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The BBC's Sue Nelson
"It is far from over yet"
 real 56k

The BBC's Tim Hirsch
"There is some concern that although the vast majority of farmers are trying to stop the disease, a minority are not"
 real 28k

Pendle MP Gordon Prentice
"I am absolutely staggered that seven weeks into this crisis there are still ignorant and irresponsible farmers around"
 real 28k

Regional Director for Devon's NFU, Anthony Gibson
defends farmers against the allegations of trying to deliberately infect their animals for higher compensation
 real 28k

Tuesday, 10 April, 2001, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Farmers urged to stay vigilant
Farm in Cumbria
The government has committed 500m to farmers
Farmers are being urged to do everything they can to prevent the further spread of foot-and-mouth disease between farms.

The call from ministers and farmers' leaders follows several recent cases that have been directly attributed to transmission between farms in infected and clean areas.

Crisis in the UK
Cases on Monday: 29
Total confirmed cases: 1,165
478,000 animals awaiting slaughter
888,000 animals have been slaughtered
Agriculture Minister Nick Brown has said there are encouraging signs that the spread of the disease is slowing, but warned there was no room for complacency.

European Union farm ministers will discuss agricultural reform and the foot-and-mouth crisis when they continue talks in Sweden on Tuesday.

The Dutch minister has said he will again raise the question of vaccination as a long-term solution to combat the disease.

Meanwhile, a survey carried out by NFU Countryside suggests that almost two-thirds of people planning an Easter trip to rural areas have cancelled their visits, despite assurances that Britain is "open for business".

The number of confirmed foot-and-mouth cases rose by 29 to 1,165 on Monday, fuelling hopes that the daily number of new cases was slowly dropping.

But farmers were urged to remain vigilant at a meeting on Monday between the prime minister, Mr Brown and the National Farmers' Union.

An NFU spokesman said: "The cases may be dropping but no-one should drop their guard."

The Maff and NFU websites will advise farmers to continue using the most stringent disinfection measures for individuals and vehicles going on and off farms.

'Unthinking behaviour'

A government spokesman said: "The vast majority of farmers are observing this guidance to the letter but there is no room for complacency.

"It is vital that our fight against foot-and-mouth is not put at risk by the unthinking behaviour of a very small minority."

The BBC's Newsnight programme said 309 cases of illegal sheep movement had been reported to trading standards officers.


For every three cases that are reported only one turns out to be actually foot-and-mouth

Nick Brown
Agriculture Minister
Moving sheep without a licence has been illegal since the start of the outbreak.

The programme makers suggested that the illegal actions of some farmers coincided with new cases arising 30 to 40 miles apart.

Newsnight also said some farmers had fraudulently claimed their farms were infected with the virus, in order to cash in on compensation claims.

Speaking on Newsnight, Mr Brown said: "For every three cases that are reported only one turns out to be actually foot-and-mouth.

"Most of this is farmers diligently reporting anything just to be sure."

The government has announced that 500m has been committed to compensate farmers affected by the disease.

Disposal effort

More resources are being channelled into dealing with the disposal of thousands of slaughtered animals across the UK.

Extra troops have been sent to the Scottish borders, where cases have been discovered in previously "clean" areas near Jedburgh and Hownam.

Further burial pits are being dug - and in Cumbria engineers are constructing a pyre which can burn continuously to help clear the backlog of carcasses.

The team fighting the disease
1,842 troops
1,522 vets
457 slaughterers
650 temporary animal health officers
And an emergency bill postponing local elections in England and Northern Ireland until 7 June has completed its passage through parliament.

It is hoped disease experts will be able to provide a clear picture about how foot-and-mouth will develop by the end of the week.

Mr Brown has not yet supported calls for vaccination against the disease, which he said could make the disease last longer, but says the option is being kept open.

Business affected

Stonehenge re-opened to visitors on Tuesday after being closed for more than five weeks because of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

And at Hatherleigh, one of the first and worst hits areas in Devon, around 500 people are attending the first local market in six weeks.

The crisis is costing the pub industry around 38m a month, according to a report just published by industry body the Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association.

It said one in 10 pubs had either closed or suffered a significant dip in profits since the crisis began.

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09 Apr 01 | Sci/Tech
Plan to save Lakeland sheep
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