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CLA Response to Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak
04/08/07

The CLA has welcomed the prompt action taken to contain the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in Surrey, but warn that the Government must not turn a blind eye to the lessons of the 2001 outbreak.

photo courtesy of www.jennifermackenzie.co.uk

beef cattle

"It is with a sense of dread and foreboding that the farming industry awaits further details of the confirmed outbreak of foot and mouth disease," said CLA President, David Fursdon.

"The countryside cannot afford a repeat of the 2001 debacle – but there is a sense of hope that the Government will have learned its lessons and will move decisively to contain and control the disease.

"At a time when consumers are being persuaded to buy local produce, including meat, image and PR will be crucial. The scenes of disease, devastation and of a countryside closed for business must not be repeated.

"Livestock farmers are already suffering from the high costs of cattle feed due to the rise in the price of cereals and many have their herds under restrictions as a result of bovine TB. Quite simply, this is the last thing they need following the disastrous summer which has brought flooding to some and prevented many others from making hay and silage for winter feed for livestock."

Mr Fursdon also said it is vital that the Government recognise the potential impact on diversified rural businesses and rural tourism.

"Tourism and other related businesses lost £5bn in 2001 as a result of this disease. Currently 60% of holdings in the UK - and 68% in the South East where Foot and Mouth disease has been found - are now involved in diversified projects generating £420m a year, including all forms of accommodation, bed and breakfast, holiday cottages, campsites and caravan parks, as well as shops, restaurants, visitor attractions and equine businesses. In 2005/2006 this represented 22% of the total income from farm businesses.

"Careful and intelligent handling of this outbreak will, I hope, mean that not only can we avert a disaster for British farming - but we can also make sure that it is not a disaster for the wider rural economy."

link Foot and Mouth Disease Strain Link to Vaccine Lab
link Foot and Mouth Disease confirmed in cattle, in Surrey
link Compensation for Bovine TB, BSE, Brucellosis and Enzootic Bovine Leukosis

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