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A livestock movement ban has been imposed across Great Britain, although Scotland is understood to be preparing to announce relaxations for slaughter movements and welfare reasons.

The ban, which has caused problems for markets who were still in operation when the announcement came, follows confirmation of a case of foot-and-mouth on a farm in Surrey.

A control zone has also been set up around a suspect case in Norfolk.

DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly have said that a national movement ban – affecting cattle, sheep, pigs and other ruminants –  has now been imposed.

No movements of susceptible animals are allowed except under licence – and the general licences currently in place only allow movement for milking or veterinary treatment.

But NFU Scotland president Jim McLaren said: “We have some immediate relaxations of movement restrictions – that is at least some good news on what has been a horrendous day again for the Scottish livestock industry.

“We will be in further talks with Government tonight, hopefully to get a handle on exactly what kind of disease outbreak we are now facing. 

“All the hopes are that this case is an isolated one but we can only speculate on why we are facing this nightmare again.

“This could not have come at a worse time for the industry.  We have absolutely critical sales happening today and over the next few weeks and the financial implications for the industry if this situation drags on does not bear thinking about.”

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