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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 October, 2004, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Wales gains foot-and-mouth powers
Burning cattle
Millions of animals were slaughtered during the 2001 outbreak
Plans to give the Welsh Assembly Government more powers to tackle any future outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease have been announced.

The UK Government has transferred disease control to Wales, after confusion over who had responsibility for tackling the 2001 outbreak.

It means the assembly government could adopt its own policy of vaccination, even if the UK Government disagreed.

MPs approved the changes at Westminster on Thursday.

It cost the taxpayer 102m to tackle the Welsh crisis, which also badly hit the tourist industry, with 1,119,000 animals slaughtered.

It is daft to say that we can work independently from England because disease doesn't respect national boundaries
Countryside Minister Carwyn Jones

An official report pointed to blurred lines of communication between the administrations in Cardiff Bay and London, leading to the agreement to transfer animal health functions to Wales.

Welsh Environment and Countryside Minister Carwyn Jones said: "The case for a transfer of appropriate powers was brought into sharp relief by the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 2001, when it was apparent that confusion over responsibilities can make disease control even more difficult.

"It is important when it comes to foot-and-mouth that we are able to implement options that we think are appropriate.

"The Scots already have these powers so it is feasible, but it is daft to say that we can work independently from England because disease doesn't respect national boundaries.

"What it allows us to do is to be flexible in terms of local circumstances which I believe would have been helpful in some parts of Wales during the time of foot-and-mouth."




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