9 March 2001
Union hopeful ban will be eased

By FWi staff

FARMERS are hopeful that a relaxation of foot-and-mouth controls allowing animal movement for welfare reasons will be announced on Friday (09 March).

There are concerns for ewes which cannot be moved to lambing sheds from an adjacent unit, and for cows which cannot cross roads to milking parlours.

“We see this as a priority concern,” National Farmers Union deputy president Tim Bennett told the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

“Were hopeful that later on today there will be an announcement about this.”

Mr Bennett said any relaxation in restrictions will be incremental. “I think the first announcement will be very limited movements,” he predicted.

Any scheme would involve licences issued for a certain period to move stock, and probably require vets to certify this is for welfare reasons, said Mr Bennett..

Hopes that the epidemic was peaking were dashed on Thursday when chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore said it was “far from over”.

Mr Bennett cautioned that any announcement on Friday would not benefit farmers whose stock is a relatively long distance from their holding.

“That is an issue we will have to come back to, as I know the chief vet will not allow long-distance movements of animals at the present time,” said Mr Bennett.

Eleven new cases of foot-and-mouth were confirmed on Thursday, including four in Cumbria and two in Derbyshire.

Single cases were reported in Devon, Dumfries and Galloway, Anglesey, Essex and Worcester, bringing the UK total to 106.

On Dartmoor 2,500 animals to be slaughtered on seven farms next to a confirmed case on a risk assessment basis.

It is also expected that the Ministry of Agriculture will make an announcement on holding centres for animals going to slaughter.

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