News 522 views last update:Oct 16, 2007

UK: pigs can soon be transported again

Pending no further FMD outbreaks, pigs in most of Britain will be allowed to be transported again as of Wednesday, October 17, the British Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced.

This decision coincides with Defra's intention to lift the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) restriction zone in the area in South England that was struck by FMD in August and September. On altogether eight beef farms FMD was discovered.

This decision has been taken following extensive surveillance in the area, and is in line with EU rules, according to Defra.

Extended surveillance
Government deputy chief vet Fred Landeg announced the plan to end the zone and allow free movement of livestock outside the UK zone following extended surveillance and the agreement of EU vets.

The area around Egham will be kept under close watch, with tests and surveillance expected to continue until at least November 5 and movement of animals from inside the zone will be kept under review.

Economic impacts
"We are well aware of the economic impacts of movement restrictions and the removal of the UK movement ban, outside of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease risk area, should help the farming industry to get back to business as usual," Landeg said.

He added, "The resumption of markets and movements to a larger number of slaughterhouses should also ease the impact felt by farmers within the Bluetongue zones."

"Throughout the outbreak we have acted on the evidence, keeping controls proportionate to the disease risk.

"We will continue to work in partnership with the farming industry to review the size of the movement restrictions in place and to look at any measures we can take to relieve the burden on farmers and businesses wherever the risk level permits."

European Union
The relaxation of the measures comes at the time when the EU is allowing meat imports from Scotland, Wales and parts of England in the wake of the bluetongue and Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreaks.

Farmers in areas considered at low risk from both diseases - which excludes parts of south-east England and East Anglia - can resume exports.

The National Farmers' Union estimates the farming sector has lost more than £100 million (€144 million) since the first FMD outbreak in August.

Related websites:
• National Farmers' Union
• Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

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