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Eleanor Bradford reports
"On this small holding a way of life will disappear"
 real 56k

Sunday, 25 March, 2001, 17:51 GMT 18:51 UK
Rare breeds slaughter protest
Suffolk sheep
Rare breeds such as Suffolk sheep are under threat
Protesters objecting to the proposed slaughter of rare sheep on a small-holding in Dumfries and Galloway have criticised "bureaucracy and red tape" in the efforts to tackle foot-and-mouth disease.

A group of demonstrators outside Rigg village hall, near Gretna, were protesting at the "barbaric" slaughter of thousands of healthy sheep in Dumfries and Galloway to try to prevent the plague spreading further.

Organiser Amanda Eyres, from Rigg, said exemption certificates for rare breed sheep were not being processed fast enough.

She said her neighbours, who breed rare Suffolk and Texel cross sheep, were living in terror that their animals would be slaughtered because they had not been given enough information about how their animals could be exempted.

Texel Sheep
Protesters want exemptions for rare breeds
She said: "Some of them have been breeding animals for 20 years and they are perfectly healthy.

"The rare breeders should be granted exemption certificates without delay.

The breeders are keeping their animals away from danger and they should be vaccinated.

"They are not bred for meat, so vaccinating them is not going to affect any export licenses.

Barbaric beyond belief

"There is only one dairy farm left in our village anyway; all the rest are lying dead in the fields because the government have failed to act properly.

"We want to make people aware that the firebreak cull is not working and the action should be speeded up.

"It is barbaric beyond belief. The sick animals should not be left to suffer on the farms for days on end and the carcasses should be removed from the fields.

"It's like living in a nightmare. I think Dumfriesshire will be a wasteland by the end."

The slaughter of thousands of apparently healthy sheep has been continuing in the region in a bid to stop foot-and-mouth disease spreading out of the region.

Confirmed farms in Scotland include
87 cases on 25 March
Lockerbie (12 cases)
Canonbie (12)
Gretna (17)
Lochmaben(3)
Twynholm
Langholm
Beattock(4)
Corrie
Ruthwell(5)
Tundergarth
Moffat
Dalton(2)
Torthorward
Mouswald(6)
Hightae(2)
Kirtlebridge(2)
Creca
Collin
Kirkpatrick Fleming(2)
Annan
Troqueer
New Abbey(2)
Haugh of Urr
Officials at Dumfries and Galloway council have begun working with other agencies to draw up a regeneration plan for the area, where more than 200 jobs have already been lost as a result of the outbreak.

So far animals on 87 farms have been diagnosed with the disease.

Army soldiers have been helping with the logistical side of a pre-emptive cull of 130,000 apparently healthy sheep within a 3km radius of the infected zone.

Initially, 10 soldiers from 52 Lowland Brigade were brought in to assist with the cull, but the number is set to rise next week when between 60 and 100 soldiers, including Gurkhas, will become involved.

Soldiers will not take part in the slaughter or use army vehicles to transport carcasses, but will work closely with vets and local authorities in managing the logistics of the cull.

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See also:

23 Mar 01 | Scotland
Army drafted in to help with cull
22 Mar 01 | Scotland
Crisis jobs toll rises
22 Mar 01 | Scotland
Army to assist with slaughter
19 Mar 01 | Scotland
Farms complete first cull
15 Mar 01 | Scotland
Foot-and-mouth 'could cost 20m'
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