27 July 2001
Glorious Twelfth plan angers farmers

By Alistair Driver

GOVERNMENT plans to allow grouse shooting in areas infected with foot-and-mouth angered farmers on the opening day of Britains biggest game fair.

The row over the risk to livestock raged as thousands of shooting enthusiasts prepared to travel to the Game Fair in Bedfordshire on Friday (July 27).

Ministers are allowing the sport to go ahead from the traditional start of the season on 12 August – the Glorious Twelfth – until 10 December.

Shooting will not be allowed on or near infected premises or farms under restrictions. But special licenses will be issued so it can take place in infected areas.

The government justified its decision to allow shooting to go ahead by pointing out that each shooting season generates more than 75 million of income.

But the Yorkshire-based Swaledale Sheep Association expressed its outrage over the move in a letter to Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett.

It said the decision to license shooting in infected areas was “totally unacceptable” and incompatible with the disease situation in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire has seen a spate of foot-and-mouth outbreaks which has prompted fears that the disease could spread to the countrys pig population.

“It makes nonsense of all the precautions farmers have followed for months – and increases the risk of spreading foot-and-mouth,” the letter said.

But the Moorland Association, which supports the government, said shooting would take place only where there was a negligible risk of spreading the disease.

Moorland Association chairman Simon Bostock said: “Our members would be the last to risk further spread of this dreadful epidemic.”

The season supports 279 jobs in England and Wales as well as 32,500 casual labour days and generates income for small businesses.

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