22 March 2002

Dont flout bio moves

FARMERS have been urged not to forget biosecurity precautions after an in-calf heifer imported from France to Cumbria was slaughtered because it tested positive for brucellosis.

The disease, which is highly contagious, causes abortion and infertility in cattle and influenza-like symptoms in humans. The last confirmed case in the UK was in 1993.

Another four animals gave inconclusive results and are now being monitored.

A DEFRA spokesman said 20 animals were slaughtered after testing positive last year but this case highlighted the need for farmers to take care when restocking after F&M.

Ministers are keen farmers do not forget biosecurity measures. A new code of practice on the issue, aimed at helping prevent further major animal disease outbreaks, was released for consultation in Scotland this week.

Rural development minister Ross Finnie suggested that the code would, if necessary, be backed by legislation, although his officials in the Scottish Executive were keener to promote it as a common sense approach to disease control. &#42