Lawyers acting for the NFU have completed their initial research into the claim for legal redress for farmers affected by the foot and mouth outbreak.

All papers have now been forwarded to Richard Lissack QC for a detailed view on next steps in the case.

Hundreds of NFU members have registered to be part of the group action to recover losses incurred following the movement ban.

Commenting on the latest developments President Peter Kendall said: “Wherever I go, members are asking the same question: What is the NFU doing to bring to book those responsible for this outbreak?

“When I hear stories of milk having to be poured away, calves assembled for export having to be slaughtered and high quality breeding pigs unable to be shipped, I am not just dismayed, I am furious.

“I am furious not because FMD has got in through our borders, but because it has got out from within them.

“Yes, I am relieved the government has eased movement restrictions this week, but the fact remains that they would not have been needed in the first place if the proper biosecurity and containment measures had been in place at Pirbright.

“That is no reflection on the commitment of the scientists at Pirbright or the value of the work they carry out, but it is a fact and it cannot go unchallenged.”