30 July 2001
Virus equipment dumped on farm

By Robert Davies, Wales correspondent

BLOOD-SAMPLING equipment found dumped on a farm has fuelled claims that foot-and-mouth is being spread deliberately.

Alan Thomas, who farms near a cluster of foot-and-mouth cases in Wales, was stunned to discover a full veterinary blood sampling syringe on his land.

The sealed container and a pair of rubber gloves were lying near a footpath, about 200 yards from his farmhouse at Travellers Rest, Llangattock, he added.

Mr Thomas said he had no idea whether the equipment was linked to the foot-and-mouth epidemic but the syringe was the same type vets used on his livestock.

Alan Morris of the Farmers Union of Wales said he was horrified that a farmer could chance upon a blood sample, whatever the reason for it being taken.

“We have heard claims about the careless disposal of protective clothing, and allegations of contractors leaving infected farms to shop or visit a pub,” he said.

“There must be an immediate high level inquiry into this find and into a new claim that the virus is being offered for sale.”

FARMERS WEEKLY reported almost two months ago that farmers had been offered diseased livestock so they could infect livestock and claim compensation.

Now the national media is reporting claims by Pembrokeshire farmer Nuala Preston who said she was offered an infected sheep carcass for 2000.

Ms Preston, who keeps 45 ewes, 10 cattle and several ponies, said she received an anonymous telephone call from a man but couldnt trace the call.

“I was shocked and angered and told the man to go forth and multiply and then called the police,” she said.

“I have probably opened a can of worms but hope some good will come of it.”

Police confirmed that they are investigating the incident.

But Ms Preston, who farms at Trefoel Stud, Crymmych, said a public inquiry into foot-and-mouth should also probe claims that infective tissue is being traded.

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