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Monday, 22 October, 2001, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
UK pork exports restart
Piglets on a pig farm
Nearly 140,000 pigs have been culled
British pork exports resume on Monday for the first time since the foot-and-mouth crisis began.

The EU decided nearly two weeks ago to allow exports from counties which have not had a case of the disease and do not border high-risk areas.

The decision by the European Union's Standing Veterinary Committee has already been widely welcomed within the farming community.

Cleared counties
All Scotland except Dumfries & Galloway and Scottish Borders
East Yorkshire
Lincolnshire
Norfolk
Suffolk
Cambridgeshire
Nottinghamshire
Bedfordshire
Hertfordshire
Buckinghamshire
Surrey
East Sussex
West Sussex
Buckinghamshire
Hampshire
Dorset
Isle of Wight
Gwynedd
Conwy
Denbigh
Flint
Wrexham
But agriculture leaders are still warning against complacency and emphasising that the resumption of pork exports is only one of the first steps for the recovering livestock industry.

"This is great news and the first step towards opening the export market for our farm produce," said Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) spokesman Alan Morris.

But, he said, "It still represents only a small part of Wales' agricultural output and we will not return to anything near normality until we can resume our lamb and beef exports."

Mr Morris insisted the move added weight to the argument for resumption of meat exports on a regional basis.

Secretary of State Margaret Beckett welcomed the decision but warned that Britain must not "drop our guard" against the disease.

Export restrictions

"We still need to bear down on the disease in the High Risk and At Risk areas and to maintain good biosecurity," she said.

The Meat and Livestock Commission also said it was good news.

MLC international manager Peter Hardwick said: "We will be working hard to re-establish our pig meat exports as soon as possible and secure the lifting of restrictions in other areas and on cattle and sheep soon."

National Farmers' Union Wales spokeswoman Leigh Roberts said that any relaxation of the export rules was welcome.

"The omission of Dyfed, though, is an oddity as it is a foot-and-mouth free area.

Bio-security measures

"We will be pursuing it with the EC, but it does show that they are prepared to look at exports from free areas and this news opens the door and makes it more likely that sheep exports should be able to be resumed in the future."

The FUW has urged farmers not to relax their bio-security measures even though it has been two months since the last confirmed case of foot-and-mouth disease in Wales.

The last confirmed case in Wales was at Crickhowell on 12 August and although there have been scares in the past few weeks blood tests proved negative each time.

The Welsh total stands at 118.

See also:

28 Sep 01 | Scotland
Foot-and-mouth restrictions eased
11 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scotland free of farm disease
28 Sep 01 | England
Pig causes foot-and-mouth scare
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