Foot and mouth: What the media are saying

Fwi brings you a round-up of how national newspapers have covered the new foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The Guardian

Today’s Guardian told its readers the fresh foot and mouth outbreak would “plunge farming into crisis”.

It estimated that last month’s outbreak cost the industry £50m.

The paper acknowledged the damaging effect the new crisis would have on European confidence in British food. Just 24 hours after declaring Britain free from foot and mouth disease, EU vets ruled the whole of the country “high-risk” until at least mid-October.

The Guardian said “analysts” believed it likely that the virus in last month’s outbreak remained active for longer than expected, it wasn’t possible to rule out a fresh outbreak.

The Times

The Times ran the story on its front page, drawing attention to the proximity of the Royal Farms at Windsor and adding that the Great Park’s deer herd was being monitored for signs of infection.

The Times also acknowledged that the impact to trade was likely to be greater even than 2001 as key sheep and cattle sales were due to take place in the next few weeks.

It said the loss of business was costing farmers £1.8m a day and reckoned total losses to the industry since the outbreak in August could reach £80m.

The Times’ told readers that the next few weeks “were the busiest of the year for Britain’s £1.1bn livestock industry” and explained the huge disruption the loss of major ram sales would cause. It added that the pig sector would also be hit by the loss of important export markets like China.

The paper also suggested the outbreak could have been caused by what it called “deliberate sabotage”.

The Independent

The Independent meanwhile chose to offer its readers the opinion that “the reputation of Britain’s farm produce takes another international nose-dive”, adding that if the new outbreak was found to have been caused by lax biosecurity at the Institute of Animal Health’s Pirbright site, it was “a calamity that must never be forgotten by the government”.

Most of the Independent’s coverage of the new foot and mouth disease outbreak targeted the government’s handling of the disease since August.

The Daily Telegraph

Most newspapers including The Daily Telegraph reported comments made by Tory leader David Cameron that the government’s chief vet Debbie Reynolds may have been put under pressure by ministers to declare August’s foot and mouth disease episode over.