Union backs cautious Scudamore

8 March 2001

Union backs cautious Scudamore

By FWi staff

BRITAINS top vet is right to be cautious in his predictions about foot-and-mouth disease, says the National Farmers Union.

Chief Veterinary Officer Jim Scudamore warned on Thursday (08 March) that the crisis is far from over, and could go on for some time yet.

NFU President Ben Gill said: “Jim Scudamores warning shows that we must hope for the best but assume the worst.”

Farmers and animal welfare groups have called on the Government to allow pregnant cattle and sheep to be moved on to farms.

But Mr Gill said Mr Scudamores comments underlined that animal movement for welfare purposes must be restricted and under stringent conditions.

Mr Scudamore said sheep are harbouring the disease without obvious signs and infecting other livestock, and urged farmers to report any unusual symptoms.

Mr Gill said: “As farmers, we have to take the advice of the MAFF vets about the potential spread of the disease.

“Sheep farmers must be particularly careful when checking their animals as the disease does not show itself as easily in the sheep population.

Suspicious signs include unexplained and sudden high mortality rates among otherwise healthy new-born lambs.

Mr Gill urged anyone who bought sheep in the last three weeks at Longtown market in Cumbria, or other affected markets, to be vigilant.

Crisis far from over – chief vet, FWi, 08 March, 2001

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