Mixed reception for looser virus rules

2 October 2001

Mixed reception for looser virus rules

By Adrienne Francis

FARM bodies have given a mixed response to the Governments new sole occupancy movement licensing scheme.

The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) has welcomed the new rules, which will come into effect on Monday (8 October).

The rules will allow sheep to be moved without veterinary inspection or testing between parcels of land which are owned or managed by the same farmer.

The 21-day standstill rule will not apply to movements between these premises, which must be within a 20km radius of each other.

“We were glad to learn that farmers do not have to include every piece of land in applications for sole occupancy licences if they run more than one holding,” said FUW livestock committee chairman Alan Gardner.

“Farmers with separate parcels of land, located miles apart but managed as one holding, were genuinely worried the 21-day standstill would seriously hamper their animal husbandry operations,” said Mr Gardner.

“To achieve efficient management of their units and prevent welfare problems, it is necessary to move stock from one parcel to the next fairly frequently.

“With winter approaching, movements may become even more frequent on welfare grounds,” he said.

The Government also announced that blood-testing of sheep in at-risk areas like North Powys will no longer be required from 1 October unless they are within 10km of previously infected premises.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) says the new licences dont go far enough.

Beverly Barber, CLA land-use adviser, is calling on the government to look at high-risk counties where there will be increasing risk of welfare problems this autumn.

“There is an urgent need to reclassify or sub-divide the high-risk counties, such as Cumbria and Northumberland, as has been done in Powys.”

“Farmers will not be able to move winter store cattle to other counties, as is the usual practice, and feed will become short,” she said.


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