Foot and mouth dominates Sunday newspapers, almost all reporting that the finger of suspicion is now clearly directed at the Pirbright research centre, where the government-funded Institute for Animal Health and US company Merial share facilities.
Most strident is News of the World, with “Lab leaked panic virus” alongside the now infamous 2001 image of a silhouetted carcase hanging from a chain as it is winched onto a funeral pyre. The Mail on Sunday pulls no punches with its headline shouting: “Virus leaked from US lab”.
Fortunately most carry colour images of the Wanborough cattle penned ready for slaughter. They are strangely normal pictures – visually healthy cattle on a sunny summer’s day. They will be met with relief by farmers who feared more images of 2001’s mass burial and funeral pyres.
According to The Sunday Times the affected farmer is Derrick Pride, 78. Mr Pride runs a farm and shop in Elstead. The three cattle herds culled yesterday were all his.
Mr Pride’s identity was withheld by Farmers Weekly throughout Saturday. A local contractor, Ray Simmonds, told one FW journalist: “He’s one of the safest people about.”
Local beef producer Angus Stovold, who farms within the exclusion zone, assured the BBC: “The farmer is a really good farmer. All the animals I’ve seen from him have been really good.”