30 April 2001
Anger over Anglesey disease suspect

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

FARMERS have reacted angrily after suspected foot-and-mouth was found on an Anglesey smallholding that had resisted a pre-emptive cull of 40,000 sheep.

The holding, run by Michael and Toni Lowe, is one of seven against which the Welsh Assembly dropped legal proceedings to gain access a week ago.

But several sheep in the 80-ewe flock now have suspected symptoms.

Fiona Cowie, spokeswoman for the Anglesey seven, insisted that the sheep could be suffering from orf. She urged other farmers not to jump to conclusions.

But Bob Parry, president of the Farmers Union of Wales, said the union was right when it demanded that there must be no exceptions if the cull was to work.

“Stock on the remaining six smallholdings should be killed immediately.”

Mr Parry added: “If the tests prove positive after five weeks without a case on the island a return to normal farming will be at least one month away.”

The union is also investigating two new claims that fluid leaked from lorries carrying carcasses slaughtered under disease to a rendering plant.

One of the incidents allegedly occurred on the border between Monmouthshire and Glamorgan. The other was at Pool Quay, near Welshpool.

Witnesses to the Welshpool incident claim the lorry was directed to a transport disinfection facility near the town, while a team cleaned up behind it.

Meanwhile, a Welsh Assembly inquiry has been launched into the “difficult to explain” spread of the disease to a previously clean area in Monmouthshire.

Officials are already searching for the vectors responsible for the epidemic jumping long distances to Skewen near Swansea and Abercynon near Pontypridd.

Welsh rural affairs minister Carwyn Jones said he would take action against anyone showing a “cavalier” attitude to preventing the spread of the disease.

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Foot-and-mouth – confirmed outbreaks
Foot-and-mouth – FWi coverage