24 March 2001
Foot-and-mouth response gets faster?
By Fwi staff
RENEWED efforts to speed up the slaughter of livestock to control the foot-and-mouth epidemic are reported to be paying off.
It is thought that Agriculture Minister Nick Brown will reveal that the average time from confirmation of the disease to slaughter and disposal has been slashed.
This follows the publication of an official Government report which predicted that the outbreak could exceed 4,400 cases by June unless the operation was speeded up.
Chief scientist David King, who is advising Tony Blair on the crisis, said there must be changes to the Governments to stop the epidemic from worsening.
The BBC says new figures will reveal that it is taking an average of 12 hours between confirmation and slaughtered, half the time reported earlier in the week.
And the average time to dispose of carcasses is now reported to have dropped from four days to 36 hours.
It is also thought that ministers will name the first mass slaughter site to help deal with a pre-emptive cull of 300,000 animals in Cumbria.
Downing Street has indicated it has earmarked four sites where potentially infected animals could be brought to be killed and then burnt or buried.
The Army is now playing a larger role in co-ordinating the slaughter programme and more overseas vets are arriving.
Earlier in the week Agriculture Minister Nick Brown admitted that a shortage of vets was “the single biggest problem” he faced.
Meanwhile, a new order simplify the valuing process and speed up slaughtering came into force late on Friday (23 March).
Farmers whose stock is slaughtered because of foot-and-mouth disease can be paid standard rates or ask for an individual valuation.
Thirty new cases of foot-and-mouth were announced on Friday bringing the UK total to 510.
Meanwhile France has confirmed its second case of foot-and-mouth on a farm in Mitry-Mory, east of Paris.
French authorities are said to be investigating whether this is a result of illegal sheep movements from a farm in the Mayenne region where the disease was found over a week ago.