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The BBC's Fergus Walsh
"Farmers....are desperate to get healthy livestock to abattoirs"
 real 56k

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher
"Some smaller butchers are already running short"
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Sunday, 4 March, 2001, 19:17 GMT
Farmers prepare to move livestock
Carcasses due to be burned at Netherplace Farm in Lockerbie, Scotland
Over 53,000 animals have now been slaughtered
Farmers are preparing to move livestock for slaughter as foot-and-mouth outbreak continues to spread across the UK.

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Maff) have confirmed that 89 licences have already been issued to transport unaffected animals to approved abattoirs.

They hope a further 100 licences will be approved by the end of Sunday, which could allow the limited movement of livestock to start in England and Wales as early as Monday.

The number of confirmed cases of foot-and-mouth across the UK rose to 69 on Sunday.


We have done everything at ground level to stop it

Marion Winsor
Farmer's wife

The movement and slaughter of unaffected livestock has already started in Scotland.

The licensing scheme has been introduced to allow the slaughter of animals unaffected by foot-and-mouth to replenish the supply of British meat and help struggling farmers.

Meat Hygiene Service officials have been working with councils all weekend to draw up the first licences.

Maff said an abattoir in the north east of England should be ready to receive animals by Sunday night.

'Nightmare scenario'

Seventeen new cases of foot-and-mouth were confirmed on Sunday. Of the first 10 outbreaks identified on Sunday, three were in Devon, one in Cornwall, three in Tyne and Wear and three in Scotland.

One new of the cases was identified on a tenant farm in the middle of Dartmoor, which is owned the Prince of Wales.

The outbreak at the 600 acre Duchy of Cornwall farm, near Two Bridges, has been described as a "nightmare scenario" by the National Farmers' Union (NFU).

It fears that the disease could now spread to the 46,000 cattle and sheep that graze freely on Dartmoor.

Vehicles from Britain disinfected as a precaution
Vehicles from Britain are disinfected as a precaution
Maff said it was a "potentially very serious situation" but no decision would be made about the free-roaming animals until tests had been carried out in the area.

It is not yet known how the disease spread to the farm.

The NFU said that it was possible it had spread there via the wind or birds, as the farmer, Roger Winsor, had not been to market since September.

Mr Winsor's wife Marion said: "We have done everything at ground level to stop it, and if it is airborne there is nothing anybody can do."

Maff's deputy chief veterinary officer Richard Cawthorne said that so far, every single case of foot-and-mouth had been linked.

"You can trace each of these outbreaks to movements of livestock, vehicles or human beings," he said.

Compensation

"What we have not seen is a lot of lateral spread from infected premises to premises around them, or a lot of airborne spread.

"Though the outbreak has spread across the country, it is in pockets where sheep may have mixed in markets and spread it."

Junior Agriculture Minister Baroness Hayman said it was "reassuring" news.

More than 53,000 animals have now been slaughtered as a result of the disease, including 6,300 animals which may have come into dangerous contact with infected animals.

Blunts Farm in Wootton, Northamptonshire
The burning of carcasses continues
Belgium, France and Denmark have also reported suspected cases of foot-and-mouth.

If confirmed, they will be the first cases of the disease on mainland Europe since the first British outbreak more than a week ago.

Initial tests for the disease in all three countries have proved negative, though conclusive results will not be known for some days.

Minister of Agriculture Nick Brown said farmers would soon get 156m from the European Union to compensate for currency movements, after he and EU Agriculture Minister Franz Fischler agreed to speed up payments.

NFU president Ben Gill said the speed with which this decision had been made recognised "the current difficulties" facing farmers.

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04 Mar 01 | Scotland
Scottish livestock movements start
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