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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"More and more parts of the country are being caught up in the crisis"
 real 56k

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown
"The stand-still is to make sure that we are not spreading the disease around the country"
 real 56k

Richard Burge, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance
"We've decided to defer the march for at least two months"
 real 28k

Ian Johnson, National Farmers Union
"It's like punching at the wind"
 real 28k

The Deputy Agriculture Minister, Joyce Quin
"The outbreak in Devon is particularly worrying"
 real 28k

Monday, 26 February, 2001, 17:32 GMT
UK battles growing disease crisis
Farmer in Northumberland moves lambs to safer land
Farmers wait to hear which region will be hit next
The number of confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth disease on UK farms has risen to 12, despite crisis measures set up to stem the outbreak.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said the 12th case had been confirmed at a farm near Okehampton, Devon.

The announcement follows confirmation of outbreaks at farms in Westerhope, Northumberland and Llancloudy, Herefordshire, an abattoir in Bromham, in west Wiltshire, and at a farm in Hatherleigh in Devon.

Chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore said the Devon and Wiltshire cases were linked to an outbreak at an exporting farm in Highampton, Devon, which has sparked fears the disease could spread to Europe.

Europe takes action
Netherlands: 3,000 animals killed at farms with UK links. Livestock markets closed for a week
Belgium: Nine livestock markets banned for a week. All UK animal transporters must be disinfected.
France: Authorities have tracked down 47,000 animals imported from UK for tests
Germany: Tests ordered on all UK animals

European countries have launched a series of emergency measures to prevent the disease hitting their livestock.

Some newly-imported British animals have been slaughtered in the Netherlands, and Germany has imposed quarantines on several farms after confirming the presence of UK livestock.

The five cases confirmed on Monday destroyed hopes that the disease had been contained by mass slaughter and a seven-day ban on livestock movement.

Click here to see map of confirmed cases.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said he was giving the disease the highest priority.

"The government is determined to eliminate this disease, " Mr Brown said in a statement to the House of Commons.

The slaughter count
1,800 cattle
1,600 pigs
3,500 sheep

"Absolutely no stone will be left unturned in suppressing foot-and-mouth disease."

Mr Brown said the government was considering taking legal action to close rights of way temporarily and was calling on the private vets for help in the "huge task of tracing and controlling the disease."

He will now fly to Brussels to brief other EU agriculture ministers.

Mr Scudamore said the tests were carried out at the Hatherleigh farm after two cattle displayed symptoms of foot-and-mouth out of herds of 60 cattle and 20 sheep.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown
Nick Brown: Meeting with EU ministers

He said the affected Wiltshire abattoir was believed to have taken delivery of animals from at least one of the infected Devon farms.

Mr Scudamore said the number of animals which had either been or were due to be slaughtered now totalled almost 7,000. The number includes 1,800 cattle, 1,600 pigs and 3,500 sheep.

Vets from countries such as Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Ireland could be drafted in to help deal with the crisis but Mr Scudamore insisted he remained optimistic about Britain's chances of eradicating the disease.

The Prince of Wales extended his deep sympathy to farmers affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

With everyone's co-operation we can eliminate this disease

Chief veterinary officer Jim Scudamore
Precautions were being taken at the Prince's own Home Farm at Highgrove, Gloucestershire, where there were no signs of the disease, according to the Prince's spokeswoman.

The Countryside Alliance has postponed its rural protest rally in London planned for March 18 until at least early May to prevent any chance of spreading the disease.

The outbreaks have also forced scores of organisations to cancel meetings and two schools in Northumberland and one in Devon closed on Monday for fear of spreading the disease.

Hunting has been suspended, several zoos closed their doors and three Royal parks in London - Richmond Park, Bushy Park and Hampton Court Park - have been shut to the general public from midnight on Sunday to protect deer herds.

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