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FMD "disaster" for Northern farmers

[Thursday 13 September 2007]

ALTHOUGH the latest outbreaks of foot and mouth disease in Surrey - a second suspected outbreak is under investigation today - are 250 miles from the Yorkshire Dales, the effect is "a disaster" for Northern farmers, says the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

The reason: movement restrictions on livestock come at the worst possible time for hill farmers, for this is the time of the year when sheep and cattle which have spent the summer on the fells are brought down to be fattened on bottom land in the valleys.

It is also a key time for sending spring lambs to slaughter and for some of the North Country's biggest agricultural shows.

"I couldn't have come at a worse time," a senior member of the NFU told Daelnet today.

There was item of brighter news. According to the BBC, yesterday's Surrey outbreak comes from the same strain as earlier ones near the Government's bio-security laboratory at Pirbright, which suggests that it is a related outbreak and not a completely new infection from unknown sources.

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