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Monday, 27 August, 2001, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Beacons slaughter 'stragglers' culled
Ewe and lambs
Slaughter continued on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday
Around 200 more sheep on the Brecon Beacons in mid Wales have been slaughtered as foot-and-mouth prevention measures continue.

Farmers had earlier refused to comply with the cull because their sheep had already been grazing beside other animals for weeks.


This has nothing to do with disease control - it's more like a selective cull

Brychan Stephens, farmer
The latest sheep, from near a reservoir close to Talybont-on-Usk, were earmarked to be killed but had wandered into a neighbouring flock.

The strays were killed while sheep from the flocks they mixed with were prepared for blood tests in pens.

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones said the cull had gone ahead after scientific advice from epidemiologists had been followed.

Earlier, farmers had protested the cull was illogical.

Dead sheep
Graziers have lost thousands of sheep

"This has nothing to do with disease control," said Brychan Stephens, who said he was refusing to let 40 of his animals be killed.

"It's more like a selective cull. It's not about foot-and-mouth; it's about clearing the Beacons of sheep - otherwise, those on Buckland would be killed as well.

"They are picking which ones live and die. They slaughtered thousands of healthy animals using the European stock reduction fund to pay compensation.

"It's a win-win situation for the government which collects tax from the compensation and gets to change the future of hill farming without any debate."

Crisis so far
Total confirmed cases UK-wide 1,960 - with 118 in Wales
Powys - 78
Anglesey - 13
Monmouthshire - 20
Caerphilly - 2
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3

Mr Jones accused those who oppose the culling policy of putting pressure on affected farmers with a telephone persuasion campaign.

A Welsh Assembly spokeswoman said those to be culled were "stragglers" left over from previous culls.

Meanwhile, experts have warned the disease could drag on for many more months.

Epidemiologist Dr Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College, London, has warned that the crisis would be harder to control in the poorer weather of autumn and winter if the disease was not eradicated.

Inquiry underway

He also said foot-and-mouth disease had continued longer than expected because strict movement restrictions and hygiene rules had been breached by some farmers.

In Northumberland, an inquiry is under way into how foot-and-mouth disease entered the area after an absence of three months.

Three new cases - two of them discovered within 24 hours of each other - have led to new controls being imposed on the movement of animals.

Disinfectant applied to straw mat
Farmers are urged to carry on disinfectiing
The decision is a huge blow to farmers who had been hopeful of a recovery and it has led to fears of a new outbreak in the region.

The farmers involved in the latest cases were reported to have bought animals from Hexham market, raising the possibility that infected animals could also have been transferred to other farms.

About 30 extra vets are to be drafted in to inspect an estimated 130 additional farms to which the disease may have spread, within a 10km radius of the premises.

See also:

25 Jun 01 | Wales
Vets try to trace Beacons virus
31 Jul 01 | Wales
A Brecon farmer's struggle
16 Aug 01 | Wales
Minister in vaccination talks
Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.


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