Cattle at a Surrey farm have been infected with foot-and-mouth disease, prompting memories of the 2001 outbreak which devastated parts of rural Britain
Here is some reaction to the news.
DEBBY REYNOLDS, CHIEF VETERINARY OFFICER
"One of my main messages, other than people should look at their animals for clinical signs of any illness and not move anything... is that our response to this disease is in animal health terms, it's in farming terms.
The countryside itself stays open for business."
PETER KENDALL, NATIONAL FARMERS' UNION PRESIDENT
Mr Kendall said his immediate reaction was of "enormous concern and obviously vivid memories of 2001".
"What we want to do is be involved in working with Defra to put movement restrictions in place as soon as possible - I understand that will be with immediate effect - and we want to be as supportive as possible.
This would be devastating if it turns out be a major outbreak."
HUGH PENNINGTON, LEADING MICROBIOLOGIST
"Speed is of the essence here. We have got to really stop this virus spreading - obviously first of all to stamp it out in the
locality where it has been identified and then see whether the virus has got anywhere else.
"This was what happened in 2001 - the animals had been moving about the country incubating the disease and before we knew where we were there were virus outbreaks from Cumbria to Devon.
"This is something that has to be avoided at all costs, because once it gets
as well established as that, it is really very, very difficult to stamp out as
we found out to our cost in 2001."
PETER AINSWORTH, SHADOW ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY
Mr Ainsworth said it was important that the handling of the disease was better than it had been in 2001.
"There are very important lessons to be learned from the last outbreak.
"Big mistakes were made - in particular a slow reaction in the beginning which enabled the disease to escape and kind of get everywhere.
"If it has been contained, that will be very good news. But obviously it's very early days and we just wait to see."
MENZIES CAMPBELL, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT LEADER
"This outbreak is yet another blow for a beleaguered agricultural industry still reeling under the effects of flooding and only now getting over the last bout of this disease. The countryside will need all the support it can get from the government.
"Alternatives, like vaccination, to the terrible pyres of smoke which stained the countryside last time must be actively explored, but in the end the government will have to follow the best scientific advice."
ANDREW BIGGS, BRITISH CATTLE VETERINARY ASSOCIATION
"This disease is probably one of the most infectious known.
"Really, it's almost one virus plus one susceptible animal equals disease and it will spread very rapidly through the country in terms of the fact that all animals in this country will be susceptible.
"Therefore we need to take it very seriously because of the devastating nature it can have on the industry."
MARK, LINCOLNSHIRE FARMER
"It's going to be heart-breaking for anyone to see that we've had floods over in Worcestershire and up in north Lincolnshire and crops being devastated and there's no compensation.
"There's no way of pulling people out. It's just grind on and get your head above water for next year but with foot-and-mouth coming in as well - the livestock guys have had as bad as we've had with the weather - and for them to get this, well, it will knock exports out straight away."
NEIL PARISH, CONSERVATIVE MEP AND CHAIRMAN OF EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
"I think Defra needs to be sure that the farmers in the area do know what's happening because I know last time we found there was a delay in getting information through to farmers.
"They are the types of practical things that need to happen right now."