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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Cull reprieve for rare breeds
Piglets
Rare pig breeds and other unusual species could be spared
Some of the UK's rare breeds could be saved from foot-and-mouth culls in response to government concerns about the need to preserve such animals.

Breeders of rare pigs and small camelids - animals such as alpacas and llamas - could ask for exemption from culls in "contiguous" areas next to foot-and-mouth outbreaks if their stock is healthy.

Confirmation of this by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), follows the government's decision in May to allow owners of rare breeds of goats and sheep to apply for exemption from such culls.

Animal Health Minister Elliot Morley said: "Concerns have been expressed about the potential impact of the foot-and-mouth outbreak on pigs of rare breeds and of high genetic value and small camelids.

"The government shares these concerns.

Preservation order

"I am delighted, therefore, that we have been able to provide for owners of these breeds to apply for exemption from culling."

The new arrangements have two objectives

  • to preserve rare breeds of pigs, and small breeding nuclei pigs of high genetic value
  • to preserve small camelids which are difficult to replace.

    Llama
    Llamas would benefit from new rules
    In both cases the arrangements are designed to ensure that this is achieved in ways which do not significantly prejudice the control of foot-and-mouth disease.

    Owners of pigs or small camelids in infected areas who think that they may qualify for exemption need to submit their applications as soon as possible after receiving notification of intention to slaughter the herd.

    Defra's detailed guidance outlines the information the applicant needs to submit to gain exemption.

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