The slaughter of 64 cattle on the farm at the centre of the foot-and-mouth outbreak in Surrey has commenced.  The animals will then be removed for incineration.

Proceedings were delayed due to the presence of media helicopters circling above the farm, but after a five-mile air exclusion zone was implemented and the sky cleared slaughtering began.

 For more on the foot-and-mouth outbreak visit the FWi special report page

The European Union has also confirmed it is to ban all livestock exports from the UK, but in reality this is already prohibited.  As part of its official response DEFRA withdraws export certificates for all animals and animal products on the confirmation of disease.

However, DEFRA is yet to confirm whether it will be implementing a contiguous cull of livestock in the surrounding 10Km surveillance zone.

One farmer, Bridgett Bardell of Hampton Estate’s Farms, part of whose farm adjoins the infected premises told Farmers Weekly she was still waiting to receive advice and notification of intentions from DEFRA.

“I’ve made several attempts to get advice from the DEFRA emergency hotline, but it contains no details on foot-and-mouth.

“The last time I rang, a pre-recorded message said the service was busy and then the line went dead,” she added.

Mrs Bardell said the measures they have taken such as establishing disinfection points and placing signs asking people to stay away would be sufficient.

“But it would be nice to know if we were supposed to do anything in particular,” she said.