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Tuesday, 11 September, 2001, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Disquiet over farm disease rules
Sheep in Brecon Beacons
Thousands of sheep were culled in Powys
Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones has said he is "extremely unhappy" about a decision made in London to declare the whole of Powys a high risk area for foot-and-mouth.

The announcement was made this morning by UK Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary Margaret Beckett.

It means that from next Monday onwards, no animals will be allowed to move out of the county which was badly hit by the livestock disease.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases UK-wide 2,013 - with 118 in Wales
Powys - 78 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 21 cases
Caerphilly - 2
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3

"I am extremly unhappy with the decision," Mr Joens said.

"Our understanding last week was the Powys would be split but apparently now the decision has been changed."

He added: "Powys is one of the largest county areas in England and Wales. The risk of foot-and-mouth disease is concentrated in the southern area of the county. That is why we have in place special measures around the Brecon Beacons and Crickhowell.

"Elsewhere in the county, particularly Montgomeryshire and Radnorshire, the State Veterinary Service has undertaken extensive blood testing that has resulted in movement restrictions being lifted...

"To now regard the whole of the county as "high risk" will place added pressures on the farming community of whom many members have made the ultimate sacrifice to prevent further outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease."

Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones
Welsh Rural Affairs Minister Carwyn Jones

"I am disappointed that Defra has failed to acknowledge the particular circumstances of Powys at this time.

"The administration of the National Assembly has pressed for that area of Powys outside of the current infected area to be regarded as "at risk" for the purposes of the autumn movement regime.

"Defra has made a commitment to regularly review the disease status of counties."

Rural Affairs Minister Margaret Beckett outlined details of the precautions, which come into force next week, on Tuesday.

Under the rules the country is divided into three categories - "high risk", "at risk" and "disease-free" - by county.

Counties considered high risk will be subjected to stricter controls than those free of the disease, where restrictions on animal movements will be lessened.

Overall, there will be more movement of livestock, but under very tight controls.

The government described the new regulations as a "compromise" between the welfare needs of animals, and the need to continue fighting the disease.

BBC Wales' Wesley Dodd reports
"The cycle of testing and killing is likely to continue"
See also:

31 Jul 01 | Wales
A Brecon farmer's struggle
10 Sep 01 | UK
Fresh foot-and-mouth scare
07 Sep 01 | Glasgow 2001
Fresh calls for farm virus vaccination
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