Foot-and-mouth alert in Kent

A farm in Kent is the centre of the latest foot-and-mouth outbreak alert, officials at Defra (Department for Environment, Food and rural Affairs) said today.

By MICHAEL POLLITT

Rural affairs editor

A farm in Kent is the centre of the latest foot-and-mouth outbreak alert, officials at Defra (Department for Environment, Food and rural Affairs) said today.

A 3km temporary control zone has been placed around the farm as a precaution.

The latest suspicious case comes as environment secretary Hilary Benn was chairing a meeting in London to discuss relaxing the strict movement bans to ease welfare overcrowdning on farms across England.

Farmers in Wales and Scotland have been free to move stock for distances of up to 15 miles since last weekend.

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The latest suspect foot-and-mouth case was reported by a farmer, who told Defra's Animal Health department.

It is quite possible that disease will not be found as happened at Dorking, Surrey, last week when signs of the virus were seen in 65 calves. On Saturday, Defra finally said that all tests had proved negative and the temporary zone closure order was lifted.

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