20 March 2001
Brown homes in on landfill site

By FWi staff

AGRICULTURE minister Nick Brown believes he may have found a suitable landfill site to dispose of livestock culled because of foot-and mouth disease.

Mr Brown refused to reveal the whereabouts of the site, but is seeking to use burial sites in Cumbria in addition to rendering and burning livestock carcasses.

Up to 300,000 animals within a 3km radius of infected farms are set to be culled, even if they have no obvious foot-and-mouth symptoms. Landfill options were limited by the water table, environmental risks posed by larger herds and the predominance of granite in Cumbria, admitted Mr Brown.

But with supplies of railway sleepers to build pyres running low and only four rendering plants disposing of carcasses, landfills remain an attractive option.

There is also the potential of using dedicated slaughterhouses and rendering at-risk animals which are not showing clinical signs of the disease.

Robin Bell, head of the veterinary international trade team, dismissed growing calls for a vaccination programme to tackle the outbreak.

The Guardian newspaper claims to have seen a paper by a leading vet arguing that vaccination is the most effective way of controlling the disease.

But Mr Bell said vaccinated cattle can carry the disease for two years, while sheep can still transmit foot-and-mouth nine months after vaccination.

“Vaccinated animals are not immune to the infection and can affect other animals and spread the disease,” he said.

Thirty new cases had been confirmed by 1615hrs on Tuesday (20 March), bringing the total number of cases in the UK to 379.

Tuesdays cases include 17 in Cumbria, five in Dumfries and Galloway, two in each of Devon, Co Durham and Worcestershire, plus one each in Shropshire and Anglesey.

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