Thousands more sheep under threat

31 July 2001

Thousands more sheep under threat

By FWi staff

UP TO 50,000 livestock are being tested for foot-and-mouth disease in Yorkshire as officials prepare to cull thousands more sheep in Wales.

Fifteen teams are set to blood-test flocks of sheep around Thirsk in a bid to stop foot-and-mouth spreading to pig herds across East Yorkshire.

Stephen Hunter, Yorkshires disease control centre chief, said the aim was to establish whether there was any undiscovered disease in the area.

Farmers face fines of up to 5000 if they breach new disease-control rules on 1200 farms designed to stop the disease spreading, he added.

Dr Hunter said: “Teams of policemen, accompanied by trading standards officials, will be patrolling the area in marked cars around the clock.”

The new rules include a complete ban on animal movements, except for welfare disposal cases and livestock destined for slaughter.

All movements of animal feed and milk on or off farms must be licensed. Farmers must wash and disinfect vehicles when entering or leaving property.

National Farmers Union president Ben Gill, whose own farm is in the intensification area, urged farmers to comply with the new measures.

“It is important that everybody recognises the scale of the problem if it gets out of North Yorkshire and into the East Yorkshire pig herds.

“There have been some horror stories about the very few farmers who are not following precautions and have not appreciated what needs to be done.”

Meanwhile, experts in Wales have decided to cull up to 2000 more sheep, days after 4000 animals were slaughtered in the Brecon Beacons.

Further tests revealed evidence of foot-and-mouth disease in a second batch of animals brought down from the hills. More sheep will be tested later this week.

Test results so far have dismayed farmers because they show that foot-and-mouth has spread further into the Welsh beauty spot than first expected.

Farmers leaders warned earlier in July that the implications would be “too dreadful to contemplate” if the disease spread across the Brecon Beacons.


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