bn and led to the slaughter of ten million animals, most of which were not diseased.
Now, with avian flu threatening, there is a danger that politicians and farmers will again make the mistake of rejecting vaccination.
Defra secretary of state Margaret Beckett has said that "anybody sensible would have reservations" about the use of vaccines, trotting out the argument, also used for FMD, that vaccines may hide the presence of the disease.
By the time FMD was discovered, it had reached many parts of the country as a result of animal movements. It was difficult to trace and contain as a result.
Although there is some trade in chicks, live animal movements may not be so problematic in the poultry supply chain. However, the mode of transmission through the bird population means that avian flu will still have an enormous capacity to spread.
FMD animals were culled if they were in close proximity to an outbreak in order to isolate the disease. With avian flu there will be fewer guarantees that such isolation will work, given that wild birds may act as agents for its transmission.
Vaccination, therefore, might be appropriate in the case of avian flu.
There is much to play for here in terms of how bio-security is handled. At the time of FMD, consumers seemed happy to accept that there was no threat to human health posed by eating meat from FMD-affected animals.
But avian flu has reached such prominence precisely because of perceived human health risks. A Harvard study has shown that 46% of Americans would stop eating chicken if bird flu hit the US.
The figures in the UK may be little different. We are forewarned - shouldn't we be forearmed, and vaccinate against avian flu now?
Professor Robert Lee of the ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, says we should vaccinate against avian flu