Farmers break foot-and-mouth rules
By Nigel Burnham
DOZENS of farmers have been caught breaking new rules designed to stop foot-and-mouth spreading in one of Englands worst disease hotspot areas.
Spot checks by trading standards officers and police in North Yorkshire revealed that 46 out of 677 farms have breached rules imposed last week.
Furthermore, 43 out of 383 vehicles were also in breach of the rules.
Farmers failed to provide disinfectant footbaths at farm entrances, and vehicles were leaving farm premises without being properly cleaned and disinfected.
Trading standards officers said farmers and drivers who visited farms would face prosecution if they failed to comply with biosecurity regulations again.
The stringent regulations were introduced in a last-ditch attempt to prevent foot-and-mouth spreading from farms around the town of Thirsk.
It is feared the disease could devastate the massive pig populations of East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire if it spreads into the Vale of York.
Police from as far away as Norfolk and Cornwall helped with the operation, which was co-ordinated by North Yorkshire trading standards.
A spokesman for North Yorkshire trading standards said that he was taken aback by what he described as the “considerable number” of infringements.
“We are going to take a harder line,” the spokesman added. “We are determined to make the operation a success.”
Farmers and drivers who fail to comply with the biosecurity arrangements now in place are likely to be reported for prosecution.
“By the end of 30 days we intend to ensure that there are absolutely no infringements within the area under patrol,” the spokesman said.
The National Farmers Union said there would be “little sympathy” for any farmer caught failing to comply with the biosecurity crackdown.
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