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Stackyard News Aug 07

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Latest Foot and Mouth Disease Tests Prove Negative

Defra has released the latest Epidemiological Report, detailing changes to current restrictions on animal movement in support of welfare and the standing down of vaccination teams, provided that initial negative results from the current Temporary Control Zones (TCZs) in Kent and Surrey are followed by negative results from the final tests.


beef cattle

The latest Epidemiology Report on the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Surrey was published today. It concludes that the risk of disease spread outside of the Surrey Protection and Surveillance Zones is now very low. This conclusion is an important part of the totality of the veterinary assessment of the current disease situation. Based on that assessment a package of changes will be introduced alongside the current restrictions on animal movements, which should alleviate some specific welfare problems. These have been developed in partnership with industry.

Based on the overall risk assessment, including the findings of the Epidemiology Report, and provided initial negative tests from the TCZs are confirmed and there is no change in the disease situation, the Chief Veterinary Officer will stand down vaccination teams from their current level of alert. Teams could be stood up again in five days, if needed.

Government and industry will continue to work closely in partnership. The Secretary of State, Hilary Benn yesterday met key food chain stakeholders. Prior to the meeting a core group of stakeholders worked in partnership with Defra to develop joint proposals for changes to movement restrictions to alleviate specific welfare problems.

Those attending recognised these problems created by the restrictions and supported the proposal to make changes. They also recognised the need to provide businesses with greater certainty on the likely timeline for future changes, so that they can plan more effectively. Key dates were discussed in a timeline leading to disease-free status, and they agreed to work closely together over the coming weeks to deliver it, while recognising that the timeline is subject to no further cases being confirmed.

Debby Reynolds said :

“We are grateful to the industry for its tremendous help to date in support of efforts to control this outbreak. Vigilance and biosecurity remain top priorities for all. We understand the industry’s need for information about likely next steps to help manage the pressures and to plan going forward. In light of the present disease situation and the assessment today of the very low risk of disease spread outside the Surveillance Zone, we have agreed with stakeholders a set of changes to movement restrictions designed to alleviate the most acute welfare problems. These changes form the next step in our ongoing risk-based, staged approach to movement controls. They will be informed by any changes in the disease situation.”

The core group of stakeholders said:

“In developing this work with Defra we have been acutely aware of the pressures which individual businesses across the food chain are facing. It is hoped that this clear package of movement changes will help alleviate some of the immediate welfare problems. We are hopeful that the timetable will give businesses some basis upon which to plan and make decisions.

“Vigilance and compliance with the new and existing rules are of critical importance. Failure by anyone to do this puts at risk both the timetable and therefore our ability to return to normality.”

link New Foot and Mouth Disease Scare in Kent
link FMD Restrictions Continue to Unwind but Vigilance Still Key
link The Glorious 13th - A Shot in the Arm for the Rural Economy

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