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Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Beacons cull reaches key stage
livestock cull
Mid Wales has faced continuous culls since early spring
Up to 1,000 sheep are to be culled in the final stage of a contiguous cull on the Brecon Beacons in a bid to halt the spread of the virus to other hill flocks.

Six thousand sheep from hefted flocks were earmarked for contiguous slaughter by Defra officials, even though test results from some flocks have not been completed.

Slaughtered sheep in a field
Graziers have lost thousands of sheep
The controversial move has upset some graziers, but Wales's chief vet Tony Edwards said it was a necessary move to stop foot-and-mouth spreading and creating a deeper crisis in mid Wales.

The culling is intended to create a "firewall" and stop the gradual chain reaction of the virus spreading to 100,000 animals on the foothills, said Mr Edwards.

But the grazier said he had only agreed to allow his disease-free animals to be culled after being told his flock would otherwise be penned up for 30 days for two sets of tests.

The grazier said that he could not face seeing free-ranging animals cooped up for days on end during the recent bad weather.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases in Wales - 118
Powys - 78 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 21 cases
Caerphilly 2
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3
Last month, Farmers' Union of Wales president Bob Parry said the consequences of the virus spreading across the Beacons was "too dreadful to contemplate".

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister said the culling operation had been identified to one point of origin and the operation had sharply reduced the risks of foot-and-mouth spreading more widely.

More than 6,000 sheep have already been destroyed, following the first positive tests for antibodies among hefted flocks last month.

Further test results on other flocks are due to be made public soon.

Veterinary officials are likely to continue the test and cull process until all signs of the virus in the Beacons are stamped out.

But the National Farmers' Union Cymru said some healthy animals should be set aside in quarantine for the inevitable process of re-stocking the foothills.

Wales's chief vet, Tony Edwards
"Unless we do something substantial now, we are not going to stop the spread of the disease"
See also:

10 Aug 01 | Wales
Latest Becons cull begins
29 Jun 01 | Wales
Disease cluster grows
26 Jun 01 | Wales
Vets test for virus on Beacons
25 Jun 01 | Wales
Vets try to trace Beacons virus
22 May 01 | Sci/Tech
Foot-and-mouth: A moving target
23 Apr 01 | UK
Dioxins: What are they?
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