Livestock movement ban relaxed

Farmers outside Surrey?s current protection zone are now permitted to take animals to slaughter and dispose of dead livestock. David Fursdon, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has welcomed the announcement, saying ?There will be a collective sigh of relief from farmers who have faced mounting financial difficulties since the nationwide ban on animal movements ? Of course now, more than ever, biosecurity will remain absolutely paramount. Strict guidelines have been provided by Defra and we would urge farmers and land managers to take every precaution possible and remain extremely vigilant.?

Peter Kendall, President of the National Farmers? Union, reiterated this need for vigilance in his latest statement: ?This is a measured and very necessary first step on the road towards getting the industry back to normal and maintaining supplies of home-produced meat to consumers, but it should not be taken in any way as a signal that we can afford to drop our guard.?

Indeed, the threat of Foot and Mouth is still apparent, as culling has just been ordered on a third farm that lies close to the two other farms that have already had to slaughter livestock. Chief vet Debby Reynolds announced the cull earlier today, saying, ?I cannot rule out that disease is developing on the premises.?

There are as yet no more updates as to the cause of the outbreak: drainage problems and human transfer (possibly deliberate) are still being investigated. Supermarkets are now insisting that their meat supplies are normal, although there have been reports of price increases at meat markets such as Smithfield in London.