Papers mull landmark virus case

4 September 2001

Papers mull landmark virus case

By FWi staff

BRITAINS newspapers are mulling over the implications of the countrys 2000th case of foot-and-mouth disease, confirmed on a farm in Cumbria.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the government has admitted that it is failing to meet its target of slaughtering all cases within 24 hours.

Officials told the paper that last week animals on only 43% of infected premises were killed within the target time of 24 hours.

Only 86% of livestock were slaughtered within 36 hours.

The epidemic is now the worst in the world in terms of the number of animals slaughtered, says the paper.

The same theme is taken up by the Daily Mail which reports that the foot-and-mouth epidemic has reached a grim milestone.

It quotes the National Farmers Union as saying this has been the worst outbreak of the disease ever known in the world.

An NFU veterinary adviser told The Independent that the Northumberland outbreak is more serious than the expected foot-and-mouth tail.

NFU veterinary and public health adviser Peter Rudman said that the new outbreak in the north-east was a real setback in the fight against the disease.

A tail would be a gradual tailing-off in areas where there has not been disease – not a slipping back three of four months to where it had been before.

That wouldnt be part of the scenario at all. Its very bad news.

Mr Rudman said that the disease had tailed off in 1967 but the pattern in Northumbria was very different.

This is a genuine setback. Its not insurmountable, but its making life a lot more difficult.

The Guardian reports that protesters who object to the reopening of the Tor Law disposal site in County Durham pelted lorries as resumed work.

The paper says that government officials are gearing up for further protests as they consider reopening another site at Widdrington in Northumberland.

A private report has been sent to the ministry warning of the potential for more civil disobedience if carcasses continue to be disposed of by burial, it says.


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