As from midnight tonight (Saturday) movements of animals susceptible to foot and mouth disease to slaughter will be permitted, under strict biosecurity conditions, from outside the surveillance zone in England, chief vet Debby Reynolds announced today.

A general licence will be issued that will allow:

  • Direct movements of cattle, sheep and pigs from farms to listed abattoirs;
  • Direct movements of cattle and sheep from farms to listed abattoirs via an approved collection centre or a slaughter market.

Commenting on the movement licence, Debby Reynolds said :

“We continue to take a risk-based, staged approach to movement controls. It is essential that all animal keepers, hauliers, abattoirs and those responsible for collection centres follow stringent biosecurity measures and all licence conditions.”

The core group of industry stakeholders working with DEFRA said:

“The group welcomes this important development, we believe that the fact this decision can be made demonstrates the experience gained during the past few weeks and the readiness of DEFRA to respond to disease risk.

“We are acutely aware of the major challenges facing the livestock sector at this critical time of year. We are conscious that we must balance the need to reduce the pressure on the industry with the overriding objective of eradicating foot and mouth disease.

“We urge all livestock keepers to fully comply with the conditions applied to these licences and remind everyone of the need to maintain vigilance in monitoring livestock for any signs of this dreadful disease.”

In addition, laboratory results have today confirmed the virus found at the premises where disease was confirmed yesterday as the strain 01 BFS 67. This means the virus found at all four infected premises is the same strain.

Nationally and locally communications with the farming and food chain industry continue. Information packs are being delivered and telephone contact made to farmers in the protection and surveillance zones around the two infected premises near Egham.