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2001: Big rise in new cases of foot-and-mouth
It has been the worst day for new foot-and-mouth cases since the disease was first diagnosed two weeks ago.

Twenty-five new cases have been identified from 11 different areas.

Nine have been confirmed in Cumbria, four in Devon and two new areas have been affected, Gloucestershire and North Kent.

I am absolutely determined to do everything possible to extinguish the disease
Nick Brown
Agriculture minister
It brings the total number of confirmed cases to 163. An estimated 30,000 carcasses are still waiting to be destroyed.

Opposition MPs have criticised the government's handling of the outbreak. Conservatives say Britain is facing a national emergency and in Dublin they are calling it a scandal.

This morning, 70 cattle were slaughtered on a farm in the North Kent marshes after foot and mouth was diagnosed. The virus may have spread by air from across the Thames in Essex where the first case was identified.

Kathy Maclean and her husband run the farm next door. They are very worried. "It is just emotionally devastating," she said. "You can't begin to imagine. This is a beef herd that my husband has built up for years. He's a brilliant stockman respected all over the county and here we are two miles from foot-and-mouth."

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown was keen to play down today's bad news. He insists the outbreak is under control.

"It may be we are dealing with a disease outbreak that will have a long tail before we can get completely back to normal. I am absolutely determined to do everything possible to extinguish the disease," he said.

But fears are growing about the ease with which the disease seems to be spreading.

Conservative MP for Penrith and The Border, David Maclean said: "It now seems to be airborne and it's jumping from farm to farm apparently through the air. We may also have some evidence it's being transported on vehicle wheels possibly even milk tankers which would be a horrifying prospect."

Tourism is also suffering knock-on effects from the disease. The British Tourist Authority says it has been inundated with calls from prospective travellers asking whether it is still safe to travel to Britain.

Destinations like the Lake District have already noticed a drop off in visitor numbers. Estimates say it is costing the industry 100m a week.

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Farmer dressed in protective clothing surveying burning pyre
A farmer inspects the remains of his destroyed cattle herd



In Context
The final number of confirmed cases reached over 2,000. The disease continued to spread, reaching a peak towards the end of March and beginning to tail off in September.

Three inquiries were ordered into the foot-and-mouth outbreak which is estimated to have cost the country 8bn.

Final recommendations cricitised ministers for being unprepared. It blamed Agriculture Minister Nick Brown saying he had lost the trust of the public by claiming the disease was under control.

He was subsequently moved to the Department of Work and Pensions.

It also recommended that vaccinations should be used in case of a future outbreak to limit the spread of the disease.

At the time, farmers had resisted this move, as they feared vaccination would lead to lengthy bans on exports of beef and livestock.

A pig farmer Bobby Waugh, from Heddon on the Wall in Northumberland, who supplied livestock to an abattoir in Essex where the outbreak was first identified, was found guilty in May 2002 of failing to notify the authorties about a suspected outbreak of the disease on his farm.

He was banned from keeping livestock for 15 years.

Stories From 11 Mar


 
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