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 Foot & Mouth

Foot and Mouth Disease

The first indication of Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) in the UK was in pigs at an abatoir in Essex on 20th February 2001. The pigs had been sent for slaughter from a farm in Northumberland and, by the time the first case was discovered, many sheep from neighbouring farms had passed through livestock auctions and been transported around the country carrying the disease with them.

In our particular area of Worcestershire, we were fortunate that the disease arrived in cattle which, at that time of the year were housed, and apart from direct human or animal contact has not spread further.

The last case in the area was in April and, although we were within a 3km exclusion zone for a while, the area was upgraded from 'Infected Area' to 'At Risk' status in early July. At the moment (15 August) selective serological blood testing is being carried out in the area to establish the disease status of the county.

Compared with those farmers who have had their livestock culled, we have been fortunate. The biggest impact for us has been the restrictions on movements.

Our grazing is in two areas with a two mile road journey between them. Normally, a few weeks after lambing, our ewes and lambs would be moved to the outlying grazing, but this year had to be kept 'at home' on restricted grazing with hay and concentrate feeding, until weaning time.

If you would like to find out more about Foot and Mouth Disease, the following links may be useful:

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (successors to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) - for the official story and facts

News stories and comment in the farming press

An alternative view