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BBC Wales's Gilbert John
"Farmers say there could be no greater threat than a carcass-carrying lorry dripping blood through Carmarthenshire"
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Melanie Doel
"Carmarthenshire council has added its voice to the growing lobby of criticism"
 real 56k

Sunday, 8 April, 2001, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Inquiry call after lorry leaks blood
Sheep being transported
Locals are worried about movement spreading the virus
Anger has erupted following reports that a lorry delivering carcasses to a burial site in mid Wales was leaking blood.

Farmers say the truck carrying the bodies of slaughtered sheep to the Epynt military range for disposal was driven from Welshpool, over the Sugar Loaf Mountain to Llandovery in the Towy Valley, and back towards Epynt.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases UK-wide 1,109 - with 63 in Wales
Powys - 36 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 13 cases
Caerphilly - 1 case

The vehicle left a trail of blood, signs of which could still be seen at a layby on the A40 near Llandovery, despite efforts to clean it.

It is the second time within days that a carcass-carrying lorry has been reported leaking.

After the first incident last Thursday, council chiefs in Carmarthenshire - the county whose border is close to Epynt - demanded assurances that everything possible would be done to keep the county free from disease.

But on Sunday, Meryl Gravell, leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, demanded an inquiry into how the Epynt disposal operation was being controlled.

Pig in field
Pigs are affected for the first time in Wales

She said she was "shocked" at the news of the latest incident, and wanted an official inquiry.

It showed "a complete breach of assurances" that carcasses from infected areas would not be taken into Carmarthenshire.

Protesters who have spent a week picketing the entrance to the site have warned that transporting dead animals increases risk of the disease spreading - although the trucks are meant to be sealed and disinfected.

Welsh Assembly officials are still investigating an earlier incident where a leaking lorry had to be taken out of service and the road disinfected.

Armed forces

The assembly administration claimed on Saturday that it was redoubling its efforts to prevent any risk of contamination from the disposal of culled animals at Epynt.

Extra members of the armed forces have been drafted in to help speed up the operation at Epynt.

A team of 80 Royal Navy sailors from HMS Sultan have arrived, and a further 100 soldiers from the Household Cavalry have also been called in to assist.

An estimated 90% of the animals connected to the outbreak on the island have been destroyed.

Caerphilly case

Two new cases were reported in south Wales on Sunday, both in sheep.

One was at Park Farm, Nelson, near Caerphilly - a county which had previously been unaffected by the disease.

The other was at Cider House Farm, Llandenny Walk in Usk, Monmouthshire.

Animals on both farms are expected to be slaughtered on site as soon as possible.

More in Monmouthshire

Meanwhile, fresh concerns about the spread of foot-and-mouth have been growing following the discovery of the first case in pigs in Wales.

The confirmed outbreak was at Innage Farm, Chepstow, Monmouthshire.

The county had a total of three new cases notified. The disease was found in sheep at Trelleny Farm, Pwllmeyric, Chepstow, and Oak Grange, Crick, Caldicot, taking the total in Monmouthshire to 12.

The State Veterinary Service is investigating how the disease arrived at the pig farm.

"This is a worrying time for farmers in Monmouthshire as the number of confirmed cases in the area continues to rise," said FUW President Bob Parry.

"The method of transmission to these farms is a matter of great concern to us," he added.

In north Wales, MAFF officials are in the final stages of culling 40,000 animals on Anglesey.

No animals have been slaughtered over the weekend, but the operation is expected to continue on Monday.

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