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Carwyn Jones, Welsh Agriculture Minister
"We have to monitor the situation now very carefully"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Caroline Evans at Llancloudy
"We have heard that the infected sheep came from Devon"
 real 56k

Farmer Eifion Hughes
"We are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, going from crisis to crisis"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 27 February, 2001, 07:09 GMT
Farmer 'devastated' by outbreak
warning sign
An exclusion zone has been set up around the plant
An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has been confirmed at a farm on the English-Welsh border in Herefordshire.

Welsh Assembly Agriculture Minister Carwyn Jones said that a 10-mile exclusion zone round the farm would take in parts of Wales.

Farmer Kevin Feakins from Hill Farm, Llancloudy, near Monmouth, said he was "devastated" by the news.

"They are shooting animals on my farm at the moment," said the farmer.

"The calves I fed this morning are dead. Even the military are here."

carcass bonfire
The carcasses of 800 pigs are burned in Northumberland

It is understood the infected sheep came from Devon, one of the area's linked to the outbreak.

The development has worried farming unions and politicians in Wales, as the scale of the foot-and-mouth crisis deepens.

Britain's farmers are said to be bracing themselves for the worst as efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

Five new outbreaks were identified on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the disease to 12 - in Essex, Devon, Wiltshire, Herefordshire and Northumberland.

Around 7,000 animals have been or are awaiting slaughter.

"It is not helpful to have a case confirmed near the border," said Mr Jones, who admitted hopes of Wales escaping the outbreak were looking increasingly remote.

The assembly may also consider measures to restrict members of the public entering national parks.

A weekend appeal to stop ramblers in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Park failed to have an impact on walkers.

The outbreak has also threatened the Wales v Ireland match and organisers of the Rally of Wales have postponed the event.

Meanwhile, test results are from a suspected case at an abattoir on Anglesey in north Wales are now expected to be announced on Tuesday.

An exclusion zone has been set up around the Welsh Country Foods plant at Gaerwen, near Menai Bridge, which is at the centre of the first foot-and-mouth scare to hit Wales.

Precautionary measures are being taken across Wales in a bid to halt the spread of the disease.

Several agricultural colleges and two zoos have closed, ramblers are being urged not to walk in the countryside, and even RSPCA inspectors are having to avoid setting foot on farmland.

The Gaerwen abattoir is one of the largest in Britain, mainly supplying supermarket chains.

We are all praying that this will not be confirmed. If it is foot-and-mouth, it is a serious blow to efforts to contain the disease

Alun Morris, Farmers' Union of Wales
Experts were called in after a sheep brought to the abattoir ahead of the movement ban showed signs of the disease.

Samples have been taken from the animal and are being analysed at the Institute of Animal Health in Pirbright, Surrey.

Peredur Hughes, spokesman for the NFU in north Wales, said farmers in Wales were now deeply concerned and he said rapid action should be taken by the authorities to avert panic.

'Serious blow'

"I think that they now have to put in place real stringent regulations to make sure that this does not spread throughout Wales - if it is proven to be foot-and-mouth", he said.

The Farmers' Union of Wales has also called for the emergency suspension of access to all National Parks and common land and temporary closure of rights of way to try and prevent the spread of the disease.

Alan Morris, of the FUW, said he hoped the suspected case in Anglesey was a serious issue for Welsh farming.

"We are all praying this will not be confirmed. If it is foot-and-mouth, it is a serious blow to efforts to contain the disease.

"The big problem is that with the closure of so many of the small abattoirs in the past few years, sheep, cattle, and pigs have to be transported for longer distances than before."

Mouth lesions

The one-year-old lamb that sparked concern is believed to be one of a number which had arrived from a farm in Yorkshire on Friday.

It was due to have been slaughtered on Monday, but staff noticed on Sunday that it had lesions around the mouth and was lame.

Welsh Country Foods Limited is part of the Grampian Country Food group.

The abattoir slaughters around 4,000 lambs and ewes at its Gaerwen abattoir every day.

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25 Feb 01 | UK
The pointless slaughter?
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