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Thursday, 15 March, 2001, 20:51 GMT
Foot-and-mouth 'could cost 20m'
Burning of animals
The cull could cost about 20m, the minister said
The foot-and-mouth outbreak in Scotland could cost as much as 20m, according to Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie.

The figure includes a compensation package being offered to farmers and the cost of slaughtering 200,000 sheep at 500 farms across the country.

Mr Finnie said: "It's very difficult to put a figure on it, but if you take the cost of compensation and all the logistics that are involved, we're talking in the order of 10m to 20m."

Since the start of the foot-and-mouth outbreak 20,652 sheep and 5,767 cattle have been slaughtered in Scotland, according to assistant chief veterinary officer for Scotland Leslie Gardner.

Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie: Announced the massive cull of sheep
Mr Gardner said all of the farms involved in the mass cull, announced by Mr Finnie on Thursday, would be within Dumfries and Galloway.

He added that teams of experts were also checking 15 other farms which have had some connection to Longtown Mart near Carlisle.

Mr Gardner said trained slaughtermen will be drafted in to humanely kill the sheep, but he would not rule out the possibility of bringing in the army at some stage to help with the process.

He said: "This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved and it is essential that the sheep being slaughtered are done so in a humane manner by people skilled in that area.

Confirmed disease cases in Scotland
34 cases on 15 March
Lockerbie (7 cases)
Canonbie (8)
Gretna (9)
Lochmaben(2)
Twynholm
Langholm
Beattock
Ruthwell
Tundergarth
Moffat
Dalton
Torthorward
"But that is not to say the army at some stage won't be deployed."

Mr Gardner refused to say how long he expected it to be before the disease was finally brought under control, but said he believed the moves announced on Thursday would speed up that process.

He said: "The reason this drastic action is being taken is because it's become apparent as it develops that we're now getting a lot of spread.

"There's a lot of infected animals in a very small geographical location and the virus is spreading to surrounding farms.

"That's why we're taking this action. We believe it will accelerate the approach of the end of the outbreak, but we can't put a time limit on it."

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See also:

15 Mar 01 | Scotland
200,000 sheep to be culled
14 Mar 01 | Scotland
New efforts to contain disease
14 Mar 01 | Scotland
EU urged to lead disease control
13 Mar 01 | Scotland
Walker backs tough disease action
13 Mar 01 | Scotland
Countryside talks over disease
13 Mar 01 | UK
Disease total tops 200
13 Mar 01 | Europe
Foot-and-mouth spreads to France
12 Mar 01 | Scotland
Tourism plea over disease outbreak
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