4 July 2001
Government revamps virus website
By FWi staff
THE government has revamped its foot-and-mouth website in an effort to reflect its latest strategies in the fight against the disease.
From Friday (6 July) the new-look site will include video clips advising farmers on bio-security precautions to prevent the spread of foot-and-mouth.
This ties in with a major campaign launched on Wednesday in 85,000 livestock farmers in England are being sent copies of the video.
Restructuring will also simplify access to information on the virus, claims the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
And in coming weeks it will expand to feature information specifically tailored to the needs of those areas most affected by foot-and-mouth.
Junior minister Lord Whitty said: “The site has become a vital link between the government and the farming industry and I know that it is highly valued.
“I am very pleased that the site has been made yet more attractive and accessible.
“The use of video footage of the biosecurity video will be an important help in getting across our message to all who work on farms and deal with livestock.”
Early in the crisis, farmers criticised the website, which was part of the now-defunct Ministry of Agricultures site, for being out-of date.
Farmers said they turned to agricultural websites rather than the government for the latest information on the spread of the epidemic.
But the website has proved popular, recording 20 million page impressions in the first two months of the crisis alone.
The site is also looking to play a part in the foot-and-mouth recovery process, says DEFRA.
Its advice to farmers section is expanding to feature detailed information to aid farmers recovery from the impact of the disease.
And its rural activities section will expand to make it easier for the rural community to access the help available to them.
The website address has also changed to reflect the creation of DEFRA. Its can now be found at www.defra.gov.uk/footandmouth/.
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