Meat Traders Optimistic

Meat traders are "cautiously optimistic" that the foot and mouth outbreak will be contained and resolved.

Graham Bidston, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat Traders, said that the lessons learnt from the major outbreak in 2001 would hopefully ensure a swift resolution to the latest crisis.

"Obviously every day that goes by is a worry, but our members are generally reasonably calm, they have been through it before and have some feel for what will happen," he said.

"Since 2001 the industry and the government have been looking at contingency plans in case of a new outbreak.

"Those are now in place and it will all depend on how well the restrictions work. So far it is encouraging that the disease is not spreading all over the country."

If the outbreak is contained, political decisions will be the key factor in determining the amount of impact felt by meat traders across the UK.

"It does depend on how cautious the government are," said Bidston. "We appreciate that caution is necessary but we hope that if it is contained to one area the government will allow the rest of the industry to get moving again."

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