Sir Don Curry, chair of the Sustainable Farming and Food Implementation Group, has defended DEFRA’s communications over the latest foot and mouth crisis.
Farmers complained that DEFRA took too long to alert them to the Egham case but Sir Don Curry said today:
“DEFRA were reluctant to heighten alarm bells until the case was fully confirmed. There was a feeling that we mustn’t create panic before we have the full facts. Since early August every day or two there has been a suspect case. We haven’t had the number of cases reported but tests have been carried out and have come back negative.
“There would have been too great a risk of unforeseen events if panic set in with this latest outbreak. This is the time of year when a lot of livestock is moved around every day and to announce it too soon would have made it even more difficult.”
When asked whether he thought restrictions were relaxed too soon after the last outbreak, Sir Don added:
“I don’t believe this outbreak is a result of DEFRA relaxing movements. But it is the same strain as before so we have to assume it must have come from Pirbright.”