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Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 14:43 GMT
Disease scare farm gets all clear
Mount Pleasant Farm near Thirsk, north Yorkshire
The movement ban will end so re-stocking can resume
A farm in north Yorkshire has been given the all clear after tests on suspected foot-and-mouth proved negative.

Tests at Mount Pleasant Farm in Hawnby, near Thirsk, showed there were no signs of the disease in the animals, it was confirmed on Sunday.

The ban on livestock movements within 8km radius of the farm will now be lifted.

Suspect lesions were found in the mouths of two sheep on Tuesday by government vets carrying out a mandatory inspection visit when farms restock.

Because of what was being said there was a panic in the area

Robin Garbutt
Farmer

Both animals were slaughtered as a precaution, with samples taken from them and a further 150 sheep on the farm.

But exhaustive testing at the Institute of Animal Health laboratory at Pirbright in Surrey and a further veterinary inspection revealed no traces of foot-and-mouth, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The news was a huge relief to farmer Robin Garbutt, 48, who said the disease had driven businesses to the brink of bankruptcy and cost him 2,000 sheep and 150 cattle.

"Had this been the start of another year, it does not bear thinking about," he said.

Precautionary cull

"You can imagine the effect this has had on the community.

"I knew it was unlikely to be foot-and-mouth disease but it's still a great relief, not only for ourselves but for everyone else in the community.

"Because of what was being said there was a panic in the area and it's good that it has been announced formally that the results were negative."

Re-stocking can resume following the lifting of the ban of livestock movement.
Farm's location
All animals at the farm were slaughtered in last year's outbreak

Separate restrictions on farms that supplied sheep to St Agnes Farm, Hawnby, will also be lifted.

The county suffered 135 cases in last year's outbreak before the disease petered out in September.

All animals at Mount Pleasant Farm had to be slaughtered after the disease hit a neighbouring farm.

Biosecurity

But foot-and-mouth was never found there or at the farms from which the two sheep had been bought.

Animal health minister Elliott Morley said the scare "underlines the need for farmers and vets to continue to be vigilant, look out for the signs of the disease and report any to Defra".

"The highest possible standards of biosecurity must be maintained at all times," he stressed.

"We must take no chances whatsoever with this virulent disease."

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