28 June 2002

Movement risk assessment

THE NFU has commissioned an independent veterinary assessment of the risks associated with livestock movements to strengthen the case for a relaxation of the 20-day standstill.

NFU livestock committee chairman, Les Armstrong, said the rule, which locks farms up for 20 days if new animals are brought on to a unit, was unacceptable. And the decision not to consider relaxing it in any way until after the three foot-and-mouth inquiries have reported in July was not good enough.

"Ministers are sitting impassively while the rest of industry is pulling its hair out," he told NFU Council in London on Thursday (June 20). "They have to look at it now."

William Jenkins, less favoured areas committee chairman, told the meeting the 20-day rule was the biggest problem facing farmers at the moment. "There must be a decision taken as soon as possible," he said. "If we dont solve it, it will cripple British agriculture this autumn." &#42