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The BBC's Willie Johnston reports
"This is devastating news, the fear now is that it might spread"
 real 56k

Thursday, 1 March, 2001, 19:26 GMT
Slaughter of animals begins
Netherplace farm
Nertherplace farm is beside the town of Lockerbie
The grim task of destroying animals at Scottish farms where foot-and-mouth cases have been confirmed has begun.

Up until now, Scottish farmers have been looking on with dread as their counterparts in England and Wales began destroying their livestock at sites where the disease has been traced.

On Thursday, the almost inevitable confirmation that the disease has spread across the Border came through.

For Charles Kirkpatrick, the owner of Netherplace farm, the news means his flock of 350 cattle and 420 sheep will have to be destroyed and their carcasses burned.

Farm warning
Exclusion zones have been put in place
The same goes for Parkhouse farm at Canonbie, which has also been affected and was understood to have 220 cattle.

Mr Kirkpatrick was keeping a low profile away from the media gathered outside, a solitary police van guarding the entrance to the farm.

In a statement, his lawyer said Mr Kirkpatrick was deeply distressed and he offered thanks to all his neighbours and friends for their support in recent days.

The statement added: "He thanks all his neighbours and friends for their help over the last few days."

There were no animals to be seen in the snow-covered fields at Netherplace Farm and preparations for the slaughter and burning were well under way.

It was thought the location of the farm could make the spread of the disease more difficult to contain.

On one side of the farm sits the town's ambulance station and on the other a housing estate.

This is a very stressful time for everyone involved and from now until the weekend will be a crucial period

William McIntyre, SNFU
Half a mile away lies the M74 motorway, the main west coast route between England and Scotland, while the west coast rail line is also close by.

Within minutes of Netherplace's confirmation as a foot-and-mouth zone, the farm in Canonbie, about 16 miles away, was also announced as part of the outbreak.

A small pile of hay across the road, a white bucket of disinfectant and a lone police van marked the entrance to Parkhouse Farm.

There were two signs warning of the outbreak on either side of the gate.

Movement restrictions were applied to both locations, and a 10-mile radius "standstill" zone was declared around the farms.

William McIntyre, regional board chairman for the Dumfries and Galloway branch of the Scottish National Farmers' Union, said: "This is a complete and utter disaster for the south west of Scotland."

Police at farm
Hopes that the disease could be contained were dashed
Mr McIntyre said he had not spoken to Mr Kirkpatrick since confirmation the farm was affected but he said there was a feeling among all farmers in the area since the first case in England that the outbreak could cross the border.

"Over the last six weeks the whole industry was beginning to come back together again," he added.

"But I think we knew the way it had got about that it was only a matter of time before we were affected."

He added: "This is a very stressful time for everyone involved and from now until the weekend will be a crucial period in terms of the number of cases that come forward."

He appealed to the public to help halt the spread, and said: "Farms, other than for essential deliveries, are no go areas."

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See also:

01 Mar 01 | Scotland
Farm disease spreads to Scotland
01 Mar 01 | UK
Farm disease takes hold
01 Mar 01 | Scotland
Scotland's no-go zones
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