8 March 2001
Let pregnant beasts move: RSPCA

By FWi staff

BRITAINS leading animal welfare organisation has increased the pressure on the government to allow pregnant cattle and sheep to be moved on to farms.

The RSPCA said thousands of pregnant animals were stranded outside due to movement restrictions imposed because of foot-and-mouth restrictions.

The charity has written to agriculture minister Nick Brown urging him to allow licensed movement of these animals as a matter of urgency.

The problem is becoming particularly serious for the sheep industry as the lambing season nears its peak, claims the organisation.

“Farmers, vets and our inspectors are telling us the situation is now reaching breaking point,” said Julia Wrathall of the RSPCA farm animals department.

“Sheep and cattle will suffer and new-born animals will die on a large scale if farmers are not able to move them to a more suitable environment.”

Lambs are already being born in fields with little shelter or food for the ewes.

Ms Wrathall acknowledged the need to minimise the spread of the disease, but said there is no reason why animals could not be moved under licence.

Government chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore has said he will decide on Friday (9 March) whether to allow livestock to be moved from fields.

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