15 June 2001

Welsh called to meeting over cull fear

WELSH farmers are being urged to attend a mass meeting to quiz politicians and state vets about persistent rumours of an imminent mass sheep cull.

The rally, arranged by NFU Cymru/Wales, will be at 7.30pm on Monday June 18 at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, Powys.

It will also provide an opportunity to air dissatisfaction over delayed foot-and-mouth compensation, slow payments to farmer contractors involved in carcass disposals, and complaints about the issuing of movement and welfare slaughter licences.

The NFU believes it is time to confront unsubstantiated claims that a large number of animals are to be killed because F&M has become endemic in Powys, which has the largest concentration of sheep in Europe.

Officials have denied suggestions that the government has booked up almost every hotel room in the county and hired thousands of hurdles for a mass slaughter site, but farmers awaiting the results of wide-scale testing of unaffected flocks are deeply concerned.

There have been 92 confirmed cases of F&M in Wales, 54 of them in Powys, but no new cases have been confirmed for more than two weeks. &#42