More movement restrictions relaxed

5 October 2001

More movement restrictions relaxed

By Alistair Driver

A FURTHER relaxation of foot-and-mouth restrictions allowing more livestock movements comes into effect on Monday (8 October).

Sole occupancy licences will be granted, allowing freer movement of animals between parcels of land owned or managed by the same farmer.

The changes were agreed after farming organisations complained that the original rules created unmanageable welfare and husbandry problems.

Under the scheme, movements will not require prior veterinary inspection or blood testing and animals may be moved more than once within 21 days.

Premises must be within a 20km radius and in counties with the same disease status. Licences will be issued after vets check biosecurity.

Sheep from flocks in at-risk counties but outside previously infected areas can already be moved without being tested.

This came into effect last Monday (1 October), when licences to move sheep in high-risk and at-risk counties became available.

A further relaxation allowing sheep moved in the autumn to return to their original holding is expected to come into effect in December.

The government claims the changes will reduce the demand for blood testing by about 20-30% and reduce delays in issuing licences.

It has admitted that sticking to the original rules could have led to delays of between seven to 12 weeks in some cases.


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