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Thursday, 9 August, 2001, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Disease precautions hit farm show
Disinfection mats
Farmers are being urged to obey disease precautions
One of the year's biggest agricultural shows is going ahead but without any farm livestock for the first time in its 106-year history.

Foot-and-mouth restrictions have forced organisers to promote the Devon County Show as family entertainment, rather than the traditional farming industry event.

Prize bulls and cattle are absent, while the traditional sheep trials are being replaced by horse trials.

The show is also hosting a meeting between farmers' leaders, government ministers and supermarket representatives, to discuss the way forward.

Elsewhere, new bio-security measures have been established in Cumbria to prevent foot-and-mouth returning to areas already given the all-clear.

And farmers disobeying foot-and-mouth hygiene rules have been warned they could face prosecution, after more than 150 breaches were discovered in the last week.

Bio-security

Welsh Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones is expected to give a progress report on efforts to tackle the disease in the Brecon Beacons at 1100BST on Thursday.

Welsh Assembly Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones
Carwyn Jones will outline progress in tackling the disease in Wales
A recent survey suggests most consumers have lost confidence in food safety at big retailers and now prefer to buy meat from local butchers.

But farmers say they need the support of retailers to take advantage of this and compete in an open market.

Meanwhile, special bio-security measures have been introduced in the Penrith spur of Cumbria by the Department of the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra).

All tankers collecting milk will now be accompanied by a Defra official and the police.

In North Yorkshire, the government has warned farmers face prosecution if they ignore strict disinfection procedures introduced in the so-called bio-security zone around the town of Thirsk.

Since the rules were introduced last week, trading standards officers have discovered hundreds of breaches in spot checks.

Disease facts
Total: 1,936
New cases Wednesday: 5
Slaughtered: 3,701,000
Awaiting slaughter: 18,000
Awaiting disposal: 3,000
More than one in 10 vehicles stopped had not been cleaned properly.

Eighty farms out of 1,100 inspected did not have the right facilities for disinfection.

The National Farmers Union has said there is no excuse for not following the rules.

There have been 1,936 cases of foot-and-mouth across the UK, with 3,701,000 animals slaughtered.

The disinfection scheme to rid farms in England and Wales of foot-and-mouth resumed last week after being halted by the government amid concerns over escalating costs.

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The BBC's Jane O' Brien
"The new county show reflects the uncertain role of agriculture"
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