20 April 2001
NFU wants disposal scheme overhaul

By FWi staff

FARMERS representatives have called for urgent talks with the Ministry of Agriculture on how to improve the foot-and-mouth welfare disposal scheme.

The Livestock Welfare Disposal Scheme was set up to address concerns about deteriorating conditions for animals trapped on farms by movement restrictions.

But there have been numerous failings since the scheme since, operated by the Intervention Board, opened in 22 March, claims the National Farmers Union.

NFU deputy president Tim Bennett said: “This scheme had to be set up quickly to answer the rising number of animal welfare cases.

“Experience has thrown up a number of serious problems, and these must be tackled.”

An NFU paper addresses ways of improve the speed in which priority cases are identified and tackled at a regional level

Meanwhile, optimism is growing that the battle against the disease is being won, with news that two counties have been declared free of foot-and-mouth.

Disease restrictions are to be lifted in previously infected areas in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, where four cases had been confirmed.

This will release more than 1000 farms from infected-area restrictions, although they will remain subject to national controlled-area restrictions.

And better-than-expected results have been reported in cutting the backlog of culling and disposing of livestock.

In Cumbria, it is reported that far from there being a backlog of 200,000 carcasses awaiting disposal, in fact there are only 10,000.

Instead of 89,000 animals awaiting slaughter in this most heavily-infected county, there are reported to be almost none.

This comes after governments chief scientist, Professor David King, says the epidemic has been brought “fully under control”.

He announced on Thursday (19 April) that the average daily total of cases had fallen to 27 last Sunday, compared to 43 cases a day at the end of March.

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