THE announcement by the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that the current Foot and Mouth animal movement restrictions are to be eased has been widely welcomed by farmers and countryside groups.
We do not want to see animal welfare being compromised, as has threatened to be the case
Carole Hodgson - CLA
A general licence to alleviate welfare issues came in to effect at midnight tonight and will allow within-farm movements of all susceptible animals for welfare reasons of up to 3 km as the crow flies.
This may include movement along a public road but movements must be subject to biosecurity such as cleaning of roads and vehicles if involved.
The CLA is part of a core group of stakeholders who have worked closely with Defra on the movement licences to ensure welfare is not compromised and that the response to the current FMD outbreak is proportionate.
Carole Hodgson, Assistant Regional Director North said: "We have also been closely involved in a move to clarify an exit strategy so we can return to normal as soon as is safe to do so.
"Obviously the gradual relaxation has to be welcomed. We do not want to see animal welfare being compromised, as has threatened to be the case, even this far away from the affected areas.
"The latest results, followed by the licence to allow movements on welfare grounds appear to offer a glimmer of hope for our farming industry, but I would stress that we are far from safe. This is the time when people may drop their guard and I would urge everyone to continue with the highest levels of biosecurity, and continue to monitor their animals."