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Second FMD case no cause to panic say CLA

[Tuesday 07 August 2007]

AS Government officials confirm a second case of Foot and Mouth within the Surrey protection zone one countryside organisation is calling for calm.

"It's not surprising that we are witnessing more culling during this foot and mouth outbreak - such a virulent disease as this does spread quickly as we saw in 2001. But, let's not panic," said David Fursdon president of Country Land and Business Association today (Tuesday 7 August).

it's in the protection zone so it's not an excuse for increased drama

David Fursdon - CLA

"The Government has again acted swiftly and it's in the protection zone so it's not an excuse for increased drama.

"We know that for some the movement restrictions and export bans are hitting them hard. I've spoken to many businesses over the past few days and some are struggling to pay bank loans as they can't sell breeding stock and others such as abattoirs who rely on the industry will most definitely suffer. We will consider today whether we will push the Government to create a hardship fund where businesses - and not just farmers - who need help to keep their businesses afloat can receive suitable funding.

Echoing concerns expressed to Daelnet by several Yorkshire Dales farmers' that there is contradictory information and guidance from Defra Mr Fursdon continued: "There are still some practical problems that need to be sorted out and the industry still needs to be provided with clear guidance on key issues. We are due to meet Hilary Benn today to discuss these concerns. The first is a decision on fallen stock. We know Defra is working on getting a system up and running for the collection of dead animals and we will pursue this point with them today; they must also consider on farm burial as an interim measure."

Among concerns raised with Daelnet were that, as regards the shearing of sheep, different information is coming from the national Defra helpline as to what is coming from local animal health officials in Leeds.

Mr Fursdon concluded with comments to reassure rural tourism operators: "As we are right in the middle of the holiday season, this is best time of year to promote our rural areas for tourism. There's no doubt in my mind that our landscape, accommodation and attractions are second to none, so let's continue to encourage visitors. While stricter controls are obviously necessary in the protection and surveillance zones, these cover only a tiny fraction of the country. For the rest; it's business as usual."

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