Livestock for slaughter can be moved from midnight

Farmers in England will be allowed to take livestock directly to slaughter from midnight tonight. It is a relaxation of strict rules following two outbreaks of foot and mouth in Surrey over the past week.

Farmers in England will be allowed to take livestock directly to slaughter from midnight tonight. It is a relaxation of strict rules following two outbreaks of foot and mouth in Surrey over the past week. Wales and Scotland eased restrictions two days ago.

The lifting of the restriction applies only to animals outside the surveillance zone currently imposed around the infected premises in Surrey. Farmers will be allowed to move cattle, sheep and pigs directly from farms to listed abattoirs, or from farms to abattoirs by an approved collection centre or slaughter market.

Chief vetinary officer said: "From midnight tonight movement of animals to slaughter will be allowed in England under strict biosecurity rules and general licence."

She said the relaxation followed evaluation of the risk of movement of animals.


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Dr Reynolds added: "We continue to take a risk-based, staged approach to movement controls. It is essential that all animal keepers, hauliers, abattoirs and those responsible for collection centres follow stringent bio-security measures and all licence conditions."

A total of 800 pigs and 40 cattle at Stroude Farm, Surrey, owned by Ernest Ward, were culled as a precaution and yesterday were found to be infected by the same strain of the virus which infected two herds last month. The latest case is within the existing protection zone around Egham and minor changes have been made to the protection and surveillance zones in the wake of the positive results, said Defra.

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Farming leaders met the prime minister to discuss the situation amid concerns the industry is losing £10m a day under the restrictions imposed to control the disease.

After meeting Mr Brown, south east Surrey NFU chairman Mike Giffin said: “The first outbreak was hard enough to deal with but news of the second outbreak, just as we thought we were getting back to normal, was a disaster.”

NFU president Peter Kendall, who was also at the meeting, said: “This is a group of farmers who know what is happening at ground level and how the disease is threatening their businesses.”

NFU chief economist Carmen Suarez estimates £2m a day is now being lost in exports alone. This figure is set to grow if restrictions on livestock movements continue and are compounded by the millions being lost because abattoirs and markets are also closed.

Ms Suarez puts the figure lost due to the inability to take animals to slaughter at £6m a day and the amount lost from markets being shut at £1.5m.

The NFU's chief livestock advisor Peter King was holding talks with retailers, including the major supermarkets, to urge them to support farmers through the crisis. Mr King estimates processors are also feeling the pinch and losing at least £150,000 each day that there is no production or slaughter of animals.

The Dairy Event at Warwickshire next week, due to be attended by 10,000 farmers, has been cancelled.

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