23 July 2001
Virus cordon around Yorkshire pigs
By Isabel Davies
THE government is introducing new measures in a desperate bid to stop foot-and-mouth spreading into the national pig herd from North Yorkshire.
Junior agriculture minister Lord Whitty made the announcement as he toured regional government offices in Leeds and Northallerton on Monday (23 July).
Tough new measures would be introduced to stamp out foot-and-mouth disease by creating an area of “intensive biosecurity”, he said.
“The outbreak in North Yorkshire is of great concern, as it is close to some very large pig herds and is threatening the disease-free areas south of the Humber.
It would be serious if foot-and-mouth spread to pigs because the animals exhale vast quantities of the virus – more so than many other livestock.
Licences will require that vehicles visiting 2700 farms in the North Yorkshire area are fully cleaned and disinfected before entering and leaving each premises.
All milk tankers and some grain and feed lorries will be accompanied by government officials who will check that disinfecting is properly done.
Local authority staff will patrol the areas, checking on farms and vehicles.
The enforcement effort will be backed by a major serological testing exercise to identify and spread of foot-and-mouth disease in the area.
Richard Ellison, regional director for the National Farmers Union, said had some reservations despite understanding the necessity of the measures.
“We are supporting the measures – I dont think we have got any option,” he said. “But we are concerned about the practical implications.”
The NFU had not been warned that tougher measures were on the way until last Friday (20 July), said Mr Ellison.
It was still waiting for answers on a number of points.
The government had promised that cost would not be an issue but was unable to confirm whether licenses would be needed for harvest vehicles, he said.
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