Beckett to detail new move rules

11 September 2001

Beckett to detail new move rules

By FWi staff

THE government is expected to introduce a new county-based foot-and-mouth disease control system for the busy autumn period of livestock movements.

Defra secretary of state Margaret Beckett will announce new restrictions on autumn movements of livestock system at a briefing in London on Tuesday morning (11 September).

It is expected that counties will be divided into “infected”, “at-risk” or “disease-free” categories.

The move could see a clampdown on movements in the highest-risk category, with those from inside infected counties to lower-risk counties banned.

There is also speculation that sheep movements from at-risk and infected counties will be banned unless the animals have been blood-tested.

There could be good news for some farmers, however, as the government announces the partial lifting of restrictions in counties that remain free of the virus.

The government is keen to clamp down on movements where disease is still in evidence in a bid to finally eradicate the virus.

But it also wants to allow movements where possible in areas that remain disease-free, to ease the economic and management problems facing farmers.

It believes moving to a county-based system, where categories are regularly reviewed, will let it find the right balance.

Movement controls were last altered just two weeks ago. The NFU has called on the government to make its mind up.

Meanwhile, most daily newspapers report that initial tests on animals from two farms in Leicestershire suspected of having foot-and-mouth have come back as negative.

But they point out livestock farmers in the areas are still awaiting the results of further tests being carried out.

The Daily Mail says that farmers in the area are still very nervous because they are aware that autumn is approaching.

Brian Heath, NFU group secretary said: “The concern is that, as it gets colder, the virus could became more active and create more serious problems”

But The Times claims that the foot-and-mouth scare in the county could have been sparked by animals having eaten blackberries.

It reports that a local vet has suggested that lesions in the animals mouths were as a result of them eating a hawthorn hedge that contained blackberry bushes.


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