30 July 2001
Pig men angry at Yorks move ban

By Isabel Davies

A BLANKET ban on livestock movements imposed in North Yorkshire after renewed fears about foot-and-mouth disease has infuriated pig farmers.

The movement ban, which took effect at 0001hrs on Monday (30 July), outlaws the movement of all livestock other than animals going to slaughter.

It is designed to improve biosecurity arrangements around Thirsk and prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth down the country and into the national pig herd.

But pig farmers fear they will be unable to cope with a build-up of animals on farms unless the policy is changed to allow livestock to be moved for finishing.

National Pig Association spokesman Stewart Houston said an estimated 20,000 sows producing weaner pigs were affected by the new rules.

The organisation hoped that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would agree to a new policy later this week, he added.

Mr Houston said pig units were already biosecure. The risk of transmitting disease around the region was minimal even if animals were moved, he said.

“We would be moving from one biosecure unit to another biosecure unit and on that basis I dont see why [DEFRA} should deny us a movement.”

DEFRA regional operations director Stephen Hunter revealed details of the intensive biosecurity measures at a briefing on Monday (30 July).

Fifteen joint teams of DEFRA officials, police and trading standard officials would check movements of vehicles and people both on and off farms, he said.

This was all part of a “new effort to eradicate foot-and-mouth disease and protect nearby pig-breeding areas”, he said.

In addition, to the general ban on movements farmers face the prospect of an enhanced programme of cleansing and disinfection.

Producers will be required to cleanse and disinfect all vehicles, including feed wagons and milk tankers, before entering or leaving the farm.

Livestock farmers must also maintain foot-baths at every exit to their premises and to renew the disinfectant frequently.

Milk tanker deliveries or collections must be accompanied by a DEFRA official to ensure that cleansing and disinfection requirements are met in full.

Additional cleaning stations will be also be established in the region which vehicles which are judged to need extra cleaning can be directed to at any point.

Intially, the new requirements are due to last over the next 30 days.

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