10 April 2001
Welsh farmers deny spreading disease

By Alistair Driver

A FARMING family has rejected suggestions by agriculture minister Nick Brown that producers may be infecting their own farms with foot-and-mouth.

Morton and Eleanor Jarrold said it was more likely that the general public had infected their beef and sheep farm at Nelson, near Merthyr Tydfil, south Wales.

Some 500 sheep and 130 cattle were slaughtered on the farm. But the outbreak is worrying because it is about 30 miles from other confirmed cases.

Mr Brown has suggested that such isolated outbreaks of foot-and-mouth may be due to farmers moving between farms or illegally transporting livestock.

“Some of the isolated cases that have appeared in recent days appear to be directly attributable to farm-to-farm transmission from infected areas,” he said.

But Mrs Jarrold said she and her husband were not responsible for infecting their own farm. The most likely cause of infection was the general public.

“We have taken every precaution to keep the disease out,” she said.

“We have not been into any infected areas and no-one who has been in an infected area has visited us. We have not been off the farm for weeks.”

The animals have been in the borough since the middle of November, said Mrs Jarrold. The farm gate has been shut and there are two disinfectant barriers.

Mrs Jarrold, who is a school teacher, said the farm was on the urban fringe. “We are completely overlooked by houses and we are overrun by Joe Public.”

She said it was possible that someone from the area or a visitor had been to an infected area and then come into contact with their livestock.

Scottish rural affairs minister Ross Finnie has described similar isolated outbreaks of foot-and-mouth in Scotland as very worrying.

The National Farmers Union of Scotland said it believed that the virus was transferred to the farms by people or on vehicles.

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