Food and Mouth has leaked once again from Pirbright, the laboratory site that was the source of the summer outbreak of Foot and Mouth, and today farmers have reacted angrily to what is thought to be another Government failure.

Merial, one of the two labs at the Pirbright site in Surrey (the other is the Institute for Animal Health), has just had its licence renewed for using live viruses for vaccine production.

Another outbreak of Foot and Mouth is unlikely, as the virus has not leaked into the environment. However, it has taken two days for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to reveal the leak.

Hilary Benn, the Rural Affairs Secretary, has received a letter from Peter Ainsworth, the Conservative rural affairs spokesman, demanding why Mr Benn did not come to the Commons to receive questions over this latest Foot and Mouth leak.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) said in a statement: ?It is extremely concerning that part of the system at Merial has failed. However, we have been reassured by Defra that the secondary decontamination systems have worked effectively and that no live virus escaped into the environment.?

The NFU is claiming compensation from the Government for losses suffered by farmers as a result of August?s Foot and Mouth outbreak.

Sheep Veterinary Association president Paul Roger said his initial reaction to the latest Foot and Mouth leak was one of horror, but is ?quite reassured? that the leak has not caused another outbreak.

Country Life?s Foot and Mouth reports:

19 September: Third Foot and Mouth case confirmed

17 September: Foot and Mouth costs escalate

13 September: New Foot and Mouth case suspected

12 September: New Foot and Mouth outbreak

6 September: Pipe may have caused Foot and Mouth outbreak

5 September: Builders are believed to have spread Foot and Mouth

15 August: Foot and Mouth tests are negative

14 August: New Foot and Mouth case suspected

10 August: Foot and Mouth has not spread

8 August: Foot and Mouth: sabotage?

7 August: Foot and Mouth: second outbreak

6 August: Foot and Mouth: outbreak

Pirbright?s latest leak of the Food and Mouth Virus comes only three months after it was the source of the summer outbreak of Foot and Mouth. Farmers have reacted angrily to what they say is a Government failure, but Defra has said that ?The incident was contained by the rigorous biosecurity safety mechanisms in place ? Defra has suspended Merial’s licence to permit the use of FMD and Bluetongue viruses for vaccine production.?

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