30 November 2001

Counties big relief at granting of F&M disease-free status

By FWreporters

LIVESTOCK farmers expressed delight and relief at the relaxation of foot-and-mouth restrictions in some of the counties worst affected by the epidemic.

Lancashire, Devon and Herefordshire were granted disease-free status on Tue (Nov 27). The last infected areas – in Cumbria, Durham and North Yorks – were downgraded from infected-area status the following day.

Lancashire NFU said the granting of the countys disease-free status would allow much-needed animal trade with the rest of the country. County chairman Ken Baxter said the move was a "great relief" and predicted that the north-west had seen the last of the virus.

Anthony Gibson, NFU south west regional director, said the re-designation of Devon to disease-free status lifted "a long, dark shadow".

But David Maunder of Devon abattoir Lloyd Maunder warned that the impact of potential exports on lamb prices might not be seen immediately. The "clear" status for Devon still has to be ratified by the European Unions standing veterinary committee in early Dec, he said. (See Business, page 19.)

Cumbria, Durham and North Yorkshire remain high-risk counties. But north-west NFU policy adviser Veronica Waller said Cumbrian farmers were benefiting as animal movement controls were further relaxed. Animals can be moved under licence from most at-risk or disease-free counties into high-risk counties.

From Dec 4, pigs and cattle in disease-free counties will no longer have to be inspected by a vet before moving unless they are going to slaughter for export. Plans are also in the pipeline to allow multiple pick-ups from farms in F&M-free countries for movements to a single slaughterhouse. &#42

Moving again at long last… Foot-and-mouth restrictions have been relaxed in some of the counties worst affected by the epidemic.