31 December 2001
Britain almost foot-and-mouth free
By FWi staff
BRITAIN has taken another step towards being declared free from foot-and-mouth disease more than ten months after the start of the epidemic.
Three out of four remaining counties affected by foot-and-mouth were due to be declared free from the disease at midnight on Monday (31 December).
National Farmers Union president Ben Gill said it put an extra sparkle into New Year celebrations in Cumbria, Durham and North Yorkshire.
The counties will move from being classified as “at risk” to “free”. Farmers will welcome the accompanying relaxation in animal movement restrictions.
The results of blood testing in Northumberland are still being awaited, but this county is also expected to be declared “free” shortly.
The government must then apply to the European Commission and before the UK can be officially recognised as clear of the disease.
It was three months on Sunday (30 December) since the last case.
Mr Gill said: “This is one more step on the road towards breaking free of the terrible shackles of foot and mouth.
“For every farmer in Cumbria, Durham and North Yorkshire, there will be extra cause for celebration when the clock strikes midnight.
“This is definitely the best way possible of seeing in the New Year.
Mr Gill said there was now more reason than ever to start looking forward in earnest to regain disease-free status early in 2002.