Movements to slaughter under general licence will commence in England and Wales from midnight, chief vet Debbie Reynolds and rural affairs minister Elin Jones have announced.

In her daily briefing on the foot and mouth outbreak, Mrs Reynolds also announced that fallen stock collections will restart at the same time.

She also revealed that stock on a farm next to the second infected premises in Surrey had also been culled because of signs they could be infected with the disease.

All movements – whether of dead or live animals – will be subject to strict biosecurity measures and will only apply in areas outside the protection and surveillance zones.

However, the general GB wide movement remains in place.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “This is a measured and very necessary first step on the road towards getting the industry back to normal and maintaining supplies of home-produced meat to consumers, but it should not be taken in any way as a signal that we can afford to drop our guard. 

“It is as vital as ever that livestock farmers remain vigilant, check their stock regularly and report anything suspicious immediately. The highest possible standards of bio-security must be maintained.
 
“The NFU has worked very closely with DEFRA and other industry stakeholders to prioritise the unwinding of movement restrictions as soon as this can be done without compromising disease control. I am satisfied that the conditions that will be applied to movements to slaughter and the collection of fallen stock will achieve that.”
 
“The next step, on which we are in active discussion with DEFRA, is to introduce arrangements that will allow animals to be moved on welfare grounds, subject of course to appropriate safeguards. 

“We recognise there are growing concerns over animal welfare, ranging from cattle due to calve away from the farm, through shortages of forage to pigs needing to move to suitable housing after weaning,” Mr Kendall said.

Abattoirs will need to be authorized to take animals under licence. It is understood the the following conditions will apply:

  • Movements will be from the farm directly to abattoirs
  • Pre-booking will be required,
  • Vehicles must be cleansed and disinfected before movement and the drivers to be equipped with clean protective clothing,
  • No multiple pick-ups will be allowed,
  • Receiving abattoirs will need to have full cleansing and disinfectant facilities for vehicles,
  • Animals will be subject to veterinary inspection on arrival,
  • Slaughter will be within 24 hours,
  • No live animals will leave the abattoir, and
  • Vehicles must be cleansed and disinfected after unloading at the abattoir.

For the full detail see DEFRA’s General Licence conditions (PDF).

For the latest developments see the FWi Special Report page.