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The BBC's Richard Bilton
"Once established in an area, it [foot-and-mouth] can be moved by people"
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Monday, 12 March, 2001, 08:58 GMT
Farmers braced for more outbreaks
Carcasses being burned at Dunnabridge Farm, near Dartmeet on Dartmoor
Farmers leaders predict the crisis will escalate this week
Farmers are bracing themselves for further cases of foot-and-mouth outbreaks.

Sunday saw the biggest jump in cases in a 24-hour period since the crisis began, with 25 new outbreaks bringing the total in the UK to 164.

By Monday morning, that figure had risen to 169.

The government is under increasing pressure to contain the disease but has rejected suggestions that the system is overwhelmed by the number of carcasses that need to be destroyed.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) says it believes the number of cases will rise rapidly during the week.

However careful you are, you cannot be certain you've not spread the disease

Farmer Carola Godman-Law
So far 114,082 animals have been slaughtered and another 30,739 are scheduled to be destroyed.

Despite Sunday's number of new cases, Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said he was "absolutely certain" that the crisis was under control.

Conservative agriculture spokesman Tim Yeo said the situation was approaching a "national emergency".

He wants the Army to be called in to help with incinerating animal carcasses left lying in fields.

Mr Yeo contrasted the government's response to the crisis with the response in the Irish Republic and France, where "drastic" preventative measures had protected both countries from an outbreak.

Nearly 500 vets are dealing with the disease in the UK, including experts from the United States, Australia and Europe.

The new cases were nine in Cumbria, four in Devon, three in Scotland, two in County Durham and single cases in Kent, Powys, Worcester, Derbyshire, Gloucester, Tyne and Wear, and Herefordshire.

Tim Yeo
Tim Yeo: Britain faces a national emergency
Farmers in Sussex are concerned that a racing fixture at Plumpton on Monday could bring the disease to their county, as yet unaffected.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and the British Horse Racing Board have given the all-clear for racing to go ahead as long as disinfecting precautions are in place.

But chairman of the South of England Agriculture Society, Carola Godman-Law, who farms near Plumpton racecourse, said a temporary ban on racing across the UK should be imposed while the crisis continued.

"The local farmers around here are dismayed and quite frankly very frightened that racing will take place at Plumpton," she said.

She said allowing the event risked the disease being brought into Sussex on horses, horse-boxes, lorries and race-goers.

"What most people don't understand is that this is the most virulent disease known to man," she told Radio 4's Today programme.

Outbreaks are 'no suprise'

Outbreaks across the UK include 39 in Cumbria, 26 in Devon, 22 in Dumfries and Galloway, 12 in County Durham, 10 in Tyne and Wear and eight in Essex.

Since the beginning of the crisis a total of 897 premises have been placed under restrictions.

Gloucestershire recorded its first case at a farm in Blakeney in the Forest of Dean on Sunday.

The county's NFU representative, Jan Rowe, told BBC Radio 5Live that he was horrified but not surprised by the development.

He said Gloucestershire was surrounded by counties already affected by the disease and that it was on either side of the Forest of Dean.

We pray that it doesn't get out into the livestock in the forest

NFU spokesman Jan Rowe
"We pray that it doesn't get out into the livestock in the forest," he said, adding that the number of wildlife in that area complicated attempts to contain the disease.

An eight-mile exclusion zone was set up around the first farm in Kent to be hit by the crisis.

A total of 72 cattle were destroyed at Newhall Farm at Allhallows, near Rochester.

Local farmer Kathy MacClean, who lives two miles from the latest Kent outbreak, said it was "emotionally devastating".

She said: "This is a beef herd my husband has built up for years. He's a brilliant stockman, respected all over the county and here we are two miles from foot-and-mouth."

On Sunday, animals were slaughtered at what is believed to be Britain's first organic farm with foot-and-mouth disease at Venny Tedburn in Devon.

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See also:

12 Mar 01 | Other Sports
Farmers continue racing protest
12 Mar 01 | Europe
UK labelled 'leper of Europe'
11 Mar 01 | Americas
US quarantines British tractors
10 Mar 01 | Scotland
Scotland's disease total climbs
07 Mar 01 | Europe
Hope as disease tests negative
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